Bloomsbury to Auction The Paula Peyraud Collection

Bloomsbury Auctions announces The Paula Peyraud Collection, Samuel Johnson and Women Writers in Georgian Society with over 480 lots of books, manuscripts and paintings tells the fascinating story of English society in the middle and late Georgian periods. This extraordinary sale focuses on the artistic and literary women who came to the fore in the period 1750-1840.

Paula Fentriss Peyraud was an extraordinary collector. From the early 1970’s to the turn of the 21st Century she pursued her ardent passion of the knowledge of English Georgian Society and in particular the works of the Burney family, Jane Austen, Mrs. Thrale, Maria Edgeworth, and Hannah More. This collection has enormous depth and her knowledge of the Johnson, Garrick, Thrale and Burney circle has received international acclaim. This “bluestocking” group were the first women to popularize fiction for and by women detailing the concerns of women and their domestic lives and constraints, sometimes seriously and often humorously. As a collector, Paula Peyraud, was ahead of the curve not only in this field but also in the method she chose to put this collection together.

Ms. Peyraud also collected their letters, manuscripts, portraits, drawings and watercolors with a keen and discerning eye. With most similar collectors of this period, being held in institutions this is one of the finest in private hands.

Highlights include Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen (1811) a first edition, the rarest of her six major works. It was actually the third work that she had prepared for publication ($25,000-35000.)
Jane Eyre- An Autobiography -Charlotte Bronte (1847) was her first novel and the first novel published by any of the Bronte sisters ($30,000-40,000.) Hester Lynch Thrale Pozzi’s copy of
The Spectator (1794) contains extensive autograph manuscript margination on the 786 pages. It is signed on the front flyleaf ($25,000-35,000.) Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1709-1784) in which the words are deduced from their originals and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers ($10,000-15,000) and from Frances Burney Evelina, or a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778) first edition. Many consider this the beginning of women’s literature. It was the author’s first published work, written at night in a disguised handwriting in order to preserve her identity from the publishers ($4,000-8,000.)

The Paula Peyraud Collection of paintings includes 58 oil paintings all of which are historical portraits from artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Wollaston, Johann Zoffany and Benjamin Van der Gucht. Admiral Keppel’s an oil on canvas ($15,000-20,000) is by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792.) A portrait of the actor David Garrick wearing a crimson coat by Benjamin Van der Gucht (1768) is an oil on canvas ($10,000-15,000.) The Portrait of Mrs. Thrale in a yellow dress at a writing table by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810) ($30,000-50,000) and A Portrait of Peggy Simpson in a white dress and yellow jacket holding a sketch book and pencil is attributed to George Watson (1767-1837) Oil on canvas ($5,000-8,000.) A painting attributed to Sir William Beechey (1753-1839) Portrait of Mrs. John Archer in a white dress and yellow bonnet is also an oil on canvas ($15,000-20,000.)

The collection includes a small group of miniatures and one of the finest miniature portraits by John Bogle of Fanny Burney in a library leaning on a green braize-covered table. Inscribed on verso “Miss Burney” 1783 ($15,000-20,000) and fair Miniature Portraits of Lady Bessborough and her daughter Caroline ($1,500-$2,000.)

The collection of 76 watercolors and drawings are mostly historical English portraits from the late 18th Century. The artists include Ozias Humphrey, Francis Cotes and Paul Sandby. The portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Ozias Humphrey is paired with a second drawing, which depicts Lady Elizabeth Foster, a close friend of Georgiana who also became the Duchess of Devonshire after Georgiana’s death ($15,000-20,000.)

The Senior Children attributed to Daniel Gardner (1750-1805) is a pastel on paper laid down on board, oval ($12,000-18,000) and from artist John Downman is a portrait of Miss Edgeworth (1807), half length seated wearing a blue dress with a landscape beyond ($7,000-10,000.)

Richard Austin, Director of Bloomsbury Auctions, New York states “Paula Peyraud was a prescient collector in not only her field of Georgian Women’s Literature, but in how she collected it. Not limiting herself to one medium, she sought interesting and important associations of the key women of the time in both their published works, their personal letters, manuscripts and relevant paintings and works of art on paper. It is a unique collection in its scope and vision and the most exciting of its type to be offered in many years.”

Viewing hours for the Paula Peyraud Collection are:
Friday May 1- By appointment
Saturday May 2- 10-5 p.m.
Monday May 4- 10-7 p.m.
Tuesday May 5- 10-5 p.m.

For further information:
[email protected]