July Sales at Forum Auctions: A Busy Month

- by Rupert Powell, Guest Writer, International Head of Books at Forum Auctions

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About half of Forum Auctions’ online sale on Thursday 3rdJuly comprises books from the collection of the the late Frank Herrmann (1927-2017), author, publisher, collector and mentor to many at Forum Auctions. The section is headed "The English as Collectors: a Documentary Library," in homage to one of his best-known books.

Educated at Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford, Frank Herrmann spent much of his working life in book publishing, starting as a designer at Faber & Faber's in the late 1950s. He spent 15 years at Methuen's, later Associated Book Publishers, and then built up the publishing group Marshall Morgan & Scott.

Together with his wife Patricia, Frank Herrmann amassed a collection of English Delftware, and later other ceramics, including 18th and 19th century dinner services. He was always interested in the art market and the auction world, and specifically in the history of collecting, and in the late 1960s wrote five articles for The Connoisseur on the collector Edmund Solly. He went on to write two major books in these areas: The English as Collectors: A Documentary Chrestomathy (1972, revised in 1999 and subsequently reprinted) and Sotheby's: Portrait of an Auction House (1980). In 1982 he became director in charge of European overseas operations at Sotheby's, but left to found his own auction house, Bloomsbury Book Auctions, from which he retired in 2000. In the course of his authorship he acquired many books and papers on the history of collecting, some of which are in the Wallace Collection and the remainder retained in his personal archives. 

Frank Herrmann (1927-2017)

He also wrote a series of children's books about the Giant Alexander that sold more than 600,000 copies and were translated into many languages. His autobiography, Low Profile: A Life in the World of Books, appeared in 2002.

The lots in the sale focus on collecting with numerous auction catalogues from the 18thto 20thcentury and other works on a similar theme. The rest of the sale covers the usual widely eclectic range of subjects found in Forum’s sales – drawings and watercolours; prints; a photograph album relating to China (lot 165, est. £300-400); a good group of works by Roman writer on classical rhetoric, Quintilianus; many examples of fine binding and sets of works; numerous lots of 18thcentury English literature and history, especially poetry; a children’s pop-up book (lot 141, est. £100-150); and individual works on chess, medicine, the Ladies of Llangollen, the conquest of Everest, a 1688 Glorious Revolution broadside and an album of 18thcentury blank paper.  

 

The following week the auctioneers decamp to the Westbury Hotel for back-to-back book sales. On Wednesday 10thJuly Selected 16thand 17thCentury English books from the Fox Pointe Manor Library come under the hammer. The 227-lot sale again covers a broad range of subjects within the confines of those two centuries of printing. The catalogue is arranged chronologically and the earliest work on offer dates from 1530 and is entitled Hereafter folowith the boke callyd the Myrroure of Oure Lady very necessary for all relygyous persones.Printed by Richard Fawkes, it is estimated at £6,000-8,000. As well as other religious works, there are many relating to travel, law, politics, philosophy, history, language, agriculture, food & drink, astronomy, medicine, military, heraldry, maritime, magic, alchemy, chemistry, fossils, economics, Egyptology, mining, gemstones, sundials & horology and Shakespeare. The most expensively estimated lot is a copy of the earliest and most celebrated Atlas of this country, Christopher Saxton’s Atlas of England and Wales, 1579, est. £50,000-70,000. Early works on travel and exploration to the east and west are of course rare and highly sought after. A fine copy of the first English edition of Hernando de Soto’s Virginia richly valued, By the description of the maine land of Florida, her next neighbour, translated by Richard Hakluyt and dated to 1609, is estimated at £30,000-40,000; while An Exact and Curioius Survey of all the East Indies, even to Canton, the chiefe Cittie of China, 1615, is estimated to fetch £8,000-12,000. There are many plays and other literary works by the leading figures of the period including John Donne, Ben Jonson, James Shirley, Beaumont & Fletcher, Geoffrey Chaucer, George Chapman, Sir William Davenant, Philip Massinger, Richard Brome and Lewis Sharpe. But a sale of covering this rich period of our literary history would not be complete without representation from the Bard – there are half a dozen lots by or relating to Shakespeare, including a first edition of Titus Andronicusedited by Edward Ravenscroft, 1687 (est. £3,000-4,000) and a first edition of Abraham Fraunce’s The Lawier’s Logick, 1588, a scarce work said to have been used by Shakespeare as a source for his legal knowledge.

The following day, on Thursday 11thJuly a sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper takes place, also at the Westbury Hotel. Highlights from this auction include:

  • A defective but largely complete copy of Shakespeare’s second folio, 1632, est. £15,000-20,000
  • A fine copy of Robert Greene’s rare Elizabethan comedy The Honorable History of Frier Bacon and Frier Bungay,1655, est. £4,000-6,000
  • An unrecorded 1795 edition of Hocus Pocus, or the Art of Conjuration, est. £1,000-1,500
  • Two works inscribed by Lewis Carroll, each estimated at £1,000-1,500
  • A rare Carington Bowles print of Philadelphia – Heap and Scull’s An East Perspective View of the City of Philadelphia, 1778, est. £4,000-6,000
  • A superb 1830s souvenir album of 53 Chinese Export School watercolours, est. £3,000-5,000
  • A scarce 1494 edition of Isocrates bound with Herodotus, printed by Christophorus de Pensis, de Mandello in Venice, est. £2,000-3,000
  • A Large fragment of Egyptian papyrus from the Book of the Dead, c.1550-1327 BC, est. £10,000-15,000
  • 22 leaves from a 12thcentury manuscript from Northern France in Latin on vellum of Aristotles’ Opera, est. £15,000-20,000
  • The only known copy of both volumes of John Martin’s The Paradise Lost of Miltonbound together with the text, one of 50 Imperial folio proof impressions, c.1824-27, est. £15,000-20,000
  • Robert Vansittart’s The Singing Caravan, one of 25 specially bound copies by George Fisher, Gregynog Press, 1932, est. £3,000-4,000
  • Virgil’s The Georgics, 1948 bound by Roger Powell, est. £1,500-2,000, one of several designer bindings in the sale
  • Oscar Wilde’s Salome, 1894, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley, one of 100 copies on Japanese vellum, with the 3 suppressed plates, est. £8,000-12,000
  • Rabelais’ Pantagruel, 1943, one of 250 copies illustrated by Andre Derain, est. £6,000-8,000
  • The Golden Cockerel Press’ Canterbury Talesby Chaucer, illustrated by Eric Gill, est. £3,000-4,000
  • The Chester Play of the Deluge, illustrated by David Jones, one of only 7 copies on vellum printed by the Rampant Lions Press for Clover Hill Editions, est. £4,000-6,000
  • Lecuire’s Cortege, illustrated with pochoir plates by Andre Lanskoy, one of 25 deluxe copies with an additional suite of plates, est. £6,000-8,000
  • Sweerts’ Florilegium Amplissimum et Selectissimum, with 101 (of 110) plates, est. £8,000-12,000
  • A large format chromogenic print of Buzz Aldrin with the reflection of the lunar module, the American flag and the photographer, fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, taken during the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 (almost exactly 50 years ago), est. £5,000-7,000 (one of several similar large size photographs in the sale)

 

Finally, on July 18th an online sale of F.A. Hayek: the remaining archives of the celebrated economist and Nobel laureate will feature 21 lots.

Highlights of this sale include Hayek’s Japanese Katana sword bought after a trip to Japan in 1964, with which he is seen in two accompanying photographs to be cutting his birthday cake (est. £300-400). Another fine piece connected to Hayek’s trips to Japan is a 48-page autograph manuscript entitled The Disposition on the Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception, written on handmade Japanese paper with original floral paper wrappers and written whilst visiting the country in 1978, which is estimated at £20,000-30,000. The other lots from the archive – photographs, personal affects, letters and other memorabilia, including his personal leather briefcase – all offer an inimitable insight into Hayek’s life. Following the highly successful sale of his Nobel Medal and part of the archive in March earlier this year at Sotheby’s, Forum Auctions are confident that their offering of a further wide range of memorabilia associated with this giant of modern economics will prove popular with collectors and aficionados around the world. 

 

For full details of all these sales, information about viewing times, registration etc. please visit www.forumauctions.co.uk