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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bloomsbury Architecture, Travel & Topography, Hunting & Shooting

25th and 26th September

The highlight is the working library of the late Sir Howard Colvin, the renowned architectural historian whose Biographical Dictionary of English Architects 1660-1840 and published in 1954 (lot 52), was immediately recognised as a cornerstone of English architectural history. In 1995 he was justifiably knighted and joined the ranks of other landmark historians such as Sir John Summerson and Sir Nikolaus Pevsner.

Many of the 385 lots offered, are annotated in Sir Howard Colvin’s miniscule handwriting and some are inscribed by the authors to him. No collection on this subject would be complete without a substantial run of the magazine Country Life (lot 61) which is estimated £1000-1500 while a rare near complete set of The Gentleman’s Magazine or Monthly Intelligence (1732-1834) is expected to fetch £4000-6000 (lot 101). A copy of the handsomely engraved Britannia Illustrata or Views of Several of the Queens Palaces as also of the Principal Seats of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain by Joannes Kip (lot 151) is estimated £3000-5000. The sale also has three charming ‘how to’ books by William Salmon (lots 264-266) dated 1770, 1773 and 1755 such as The Country Builder’s Estimator (1770) and The London and Country Builder’s Vade Mecum etc. each estimated £150-200.

Colvin’s collection includes some wonderful association copies such as the first edition of Hugues Sambin’s Oeuvre de la Diversite des Termes, Dont on Use en Architecture of 1582 (lot 267). Once the copy of the Earl of Worcester as it bears his faint signature and is marked with chalk crosses, the Earl must have used this scarce work as a source for the chimney pieces in his magnificent renaissance apartments at Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire; the castle was later ruined after a siege duringthe Civil War (estimated £1500-2000). The other association copy is lot 293, Libro Primo d’Architettura by Sebastiano Serlio of 1566 (estimated £1000-1500). This book had belonged to Sir John Summerson (it is signed by him) and he bequeathed it to Colvin.

The second day of the auction is a mixed owner sale and includes lot 412 which is a 3 volume first edition of Sir Richard Burton’s Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to el-Medinah and Meccah which he famously undertook in 1853 disguised ‘ as an Indian Muslem’ (estimated £3000-4000). Lot 461 Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (1857)by the renowned explorer David Livingstone, is a first edition presentation copy signed by the author and is estimated £4000-6000. A particularly beautiful book on Africa is lot 564 Africa: Being an Accurate Description of the Regions by John Ogilby (£2000-3000) with an engraved frontispiece, folding engraved map of Africa and 43 double page engravings (1640). Voyage Dans le Levant en 1817 et 1818 by Louis Forbin (lot 670) was one of the first important French books to use lithography on a grand scale and it has been compared to Napoleon’s magnificent Description de l’Egypte or Denon’s Voyage. The aquatints are by Forbin himself with lithographs after Fragonard and Lecomte etc.

The sale can be viewed online at