LOS ANGELES, CA.-
Fine arts auctioneer Bonhams & Butterfields
will offer a Fine Books & Manuscripts auction on February 14, 2010 in Los Angeles simulcast to San Francisco. The 400-lot sale is timed to coincide with the California ABAA Book Fair, held this year in Los Angeles. For collectors and Fair attendees, a wide variety of highlights will be offered in the categories of literature and Americana, as well as a fine selection of imprints on Hawaii and the South Pacific.
In honor of President's Day, Bonhams & Butterfields will feature a broad selection of Americana in this sale. Items of note will include two broadsides of John Wilkes Booth's performances at the Boston Museum, featuring The Marble Heart, which was the show Lincoln saw Booth perform in D.C. in November of 1863 (est. $1,000-1,500); a fine example of Peter Force's 1848 printing of the Declaration of Independence (est. $25,000-30,000) and a rare Abraham Lincoln letter thanking those who helped celebrate former President Washington's birthday in 1862 (est. $50,000-80,000).
Another important highlight from the Valentine's Day sale is a copy of Charles Darwin's first published work, A Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, 1839 (est.. $20,000-30,000). Volume three comprises Darwin's journal of his voyage on the Beagle, possibly the most famous voyage in all of modern science and the one during which he formulated the basis of his theory of evolution. As well, a collection of journals of Scottish obstetrician John William Ballantyne will be offered (est. $20,000-30,000). Ballantyne was an important medical figure of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, virtually inventing the field of modern prenatal care; he also was a careful diarist, and left behind 77 journals including an autobiography as well as a daily record of his life as a physician, surgeon, and teacher.
Featured in the Art section of the sale is an original Arthur Rackham watercolor illustration from the 1908 edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream, "How now, spirit? Whither wander you?" (est. $7,000-9,000). Also on offer is a 40-page autograph manuscript of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, an early draft of his preface to the 1911 edition of Cennino Cennini's Livre d'art, ou Traite de la Peinture (est. $20,000-30,000). In this manuscript Renoir describes painting as a craft like woodworking or ironmongery, and eulogizes the past in which skilled artisans were able to produce works of genius, as opposed to the modern industrial age that suppresses creativity.
Among the highlights of note is an archive of photographs, original plans, and correspondence relating to Frank Lloyd Wright assembled by Professor Henry-Russell Hitchcock for the book In the Nature of Materials (co-authored with Wright in 1942) (est. $20,000-30,000). The group is a rich documentation of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and includes images and notes for many Wright buildings that no longer survive.
The Literature selection features an archive of over 1000 theatrical scripts, plus contracts and correspondence from the files of the American Play Company/Century Play Company, a major American theatrical agency of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This remarkable collection includes working scripts from original and touring productions of major theatrical shows of the period, plus author correspondence and agency contracts. The collection includes material by Philip Barry, Guy Bolton, George M. Cohan, John Colton, Rachel Crothers, Edna Ferber, Clyde Fitch, Lillian Hellman, George S. Kaufman, Norman Krasna, A.A. Milne, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Willams, among many others (est. $120,000-180,000).
Additionally two copies of the modern classic, The Great Gatsby, a title with which Bonhams set a world auction record last June: the first is a first edition in original dust jacket, the second a first edition inscribed by Fitzgerald to Tommy Hitchcock, the renowned American polo player and society figure who served as a model for the character Tom Buchanan (estimates $60,000-80,000 and $15,000-20,000 respectively).
Another highlight is a section of Zane Grey material, including the original handwritten draft of The Vanishing American, believed to be the last major Grey manuscript still in private hands (est. $40,000-60,000), plus collections of correspondence between Grey and his wife Dolly, and the original oil painting by Charles Chapman used to illustrated the cover of Grey's novel, Tappan's Burro (est. $3,000-5,000).
Items of note from the Valentine's Day auction will also include an archive of early photographs of William Randolph Hearst and family, including a picture of him as a baby, plus two branding irons from Phoebe Hearst's ranch (estimates $5,000-7,000 and $1,500-2,500) and a collection of original working Laurel and Hardyscripts, 1927-1935 (est. $20,000-30,000).
The sale closes with a large selection of printed and manuscript material relating to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Much of the property offered in this section is a continuation of the library Bonhams & Butterfields first offered in April of 2009. In this sale, the firm will offer pacific voyages, native language imprints, and missionary publications, including a fine, large paper copy of William Bligh's A Voyage to the South Sea...(est. $5,000-7,000); Archibald Campbell's A Voyage round the World...(est. $1,000-1,500); material relating to Captain James Cook including translations and unique editions of his Voyages (estimates vary); La Perouse editions and related materials; Maori Bibles, religious broadsides, and even a Book of Mormon in Maori (est. $1,000-1,500); a Maori declaration of independence (est. $7,000-9,000), and a Maori translation of Robinson Crusoe (est. $1,000-1,500); Copies of the Hawaiian Constitutions of 1887
and 1894 (estimates $1,500-2,500 and $800-1,200); political broadsides in Hawaiian; Tahitian, New Zealand, Hawaiian, Maori bibles, hymnals, educational imprints; and works by Sheldon Dibble, William Ellis and other important missionaries (estimates vary).