Auctions | January 31, 2014

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Manuscript Up for Auction


Amherst, N.H.—An extremely rare Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec manuscript will be auctioned in February by New Hampshire-based RR Auction.

In this two-page autographed manuscript, in both French and Latin, Lautrec tells the legend of Hercules and Cacus, and includes sketches in his inimitable style.

Manuscript reads in part (translated): “The face was horrible; his strength was matching his stature, his body was huge and this monster was the son of Vulcan. The dwelling was a cave with deep refuges, and so hidden that wild animals could hardly find it. Human heads and arms are nailed at the entrance; dried up ground is whitened by bones.”

“While the world has come to recognize Lautrec as a master storyteller through his artwork, this remarkable piece shows him honing his skills in both word and image,” says Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction.  “Bringing to life the figures of this epic tale—he gives new form to the centuries-old story."


The document includes his rare “Monfa” signature (the conclusion of his complete family name, Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, referring back to the village in southern France whence his descendants came).

“The first Lautrec we have offered with, and holding multiple sketches in his easily recognizable style, including two of horses, which frequently appeared in his work—this is by far the finest piece we have ever offered from the bohemian master,” adds Livingston.

Among the other museum quality items in the auction:

  • An extremely rare vintage matte-finish photograph of a young 13-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevn of Russia.
  • George Orwell signed letter that offers an extraordinary autobiographical account, during the time he was immersed in his work on Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien handwritten letter that details of the development and success of his masterpiece, Lord of the Rings. In part: “The poor ‘Hobbit’ is a non-casualty, alive but damaged.”
  • A rare Queen Elizabeth I manuscript discussing support for the soldier who saved her from ‘Bloody Mary.’
  • Gustave Courbet signed letter, as the French government attempts to seize the self-exiled artist’s paintings as payment for the Vendome Column.

The auction, which contains more than 1,500 items, began on Friday, January 24, and will end on the evening of Wednesday, February 12.  More details can be found online at