“As darkness came on, we were completely surrounded”. Titled simply Rorke’s Drift, January 22-23, 1879, this is the autograph draft manuscript for the account of the heroic Boer War defence presented by John Chard (1847-97) to Queen Victoria. Penned c.1879-80, it includes extensive annotations, additions and corrections and a manuscript sketch of the Rorke’s Drift station (pictured top).
Coming by family descent to the vendor, it has a guide of £10,000-15,000 at the sale of Fine Books, Atlases, Manuscripts & Historical Photographs held in Bonhams Knightsbridge on December 17.
Chard was in charge of Rorke’s Drift, a garrison on the Buffalo River consisting of a kraal, a commissariat store and a small hospital building, when it was attacked by a force of 3000 Zulus. His was one of 11 Victoria Crosses awarded for the action.
Arriving back in England in October, Chard (the character played by Stanley Baker in the movie Zulu) was summoned to visit Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle and asked to write up his account of the battle. He presented a neatly written-up final version in January 1880 with this ‘rough’ copy remaining in the family.
The jewellery sale at Dix Noonan Webb in London on November 24 includes copies of number of the key reference books on antique jewellery from a private library.
Pictured here are Art Nouveau Jewelry by Vivienne Becker (1985), Artists’ Jewellery, Pre-Raphaelite to Arts and Crafts by Charlotte Gere and Geoffrey Munn (1989), Jewelry & Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition by Elyse Zorn Karlin (1993) and the catalogue for the 1987 Goldsmiths’ Company exhibition The Jewellery of René Lalique.
The quartet is estimated together at £120-150.
This illuminated copy of Historia della presa di Tripoli by Battistino de Tonsis was made in Naples in 1510. It carries a guide of £40,000-60,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures in London on December 7.
The text across 54 leaves amounts to a lengthy eye-witness account of the Spanish conquest of Muslim Tripoli by a Spanish-Genoese fleet in 1510. It is thought to be the presentation copy produced by the author De Tonsis for his patron, the Genoese politician and diplomat Count Gerolamo Adorno (1483-1523).
Sources for this particular campaign are few and it appears no other copies of the text exist. In French ownership by the 19th century, when it was rebound, it later re-emerged in a Spanish collection and was later sold in 2009 in Florence.
The sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper at Forum Auctions in London on November 19 includes a number of lots relating to the early history of the railways.
This album comprises around 150 items of manuscript and printed ephemera relating to the birth of railways in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Among many highlights is a four-page letter dated October 19, 1844, from George Stephenson to Thomas Harrison of South Shields discussing the planned route of the Newcastle & Berwick Railway: “I certainly can see no grounds for altering the Line at Warkworth, nor can I imagine the Duke will give any opposition.”
The November 24 sale at maritime memorabilia specialist Charles Miller includes a pair of dry-point etchings by William Lionel Wyllie (1851-1931). Southampton (shown) and Plymouth, both signed in pencil lower right, are guided at £300-500.
The photography sale at Dominic Winter in South Cerney, now rescheduled to December 16, includes this 1907 copy of Malay Peninsula (Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States) with photos by Charles J Kleingrothe. The estimate is £2000-3000.
This presentation copy of Quekett’s Practical Treatise on the use of the Microscope in original brown cloth has a guide of £400-600 at Flints in Thatcham, Berkshire, on November 19. A first edition copy published in 1848 as volume VI of the Library of Illustrated Standard Scientific Works series, it is inscribed in pen to Wenham Esq, with the author’s compliments.
Pablo Picasso’s 1962 linocut Grande tête de femme au chapeau has a guide of €80,000-120,000 at Grisebach in Berlin on December 3. Signed and dedicated Pour Arnera pere, this is one of three trial proofs made outside the edition of 50 numbered copies. Bought from Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris in 1963, it has since been in a private collection in Hesse.
In this personal letter from George VI to his physician Sir Daniel Davies, the king expresses thanks “for all your help to me in my long illness” in the wake of surgery to remove a lung. Penned on Sandringham stationery dated December 27, 1951, he goes on to say “the few days here have done me good” and that he “used a gun with no ill effects and medium accuracy”.
Just a week after Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh had left for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of east Africa, George died in his sleep at Sandringham on February 6, 1952.
The letter comes by Davies family descent for sale at Historical & Collectable on November 21 with a guide of £1000-3000.
This original double-sided handbill promotes the Brian Epstein ‘Pops Alive’ series of concerts that took place at the Prince Of Wales Theatre, London, in the summer of 1964. Performances by The Searchers, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield and Gerry and the Pacemakers were joined by The Beatles and Kenny Lynch on May 31.
Described as near mint, it is estimated at £1000-1500 the Rock & Retro Auction at Stacey’s in Rayleigh, Essex, on November 24.
Comic Book Auctions holds a timed online sale closing on November 22. This original front cover artwork drawn, painted and signed by Dudley Watkins for The Beano No 561 (April 18, 1953) is guided at £750-900.
In this story Biffo becomes the park keeper at Dundee’s Victoria Park but his efforts to pick up one piece of litter diverts a bus full of picnickers with predictable mayhem.
Beaux Books offers this work on the mirrors of French designer Line Vautrin for £300. Written by Patrick Mauries, the text is in French with an English translation.
Vautrin’s mirrors fashioned in a cellulose-acetate plastic she called ‘Talosel’ are widely collected, and this book was published to coincide with an exhibition of them at the Galerie Chastel Marechal in 2004.
This etching, Self-portrait with Beret by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69), dates to 1634, the year of his marriage to Saskia van Uylenburgh. A rare and famous portrait, this copy, partly trimmed at the upper edge of the plate and with torn to the right corner, has an estimate of €26,000 at Keifer in Pforzheim from December 10-12.
Born in the village of Blencarn, Cumbria, as Isaac Atkinson, James Anderson (1813-77) moved to Italy in the late 1830s where he became one of the leading photographers of architectural sites. Opening a studio in Rome in 1853, he used the wet collodion process to take large glass plate negatives that he printed as albumen salt prints as souvenirs for Grand Tourists.
This print of the Temple of Saturn at the Forum, c.1858, has a guide of €1200-1500 at Lempertz’s photography sale in Cologne on December 7.
James Bond – A Time to Buy is the title of a sale at Ewbank’s in Surrey on November 20. It includes this quad-sized film poster for You Only Live Twice (1967) starring the late Sean Connery. In this design, the so-called Style C or Bath Tub variant, Connery is pictured alongside eight bikini-clad assistants.
This copy of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s famous 9ft 4in (2.65m) high copper engraving Veduta del prospetto principale della Colonna Antonina (View of the Column of Marcus Aurelius) has a guide of £1500-2500 at Roseberys in London on November 24. It was assembled from six plates and printed on six sheets c.1774-79.
This 1880 revised edition of Lewis Wright’s The illustrated book of Poultry ‘with practical schedules for judging, constructed from actual analysis of the best modern decisions’, has 50 coloured plates. The estimate is €450 at Nosbusch & Stucke in Berlin on November 19-21.
Available for £950, this original quad for The Misfits is offered by Picture Palace Movie Posters. The film, released in 1961, starred Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe in their last completed movie and featured a script by Monroe’s husband Arthur Miller.
This trade box of 1950s Truart Christmas gift cards – 12 different designs, of which nine are still in sealed packets – has a guide of £50-80 at Special Auction Services in Newbury on November 24-25.
Sotheby’s sale of Music, Continental Books and Medieval Manuscripts will be held online, closing for bidding on December 1.
Among the potential highlights is this archive of 62 letters and postcards sent by German author Hermann Hesse to the Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig between 1903-38. The correspondence begins in the year before the appearance of Hesse’s breakthrough novel, Peter Camenzind (1904) and references the novels which made Hesse world famous – Siddhartha (1922) and Steppenwolf (1927).
Included with the letters (some not previously published) are four typescript poems and six small-format pen and watercolour drawings.
Produced to aid in the fight for women’s suffrage in the US, The Awakening map was published as the centrefold of Puck magazine in February 1915. It portrays the west-to-east progress of women’s suffrage across the nation ahead of the referendum on the issue in New York State (although the amendment did not pass until 1917).
When the map was published, Puck was nearing the end of its run and its circulation was only around 10,000 copies, many of which would have been discarded. The issue and the map are therefore very rare. Boston Rare Maps offers a copy for $7500 and notes in the cataloguing: “This is the first time I have seen it on the antiquarian map market. One of the most diligent and resourceful ‘finders’ of persuasive maps I know has told me it took him five years to locate his copy.”
The civil servant and inventor Henry Cole (1808-82) and the artist John Calcott Horsley (1817-1903) are together credited with the creation of the first commercially produced Christmas cards in 1843.
Cole, who had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier, successfully sold a total of 2050 cards for a shilling each. Calcott Horsley’s design feature scenes of charity, and a central vignette of a family raising a toast to the recipient.
This rare survivor, inscribed in ink to My very dear Father and Mother, is expected to sell for £5000-8000 at Christie’s sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts in London on December 9.
This copy of The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia by David Roberts (1796- 1864) has a guide of SFr15,000-20,000 at Dogny Auction in Lausanne on November 24.
Roberts’ 11 months travelling up the Nile provided the basis for the monumental work of Orientalism published as 247 lithographs with text between 1842-49. The images were produced by the Tournai engraver Louis Haghe (1806-85). This copy had been bound in red morocco in six volumes in c.1870.
This ticket for a Royal Command performance at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to mark the coronation of George V and Queen Mary in 1911 forms part of a timed online sale of Paper, Ephemera and Collectables at Southgate Auction Rooms in London.
Bidding for the ticket, estimated at £100-200, ends on November 22.
This allegory by J Frosne titled La queue luy pend au petit bon homme shows the stages of life in four scenes running from left to right. It starts with a young boy holding up the skirts of a young woman, who is being escorted by a man marked as being aged 25 and is followed by walking couples aged 40 and 60, and finally a seated couple, aged 80.
Dated to c.1670, it is offered by Grosvenor Prints for £680.
The photographer Hugo Erfurth (1874-1948) is best known for his portraits of German cultural figures of the early 20th century, producing some of the defining images of artists such as Otto Dix, Erich Heckel and Paul Klee.
This gelatin silver print, signed and dated 1928 by the subject, depicts the German painter and graphic artist Robert Sterl (1867-1932). It comes from a private collection with a guide of €800-1000 at Van Ham in Cologne on November 19.
The Valley Curtain, a colour offset print by Christo and Jean-Claude, comes for sale at Kunst & Design Auktionhaus in Krefeld on November 21. The opening bid is €800. The Valley Curtain project (1970- 72) stretched an orange nylon curtain 381m wide x 111m high between two mountains over Colorado State Highway 325.
This plate The Morning After Marriage is taken from a copy of The Works of James Gillray From the Original plates with the addition of many subjects not before collected. It has an estimate of €2000 at Auktionhaus Schramm in Kiel on November 21.
Together the volume numbers 630 engraved plates and vignettes. As well as the contents of the 1847 printing, this volume includes the often missing supplement from 1851 that added the 45 initially suppressed ‘indecent’ etchings. It has the bookplate of Chadwyck Healey of Lincoln’s Inn.
The cataloguer notes that Gilray’s ‘special victims are George III and his wife Charlotte, the Prince of Wales, Fox and his liberal party comrades – and finally Napoleon I and everything French’.
Peter Harrington offers the working manuscript for the second edition of Falconry in the British Isles by Francis Henry Salvin (1817-1904) with watercolours and lithographs by William Brodrick (1814-88). The two quarto volumes, prepared for the 1873 edition, are unbound and contain numerous manuscript insertions and extra sheets tipped in.
The lithographic stones used to make the plates in the first edition were destroyed before work began on the second, so all the illustrations offered here are original. Offered for £45,000, the set of proof sheets featured in the dealer’s catalogue for the Sharjah International Book Fair, which took place in early November.
Following the publication of Tyndale’s New Testament in several editions in the 1520s and 1530s, Miles Coverdale (1488-1569) translated what became the first complete Bible in English.
Although Tyndale was arrested and awaiting execution, translating the scriptures into English had become less dangerous. After the Bible had been printed in Antwerp (where Coverdale lived) in 1535, two editions, one folio and one quarto, were published in London in 1537 and dedicated to the king himself.
The Books & Works on Paper sale at Chiswick Auctions on December 2 includes this imperfect but rare copy of Coverdale’s Bible in a 19th century binding.