Johann Sebastian Bach’s autograph manuscript

Johann Sebastian Bach’s autograph manuscript for the cantata for Ascension Day, Auf Christ Himmelfahrt Allein, which has been acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

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Bodleian acquires Bach manuscript

A rare autograph manuscript by composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been acquired by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.

Allocated as part of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, it has settled £3.65m of inheritance tax.

Bach manuscripts do not appear on the market very often. However, the composer’s autograph for Prelude, Fugue & Allegro in E flat major for lute or keyboard emerged at Christie’s in July 2016, selling for £2.18m.

The Bodleian’s example is one of only four known Bach manuscripts in the UK. The 16 pages feature the handwritten composition for the cantata for Ascension Day: Auf Christ Himmelfahrt Allein.

It is known as ‘the Kohn manuscript’ after the great collector Sir Ralph Kohn, a medical scientist who had been born in Leipzig but came to Britain as a refugee in 1940 after his family fled Germany. Kohn died in 2016 aged 88 and the manuscript has come to the Bodleian from the estate of his wife Zahava.

The manuscript will be displayed in the Libraries’ current exhibition Write Cut Rewrite which runs until January 5, 2025, at the Weston Library’s Treasury.

Hove family-run saleroom closes

Hove auction house Inmans has now closed after the owners of the business, Robert and Sarah Inman, decided to retire. The final sale was held on March 4.

The firm, a family-run concern for three generations, dates back to 1929 and was founded by Robert’s grandfather. As well as regular auctions, the saleroom also provided a valuations and advice service.

Salter joins Charles Miller auction team

Oliver Salter

Oliver Salter, who has joined Charles Miller.

Oliver Salter has been appointed as auction assistant at west London saleroom Charles Miller.

He has worked as a porter at Leonard Joel auction house in Sydney. He also completed a master’s degree in curating and cultural leadership.

Decorative fair has homely comforts

Suppliers of home decoration – including rugs, lampshades, curtains and blinds – are to stand on the mezzanine of Battersea Evolution where the next Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair runs from May 7-12.

The mezzanine, sometimes hosting dealers from the main fair, has recently been devoted to separate events running alongside and complementing the Decorative, including the London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair in January and Tribal Art London last autumn.

House Directory LIVE is described as a mini-fair, meant to complement the selection of antiques and art downstairs. Put together by House Directory, an online design service, it includes a programme of panel talks, workshops and demonstrations.

The Restoration Guide, a book about restorers, craftspeople and reuse published by The House Directory in collaboration with architectural antiques dealership Salvo, is also being launched.

Each event features a special foyer display, with this edition devoted to Arts & Crafts-inspired design and antiques. Salvo contributes a piece from a large collection of staircase and panelling woodwork from the 1920 Liberty’s building, the London department store (see ATG No 2604).

Victorian sampler goes back to school


This sampler has been bought by the school where it was made by a pupil.

A 19th century sampler has returned to the school near Coventry where it was created.

Dated 1854, this is the work of Martha Trippas of Berkswell School. It features a lengthy passage from Psalm 119 completed in fine silk with a colourful stylised border.

There has been a school in Berkswell since c.1500 when the pupils were educated in the church. By the time this needlework was completed, a two-room schoolhouse also included accommodation for the head teacher.

The sampler had been on display at the Treasury at Guildford Cathedral but belonged to mostly retired dealer and former BADA member and councillor Roger Heath-Bullock, also curator of the cathedral collection.

The school acquired it for £300.

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In Numbers

Birmingham bank note

A note from the Birmingham branch of the Bank of England, dated May 1894, one of only two surviving Bowen notes above £5 issued anywhere other than London.


The original face value of a banknote sold for a hammer price of £38,000 at Mayfair saleroom Noonans on March 14 against an estimate of £24,000-30,000. From the Birmingham branch of the Bank of England, dated May 1894, it is signed by Horace G Bowen, who was Chief Cashier from 1893-1902. The note is one of only two surviving Bowen notes above £5 issued anywhere other than London.