Book Fairs | April 26, 2012

The Sex Pistols Headline at London Antiquarian Book Fair

A hand-written account of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens and the original illustrations for Roald Dahl’s Danny, Champion of the World are among the ‘written’ wonders that will be on sale at the 55th London International Antiquarian Book Fair. The Fair, which will be held for the first time in the bigger National Hall at Olympia (London W14) from Thursday, 24th May to Saturday, 26th May, 2012 has more exhibitors than ever before, who are travelling from all corners of the globe to take part in the oldest Fair in the UK.

Works relating to Icons of the 20th Century include the original illustrations for Roald Dahl’s Danny, Champion of the World by Jill Bennett. The Jill Bennett archive includes extensive correspondence between the author, artist and the publishers Jonathan Cape, Alfred A. Knopf and Penguin (Puffin) Books. The illustrations begin with the three fine pencil character studies Jill Bennett sent to Dahl (who forwarded them to his publisher) and includes the full colour dustjacket artwork and the 71 original pen and ink drawings (on 66 sheets) used to illustrate the story. Also present is the original photograph (believed to be Roald Dahl as a baby) used at the beginning of chapter one, and the ‘Sparky’ lettering used at the conclusion of the final page (£85,000/ Lucius Books).

Also celebrating an anniversary this year is James Bond, Adrian Harrington Rare Books has a First Edition, Signed Limited Issue of Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty's Secret Service. London: Jonathan Cape, 1963. This copy is sold with the exceptionally rare gilt-edge printed card invitation, marking both the publication of this book and the first day of filming at Pinewood Studios for 'From Russia, with Love'; the launch party was jointly held by Jonathan Cape and Eon Productions, 1st April 1963 (£12,500).

Another film-related item is an important archive of signed documents from the files of Alfred Hitchcock’s agent, Herman Citron, with 9 letters and 6 documents signed by Hitchcock, including: 7 Typed Letters Signed relating to the films, I Confess, Mischief, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry and The Man Who Knew Too Much. c.1930 - 1970 plus original and retained letters, notes and agreements regarding film direction services, television and record company contracts, publishing and serial rights, and securing film rights including those for The Lodger, Mischief, Strangers On a Train, plus initial interest over Ice Station Zebra (which Hitchcock did not direct). (£17,500/Adrian Harrington Rare Books)

Also relating to films, but more recent is a rare Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone's ‘Hero’ envelope (Hogwart’s Acceptance Letter). USA: Warner Bros, 2001. These envelopes were used in the memorable scene when Harry receives dozens of invitations through the owl-post. This is one of the fully finished envelopes containing the actual Hogwarts invitation, addressed to Harry Potter and secured with a real wax seal - the majority of the envelopes used were a lot lighter, so they could fly! (£3,750/ Adrian Harrington Rare Books).

A signed Expense Account for The Sex Pistols, for their last-ever gig at the Winterland, San Fransisco, Jan. 14th 1978 - considered as one of the legendary events in rock ‘n’ roll history - when Rotten closed the gig with a quip to the audience “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” Each sheet is signed by the respective musician; Johnny Rotten signing his real name John Lydon, Sid Vicious signing a fictitious (indecipherable) name ‘Earl Baloney?’. Jones and Cook autographed in full, Steve signing ‘Stephen Jones’. This set of riders therefore represents the last official signatures of the Sex Pistols (£5,500/ Adrian Harrington Rare Books). While another set of ‘riders’ for the same tour show that the band weren’t as rebellious as you would expect - requesting towels for the stage, cold beer and a platter of meat, cheese and fruit. Dated 10 days earlier, in this instance Sid Vicious has signed using his real name, John Beverly (£3,750/ Paul Foster).

A First Edition of The Wolverhampton Wanderer: An Epic of Britannia In Twelve Books With a Resurrection and a Life London: Latimer 1971 by Michael Horovitz and signed by all 31 contributors including David Hockney, Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton is being offered for £675 (Lucius Books).

Of Irish Interest is an original corrected typescript of Brendan Behan’s Christmas Eve in The Graveyard: A Short Story by Mick the Miller. c.1952. This was given by the author to the artist Tom Nisbet RHA in 1952, presumably on completion of his portrait of Behan, in which Behan sits, pint in hand with this typescript in front of him. The story was published for the first time in 1997 when it was included in The Dubbalin Man. (£2,500/ Lucius Books).

Several important items relating to Charles Dickens, who was born 200 years ago this year, will be offered by Jarndyce. A holograph manuscript of Mrs Gamp with the Strolling Players, written by Dickens in 1847 in order to raise money for English essayist Leigh Hunt is one of two manuscripts relating to Martin Chuzzlewit that will be offered for sale at the Fair. This humorous series of caricatures is told in the first person by Mrs Gamp, the character from Martin Chuzzlewit and gives an account of an amateur theatrical expedition to Manchester and Liverpool - based on that undertaken by Dickens's company in July & August (£80,000). Dicken’s own copy of Mrs Gamp - which he annotated and used during his Reading Tour of the USA is on offer for £85,000.

A signed copy of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, inscribed to the painter David Wilkie: 'Sir David Wilkie from his faithfully Charles Dickens' has an asking price of £120,000. In addition, loosely inserted is a long letter from Wilkie to Mrs Ricketts describing the party held by Dickens upon the publication of Nickleby (14th October, 1839).

Among many German items that will be at the fair is the draft manuscript relating to the most expensive diamond in the world, which will be brought to the fair by Thomas Heneage Art Books. The Draft Manuscript for the valuation of the Dowry of Archduchess Maria Amalia (1702-1756) on her marriage to the Bavarian Crown Prince, Charles Albert (1697-1745). Included in the inventory is a valuation of the Wittelsbach Blue Diamond and marks the point in its history when it entered the House of Wittelsbach, Der Blaue Wittelsbacher. Maria Amalia inherited the diamond from her grandmother Empress Eleonore Magdalena, the third wife of Leopold I. Frans van Stampart, in his official bridal portrait of the Archduchess, shows the bride with the blue diamond adorning her hair. The 35.56 ct diamond is one of the largest historic blue diamonds ever fashioned and can be traced back to 1664 forming part of a collection of jewels composed by King Philip IV of Spain as a dowry for his daughter, Infanta Margherita Teresa. The diamond is valued at 240,000 gilders in the inventory translating to approximately £18,000,000 today. Interestingly the diamond was purchased for £18,000,000 at auction in 2008 (£15,000).

An interesting group of handwritten items relating to exploration - is one of many examples at the fair - includes a Letter Signed by English Geographer Clements R. Markham, dated March 2, 1871, addressed to Miss Mary A. Egerton of Robertsbridge, Sussex. Markham was secretary of the Royal Geographic Society (RGS) between 1863 and 1888, and later served as the Society's president for a further 12 years. He was mainly responsible for organising the National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04, and for launching the polar career of Captain Scott (£375/Voyager Press Rare Books, Canada).

Organised by the ABA (the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association), the world's premier Book Fair features illustrated books, manuscripts, fine bindings, maps, prints, photography and associated ephemera, from the genesis of printing in the 15th Century to today.

Details of all the highlights can be viewed beforehand on the website: