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"Walden" First Edition Leads Strong Sale at PBA Galleries

PBA Galleries started 2018 off strongly with their first sale of the year on... read more

Iconic Vintage Lewis W. Hine Prints Lead Swann Photographs Auction

New York— Swann Auction Galleries launches into 2018 with the wide-ranging auction Icons &... read more

"Facing the Camera" Opens January 24

New York - Facing the Camera will be on view at Hans P. Kraus... read more

Waverly Rare Books at Quinn's Auction Galleries to Auction Rare Botanical & Zoological Prints

Falls Church, VA - On Thursday, January 25, the Waverly Rare Books & Prints... read more

The Todd Webb Archive Announces Sale of Rare Vintage Prints at AIPAD 2018

Todd Webb (1905-2000), best known for his photographs of New York, Paris, Georgia O'Keeffe... read more

The Yale Center for British Art Expands Its Collection of Modern and Contemporary British Photographs

New Haven, CT—The Yale Center for British Art has expanded its collection of photographs... read more

Gouache on Paper of Iconic Apple Logo Attributed to Andy Warhol Headlines February 1 Sale

Franklin, MA — A mid-1980s gouache on paper rendering of the iconic Apple Macintosh... read more

The Library of Milanese Collector Sergio Rossetti Headed to Sotheby’s Milan on February 20

On February 20th 2018, Sotheby’s Milan will offer up for sale the library of... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Personality Abounds: An American Adventuress, A Sulking Painter, A Poetic Bad Boy, and a Fashion-Forward King

Diamonds for Ulrica, the Typing Bond Girl

Diamonds are Forever, Bonhams London on November 10, $25,895 & $103,585

Jacket image of Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever

Inscribed “To Rica, who wrote it, from Ian Fleming,” a 1956 first edition of Diamonds are Forever was given to his secretary, Ulrica Knowles, and the inscription jokingly acknowledges the fact that she had typed out the text used by his publishers, Jonathan Cape. It sold for $25,895 (£15,600).

The book had originally been typed by Fleming himself at his Jamaican home, Goldeneye, and both the top and carbon copies of that version are now in the Lily Library at the University of Indiana—the repository of most of Fleming’s manuscripts and typescripts. At this same sale, the version that Ulrica had typed out for Cape’s proofreaders reached $103,585 (£62,400).

Marked “To be returned to the author for final revision,” it contains Fleming’s autograph revisions throughout. Some are seemingly inconsequential–the alteration of a telephone number, for example–but others suggest a rethink or an attempt to add color, even to flesh a minor character.

When Bond checks into the Hotel Astor it was originally to be “in front of an elderly woman,” but he changed it to “before a hatchet-faced woman with a bosom like a sandbag.”

Gauguin is Nagged all the way to the South Seas

Paul Gauguin Autograph Letter, Bonhams Los Angeles & New York on October 19, $31,720

Autograph letter of Paul Gauguin

His wife and children eventually left to seek financial security with her family, leaving him free to take himself off to the South Seas and paint, but in a letter of c.1883, a struggling, frustrated, and mercilessly nagged Gauguin unloads his troubles on his friend and fellow artist, Camille Pissarro.

“I very much regret not having made it to the Manet exhibition but … I’ve already seen an idiotic article … in which they say that all in all Manet had talent but it wasn’t his own. Imbeciles! Because one loves the masters, one copies them. Manet was wrong to follow the Impressionists … You have to resign yourself to the inevitable: you only have talent once you’re dead.”

Gauguin also bemoans his domestic and financial situation. “Here, my wife is intolerable–finds fault in everything–sees no light at the end of the tunnel … My meagre savings are seriously dented and I’ve got enough to live on for six months at most. As for business … I absolutely must succeed with painting. On this front, my sister and plenty of others have of course sided with my wife, and so I don’t have an ounce of talent … I’m writing to you from the midst of penetrating baby screams and many other embarrassing things which might make what I’m writing incomprehensible.”

Fanny and the Disgraced Grand Duke

An American in Russia, Dominic Winter South Cerney on November 4, $215

Fanny Lear’s Le Roman d’une Americaine en Russie with two cabinet card portraits of the author

First published in Brussels in 1875, Le Roman d’une Americaine en Russie, relates the adventures and travels in Russia and Europe of Fanny Lear, or Harriet Blackford as she was known back home in Philadelphia.

The indiscretions of this American adventuress included an affair with a grandson of Tsar Nicholas I, the dangerously liberal Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich. A subsequent scandal–linked to the planned theft of some Romanov jewels–resulted in the dallying duke being banished from court and effectively written out of Romanov history.

Bound in red half morocco of the period, this copy contained both an inscription to a Monsieur Baudier, signed Fanny Lear, and an autograph letter sent in 1895 from London’s Grosvenor Hotel in which the writer comers clean and signs herself Hattie Blackford. It also contains two loosely inserted cabinet card portraits of the author.

The story of Fanny and the Duke has more recently formed the basis of a novel by another aristocrat of ancient Romanov blood, Prince Michael of Greece. Again, it was first published in French, but in 2005 an English version appeared as The White Knight of St Petersburg. An amusing review of Prince Michael’s book by Peter Kurth, published in the Toronto Globe & Mail, gives more details of Fanny’s amours and misdemeanors.

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