Auctions | April 10, 2023

Lewis Carroll Photographs to Auction


Lewis Carroll's photograph of Alexandra 'Xie' Rhoda Kitchen

A series of photographs taken by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-98) – aka Lewis Carroll – of one of his ‘child friends’ come for sale at Sworders. The eight images come from a descendent of the sitter - Alexandra 'Xie' Rhoda Kitchen (1864-1925). They were recently found in an envelope in the back of a safe when an Essex farmhouse was being cleared.

Xie was a favourite photographic subject of Dodgson who photographed her around 50 times, from age four until just before her 16th birthday. She was the daughter of Rev George William Kitchen (1827-1912), one of Dodgson's colleagues at Christ Church College, Oxford. The works, all albumen prints mostly laid down on card, are estimated to sell for around £1000 each as part of Sworders’ Books and Maps sale that runs as a timed online auction April 14-23.

Experienced and respected specialist Michael Kousah has assembled and catalogued some outstanding lots for the April sale. Estimated at £4,000-6,000 is a collection of ten letters relating to the American War of Independence. Two of these were written to leading British general Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart following the action known as the Battle of Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781.

At the time both sides claimed victory in this the last major engagement of the war in the Carolinas. However, in his eight-page letter dated: Eutaws, 9th Sept 1781 Stewart was unequivocal in his judgement. “My Lord, With particular salutation I have the honor to inform your Lordship that on the morning of the 8th instant I was attacked by the rebel general [Nathanael] Green with all the force he could collect in this province and North Carolina- and after an obstinate engagement which lasted near two hours I totally Defeated him...”

In a second shorter message he described pursuing “Greene passed the broad river at Fiskdan Ford “ However, his
efforts were in vain. Cornwallis received the letters while engaged in the Seize of Yorktown. His surrender on October 19, 1781 ended significant hostilities in North America.

Bound together in green morocco-backed marbled boards are 127 original ornithological watercolours by a 19th   century German artist and naturalist. Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1793 -1879) worked as professor of natural history at the college of medicine and helped found a zoological museum and botanical garden. They are estimated at £3,000-5,000.

A first edition copy of one of the most influential economic texts is expected to make £10,000-15,000. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was issued in two volumes in 1776. This copy of the second volume only, in near contemporary full leather, has an interesting provenance. The arms of the Duke of Sutherland are embossed to the upper cover while pasted in is the bookplate of Edwin Walter
Kemmerer (1875-1945), an American economist, who helped design the U.S. Federal Reserve System in 1911.