The title-page of the 1931, Gregynog Press edition of The Fables of Esope… – £3500 at Tennants.

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An undated French edition of the 350pp vocal score of the opera Carmen, signed and inscribed to the title-page by the composer, Georges Bizet, was among the attractions offered in a North Yorkshire saleroom.

Sold for a notably higher than predicted £3200 at Tennants (22% buyer’s premium) of Leyburn in a November 23 sale, it was among lots from the library of the late George Lascelles, 7th Earl Harewood (1923-2011).

Lascelles enjoyed a lifelong association with Britain’s major opera houses and served as a chairman or managing director with the Royal Opera, English National Opera, and ENO North.

Fabled work

Other highlights included one of 250 copies of the 1931, Gregynog Press edition of The Fables of Esope, translated out of Frensshe in to Englysshe by William Caxton. Illustrated with wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker and in a full sheep binding by the press’s own bindery, it sold at £3500.

Bid to £1700 was a day-book from Eshton Hall at Gargrave, North Yorkshire, that contained accounts, diary entries and other notes from the years 1849-51 that were described by the saleroom as providing more historical information and commentary than is normally found in such accounts.

The house was owned at the time by Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), very much one of England’s earlier and more important female bibliophiles.

The Tennants catalogue entry noted that Eshton Hall was visited by Thomas Frognall Dibdin, who has been described as “the genesis behind the bibliophilic neurosis that afflicted the British upper classes in the Romantic period” and the author of Bibliomania; or Book Madness.

Of the Eshton Hall library he wrote “… with the exception of Althorpe, Chatsworth and Stowe, I know of no such collection in the country which can pretend to break a lance with it”.

The hall was also visited by Charlotte Brontë, who greatly admired the library of some 18,000 books, and even adopted part of their owner’s name for one of her pseudonyms: Currer Bell.

Sold at £9000, a fine copy of the 1997, first paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the Tennants sale’s very different best-seller.