A 17th century ‘turn-up’ religious text, The Beginning, Progress and End of Man. Sold at £7600 by Lawrences.

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The Beginning, Progress and End of Man, printed in London c.1688-89, was sold to a buyer on for £7600 by Lawrences (25% buyer’s premium) of Crewkerne on March 8.

It presents, on one now defective sheet, five sets of cut flaps that open to reveal a second series of images.

One of these ‘turn-ups’ is in the British Library dated to 1660 and another, similar example is in the Bodleian Library, but no other coloured examples are known, said Lawrences, while noting that that the colouring might be later.

Bid to £4000 was an 1856 first of a Photographic Tour among the Abbeys of Yorkshire, a folio collection of 23 mounted albumen prints by Philip Delamotte and Joseph Cundall.

With descriptive notes by JR Walbran and William Jones, this copy was spotted throughout and waterstained to the last four prints.

Another very successful photographic lot, principally comprising 11 Chinese views by R Shannon & Co, made £3400 rather than the suggested £100-150.

A long run of Botanical Magazine, lacking just two volumes of the first 108 of 1787-1876, was left unsold, but among more successful natural history lots were an 1822 first of JG Strutt’s Sylva Britannica… at £2100 and an 1855 first of Moore & Lindley’s Ferns of Great Britain…, with its coloured, nature-printed plates by Henry Bradbury, at £2000.


Bid to £3200 was an anonymous manuscript ballad recounting the story of ‘Mabel Lee’ and her rise from rags to riches. On seven sheets, including an 1850 title page, it comprises an ink drawing of a country cottage and five watercolour scenes from the tale. Each provide space for the heroine’s moveable head.

'Such knowledge of the human heart'

A 1780, Ibarra of Madrid edition of …Don Quixote de la Mancha, lacking the double-page map and a little spotted in contemporary blue morocco gilt, was a quite modestly priced copy at £3800, but contained an interesting related letter.

Bearing the bookplate of Richard Hart Davis (1766-1842), a Bristol MP and merchant, it came with a letter in the hand of the poet, dramatist, writer on religious matters and philanthropist, Hannah More (1745-1833).

In giving the book to Hart Davis she recounts the process by which, when young, she had read the work without satisfaction in English and French, and how it was only when she had mastered Spanish that she found in it “…more wisdom than I ever found in in any work of imagination. The pompous language so suited to the pompous hero! Such knowledge of the human heart … I had not found before in any modern author.”

An 1848, first book form edition of Dickens’ Dombey and Son made £3000.

Illustrated with 29 litho plates, an 1840 first of Thomas Hawkins’ Book of the Great Sea-Dragons, Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri… sold for a record £2800.

Finally, a note on changing values. In a 1660 inventory, William Freeman of Cambridge listed and valued the contents of his house, all of which added up to £138 14s 8d. Valued at a modest £40-60, it sold for £850.