Eugène Delacroix London sketchbook – one of two sold at Artcurial for €314,000 (£268,375).

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Delacroix London sketchbook buy

Sketchbooks owned by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) featuring views of London have been bought by the Louvre Museum for €314,000 (£268,375).

The two books, hammered down at €49,000 (£41,880) and €265,000 (£226,495), were undertaken during the artist’s visit to England in 1825.

The sketchbooks contain a variety of drawings in black pencil, pen and brown ink of London and surrounding areas.

The Louvre exercised its right of pre-emption to buy the sketchbooks at the Artcurial auction on April 2 at Hôtel Drouot in Paris (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

They were part of the sale of the Aristophil Collections by the group of auction houses known as OVA.

This recent sale is the 16th from Aristophil which collected historic manuscripts and sold shares in these collections to investors. The company and its subsidiaries were declared bankrupt in 2015, owning 135,000 manuscripts across 54 different collections.

Book symposium looks at ownership

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) recently staged the symposium Who Owned this? Libraries and the Rare Book Trade Consider Issues Surrounding Provenance, Theft and Forgery in New York. It was organised with the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) to help booksellers understand more about what libraries need, as institutions have become increasingly strict about the provenance on material they buy.

Experts and scholars from the book trade joined insurance, art law and IT specialists at the Grolier Club on March 5 to discuss current issues.

In introducing the symposium ILAB President Sally Burdon said: “The popular image of an old bookshop with a slightly eccentric bookseller selling books in a shop untidily crammed with books and a computer nowhere in sight is not the modern reality.”

Photo album and rare Leica shine

A number of sleepers emerged at Dominic Winter’s vintage cameras and photographs sale on April 11 in South Cerney, Gloucestershire (20% buyer’s premium). Among them was a group of four photograph albums relating to the London Missionary Society and the creation of Peking Union Medical College c.1907-15.


Image from the Chinese photo album sold for £78,000 at the Dominic Winter auction.

The albums were hammered down at £78,000 against an estimate of £1000-1500.

They contain 290 gelatin silver print snapshots of Peking scenes and people, including the Peking Union Medical College, and the names of Western missionaries are recorded in the captions.

Another highlight was a very rare black Leica IIIg camera which sold at £17,500 against an estimate of £7000-10,000. Produced from 1957-60, the Leica IIIg was the last screw-mount model produced.

Most came in chrome, but 125 black versions were produced for the Swedish army. However, the Dominic Winter version is the only other black model known to exist that predates the Swedish production. The current owner bought it at Christie’s in London in July 1988.

For more on photographica see our feature in this issue.

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In Numbers


The amount needed to be raised to keep a rare 350-year-old cabinet made by Baroque artisan Giacomo Herman (1615-85) in the UK. The UK government issued a temporary export bar in the hope a UK buyer can raise the funds by July 8.


A cabinet made by Giacomo Herman that is the subject of an export bar.