Bearing the cataloguer’s cautious observation that it is ‘Waugh’s masterpiece, arguably’, a copy of A Handful of Dust was one of a number of the writer’s works featured in a March 22 sale held by Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium).
Guided at £3000-5000, the 1934 first edition sold for £5500 in the Washington, West Sussex, saleroom.
A 1945 first of Brideshead Revisited made a top-estimate £1200 but the other Waugh lots also included one of his earlier works, Mr Loveday’s Little Outing, and Other Sad Stories of 1936.
With ‘flexiback’ reinforcement to the hinges, as issued, it showed some staining and fading to the covers but retained a price-clipped dust-jacket and sold at £650 to an online buyer.
A copy of a 20th century re-working of the 16th century tale of The Witch of Knaresboro’ by Frances G Knowles-Foster sold at £850.
A second edition of 1921 with a frontispiece view of the castle after Bernard Evans, this copy had been extra illustrated with four further plates and the front cover of its later red morocco gilt binding by Cedric Chivers of Bath bears an original hand-painted figure of the witch.
In the ‘Author’s Note’, Knowles- Foster writes that she was only a teenager when her version of the tale was first published in 1904, but now feels able to use her own name rather than the pseudonym it originally bore.
Also known as the ‘yachting authoress’, its creator often took her own small yacht, The Enchantress, on voyages up the Thames.
This copy was once in the library of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, whose bookplate it bears. Mary was the only daughter of King George V & Queen Mary, a sister to Edward VIII and George VI and an aunt of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Brick by brick
One of the cheaper lots I have ever featured on these pages, but one that I found irresistible, sold below estimate for just £25. It was a signed, 1961 first of Dennis Wheatley’s Saturdays with Bricks – a reminder that this celebrated novelist’s hobby was bricklaying. It included an inscription in the author’s hand on the title-page.
The auction house noted that even though his house in Lymington, Hampshire, was demolished only a year after he sold it in 1968, the crinkle-crankle, serpentine or ‘wavy’ wall that he had built along Church Lane still remains.