Christmas crackers of the books and works and paper variety01 December 2020 The books and works on paper market encompasses a remarkably wide range of intriguing items you can bid for – and which make wonderful Christmas presents with a bit of thought behind them.
Plenty of sales are held live online in the run-up to the festive season. Here are some suggestions picked from auctions coming up in December.
Drinking caps on
‘In terms of content, it was rather all over the place’ is one description you can find of The Compleat Imbiber. As the name indicates, the priority was booze but culinary topics, travel, and culture were all part of the subjects covered in essays by contributors such as Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch, Auberon Waugh, Miles Kington, Sir Clement Freud and Richard Boston.
This series of anthologies appeared from the 1950s edited by renowned wine writer Cyril Ray.
Forum Auctions in London is offering The Compleat Imbiber, numbers 1-12, 1951-1971; and The New Compleat Imbiber, 1986, estimated together on December 3 at £100-150 but with no reserve (pictured top).
To bid for these copies of The Complete Imbiber try thesaleroom.com.
Calling card collectors
Cartes de Visite were photos mounted on a piece of card the size of a formal visiting card – and the cause of a major collecting craze in the 19th century (from 1857 in Britain). The development of cameras that could take several portraits on one photographic plate was key, meaning smaller pictures could be made available at a lower price.
The Dominic Winter auction in Cirencester on December 16 includes a lovely collection of about 140 albumen print cartes de visite, 1860s and later, mostly portraits and a few topographical interest, plus a group of approximately 100 cabinet cards, mostly portraits but including some topographical and miscellaneous interest, as well as a group of 14 stereoviews including one with Herbert Ponting photographs of Japan.
Featuring about 250 images in total, they come from the photography collection of Dr Richard Sadler FRPS (1927-2020). Estimate £150-200.
See the cartes de visite from the Dr Richard Sadler collection at thesaleroom.com.
These 14 initials with interlace or architectural decoration would make a striking bit of decoration. From an illuminated choirbook, on parchment, from Italy (perhaps Rome), they date to the late 15th century. They are mounted together with sizes varying between 17.5 by 14.2cm and 11 x 9.5cm.
The estimate is £2000-3000 at Bloomsbury Auctions of London on December 7.
The auction house notes: “The finely shaded monochrome elements and delicate architectural features of these initials are eye catching and identify their parent manuscript as part of the elaborate style of choirbook illumination that began in the late 15th century, apparently carrying over parts of the style of illumination developed for grand humanist manuscripts into liturgical works.”
Visit thesaleroom.com to bid for these 14 initials from an illuminated choirbook, Italy, late 15th century.
Ronald Frankau (1894-1951) was an English comedian who started in cabaret and progressed to radio and film. He published two wartime books of morale-boosting humorous verse, both illustrated by Laurie Tayler and published in the early 1940s by Raphael Tuck & Sons: Diversion and He's a Perfect Little Gentleman, the Swine.
A copy of the former is estimated at £30-50 in the C&T auction in Kent on December 8.
You can view this copy of Diversion by Ronald Krankau via thesaleroom.com.
Judge for yourself
Judge Dredd is one of the most revered comic/graphic novel characters ever created. This mounted and framed display features an original ink drawing of a Judge Dredd 2000AD cover by Ron Smith, alongside the printed Spotlight on Sport page featuring the work.
The 2000AD comic first appeared in 1977. Smith, a Spitfire pilot during the Second World War, began his career in animation before moving into comics for Amalgamated Press, then DC Thomson, before moving to 2000AD and Judge Dredd.
According to 2000ad.com, “during 2000AD’s 1980s heyday, he was one of the five iconic Dredd artists alongside Carlos Ezquerra, Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland, and Steve Dillon”.
Catalogued as being in ‘excellent condition’, the drawing measures approx 38 x 45cm and frame approx 79 x 62cm. Estimate £200-300 at Merseyside auction house Omega on December 8.
To check out this Ron Smith Judge Dredd 2000AD artwork, see thesaleroom.com.
Novel excursion from travel writing
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) is famous as a travel writer primarily but shown here is a first edition of his only novel: The Violins of Saint Jacques, published in London by John Murray in 1953.
It is offered together with a first edition of With EH Shepard's Drawn from Memory (London, 1957), illustrations by Shepard – of Winnie the Pooh fame.
They would both look great on the bookshelf behind you on a Zoom call, at the very least…
Estimate £80-120 at Bellmans of West Sussex on December 8.
Try thesaleroom.com to bid for this first edition The Violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor.