Although there were slightly disappointing bids of £12,000 and £6500 on examples of the privately printed, first and second issues of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901-02), other lots brought some good prices.
The first issue, estimated at £15,000-20,000, had been amusingly catalogued as having minor (rabbit?) nibbling to a lower corner of the upper cover.
One of the 500 privately printed first issue copies of The Tailor of Gloucester of 1902 was not only in excellent condition in its pink boards, but contained a presentation inscription from the author. It was, however, a much later one of 1937.
The bulk of the collection offered copies, both standard and deluxe, of the books issued after Frederick Warne had assumed the role of BP’s publisher.
A deluxe first or second printing of The Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle of 1905 made £1300 and The Story of Miss Moppet, in a scarce red variant of the binding of the panoramic format first issue of 1906, realised £1600.
Among other children’s books, and beautifully preserved in its dust jacket, an 1876 first of Charles Dodgson’s The Hunting of the Snark sold at £6500.
Only a handful of copies are known with the jacket, which, though it bears no illustration, may have been the first to carry advertisements and review blurbs, said Forum.
Among the private press lots it was an eight-volume set of the 1896-97 Kelmscott edition of William Morris’ own The Earthly Paradise, uncut in the original limp vellum, which surprised with a bid of £16,000 – four times the high estimate and an auction record by some distance.
The alternative, more fleshy attractions of books illustrated by John Buckland-Wright, however, got a lot of exposure on the catalogue cover and inside pages. The most expensive of these lots, the property of John Dowd, was one of 70 copies of a privately printed, 1939 Paris edition of Heart’s Desire by ‘Chrysilla von Dansdorf’ (Christopher Sandford) that sold for £5400.
As well as the title vignette and seven engraved plates, it contained an extra, unsigned set of eight proof engravings before letters. It has been suggested that the work was in fact printed at the Golden Cockerel Press.
That £5400 bid was just £100 short of a record set at Bloomsbury in 2008, but a lot that did set a record at this sale in reaching £5500 was one of 215 copies of the 1932 Curwen Press (for Cassell) edition of Sir Thomas Browne’s Urne Buriall and the Garden of Cyrus with pochoir coloured plates by Paul Nash.
A telescopic ear trumpet used by Evelyn Waugh sold at £2200.
Earlier printed books from the afternoon session of the Forum sale will feature in a future issue.