Though he initially studied and practised medicine, William Steely also followed archaeological and other paths of study, undertaking a scholarly investigation of Stonehenge and Amesbury.
His first published work in that field, however, was An Account of a Roman Temple, and other Antiquities, near Graham’s Dike in Scotland of 1720.
Containing two folding plates and a map within its modest 27pp, a copy of that work featured in a March 10 sale held by Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium). In a later and now somewhat faded 19th century binding, it sold online at £2400.
Thomas Williamson’s Foreign Field Sports, Fisheries, Sporting Anecdotes… is a familiar enough work at auction, but only a couple of other copies have made more than the £3600 paid by an internet bidder for the 1813-14 first in a later, 20th century binding offered in South Cerney.
Among the 110 coloured aquatint plates it contains is the dramatic, if perhaps somewhat imaginative ‘Anecdote of Boa Serpent & a Bull’ reproduced above.
Robert Baden-Powell, soldier and founder of the worldwide scouting movement, was also a talented amateur artist and sold online for £2800 was an 1894 watercolour drawing that he made of Grim’s Dyke.
This was a residence that for the last two decades of his life was the home of the dramatist and librettist WS Gilbert, and the watercolour, as Baden-Powell explains in his inscription, was a thank-you for a visit to Gilbert’s home that he had much enjoyed.
A Peep at Christies; or-Tally Ho, & his Nimeney-pimmeney taking the Morning Lounge is a coloured print of 1796 by James Gillray that sold for £1300. It depicts a diminutive Lord Derby and the tall and slender actress Elizabeth Farren studying paintings on display in the London saleroom.
As the cataloguer helpfully explained, Farren played the part of Nimeney Pimmeney in The Heiress, a dramatic work dedicated to Derby, but the painting they are examining is called ‘The Death’.
It shows the death of a fox, but though Lord Derby was certainly a keen huntsman, it was suggested that the choice of picture may hint at the fact that he was at the time waiting for his estranged and terminally ill wife to die. She obliged in the following year.
Among the maps of particular English appeal on offer was a large-scale engraved map of the County of Surrey… issued by C&J Greenwood in 1823. Showing bright contemporary colouring, laid on linen and folding into a contemporary green morocco gilt case, it made a mid-estimate £850.
Warlords captured on camera
Other more successful lots included two specially mounted 1920s photographs that feature the Chinese warlords, Lu Yongxiang and Sun Chuanang, each in their best military attire. Originally presented to the same British diplomat, they sold at £3000 and £3200 respectively – some 10 times the low estimate.
Valued at £200-300 but bid to £4800 was a lot that offered three watercolour portraits by Neville A Parker, dating from around 1820 and 1850, that feature Indian Sepoys in the service of the East India Company. The lot also included a pair of pencil drawings of the Ganges and three prints.