French Royal Menus, Darwin Presentation Copy, Christina Rossetti Letters: Auction Preview

Image: Chorley's

Description and illustration of a partridge by Francis Justice, from two volumes of manuscript ornithological writing and artwork offered at Chorley's this week.

Quite a lot going on this week! Here's what I'll be keeping an eye on:

At ALDE on Tuesday, March 19, 192 lots of Livres de Gastronomie, including two manuscript volumes documenting the menus and food expenditures of the French royal court: the volume for 1680 is expected to sell for €5,000–6,000, and the volume for 1752 could fetch €3,000–4,000. At the same estimate range is a copy of the 1659 Paris edition of Le Maistre d'Hostel, with sections on the duties of the sommelier as well as the making of jams.

Chorley's Auctioneers sells 193 lots of Books & Manuscripts on Wednesday March 20, as part of a larger sale. Highlights are expected to include a volume of three dancing treatises (1709–1713) by Raoul-Auger Feuillet (£3,000–5,000); two volumes of Francis Justice's manuscript descriptions of British birds with original illustrations (£2,000–3,000); and thirty-six volumes of James Sowerby's English Botany (£2,000–3,000).

At Bonhams London on Wednesday, Fine Books and Manuscripts, in 135 lots. A presentation copy of the first edition of Darwin's Origin is estimated at £150,000–250,000; it was sent to Dr. H. A. Weddell, a well-known botanist and physician. An inscribed uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is estimated at £30,000–50,000, as are an inscribed cabinet card photograph of Fyodor Dostoevsky and an 1826 land deed signed by fifteen Māori chiefs, previously thought lost. This sale also includes a group of thirty-four autograph letters from Christina Rossetti to Louisa Newsham (£4,000–6,000) and a seventeenth-century English manuscript emblem book (£2,000–4,000).

Forum Auctions sells Books and Works on Paper online on Thursday, March 21, in 282 lots.

At Christie's online on Thursday, Bibliothèque André Guichard et à divers amateurs, in 277 lots. André Breton's Le Surréalisme et la peinture (1928) rates the top estimate at €80,000–120,000. Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay's La Prose du Transsibérian et de la Petite Jehanne de France (1913) is estimated at €40,000–60,000), and more than 250 letters from Léonor Fini to Castor Seibel could sell for €30,000–40,000.

Bonhams online sale of Books and Manuscripts including Property of the late Hilary Gerrard also ends on Thursday; the 233 lots include one of 750 copies of the first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses on handmade paper (£10,000–15,000); a first edition of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in the red jacket (£6,000–8,000); and a group of fifteen Ed Ruscha artist's books (£4,000–6,000).

At Swann Galleries on Thursday, 470 lots of Printed & Manuscript African Americana, including records from the Hyde Park plantation in Nottoway County, Virginia ($20,000–30,000); a copy of the 1958 Green Book ($12,000–18,000); an 1885 Frederick Douglass letter ($12,000–18,000); and a collection of letters documenting Klan violence in Florida during and after Reconstruction ($10,000–15,000).

On Thursday at PBA Galleries, 455 lots of Fine Literature – With Science Fiction, Fantasy & Mysteries – Beats & Counterculture. A c.1963 Jack Kerouac letter to Lois Sorrels asking her (and Jacques) not to visit at his house, as "Company tires my mother too much. At 68 she can't be cook and cleaner to so many visitors as I've been having lately." This is estimated at $6,000–9,000. A 1969 Victor Moscoso exhibition poster on silk for a show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is expected to sell for $5,000–8,000.