Valuable printed books and manuscripts, sold on behalf of the British Rail Pension Fund : Including the Doria atlas; a complete collection of John Gould’s ornithological works; Lubieniecki, Theatrum cometicum, Amsterdam, 1668, fine presentation copy; Shakespeare’s Second and fourth folios; Tyndale’s New Testament, 1534; Balbus, Catholicon, first edition, third issue; Aesop, Vitae et fabulae, Naples, 1485; an outstanding autograph letter signed by René Descartes; substantial autograph manuscripts of Jane Austen’s The Watsons and of Volume the third; the autograph manuscript of Charles Lamb’s celebrated essay; The praise of chimney-sweepers: a May Day effusion; the autograph manuscript of the first part of De Quincey’s Confessions of an English opium eater, 1821; Humphrey Gilbert, grant of land assigning 1,500,000 acres of land in America, 1582; the autograph manuscript of Napoleon I’s early autobiographical love-story Clisson et Eugénie; Richard Dadd’s autograph manuscript of his poem, Elimination of a picture & its subject–called the [fairy] feller’s master stroke; a fine series of forty-two drawings by “Phiz” to illustrate Dicken’s Little Dorrit; the autograph account of Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery and development of penicillin (catalogue of an auction sale conducted by Sotheby's, London, 27 September 1988)
London, Sotheby's, 1988
(27 cm), 243 (13) pp., illustrations (some in colour). 215 lots. List of prices realised and buyers’ names loosely inserted. Publisher’s printed wrappers. - “The Fund’s basic principle of buying only the best, or at least at the top end of the market, was seen to pay off” (saleroom report in The Book Collector, Spring 1989, p. 81). Jane Austen’s autograph manuscript of her two early novels, “Evelyn” and “Catharine, or the Bower” (lot 108) sold to Quaritch for £132,000 (now British Library, Add. MS. 65381) and a portion of her manuscript of “The Watsons” (lot 109) sold anonymously for £99,000 (now Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. e. 3764). Both manuscripts had remained in Austen-Leigh family ownership until recently: the former was sold at Sotheby’s in 1976 (£30,000), the latter in 1978 (£38,000). The Doria atlas (lot 78) was sold within estimate at £247,500 to Nico Israel (for Lord Wardington); it reappeared in the Wardington sale, Sotheby’s, London, 18 October 2005, lot 143, selling for £1,464,000 to Bernard Shapero. ¶ Annotated copy, partly priced.