May 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

"The War of the Worlds" Illustrations at Auction

An incredible collection of pen-and-ink illustrations for the 1906 edition of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds goes to auction tomorrow in Beverly Hills. Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa, whose imagination was spurred after reading a French edition of the science fiction classic, produced some sketches of tripod aliens and death rays and brought them to Wells in London. Wells was so pleased with them (and so dissatisfied by the earlier illustrations commissioned for the 1898 first book form), he asked Corrêa to illustrate a 500-copy, limited edition published by L'Vandamme in Brussels.

Thirty illustrations, plus a promotional poster and a postcard from Wells to Corrêa, were consigned to Heritage Auctions by collector Stefan Gefter. Here are a few highlights:

Larrivee copy.jpgLot 71264: The illustration for the title page of Book I: The Coming of the Martians, 1906. Estimate: $20,000-25,000.

Emerges copy.jpgLot 71268: The illustration "Martian Emerges," from Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter IV: "The Cylinder Opens," 1906. Estimate $8,000-12,000.

Humans copy.jpgLot 71284: The illustration "Frightened Human," from Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter III: "The Days of Imprisonment," 1906. Estimate: $4,000-6,000.

Drunken copy.jpgLot 71289: The illustration "Martin Viewing Drunken Crowd," from Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter VII: "The Man on Putney Hill," 1906. Estimate $8,000-12,000.

Images via Heritage Auctions.