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Books and works on paper

A MATHEMATICS degree led Anthony Beale (1932-2011) into a teaching career in London, but as a young man he had also begun collecting the works of a much more famous academic with mathematical leanings: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.

Over time he assembled a collection which is considered by some to be one of the finest in private hands in the UK. It included not just the well-known books, some of them inscribed, but others that are much less familiar and now very rare works.

In a Dominic Winter December 15 sale that Beale collection of books, games and letters was presented in 75 lots, a good many of them multiples.

The accompanying illustrations and other lots in this report focus on those printed rarities, but some note must also be made here of the more famous works.

The highest bid of £6600 secured a copy of the 1866, first US edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. That edition was produced using the sheets of the 1865 London edition that its author had suppressed because he was initially dissatisfied with the printing of Tenniel’s illustrations.

An 1871 first issue of Through the Looking-Glass…, inscribed for the mother of Dodgson’s childhood friend and contemporary as both undergraduate and don at Oxford, Thomas Vere Bayne, sold at £5200.

Among copies of Alice… in other languages, a first Italian edition of 1872 sold at £3000. It was inscribed by the translator, Teodorico Pietrocola-Rossetti to his cousin, Christina Rossetti, whose own works he had helped translate into Italian.

And so to the less familiar works. An 1864 copy of the first and only published part of A Guide to the Mathematical Student…Pure Mathematics, stab-stitched in wrappers, made £1200.

Suggestions as to the Best Method of Taking Votes Where More Than Two Issues are to be Voted On, an eight-page pamphlet of 1874 prepared for the governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, sold at £900.

An 1885 Macmillan edition of Euclid’s Elements edited by Dodgson was in a very poor state with loose pages and detached cover among other faults. It was, however, one that he had inscribed for Madeleine Shaw Lefevre, the first principal of Oxford’s Somerville College, and it made £3400.

Sold for £5800 was a printed bifolium (the outer pages blank) titled A Disputed Point in Logic and dating from April 1894.

Showing a couple of manuscript deletions and corrections by Dodgson, it was accompanied by a few related items. One autograph note, addressed to Francis Bradley, a logician, asks his opinion of the propositions he has put forward.

Another explains “I am collecting the opinions of experts in Logic on the enclosed difficulty…”.

Sold for £4000 were two conjoined galley proofs of Dodgson’s Brief Method of Dividing a Given Number by 9 or 11, printed in 1897.

A manuscript note added at the foot of the second page by Falconer Madan, the Bodleian librarian and Dodgson bibliographer, reads “…given to me by Mrs M.L.Parrish, March 3 1930, who owns the only 5 other copies known”.

Today, the whereabouts of only three are recorded.