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Bloomsbury Important Books and Manuscripts Auction

Interesting books and manuscripts offered by Bloomsbury Auctions in their Important Books and Manuscripts sale on 19th November

LootsmanThe first part of the sale is devoted to a collection of maritime and naval books (1-122), one of the most noteworthy and very rare items being The Lightning Colomne, or Sea-Mirror, Containing the Sea-Coasts of the Northern, Eastern and Western Navigation by Jacobsz Lootsman published in 1670 (lot 58). Including woodcut illustrations and vignettes of ships at sea, mariners with charts and scientific instruments, constellations and coastal profiles, this copy is expected to make £10000-15000; the only copy sold at auction in the last 30 years was dated 1676 and it made £44000 in the Wardington sale. Lot 69 is an important first edition association folio copy of The Elevation, Section, Plan, and Views, of a Triple Vessel, and of Wheels… by Patrick Miller published in 1787. Miller was an enthusiastic amateur engineer who was regarded as the inventor of practical steam navigation and as the book label tells us, this copy belonged to Adam Smith, one of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, a philosopher and social scientist (estimate £3000-4000).

A highlight amongst the manuscripts is lot 278 the Deed of Legal Separation between Thomas Paine and his wife Elizabeth dated Lewes 4th June 1774 (estimate £6000-8000). Signed a few months before the author and revolutionary left England for America, this clearly legible, signed, dated and sealed document outlines the collapse of Paine’s affairs at home and mentions that ‘unhappy quarrels and dissensions have arisen’ between Paine and his wife. Author of the landmark Rights of Man and The Age of Reason as well as a Founding Father of the American Revolution, this document will arouse considerable interest; it was discovered in a basement shop in Hastings and is expected to fetch £6000-8000.

Completely fresh to the market is an extraordinary example of Russian Propaganda Art (lot 172), The Five Year Plan in Action! Created for an exhibition in Israel in 1947 these striking exhibition panels consist of 18 large display placards made up of 66 heavy card panels, portraying Russia as a power house of energy and technology and in particular of Ukrainian post war regeneration. Customised with Hebrew as well as Russian slogans and captions, the exhibition was conceived with the co operation of the Israeli Communist Party, as part of the surreptitious Soviet flirtation with the newly formed state. The panels, estimated to fetch £30000-35000, recall elements of Russian Constructivism especially in the use of photomontage and geometric shapes which bear strong similarities to works by artists such as El Lissitzky, Rodchenko and Solomon Telingater as well as images from the magazine USSR in Construction.

Bloomsbury’s sale also offers a first English edition, number 17 of 25 of Pomes Penyeach by James Joyce (lot 387). This facsimile copy with 13 initial illuminations after Lucia Joyce, is from the collection of the Harmsworth family and is one of the scarcest of Joyce’s works; currently there are 12 copies located of the original 25 and this carries an estimate of £30000-40000.

Image: Lootsman (Jacobsz) The Lightning Colomne, or Sea Mirrour, containing the Sea-Coasts of the Northern, Eastern and Western Navigation…