A man and his wife react in horror at the approach of a sword-wielding assassin in this unusual illuminated leaf from a 15th century manuscript Book of Hours sold by Dominic Winter at £13,000.

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Each bid to £13,000, two of the best-selling lots in a November 16 sale held by Dominic Winter (20/24% buyer’s premium) represented very different attractions.

The earlier work offered in the South Cerney, Gloucestershire, saleroom was an illuminated manuscript Book of Hours thought to have been produced in Tours, c.1470. Its illumination and decoration included five large and similarly framed miniatures, the most unusual of which served as the catalogue cover illustration (shown above).

The manuscript’s elaborately gilt panelled and decorated red morocco binding bearing the crest of the Turbutt family was a recent addition.

Posthumous publication

The other lot sold for £13,000 was an example of John Rocque’s posthumously published General Map of North America… of 1762, here sectionalised into 16 parts and laid on linen to allow folding.


The 1777 first edition of Isaac Taylor’s Map of the County of Gloucester…, overlain by its original and crudely repaired slipcase and a near contemporary morocco envelope style case – £2700 at Dominic Winter.

The map illustrated and further described with this report, however, is a 1777, Ross-on-Wye first of Isaac Taylor’s Map of the County of Gloucester…, the last of the five great county surveys that he produced. It sold at £2700.

Running to 58 lots, a single-owner collection of works relating to the Peninsular War included a rare 1859 first of Recollections of an Old 52nd Man, the memoirs of Captain John Dobbs, who served with distinction under Sir John Moore at Corunna and in numerous other campaigns.

Now in a modern binding, but a work for which the saleroom could locate only the British Library copy, it sold well at £1800.


An engraved plate from …Rules and Regulations for the Sword Exercises of the Cavalry of 1796 – £1300 at Dominic Winter.

Also part of this collection was a copy of John Gaspard le Merchant’s …Rules and Regulations for the Sword Exercises of the Cavalry, a War Office publication of 1796 illustrated with 29 engraved plates, mostly folding.

In a contemporary red morocco gilt binding stamped with the royal arms and once in the Carlton House Library, a town residence of George IV, it sold at £1300.


The frontispiece and title page of The Royal Pastime of Cock-fighting of 1709 – £1800 at Dominic Winter.

My final pick is The Royal Pastime of Cock-fighting…, a work of 1709 by Robert Howlett which sold at £1800.

An ex-library copy in a 19th century binding, it was heavily spotted throughout, but this is a scarce work that is believed to be only the second book in English to focus wholly on cock-fighting, and one that even includes five poems in praise of the practice.

The last example that they could trace at auction, said the cataloguer, was the Brodie-Slater copy, sold 40 years ago at Christie’s New York. That one was bid to $1200.