With our April sales postponed on government advice, Dominic Winter Auctioneers can reflect on a record-breaking 2019 in which outstanding results across the year’s 22 sales produced a combined hammer total of £5.5 million.
The undoubted highlight was the single-owner sale of the Library and Pictures of the Late Martin Woolf Orskey (1925-2018) on 26 June. Martin was a doyen of the Anglo-American book trade and his superb collection attracted global interest, achieving a net price in excess of £900,000.
The company also strengthened its reputation as the market leader for rare and vintage photography with two specialist sales in April and October, the second led by an important collection of 19th-century Chinese photography with provenance to George Dods (1836-1909), acting colonial surgeon in Hong Kong.
There were further successes with the Ladwell Collection of Fine Bird Books, German Literature from the Library of Eduard Rosenbaum (1887-1979), Early Bibles and Theology from the Library of Leonard Channing (1915-1984), the first instalment in the Military Library of Lt Col. R. J. Wyatt MBE TD (1931-2019), and offerings from the libraries of art historian Michael Jaffé (1923-1997) and of Renaissance historian Cecil H. Clough (1930-2017).
The fine art department had a bumper year with three well-curated sales focusing on our core specialisms of old master, 19th century and modern paintings, prints and drawings, supplemented by a strong selection of rare textiles and other antiques. Stand-out lots included an original John Ruskin watercolour, a selection of oils by 20th-century Austrian-British artist Herbert Gürschner consigned direct from the family, and a fine late-Qing Chinese dragon robe.
Our monthly book auctions also provided a consistently high quality of rare maps and works on paper, ranging from a substantial collection of rare 18th- and 19th-century livestock prints to the most extensive collection of Polish maps in private hands (of which further examples are to be sold throughout 2020).
The year’s top ten hammer prices were as follows:
- A group of four personal photograph albums relating to the London Missionary Society and the creation of Peking Union Medical College, c.1907-15, a unique historical document containing 290 original gelatin silver print photographs. Hammer price £78,000
Vintage Cameras & Photographs, Autographs, Stamps & Ephemera, Bookbinding Equipment & Accessories, 11 April 2019, Lot 266
- Gould (John). A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Humming-Birds, 1st edition, London: published by the author, -61, a complete set of John Gould’s masterpiece, in the original parts, with 360 hand-coloured lithographic plates heightened in gold. Hammer price £56,000
Printed Books, Maps & Prints, 6 November 2019, Lot 210
- Thomson (John). Views on the North River, 1st edition, Hong Kong: Noronha & Sons, Printers, 1870, one of the great rarities of early Chinese photography, one of six copies known. Hammer price £48,000
19th & 20th Century Photography, John Thomson, China & Hong Kong, Photobooks, Cameras & Accessories, 3 October 2019, Lot 38
- Tolkien (J. R. R.) The Lord of the Rings, 3 volumes, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1956-7, signed by Tolkien in each volume for David A. Smith QC (1938-2015) during a meeting in Tolkien’s rooms in Oxford in 1958. Hammer price £38,000
Modern Literature & First Editions, Children's, Private Press & Illustrated Books, Lot 751
- Thomson (John). A superb album of photographs of Hong Kong, c. 1868-1870, an outstanding visual record containing 38 large-format albumen prints in excellent condition. Hammer price £38,000
19th & 20th Century Photography, John Thomson, China & Hong Kong, Photobooks, Cameras & Accessories, 3 October 2019, Lot 39
- Rheticus (Georg Joachim; former owner). Procli, De sphaera liber I [and 4 other texts], 5 parts in 1 volume, Basel: Sebastian Henricpetri, 1561, ex libris Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-1574), sole pupil of Nicolaus Copernicus: a newly discovered association copy throwing light on the career of one the principal actors in the scientific revolution of the 16th century. Hammer price £32,000
Printed Books, Maps & Autographs, 11 December 2019, Lot 326
- Linschoten (Jan Huyghen van). Navigatio ac itinerarium in orientalem sive Lusitanorum Indiam, 1st edition in Latin, The Hague: Albert Henricksz, 1599, the ‘real starting-point of Dutch overseas expansion’, illustrated with numerous important engraved maps, plans and views, including the landmark Barentsz map of the Arctic regions. Hammer price £32,000
Printed Books, Maps & Autographs, Travel, Atlases & Exploration, Antique Livestock Prints, 2 October 2019, Lot 43
- The Five Senses. Tasting, Feeling, Hearing, Smeling [sic] & Seeing, London: printed for George Minnikin and are to be sold at his shop at the Parrot in Shoo-Lane, c.1670, a remarkable set of unrecorded Restoration-era woodcut broadsides in fine condition. Hammer price £30,000
The Library & Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey, 26 June 2019, Lot 399
- Book of Hours (Use of Rome). Illuminated manuscript on prepared parchment in Latin, Northern France or Flanders, c.1450, original medieval devotional manuscript with 12 full-page illuminated miniatures, bound in 19th-century red morocco gilt. Hammer price £28,000
The Library & Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey, 26 June 2019, Lot 1
- Arrowsmith (John). [London Atlas of Universal Geography], c.1845, with 44 engraved or lithographic maps, including the extremely rare map of the newly recognised Republic of Texas. Hammer price £27,000
Printed Books, Maps & Documents, 30 January 2019, Lot 100
To consign to any of our sales in 2020 please contact a specialist for advice.