On December 8th, Swann Galleries in New York will be auctioning Dodgson’s “Portrait of Emily Cecilia Harrison,” a 6.5 by 5 inch albumen print of Emily and her doll in a comfortable-looking chair. The sale is notable, first for its seriously fancy online “3D” catalogue, and secondly for a very exciting re-telling of Mr Dodgson’s biography:
Although best known for novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” he also invented croquet, billiards, various forms of chess, scrabble, ways to divide certain numbers and two different form of the Arabic zero.
The estimated sale price is $4,000 to $6,000. Perhaps it should be higher?
Yesterday the internet was thick with the news that Alice Liddell’s own copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were be sold at auction. What few sites mentioned was that alongside these books, the auction house catalog is advertising a veritable who’s who, or what’s what, list of early Alice printed collectibles:
- not one, but two editions of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, one of which is a first edition, presentation copy inscribed by the author to the mother of Edith Blakemore.
- a first edition of The Nursery “Alice”, one of twelve specially bound as samples for the American market
- a first edition of the Wonderland Postage Stamp Case, inscribed to “Miss Wordsworth [great niece of William Wordsworth], from the Inventor. May, 1891.” (A potential steal, listed at $1,000 -$1,500. Don’t you wish you had bought one for a shilling when you had the chance?)
- An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves “Alice”, inscribed to Edith Blakemore from Lewis Carroll. “Four-page pamphlet written on the celebration of Easter for young readers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
- and of course lot 28: “Through the Looking-Glass, First Edition, the Dedication Copy, presented to the original Alice by Lewis Carroll and signed by her …with misprint “wade” for “wabe” on page 21.”
- an original ink drawing of Edith Blakemore by Dodgson, “in a bathing costume, holding a bucket and spade, leaning against the wheel of a bathing machine.”
- a letter from Dodgson sending a specimen of his stamp case “…Would you kindly furnish me with the addresses of any Stationers (doing a good amount of business) to whom it would be worth my while to send a specimen-copy of my new Stamp-Case…?”
- another first edition of Through the Looking-Glass, this one with two original pencil drawings by Tenniel on the half-title signed “Ever yours, JT”.
- #743 of 1,500 copies of the 1932 Limited Editions Club print of Wonderland and Looking-Glass, signed “Alice Hargreaves”
- Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing, inscribed by Lewis Carroll to Alice Blakemore, the mother of one of his child-friends.
- and finally, an original John Tenniel drawing of the sleeping Gryphon (list price $60,000-$80,000!)
The items are being auctioned by Profiles in History on December 16th, the same Hollywood memorabilia dealer selected to auction Michael Jackson’s be-gemed and illuminated glove. Full descriptions and images of all the Alice items can be viewed in a pdf of the catalog, available on their website.
Another fundraiser for the 2015 event is a weekly auction of very fun items donated by the family of the great Carrollian collector Carolyn Buck. Check it out, and keep checking back as new items will be added every week this fall.
Which reminds me, if you are interested in helping organize a fabulous event, send Joel Birenbaum an email. Every little bit helps!
Bloomsbury Auctions (London) is selling a beautiful Rackham Alice, signed by Rackham with a wonderful ink sketch of the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. It is part of the “Books, Manuscripts, Prints, and Original Artwork” sale on July 9.
In all the hubbub of newly released character and scenery pictures from Tim Burton’s Wonderland, only the Telegraph (U.K) has taken note of a previously undiscovered 17th century picture of a dodo. The picture is particularly important as it was drawn before the bird became extinct, although it is uncertain whether it was drawn from life. The picture is to be sold at auction by Christie’s on July 9.
Bloomsbury Auctions’ Literature, Manuscripts and Modern First Editions sale on April 23 has quite a few Carrollian items: Lots 333, 772, 856, 1097, 1099, 1104, 1162, 1227, 1301, 1408, and 1409 include modern limited editions signed by illustrators such as John Vernon Lord and presentation copies of Euclid and His Modern Rivals and The Game of Logic.
Bonham’s auction house in London has 15 Carrollian items – photographs, two letters, and a first edition of Through the Looking-Glass (Lots 135 to 150) – included in Sale 16761 – Printed Books, Manuscripts, Music & Photographs on March 24.
Bloomsbury New York has a first American edition of Through the Looking Glass and The Harp of a Thousand Strings (the first -albeit unauthorized and uncredited- appearance of Lewis Carroll’s work in a book) up for auction on January 25, while Bloomsbury London has a Dali Alice on the block on February 26.
If you are looking for something more authentic than a facsimile, and don’t mind being a few weeks late, you could always bid on an Arthur Rackham-illustrated Alice in Wonderland (a limited edition and, I presume, first edition but not actually stated) up for auction at Bonham’s on March 4.
Tomorrow’s (June 24, 2008) auction at Bonhams in London includes five items from the Blakemore family: an “original [purple] ink drawing of Edith Blakemore in a beach costume, holding a bucket and spade, leaning against a wheel” by Lewis Carroll (Lot 119); and inscribed presentation copies of “An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves ‘Alice’” (Lot 115), Symbolic Logic, Part I (Lot 116), Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing (Lot 117), and Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Lot 118).
In addition, the International Poster Gallery of Boston will be having their “Summer of Love” poster show July 4 to September 1, 2008. Two items of note are “Dartmouth Winter Carnival – Through a Frosted Looking Glass” poster (#USL16197), which has the Jabberwock on skis, and
“Through the Looking Glass” on blotter (#USL15956). (If you don’t know what the blotter is for, probably better you don’t ask…)