Library of Victorian Decorative Bindings Expert Robin de Beaumont to Auction


Coming up at The Library of the late Robin de Beaumont sale: William Morris, Art and Beauty of the Earth, illuminated by Allan F. Vigers, Chiswick Press, 1906. Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000

The third and final library of the late Robin de Beaumont, former President of The Private Libraries Association, comes to Bonhams next week.

A benefactor to the British Museum, "Robin de Beaumont (1926-2023) was a leading expert in Victorian decorative bindings and his Chelsea library was described as "The closest one could get to looking through the window of Hatchard's in the 1860s."

He sold his first library to stamp dealers Stanley Gibbons in 1978, and donated his second in 1992 to the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum (more than 400 books, pllus prints, illustrations and woodblocks). His third and final, which appears at the online sale January 22 - 31, features early autolithography, Chivers bindings, and one of only a handful of copies of Henry Noel Humphrey's unascribed novel Diamonds and Dust. Nearly every volume bears Robin de Beaumont's book label.

Running alongside online on very similiar dates (January 22 - February 1) is Bonham's Fine Books & Rare Manuscripts sale. Highlights include:

  • a first illustrated edition of Edward Young's (1683-1765) Night Thoughts with illustrations by William Blake, estimated at $5,000 – $7,000
  • a copy of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens with an autograph letter from the author inside (estimate: $1,500 – $2,000), and a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's Island Nights' Entertainments, also with an autograph letter
  • a collection of posters, American and French, which mostly relate to World War I featuring the work of James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) and Theophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) 
  • an unusual early volume by William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson & Other Famous Creoles (1927), with illustrations by William Spratling
  • a complete set of Booth Tarkington's works (1922) comes with a lengthy inscription by the author, as well as three personal letters

A variety of maps, prints including Audubons, documents, and photographs rounds out the winter offerings.