Morley Collection of Harp Music From Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
Believed to be the largest in the world, a collection of Harp music is to be offered alongside antiquarian books and works on paper in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ first Bibliophile sale of 2014 on Thursday 23rd January.
A series of manuscript pieces entitled Romances for the Harp by one of the most notable harpists of the Romantic period, Parish Alvars, is offered as one of 242 items from The Morley Collection of harp music. Circa 1840, 15 of the 95 pieces are accompanied by texts by Thomas Moore, Lord Byron and Edward Moore. This lot is estimated at £2,500-3,500. [Lot 346]
Parish Alvars (1808-1849) was praised by Berlioz, Mendelssohn and Liszt for his playing. The manuscripts were purchased by Joseph George Morley from Alvars’ pupil, J.Dubez, who added dates in pencil to ten of the pieces, apparently recording performances of eight pieces in Venice; February and March 1881 and two others in 1887.
The Morley collection of harp music was started by George Morley (1790-1852), who established a harp making and repair business in 1817. The collection was then developed by his son Joseph George Morley (1847-1921), who gathered much of the material.
J.G.Morley’s wife Cecilia Praetorius was a professional player who studied under Thomas Wright, one of the leading English players for much of the nineteenth century. After his death Wright’s collection was sent to Morley by Julia Wright in 1910. An extensive collection of Wright’s autograph manuscripts is estimated at £1,000-1,500 [Lot 564], along with an apparently unpublished concerto for the Harp with Accompaniments by Wright estimated at £500-600. [Lot 350]
Further early and contemporary pieces were added while the business was housed at the Morley Galleries, together with portraits of harpists, and other related material.
Elsewhere in the sale the travel and topography section delivers a scarce edition of Vasilii Golovnin’s Voyage de M. Golovnin. The book provides a narrative of his voyage to the Kuril Islands, and his subsequent captivity at the hands of the Japanese. This French first edition, printed in 1818, is estimated at £400-600. [Lot 25]
Modern first editions include a scarce signed presentation copy of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2005, inscribed ‘To Harry’ by the author, which is estimated at £750-1,000 [Lot 328], and Alexander McCall Smith’s Pike Fishing in Ireland, 1992, number one of 350 which also has a signed presentation inscription from the author to Solly Leeman, one of the dedicatees, which reads; “I am sending you copy of no.1 in recognition of your interest in first editions” has an estimate of £100-150. [Lot 331]
Sir Albert Richardson’s personal copy of Sir William Dugdale’s Monasticum Anglicanum (1817), a work in 6 volumes is estimated at £600-800. The book details a history of the abbies and other monasteries, hospitals, friaries, and cathedrals and collegiate churches, with their dependencies in England and Wales. Richardson was a leading English architect in the early 20th century, most famous for his work on the Manchester Opera House and the restoration of Trinity House London, and the Bath Assembly Rooms. His copy of Monasticum Anglicanum is complete and bears his bookplate. [Lot 40]
The auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Godalming saleroom in Surrey on Thursday 23rd January, with viewing at the saleroom from Tuesday 21st January. The full catalogue is available to view online at www.bloomsburyauctions.com.