Produced for private circulation only by Ashendene Press in 1920, examples of the 50 copies on paper make only occasional auction appearances.
Just six were printed on vellum and until one came up at Forum (26/25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) in London on July 13 none could be traced at auction.
This presentation copy was signed and inscribed by the printer CH St John Hornby to BL Richmond on the front free endpaper and dated November 1920. Bruce Lyttleton Richmond (1871-1964), known as the ‘architect of the Times Literary Supplement’ was its editor for 35 years from 1902-37.
The work, a poignant essay, was written by James in February 1916 and he died on the 28th of that month. It was first published in the TLS in March that year and the colophon states Printed by the kind permission of the Proprietors and Editor from ‘The Times Literary Supplement’. Forum notes it was perhaps not surprising then that Richmond received one of the very special vellum copies.
It sold for £18,000, three times the top estimate.