Peter Rabbit, Pre-Raphaelites and a Polar Expedition


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Peter Rabbit, Pre-Raphaelites and a Polar Expedition Jun 29 2016 Autographs

SPINK LONDON | Spink have the honour of handling fantastic collections of banknotes, stamps and coins regularly, however this July will see a rather different aspect of Spink. We will be holding another auction of Autographs, Historical Documents, Ephemera and Postal History, a sale full to the brim with exciting items from fantastic historical, literary and political figures. The sale will take place on the 13th July in the London auction room.

From the parade of historical figures and their documents in this sale are Lord Burghley, Lord Nelson, Oliver Cromwell, Benjamin Disreali, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria, and astoundingly, a hitherto virtually unknown prequel to what is arguably, along with that of Samuel Pepys, the most famous diary in the English language. Captain Robert F. Scott's Army & Navy Thin Pocket Diary from 1910, with autograph ownership inscription on the title page "Captain Robert F. Scott. RN &c 36-38 Victoria St. Westminster SW". This item intimately documents his last months in England before his setting out on the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. It offers a vivid, though elliptical, insight into the frantic pace of getting ready for the expedition, with which almost all the entries are in some way concerned.

The earliest, for 4 December 1909, notes "Interview Drs Wilson & Atkinson"; other appointments as the months go by include practical meetings at the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, the Admiralty and the R.G.S. His departure for Norway is noted on 26 February, where on 1 March he is to "Go to furs people & sledges". Many of the entries reflect Scott's preoccupation with the financing of the expedition, which takes him on tours to Middlesbrough, Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere, and the necessary round of dinners, lectures and press calls.

Scott left England for the last time on 16 July, rejoining the Terra Nova in Cape Town. During the expedition to the South Pole, Scott kept a separate diary in which he recorded the hardships of the journey. He and four companions reached the pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that Amundsen's Norwegian team had beaten them by 33 days. The entire party perished on the return journey from the pole. When Scott's records were discovered with the bodies by a search party in November, it cemented the explorer's role as English tragic hero. The famous diary, which helped shape the image of polar exploration, now rests in the British Library under the shelfmark Add. MS 51035. Lot 87, the 1910 journal, little noted until a century after the event which came to be perceived as a magnificent failure of near-mythical proportions, provides an unsettling exposition to that legendary tragedy.

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Lot 87, estimated: £20,000 - 25,000

Art also features highly in this sale with some of the finest names from fine art and literature. Lot 53 is a letter from Charles Dickens written during the publication ofBleak Housein 1853, lot 63, letter from a prominent member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, John Everett Millais. Lewis Carroll's surreal presence makes itself known in lot 67 in a delightfully sober letter to Edith Blakemore. Robert Louis Stevenson comes in at lot 73 and is closley followed by a series of correspondence from Rudyard Kipling in lots 75 and 76.

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Lot 53, estimated: £1,200 - 1,500

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Lot 63, estimated: £500 - 600

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Lot 67, estimated: £1,200 - 1,500

However, one of the sweetest items to pass through Spink's doors is a most timely one. In the year of her 150th anniversary, Spink is proud to present lot 95 of this sale; a copy of the first edition ofThe Peter Rabbit Music Books Book I, Six Easy Pieces for the Pianoforte.

Helen Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children's books featuring animals, and was 69 years old when she undertook this joint project, for which Le Fleming composed the music and she herself contributed illustrations and a brief foreword. The original manuscript of the latter, containing several autograph corrections, is preserved here,"The rippling melody of this pretty music calls back many little friends. Again the Puddle-Ducks pass: pit pat paddle pat; white kittens, squirrels, rabbits, frisk and gambol. Tiddly widdly widdly! Mrs. Tittlemouse with a mop follows the big dirty footprints of Mr. Jackson. And Lucie sips her tea, while dear Mrs. Tiggy heats her smoothing iron. Good luck to the merry company of Christopher Le Fleming's tuneful numbers, and to those luckly little People who will learn to play them some day! ...".

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Lot 95, estimated: £3,000 - 4,000 

For more information, please contact Neill Granger

Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4077 | Email: ngranger@spink.com

SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET

About Spink

Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine.  Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.  Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year.  Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.