AN April 29 sale held by Bloomsbury Auctions presented an enormous selection of children’s, illustrated and private press books that ran to nearly 900 lots. While there was much to admire in the other sections of the sale, I shall concentrate on the children’s books for this report. A great many of the lots came from one fine collection in which many of the books contained a bookplate designed by Pauline Baynes.
According to Marjorie Moon, the first two books by Mary
Elliott to be published, both in 1809, were The Mice and their Pic
Nic, a Good Moral Tale and Innocent Poetry. Here the first copy of
that mouse book ever seen at auction and Moon's own copy of
Innocent Poetry, both in original wrappers and containing engraved
illustrations, sold at £750 and £850 to Quaritch. Sold at £800 to
one particularly active collector that I shall call Buyer-J was
Elizabeth's Poems, or Original Pieces for Children, a Marshall item
of c.1815 in original wrappers and containing six etched and hand
An 1805 first (in contemporary kid over original boards) of The
Looking-Glass... by 'Theophilius Marecliffe', aka William Godwin,
in which is told the story of the early life of the artist William
Mulready, with plates reproducing some of his earlier drawings, was
sold at £1400 to Burmester, who also gave £540 for an 1802 first in
original wrappers for one of the scarcest Harris publications, Jane
West's The Sorrows of Selfishness...
An 1808 first of Ann Taylor's The Wedding of the Flowers, the only
copy of this imitation of Roscoe's Butterfly's Ball seen at auction
since the 1967 appearance of the imperfect Oppenheimer copy, was
sold at £800 to a collector.
Copies of Kipling's two Jungle Books of 1894-95 that were in
virtually mint condition sold at £3000, while a 1906 first edition
of Puck of Pook's Hill in a plain and simple typographical dust
jacket (the only such copy listed in auction records), lotted with
a 1910 first of Rewards and Fairies, brought £2400. Both went to P.
A fine example in original boards of one of the 200 copies that
Beatrix Potter had printed of the February 1902, second issue of
The Tale of Peter Rabbit was sold for £12,000, and a copy of the
first Frederick Warne (trade) edition of that same year, the spine
showing some careful restoration, made £1800 (Bromlea).
A fine copy of the 1902 first trade edition of The Tailor of
Gloucester, in pink boards, made £2000 (Sotherans) but bidding was
taken to £6000 (Heritage) for one of the few copies issued in
reddish morocco as an alternative to the deluxe cloth-bound
version. Two other notable Beatrix Potter successes were recorded
by very fine copies of ...Tom Kitten of 1907 and ...Jemima
Puddleduck of 1908, which sold at £4600 and £4800 respectively to
Children's Sports & Pastimes, a Dean moving picture book of
1860 featuring eight coloured litho plates with lever-operated
moving parts, made £950 (Blackwells) and, complete with all 14
cut-out and embossed figures that are intended to be placed in
slots in the four large coloured illustrations, a copy of Louis
Wain's Days in Catland of c.1905 went to Bromlea at £1400.
An excellent copy in original cloth of the 1892 first English
edition of ...Pinocchio, one of only a few copies made up from
Fisher Unwin's sheets for issue in America by Cassells, was just
one of the classic titles purchased by another of the more active
collectors at the sale, whom I shall designate Buyer-M.
As well as picking up Carlo Lorenzi's famous puppet story at
£2600, this collector secured a copy of Kenneth Grahame's Wind in
the Willows, the dark blueish-greeen cloth gilt binding rubbed and
slightly frayed at the edges, at £1400, and a 1920 first of Hugh
Lofting's The Story of Doctor Doolittle, at £540.
In a slightly chipped jacket and with some fading to the edges of
the cloth, a 1950 first edition of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch
and the Wardrobe was sold at £1500 and signed copies of two quite
recent titles, an immaculate, unread copy of the privately printed,
2002 first edition of the Rev. Graham Taylor's Shadowmancer, and
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which came out only last
year, sold at £700 and £2700. The latter went to P.
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