Emma, Red Book, and Georgia O’Keeffe Letters: 2023 Auction ‘Sleepers’


Humphry Repton's "Red Book" of landscape designs for Stratton Park, Hampshire, which sold for £100,800 at Christie's on December 13 (detail).

As there aren't many sales coming up this week, I thought I'd take a look back through the sales from the last few months of 2023 and highlight a few lots I didn't mention in these weekly posts, but which sold very strongly.

At PBA Galleries on December 14, an 1813 six-sheet chart of the Pacific and Indian Oceans realized $68,750; it had been estimated at just $3,000–5,000.

In the December 13 Christie's sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts, Humphry Repton's "Red Book" for Stratton Park in Hampshire sold for £100,800, better than doubling the estimate; the designs were prepared for Sir Francis Baring, the founder of Barings Bank.


Repton "Red Book" designs for Stratton Park (full).

A first edition of Jane Austen's Emma (1816) in original boards, with the early ownership inscription of Maria North, Lady Guilford, sold for £82,550 at Sotheby's on November 8.

The Chiswick Auctions sale of November 29 included an apparently unpublished manuscript account of a trip from Jamaica through North America and on to England in 1764, which sold for £30,000.

At Christie's Paris on November 22 James de Rothschild's copy of Thomas and William Daniell's Oriental Scenery sold for €604,800 (over estimates of €100,000–150,000).

A fourteenth-century manuscript on astronomical motion, possibly English in origin and once in the collections of Sir Thomas Phillipps, sold at Doyle on November 7 for $31,500.

Forty-seven letters and other pieces of correspondence from Georgia O'Keeffe to her travel agent Donald Ferguson realized $112,500 at Swann Galleries on October 26.

At Freeman's on September 27, a first edition of Agricola's De Animantibus Subterraneis Liber (1549) sold for $37,800, over estimates of just $1,500–2,500.

Happy New Year to all - much looking forward to much interesting auction sales in 2024!