Roberts’ Holy Land
Among the visitors to the Holy Land during the mid-19th century was the topographical painter David Roberts (1796-1864), who organised a painting expedition to the area in 1838.
Arriving in Cairo, he crossed the desert by way of Suez, Mount Sinai and Petra to Gaza and Jerusalem accompanied by Bedouin tribes, friends and guides. He later visited the Dead Sea, the Lake of Tiberias, Lebanon and the ruins of Baalbec.
During his year-long journey, Roberts recorded his impressions of landscapes, temples, ruins, and people in three sketchbooks and more than 270 watercolours.
These sketches and paintings provided the basis for the 247 lithographs published with text from 1842-49 as the three-volume Holy Land. The images were produced by Louis Haghe, regarded as among the finest and most prolific lithographers of the period.
This deluxe hand-coloured issue of Holy Land is an early printed example and is without the third title-page and map which was not issued until 1849. It is included in Shapero’s Exploration & Travel catalogue priced at £85,000.
007 in Fifty Fine Items selection
This association copy of Casino Royale is among the works featured in Fifty Fine Items, the latest catalogue from London dealer Peter Harrington Rare Books.
The book, which is priced at £95,000, is inscribed by author Ian Fleming (1908-64) to his friend Anthony Kemsley. Kemlsey later became the Conservative politician Sir Anthony Berry and was the youngest son of newspaper magnate Viscount Kemsley, a significant figure in Fleming’s life.
Kemsley, who owned The Sunday Times among others, not only offered the author a job after the war as foreign news manager of Kemsley Newspapers but allowed an unusual clause in his contract that meant Fleming could take January and February off as annual leave, thus enabling him to write the Bond novels.
Other highlights include a jewelled binding of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry illuminated by Alberto Sangorksi, a unique miniature Harry Potter manuscript handwritten, illustrated and signed by JK Rowling, and a first edition of John Lennon’s literary debut In His Own Write, signed by all four Beatles.
Fairy tale classics
Oxfordshire dealer Jonkers Rare Books has devoted its latest catalogue to 19th century literature.
First editions and presentation copies of novels by Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and Victor Hugo feature as well as this scarce first edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s (1805-75) Eventyr, Fortalte For Børn (1837), priced at £37,500.
Translated as ‘Fairy Tales Told for Children’, this was the first time his stories were published in book form and include some of his most famous tales such as The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Tinder Box and The Emperor’s New Clothes.
To celebrate reaching the milestone of 1500 catalogues, London book dealer Maggs, which issued its first catalogue in 1870, asked each staff member to select an item ‘important or significant’ to them from the company’s stock.
A diverse array of items made the cut including a first edition of Charles Kingley’s The Water-Babies, an archive on the Yeti, a drawing by JB Yeats of his son, the Irish poet WB Yeats, and an incomplete 15th century copy of the first volume of Plutarch’s Vitae.
Also included is this print of an icy cavern taken by Frank Hurley (1885-1962) during the Australasian Antarctic expedition of 1911-14, and formerly in the collection of expedition leader, Douglas Mawson.
The photograph, which is priced at £42,500, was reproduced in Mawson’s official account Home of the Blizzard (1915) with the caption ‘On the frozen sea in a cavern eaten out by the waves under the coastal ice-cliffs’.