The Rev William Essery whose account of a round the world trip on SS Ceylon sold for £2300 at Dominic Winter.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

By then a 23-year-old, iron-hulled steamer that was originally built for P&O’s Southampton to Malta and Egypt services, Ceylon was at the time engaged in what was to be the first commercial pleasure cruise around the world.

For a voyage that would cover some 37,500 miles, and on a vessel that was just 93 metres long and by modern standards rather small, accommodation was provided on two decks for 130 first class and 30 second class passengers.

While the number of those who actually bought a passage is not clear, fewer than 40 of them, it seems, completed that enterprising and historic cruise.

Essery was one of those who did stay aboard for the entire voyage, and in a Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) sale of July 20 his unpublished manuscript account of the experience, running to some 280 neatly written pages, was sold, along with related ephemera, at £2300.

Further highlights of the Gloucestershire sale are illustrated and described here.

Blaze of glory


The Dominic Winter saleroom’s assertion that no other copy of this or any other edition appears to have been recorded at auction made the Motor Fire Engines and Escapes catalogue pictured here a must. Issued c.1922 by John Morris & Sons, this 72pp, photographically illustrated record of what, one hundred years ago, their Salford Fire Engine Works could offer is still in the original wrappers. It sold at £220.

Troubled waters


Bid to £1800 at Dominic Winter was Angling in Troubled Waters… of 1899. A coloured litho map of Europe created by Fred W Rose, it is one in which the major powers are depicted angling for new ‘colonial’ fish. The dominant figure is Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, whose most recent acquisitions are seen in a bag slung over his shoulder, while in the form of John Bull, England’s rather more modest claim is to a crocodile labelled Egypt.

Early Wales


A very rare map of Wales from an atlas of the 1580s that was anonymously published because of the religious and political machinations of the time. The maps in that atlas were derived from those published in the 1570s by Ortelius, but are here attributed to Jan Metel, Michael von Etzing and other members of the ‘Cartographic School of Cologne’. This single Wales map sold at £850 in the Dominic Winter auction.

 Royal European union


Based on an earlier map by Sebastian Munster, this cartographic creation by Heinrich Bünting, Europa Prima pars Terrae in Forma Virginis, was used to good effect on the cover of the Dominic Winter sale catalogue. Professionally restored to verso, this example sold at a low-estimate £800.