Dating from 1868-69, it was made for the child of one of his friends and, decorated with more than 250 clippings, collages and paper-cuts, was regarded as one of the finest examples of the 19 such works created by the great Danish author.
The last of Andersen’s picture books still in private ownership, the unique work has never been published or previously offered for sale. It was consigned to Copenhagen saleroom Bruun Rasmussen by a descendant of Marie Henriques (d.1944), the child who received the picture book from the author for her third birthday (the lot came with a birthday letter from Andersen).
Estimated at DKr1m-1.5m for the auction on May 30, it was knocked down at DKr 2.32m (£271,660) – a Danish auction record for any work by the author.
Decorated with more than 250 clippings from printed picture books, newspapers, illustrated travelogues, theatre posters, stamps, engravings, photographs, etc, the picture book runs to 168 pages in all.
The text is all in the writer’s hand, and the half cloth original binding was also made by Andersen.
The scrapbook was given to Marie Henriques on her third birthday in 1869 – the writer was affectionately referred to as ‘Anders’ in her family.
In his diary, Andersen had in the autumn of the previous year written: “Began on a picture book for little Marie Henriques. I am cutting and gluing until late at night”, and a few days later, “... Pasting every day. At the Melchior and Henriques homes the grown-ups are very intrigued by the picture book for little Marie.”
The story he created for the picture book concerns little Marie’s ‘Grand Tour’ around the world with her trusty but strict nanny, Sidse. Full of verses and comments and a host of colourful illustrations, the work sees Marie and Sidse encounter all sorts of people and travel through many countries.
Marie wants to begin at the North Pole and see the Northern Lights, but if it gets too cold, she says, they will move on to warmer countries. Two solitary ladies travelling abroad, however, might easily fall into danger, so Sidse dresses as a watchman to safeguard little Marie.
During the latter part of his life, in the years 1850-70, Andersen created several such picture books, either working alone or with friends, and today 19 examples are recorded.