The Roy Davids Collection

An important collection of papers and portraits goes on the block at Bonhams London tomorrow. Part II of the Roy Davids Collection consists of five hundred-plus lots of manuscript material in the fields of literature, history, travel and exploration, art, science, and more. From a photograph of English novelist Julian Barnes (estimated at £400-600) to the exceedingly rare autograph signed letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne (seen here, estimated at £80,000-120,000) to a series of twenty-one autograph letters of William Morris (£8,000-10,000). Kings, queens; Pepys, Austen; Bacon, Ralegh -- it's an astounding collection.

Over at the ILAB website, an essay by Roy Davids on "Manuscripts and the Worthiness of Collecting" is well worth a read on this exciting occasion. Writes Davids, "Collectors pass on something for their successors to absorb, and to be absorbed by, and to build upon. And with their own reflections, research and books and catalogues, they can make important contributions to knowledge and civilised life."