Ira Aldridge

The portrait of Ira Aldridge (1807-67) as Mungo in The Padlock sold for a premium-inclusive $21,250 (£18,895) at Hindman.

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US university buys Ira Aldridge picture

The Clements Library at the University of Michigan bought a portrait of Ira Aldridge (1807-67), the first black Shakespearean actor to gain international recognition.

As previewed in ATG No 2553, the portrait was offered at Chicago auction house Hindman with an estimate of $30,000-50,000. It sold for a premium-inclusive $21,250 (£18,895) on September 14.

The actor, who used his platform to advance the abolitionist cause, played over 40 major roles and received international accolades over the course of his four-decade career.

The portrait depicts Aldridge as Mungo in The Padlock. When the play premiered in London, a white man in blackface originally performed the role of the black servant. Aldridge transformed the racist caricature into a more dignified portrayal, meant to convey Mungo’s humanity.

Ben Fisher, Hindman’s vice president and senior specialist of furniture and decorative arts, said the painting will be “used to teach students and visitors about Aldridge’s legacy”.

Dawson relocates in north London


Dawsons’ premises in Hampstead, north London.

Dawsons has relocated in Hampstead, north London, opening a shop for valuations and consignments.

The auction house first opened in the area in 2018 within the Antiques Emporium after it bought the assets of Hampstead Auctions.

It has now moved to 8 Perrins Court which has recently been refurbished.

Dawsons’ saleroom is in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Master Drawings NY dates announced

Master Drawings New York will return in the new year. Now in its 17th year, the event takes place on January 20-28 in art galleries across Manhattan.

CADA fair returns to Compton Verney

The 10th annual Cotswold Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association (CADA) Fair returns to Compton Verney this week. More than 25 exhibitors – both members of CADA and a select group of guest exhibitors – will stand at the event running from October 13-16. Read more about it in Dealers’ Diary.

Austen’s Emma will go on UK display

Emma by Jane Austen

The 1816 presentation copy of Emma by Jane Austen now going on display at Chawton House. Twelve presentation copies were made by the publisher John Murray with a 13th sent to the Prince Regent. Published in 1815, Emma was the last of Austen’s novels issued during her lifetime.

A rare copy of Jane Austen’s Emma will go on display at Chawton House, the former home of the novelist’s brother, after an arrangement was agreed with the US buyer of the book and dealership Peter Harrington.

Harrington sold the threevolume presentation copy of the first edition of Emma, to a US client earlier this summer after it was part of the dealership’s summer catalogue.

Austen sent one of 12 special presentation copies of the novel to her friend Anne Sharp who was governess to her brother Edward’s children.

The copy carries the handwritten message From the author, the only presentation copy of an Austen novel with a written inscription known to exist. However, the inscription was by the publisher or a clerk, at the request of Austen, not in her own hand.

Harrington sold it for £375,000. The buyer decided the book should stay in the UK and asked Pom Harrington, owner of London firm Peter Harrington, to suggest a suitable place for it to go on loan.

Discussions began with Chawton House near Alton, Hampshire, which is open to the public and promotes research and understanding of early women writers, and the book was delivered earlier this month.

Peter Harrington is sponsoring a specially made case for the books.

The book will be on display from early next year to coincide with Chawton House’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

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In Numbers


Sales at this year’s Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair, organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA), more than doubling last year’s figure of £3m.

See Dealers' Diary for more.