The handwritten draft of one of John Betjeman’s best-known poems, ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’, is just one of the gems in the next tranche of the Roy Davids Collection to appear at Bonhams Bond Street.
A handwritten poem by Keats, I
stood tiptoe upon a little hill (estimate
£40,000-45,000), is another highlight in the two-part sale in Bond
Street, the first on April 10, the second on May 8.
Works by Sylvia Plath, W.H. Auden and
Charlotte Brontë will also be on offer.
Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and
Portraits of Poets follows the Papers &
Portraits sale at Bonhams on March 29, 2011, in which Mr
Davids consigned works by his close friend Ted Hughes, Sir Isaac
Newton, Keats and James Joyce among others.
The former head of Sotheby's printed
books department, who has been a dealer and collector for more than
40 years, specialised in manuscripts and portraits of writers,
artists and musicians, collecting material from a number of eminent
figures from British history, including Winston Churchill,
Siegfried Sassoon and the poet William Blake.
Betjeman wrote the draft of The
Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel in 1932 or early
1933 on the headed notepaper of The Architectural Review where he
was assistant editor from 1930-35. It was published in the June
1933 edition of the Oxford and Cambridge magazine.
This is the only draft of the poem
ever known to be offered at auction and carries a guide price of
"It would now be impossible for the
present collection to be even approximately replicated," said Mr
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