Signed Modern Literature from Peter Harrington
Signed modern literature from Peter Harrington.
Peter Harrington, the London bookseller, has issued their catalogue Peter Harrington 76. Modern Literature - 100 Signed and Inscribed Books. Very little in the way of explanation is needed beyond that title. These are 20th century (or just before) literary masterpieces, signed and mostly inscribed by their authors. Many carry interesting provenances, as the recipients weren't just fans but friends, family, and other associates. This is a catalogue for people who collect great books with personal connections. Here are some examples.
Item 37 is a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first collection of short stories, released the same year as his first novel - 1920. That novel, This Side of Paradise, propelled Fitzgerald to fame, paving the way for an opulent, beyond their means lifestyle for Fitzgerald and his new bride, Zelda. The collection of short stories here offered is titled Flappers and Philosophers, and this copy is inscribed to "George W." from Fitzgerald. No, that was not Mr. Bush. "George W." was George W. Stair, a notable bookseller in 1920s New York. Priced at £30,000 (British pounds, or roughly $48,700 in U.S. currency).
The next one is an even more spectacular Fitzgerald piece, a first edition, first printing presentation copy of his most famous work, The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was published in 1925, at a time before life began to slide for Scott and Zelda. This copy includes an inscription with a drawing of two letter-sweatered college students, written to Fitzgerald's college classmate Gilbert Browne. The students in the drawing have big "R's" on their sweaters, and the inscription states, "To Gilbert Browne from his old Rutgers Classmate F Scott Fitzgerald Los Angeles 1927." Of course, Fitzgerald never went to Rutgers, nor did Browne. They both attended Princeton, this evidently being something of a joke targeting a college with lesser prestige then their Ivy League school. Item 38. £300,000 (US 486,680).
Here is a book that will make you rethink your image of rabbits: Richard Adams' Watership Down. The amount of intrigue and violence taking place in the bunny community is astonishing. Adams' 1972 book is inscribed to Amy Wisdom, his future sister-in-law. £2,750 (US $4,462).
Item 31 is a collection of poetry by Emily Dickinson, though it is inscribed by her niece instead. There are no known copies of Dickinson's works inscribed by her, nor are there likely to be any. Dickinson was virtually unknown during her lifetime, no collected works, and only 10 published poems, seven in her local newspaper a couple of decades before she died. Emily Dickinson showed little inclination to publish, even though she wrote almost 2,000 poems, primarily during the 1860s. The few that were published were edited to make them more suitable to conventional tastes of the time. Dickinson was a recluse, a woman who lived for reading and writing, and rarely ventured from home, or even her room as she grew older. However, she did maintain an active correspondence with several friends, including men she considered masters or teachers, perhaps the closest she came to romantic interests. She died in 1886, single, still living at home, at the age of 55. It was not until after he death that her sister discovered her handwritten books of poems and realized her skill. That led to a series of published collections that became very popular and sealed her reputation as one of America's foremost poets. Item 31 is a copy of The Single Hound, published in 1914, with an introduction by and an inscription from her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, who published some of her collections. The book comes with a handwritten copy of 12 lines from Dickinson's poem beginning, "To love thee year by year." It is signed "Emily." One other manuscript copy of this poem in Dickinson's hand is known. £50,000 ($81,136).
Signed Modern Literature from Peter Harrington
Cecil Beaton's portrait of Marilyn Monroe.
Item 86 is an inscribed copy of the scarce first edition, first issue of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Stoker held the job of managing the Lyceum Theater in London for the noted actor Henry Irving at the time. It introduced him to many of the literati of the day. This copy is inscribed to Mrs. W.S. Gilbert with "very warm regards," dated December 7, 1897. Mrs. Gilbert was the wife of William Schwenck Gilbert, better known as the Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan. He and Gilbert had become close friends after working together on a piece by Gilbert that was performed at the Lyceum. £125,000 (US $202,850).
Cecil Beaton was a notable mid-20th century photographer, providing photographs for popular magazines, who became best known for his photographic portraits. He later expanded to set design for plays and movies. Beaton's personal portraits were known for their atypical settings, blending the subject with unexpected backgrounds. Item 11 is Beaton's The Face of the World an International Scrapbook of People and Places, published in 1957. This was a limited edition, probably no more than 150 copies, likely fewer. This is copy number 40, signed by Beaton. £750 (US $1,217).
Peter Harrington may be reached at +44 (0)20 7591 0220 or email@example.com.