Meticulously assembled by a soldier named Mark Batt Tanner who travelled in India and Egypt from 1852 to 1885, it includes over 150 original watercolours plus around 50 albumen print photographs taken by Tanner in Cairo and Giza. The earliest of these are dated 1851.
The album was later inherited and restored by Tanner’s brother Lt. Col. Albert Tanner, Royal Fusilier. An inscription reads: “I inherited this book of sketches from my brother Mark Batt Tanner … it was then in a most dilapidated condition … I rearranged, and had it newly bound, adding in my own handwriting extracts from his journal regarding his travels and some of the places he visited in the East between 1852 & 1885.”
In Exeter on December 5 it is estimated at £8000-12,000.
This is thought to be the only non-photographic portrait of JRR Tolkien drawn in his lifetime.
The pencil portrait of the Lord of the Rings author was taken by Eric Valentine Gordon (1896-1938), a Canadian philologist who worked alongside Tolkien during his early academic life.
They met when Tolkien, discharged from military service in 1919 at the age of 28, took up the post as Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds. He found friendship with a fellow enthusiast of medieval philology, writing in his diary: “Eric Valentine Gordon has come and got firmly established and is my devoted friend and pal.”
The two men founded the Viking Club, whose meetings were characterised by members drinking and singing songs they’d written in Old English and Norse.
The bust portrait, which shows Tolkien looking to the left, is signed by Gordon and inscribed underneath Professor John Ronald Tolkien/ Leeds University 1924.
Offered in its original oak frame from a UK private collection, it is estimated at £15,000-20,000 at London firm Forum Auctions’ November 30 sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper.
The rare vellum copy of perhaps the most celebrated legal document in the English-speaking world was published in 1733 by the English designer, engraver, and cartographer John Pine (1690-1756).
The first printing of Magna Carta is offered by Chiswick Auctions on November 29 by a private vendor with an estimate of £6000-8000.
The project to reproduce the text of the 1215 Great Charter began in 1731 shortly after the celebrated Sir Robert Cotton library of manuscripts (that later became the basis for the British Library) was hit by a fire. While Cotton’s two copies of Magna Carta survived, they were damaged.
For posterity and for commercial opportunity, John Pine chose to copy one of them meticulously including a facsimile of the remnants of King John’s Great Seal melted by the heat from the fire. He embellished the engraving by adding the 25 coats of arms of the barons who had forced King John to sign the document and added a dedication panel with the line Sold by J. Pine Engraver against little Britain in Aldersgate Street and by the Booksellers of London and Westminster.
Pine, who is well known for his association with William Hogarth, was himself a herald in the College of Arms holding the ancient office of Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary. The first impressions of the engraving were printed on vellum, as here, with a later second state printed on paper.