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An Indian ivory-inlaid writing box gifted to Jane Austen’s brother will be included in Bonhams’ Islamic and Indian art sale on October 23 in New Bond Street.

Passed down by descent through the author’s family, it was reputedly gifted in the early 19th century by Warren Hastings (1732-1818), the governor-general of India famously accused of corruption and impeached in 1788, before being acquitted several years later.

The Austen family was close to Hastings, and it is likely that he was influential in obtaining Austen’s brother, Francis William Austen, his first appointment aboard HMS Perseverance on the East Indies Station.The 23 x 17in (59 x 43cm) box dates to c.1750 and comes from Vizagapatam in south India.

Estimate £6000-8000.


A still-life by Mary Fedden (1915-2012) will feature at Ewbank’s Contemporary art sale on October 26 in Surrey.

Entitled Red Flowers and Fruit, the 2ft 5in x 2ft 11in (75 x 90cm) signed oil on board was painted in 1966. It bears a label from The New Art Gallery verso, and a handwritten one reading Mary Fedden Red Flowers and Fruits, 70 Guineas. The vendor bought it from Abbott and Holder in London in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Estimate £8000-12,000.


A first edition of John Gould’s (1804-81) monograph of the Odontophoridae or Partridges of America is among the stars of Bloomsbury’s books and works on paper sale in Maddox Street, London, on October 19.

Featuring 32 hand-coloured lithograph plates, the 1850 work was the English ornithologist’s fourth monograph, in which he significantly enlarged the number of recorded species of the American partridge family.

In his own words from the preface to the work, Gould states he was motivated to undertake the project “by the sight of the beautiful Callipepla Californica, presented to the Zoological Society by Captain Beechey, in 1830. The graceful actions and elegant deportment of these birds inspired me with a desire to become acquainted with the entire group of which they form a part….”. Estimate £6000-8000.