Sotheby's - London

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 - Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Collection of a Connoisseur: History in Manuscript, Part 2
Sale #L21412

Napoleon ordering the invasion of England; Winston Churchill to Lawrence of Arabia, expressing his admiration for Seven Pillars of Wisdom; Ronald Reagan to one of his closest personal allies on the changes he has just witnessed on his visit to Moscow as glasnost took hold; documents bringing to life the folly of the Charge of the Light Brigade; Robespierre ordering arrests during the Terror; Catherine the Great on the construction of St Petersburg’s largest Cathedral; George III writing to Napoleon of “friendship and goodwill”.

These are just a few of the historical moments preserved in this second selection from a remarkable collection of letters and documents, which was assembled by a discerning connoisseur over a period of some twenty years. This final sale, which comprises entirely fresh material, covers four centuries of European history, from Philip II of Spain to the end of the Cold War, but once again has a particular focus on the Napoleonic period. Several important letters by Napoleon are included, from his crucial command in Italy in 1797 to preparations for the defence of France following the disastrous March on Moscow, as are many letters by his Marshals, allies, and enemies. There are letters by monarchs of Britain, France, Russia, and elsewhere – even the powerful Ethiopian Emperor Theodore II. Wider culture, especially of the 19th century, is represented in letters by figures including Oscar Wilde, Monet, Renoir, Voltaire, and others. This is a sale that once again reveals the potency of the autograph letter to convey history in manuscript form.


Sotheby's - London
34-35 New Bond Street

London, England, UK

51.5118195, -0.1437308