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Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1813, sold for $75,000. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1811, sold for $57,500. Emma: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1816, sold for $15,000.

New York — Swann Galleries’ Tuesday, November 17 sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts saw great success across categories with a 90% sell-through rate by lot, and closed above the total high-estimate at $675,481.

“Literature tipped over to an eye-opening 95% of all lots sold. Steadfast buyer confidence, a constant throughout the entire sale, drove high prices via a multitude of bidding platforms,” remarked John Larson, the house’s specialist for literature and art books. Enthusiasm for Jane Austen proved to be enduring as 100% of the 12 works by the author on offer found buyers. The success of the editions comes after the house offered a complete run of first editions of Austen’s novels in rare period binding earlier in the year. Highlights from this sale’s selection included first editions of Pride and Prejudice, 1813 ($75,000), Sense and Sensibility, 1811 ($57,500), Mansfield Park, 1814 ($16,250), Emma, 1816 ($15,000), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, 1818 ($10,625).

Additional nineteenth-century literature of note included an exceptional association copy of Charles Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation, 1842. The first edition presentation copy from Dickens’ first tour in the United States included an inscription to Richard Henry Dana, Jr., the author of the memoir Two Years Before the Mast, and sold for $35,000. John Keats’ Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, 1820 ($9,375), and an inscribed presentation copy of Oscar Wilde’s Poems, 1882 ($6,250), also featured. Twentieth-century literature saw success with a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960, by Harper Lee with an inscribed leaf laid into the edition ($6,750); and a first edition of the most influential economic work of the twentieth century John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936 ($7,000).

Of the autographs offering specialist Marco Tomaschett noted, “signed books performed surprisingly well: an Albert Schweitzer inscribed book realized three times the high estimate at $2,250; two uncommon books signed by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry both exceeded their high estimates at $3,250 and $1,820, respectively; and most surprising was an uncommon pamphlet signed and inscribed by Ezra Pound which realized six times the high estimate at $7,500!”

Americana also proved to be popular among autograph buyers. Highlights included partly-printed documents, signed by George Washington as President and counter-signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, granting permission to a ship in 1894 in three languages ($22,500); Abraham Lincoln as President with the 1863 issue ordering New York to furnish 2,050 troops under the Enrollment Act of March 3, 1863 ($18,750); and John Hancock as President of the Continental Congress issuing an uncommon privateer commission during the Revolutionary War ($9,375); as well as an autograph letter signed by Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury helping the Bank of the United States to quell the panic of 1792 ($11,875).

Illustrated works included a signed deluxe limited edition of Alexander Calder’s Calder’s Circus, New York, 1964 ($6,240); a first edition of Aubrey Beardsley’s The Lysistrata of Aristophanes, London 1896 ($5,000); Maurice Utrillo’s La Rue Norvins à Montmartre, Paris, 1952, published for the 25th Anniversary of the Societe Francaise d’Assurance pour Favoriser le Credit ($3,120); Auguste H. Thomas’s Formes et Couleurs, a 1921 album of 20 brilliantly colored plates ($1,235); and a limited edition copy of Omar Khavyám’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: A Personal Selection from the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald, London, 1980, printed by the Curwen Press and signed by the editor ($1,062).

The house is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit swanngalleries.com.

Additional highlights can be found here.

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Courtesy of Doyle

Audubon's The Birds of America from drawings made in the United States and their Territories. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

New York — Doyle’s Rare Books, Autographs and Maps timed auction closing on November 24, 2020 beginning at 10am offers an interesting range of material from a number of private collections and estates. These include a small collection of Montaigne, including the first three John Florio editions; a good collection of the limited first editions of Arthur Rackham; a collections of catalogues raisonnées; a small collection of movie and television ephemera; and the next installment of the Jake Johnson collection of sporting books.

In the area of science and technology, we are pleased to offer material relating to three of the most illustrious figures in those fields: Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. Tesla is represented by an inscribed copy of Thomas Martin Commerford’s The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla… 1894, inscribed by Tesla to General Daniel Adams Butterfield (lot 34). Two Einstein lots are on offer (lot 35 and lot 36), the first of which is an interesting pair of letters and other materials relating to a logical question posed by Professor Julian Hugo Bonfante. For Jobs, we have the lid of an Apple II plus inscribed at the “unveiling” ceremony for the Apple Macintosh by the two Steves: Jobs and Wozniak (lot 37).

Of antiquarian interest are a pair of very lovely miniatures from a Book of Hours, attributed to Alexander Bening (lot 2). A copy of one of the great exemplars of Elizabethan prose, John Florio’s great translation of Montaigne, in a binding with the arms of Queen Elizabeth, heads up a small group of editions of Montaigne (lot 14). A small group of binding executed for the library of Madame la Marquise de Pompadour is offered (lot 21).

Art and illustration are strongly represented in this catalogue. Four delightful and funny drawings by H.M. Bateman, most done for The Tatler are offered (lots 77-80). His work is quite scarce, and it retains its wit and verve remarkably well. A small group of very fine Kate Greenaway drawings are on display (lot 82). The collection of Rackham includes several copies with original drawings, most notably the Walton Compleat Angler, this copy 4, one of approximately twelve issued with a drawing. The catalogues raisonnée include the great Zervos catalogue of Picasso (lot 156); and an attractive Lichtenstein drawing in a copy of Drawings and Prints, Lausanne: [1970] (lot 144).

Literature includes a fine copy in dust jacket of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (lot 74) and an inscribed copy of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, now adapted into major television series (lot 41). Also offered from the Estate of television producer Richard Schilling are several quality items of film and related memorabilia such as a prop chair from Rick’s Café in Casablanca (171) and six books especially bound for Humphrey Bogart’s yacht, Santana, formerly in the estate of his wife Lauren Bacall (lot 170). A group of film posters rounds out this section and includes the very large and rare three sheet poster for the 1951 film version of The Great Gatsby (lot 174).

In Americana, we offer a remarkably timely reminder of the nature of American civic life, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, 1838 and 1840 (lot 201). Sets of the quarto editions of Audubon’s Birds and Quadrupeds are always attractive and desirable (lots 182 and 183), as is McKenney and Hall’s series of portraits of the North American Indians (lot 193). An exceptional American naval desideratum, the log for Matthew Calbraith Perry’s voyage in the Shark, during which he claimed the Florida Keys for the United States, is presented as lot 194.

The sale ends with a further tranche of material from the collection of Arnold (“Jake”) Johnson, pertaining to angling, hunting, travel and Americana. This includes The Log of the Cruise of President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the Schooner Yacht Sewanna to Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick 14 July 1936 28 July 1936, inscribed by Roosevelt to a friend (lot 262); a superb album of original drawings by C.B. Betts of angling and sporting scenes, Washington State, about 1900 (lot 236); the very rare Leave of Absence in the Straits Settlements, Ceylon, Madras and Bombay, Bombay: 1859 (lot 292).

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Courtesy of Getman's Virtual Book & Paper Fair

An Emily Dickinson original handwritten manuscript poem will be offered for sale for the first time in more than 25 years.

Boston – A Few of our Favorite Things, Getman’s Virtual Bibliophilic Holiday Gift Fair, will open for business on Friday, December 4 at noon EST and close at 9 pm EST on Monday, December 7.
 
More than 200 dealers from all over the country will be offering unique gifts for the holidays including rare books, manuscripts, maps, and ephemera —more than 3,000 rare items for sale with an additional 800 fresh items posted on the last day. Prices range from under $50 to many thousands of dollars so there will be something for everyone from the seasoned collector to the first timer.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
One of the items up for sale will be the very first commercially produced Christmas card dated December 1843. The card is a hand-colored lithograph on card stock, measuring 3-1/16 x 5 inches, probably the finest surviving example in unused condition, and likely to have been a salesman’s sample. The card is framed with double-sided glass. Only one thousand copies of this original Christmas card were produced to sell retail for one shilling each, and it is estimated that that less than 30 examples have survived.
 
The artist John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) designed this very first Christmas and New Year card in 1843 at the suggestion of Sir Henry Cole, founder of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and it is believed to have gone on sale the same week that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published. As it illustrates a family toasting the recipient with raised glasses of red wine, including children, it was quickly denounced by the puritanical Temperance Society and it took another three years before the next Christmas card was produced.
 
The second highlight of the show is an Emily Dickinson original handwritten manuscript poem offered for sale for the first time in more than 25 years. Dickinson was an American lyric poet who lived in seclusion and commanded a singular brilliance of style and integrity of vision. The This poem is titled "Santa Claus" and differs slightly from a transcription made during the 1950s.
 
The card and the manuscript are for sale on the site, and while the show will be open for four days, unlike an auction, items are sold to the first person who offers to buy them.
 
“We all remember the joy of receiving a special book as a gift for the holidays,” says Marvin Getman, Founder of GetmansVirtual.com, producer of the largest virtual antiquarian book and ephemera fairs in the country. “You may still own that book or, more likely, it was sold at a yard sale when your family moved or was given away during a spring cleaning. This holiday season, you can shop from the comfort of your own home to find a truly memorable gift for someone you love—and maybe you'll even rediscover that favorite book that you once owned!” 
 
At noon on December 4th, there will be a panel discussion presented by the Rare Book and Manuscript Society Membership & Professional Development Committee. The panelists will discuss favorite items from their personal collections. Registration for the panel discussion can be done here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-few-of-our-favorite-things-rbms-membership-professional-development-tickets-127397484305
 
To enter the online Bibliophilic Holiday Gift Fair visit this link www.getmansvirtual.com  
 
Like everything else in our world, COVID-19 has altered the way businesses display and sell their wares to the public. Marvin Getman pivoted in May of this year to host his popular in person fairs online transforming the way buyers meet sellers of rare books, maps, prints and ephemera. Getman has already hosted six successful online book fairs since June, and other organizations around the world are now licensing his platform, seen as the emerging gold standard in the industry. With a virtual show, collectors will be able to peruse the booths of every exhibitor in the fair one by one, or easily visit just their favorite dealer. A built-in search feature allows visitors to browse by category, subject, any search term, or price to find specific items of interest. To keep the online shows fresh, exhibitors will be asked to only feature items not available on any other book selling site. For more information, visit www.getmansvirtual.com

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Courtesy of Bonhams

Schedel, Hartmann. 1440-1514. Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12th July 1493. Estimate: $200,000-300,000

New York — When Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type to Europe in 1439, he sparked a revolution in the dissemination of knowledge that changed the world for ever. Books printed in the period from then until around 1500 are known as incunabula. Among the most famous of these – and certainly the most lavishly illustrated and beautiful – is the Nuremberg Chronicle, an extremely rare first edition of which, hand colored by contemporary artists and bound for the publisher in Nuremberg by the Weltchronik-Meister, leads Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale in New York on Friday 11 December. It is estimated at $200,000-300,000.
 
A pictorial history of the world, the Nuremberg Chronicle was written over several years by the doctor and book collector Hartmann Schedel, who was commissioned by two Nuremberg merchants. It was originally published in Latin in an edition of around 1400-1500, of which 400 are thought to have survived. It came in two formats; unbound and uncolored and, at a considerably higher price, hand-colored and bound - this copy is hand-colored and bound in the original first binding from the Nuremberg Weltchronik-Meister.
 
The 29 large double-page city views, many illustrated for the first time, are accurate in depicting particular, distinguished, features of each city. In addition it includes many details of 15th-century daily life: carpenters with their tools, astronomers and their instruments, archers, bridges, derricks, dishes, furniture, windmills, ships, beds, houses, fortifications, weapons, tents, wharves, ferries, books, drawing materials, dogs, horses, and other animals, as well as costumes.

Bonhams Director of Fine Books in New York, Ian Ehling, said: “It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Magisterial in its scope and ambition, it was the first printed work to integrate text and illustrations in a truly successful and effective way. First editions of the Chronicle in their original binding with contemporary hand-colored illustrations very rarely appear on the open market. This wonderful copy is already exciting much interest among collectors.”

Other highlights include:
 
    •    A 12th-century manuscript of the Confessions of St Augustine of Hippo 354-430. Written in AD 397-400 while Augustine was in his early 40s, The Confessions is an autobiographical work of 13 chapters covering the writer’s sinful youth, his conversion to Christianity and the development of his thought. A revolutionary and influential work, the book still enjoys a reputation as a key text of Western literature. This edition is believed to have been produced in Italy in the mid-12th century. It is estimated at $100,000-150,000.
    •    A handwritten letter by Malcolm X. 1925-1965. (El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz). A profoundly important Malcolm X letter written from Mecca upon the completion of his pilgrimage (hajj) on the transformation he experienced and acknowledging a turning point in his thinking on race in America. Estimate: $40,000-60,000.
    •    Original manuscripts, documents, and photographs from the estate of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, including an original autograph manuscript of the Charter for the American Red Cross in the hand of Clara Barton ($30,000-40,000), a series of letters from Susan B. Anthony to Clara Barton, and her original diary from 1874-1875.
    •    The Charles Dickens Collection of Martin Nason including a presentation copy of the Old Curiosity Shop (estimate: £30,000-50,000), the rare trial issue of A Christmas Carol, as well as a fine collection of signed photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera from the writings and life of Charles Dickens.

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Courtesy of Catawiki

Amsterdam — Thank goodness he adopted a pen name, as Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto is quite a mouthful. We now have two Pablo Neruda auctions live for bids: “Pablo Neruda: Essential Works” and “Pablo Neruda: Rarities.” These auctions are from the private collection of a Spanish journalist. Collected over many years, in addition to some 250 books, most of them first editions signed and several dedicated by the author, the collection includes black and white photographs, handwritten poems and a variety of miscellaneous items. In short, one of the most comprehensive Neruda collections to come to market in recent years.

And our next Exclusive Collection
Our Exclusive Collection proved more popular with sellers and buyers than we could imagine.  As a result, we are starting a regular “Exclusive Books & Manuscripts” auction.  Our next will be held in early December It will begin on 27th November and end on 6th December 2020.

“Neruda is often considered the national poet of Chile, and his works have been popular and influential worldwide.  We are very pleased to offer this collection Neruda material to the market. Gabriel García Márquez once called Neruda ‘the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language’ we are very pleased to give a wide audience an opportunity to experience first editions of his poetry.“ —Marc Harrison, Books & Cartography Category Manager

The Pablo Neruda (Essential works) auction -  will be online starting Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Friday 25th November 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409565

The Pablo Neruda (Rarities) auction -  will be online starting Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Saturday 26th November 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409567

The December Exclusive Books & Manuscripts auction -  will be online starting Friday 27th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Sunday 6th December 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409689

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Courtesy of Tennants

E.H. Shepard ‘Pen and Ink Sketch of Christopher Robin’ sold for £3,800.

Leyburn, North Yorkshire, UK -- Tennants Auctioneers’ Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Photographs Sale on 18th November saw impressive results. Whilst the sale took place behind closed doors with no public viewing, online bidding facilities and extra imaging provided by Tennants helped the sale exceed the pre-sale estimate and achieve a 94% sold rate.

Lots relating to children’s literature are a strong theme amongst the highlights of the sale. A small pen and ink sketch of Christopher Robin by E.H. Shepard was one of the top lots, selling for £3,800 (plus buyer’s premium). The sketch, in which Christopher Robin faces away, is signed by the artist and is accompanied with a manuscript note on headed paper reading ‘with [heart] and xx from Christopher Robin’. Both the sketch and the note are mounted in an autograph book compiled by Miss Joyce Cartmell from 1937.

A fine first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling sold for £2,900; a second impression, the volume contained a label for Rowling’s agent – Christopher Little Literary Agency – to the half title page. Strong results were also seen for a 1926 first edition of Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne (sold for £1,700), and a numbered limited edition copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince from 1913 that was signed by the illustrator Charles Robinson (sold for £1,000).

Top lots of classic fiction included a first edition, second issue of Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall from 1848, which sold for £5,400, and a third edition of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: An Autobiography from 1848, which sold for £3,600.

Interesting non-fiction highlights included Transactions of the Guild and School of Handicraft, Vol. 1, 1890, with manuscript inscriptions by the volume’s editor and founder of the Guild C.R. Ashbee. Ashbee, one of the leading figures of the Arts and Crafts movement, inscribed on the flyleaf a verse from Rudyard Kipling’s The Conundrum of the Workshops (sold for £2,100).

Photographic lots saw strong bidding, with a volume of sixty collotype plates of Korea, Japan and China photographed by Isabella L Bishop circa 1897 selling for £750. An outstanding collection of 47 early aviation photographs recording what is believed to be the first aviation meeting in Africa, which was held at Heliopolis in Egypt in 1910, sold for £1,400. Aircraft both on the ground and airborne are shown in the photographs, as well as scenes of spectators.

Finally, a collection of 1920s catalogues, brochures and price lists, mostly from Fortnum & Mason, sold for £2,100 against an estimate of £60-80. Featuring colourful graphic design of the era, interesting items in the collection included the brochure ‘Fortnum and Mason make Entertaining easy in your own home’.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the next Book Sale on 10th March 2021, please contact them on 01969 623780 or enquiry@tennants-ltd.co.uk for details.

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Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Dallas, TX — An extremely rare letter written and signed by composer Ludwig van Beethoven sold for $275,000 to lead Heritage Auctions' Historical Manuscripts Auction to $1,762,995.50 in total sales Nov. 12.

The Ludwig Autograph Letter Signed "Beethoven" roared past its pre-auction estimate of $60,000+ to reach its final result, which was the most paid for a Beethoven-signed document in the last decade. In a short letter to a Mr. von Bauman, Beethoven requests the return of a piano trio and writes he will return soon with a violin sonata.

"It came as a complete surprise because it's beyond the norm for what his letters sell for," said Sandra Palomino, director of Rare Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. "He [Beethoven] rarely comes on the market, but people got excited about this because he was talking about his music."

The letter was bought by a musician who has researched and given lectures on Beethoven, and intends to donate the letter to the music school at which she studied. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the letter was especially appealing to her because "it refers to a trio sonata, which I played so I knew where he was coming from."

"It was my idea that I am getting older and, besides enjoying in enormously, I am going to give it to my alma matter in my will," the collector said. "This was a last-minute purchase, but I feel it is something that will be important for young people to feel.

"It means a lot to me, and Germany has always been so welcoming to me. and Beethoven was my refuge growing up."

Also climbing above and beyond expectations was a John Adams Autograph Letter Signed "J. Adams" that sold for $81,250, against a pre-auction estimate of $25,000+. The letter was written by Adams to his good friend, Philadelphia physician and fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, renewing a correspondence between the two men that was suspended for several years due to a misunderstanding. During the 1800 presidential election, which Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson, Rush allegedly claimed that Adams favored monarchy over democracy, which Rush denied. Adams took great offense at what Rush allegedly said and stopped their correspondence.

A Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel Legal Document Signed "Ben Siegel" as President of the Nevada Project Corporation found a new home at $45,000. The legal document marks the transference of the Flamingo Hotel project from William R. Wilkerson to Siegel, who signed the bottom of the document. The second page, also dated March 19, 1947, is a signed statement by the Los Angeles, California Notary Public, N. Joseph Ross. Siegel is popularly thought to be the impetus behind large-scale development of Las Vegas. Siegel returned to Nevada and began working on his dream to construct a hotel-casino complex on what later would become known as the Las Vegas Strip, an establishment called the "Flamingo," a project started by Los Angeles businessman and Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson, who turned the project over to Siegel after running short of funds. This signed document is the evidence of this deal, which was completed in 1947.

A George Washington Autograph Letter Signed "Go: Washington" nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate when it drew a winning bid of $40,000. The letter commends Colonel David Humphreys, his former aide-de-camp, for a position, either as secretary of foreign affairs or as a minister to another country. In a letter to Washington, Humphreys reported that Continental Congress president Thomas Mifflin indicated that a position may be available to him. Humphreys suggested that a letter from Washington would be more effective in helping him a position. Thus, Washington wrote the letter offered here.

Other highlights in the auction included, but were not limited to:

$37,500: A William Harvey Autograph Document Signed

$35,000: A Steve Jobs "Fortune" Magazine Cover Signed "steve jobs"

$30,000: A George Washington Revolutionary War Letter Signed "Go: Washington"

$30,000: A Mary Queen of Scots Document Signed "MARIE R."

$27,500: A Benjamin Franklin Document Signed "B. Franklin Presdt" as President of Pennsylvania

$27,500: A Franz Schubert Autograph Letter Signed "Schubert"

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Courtesy of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Left: interior spread from Sidereal; Right: Sara Langworthy

Minneapolis — As part of our 35th anniversary celebration, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce that the winner of the 2020 MCBA Prize is Sara Langworthy for her artist’s book, Sidereal. Acclaimed curator, writer, and historian Betty Bright selected Sidereal from an ever-narrowing pool of 158 submissions, 32 finalists and five finalists.

The MCBA Prize was founded in 2009 as the first honor to recognize contemporary book art from across the field and around the world. Along with a cash prize of $2,000, Langworthy also received an essay written by Betty Bright which examines the beauty, skillfulness, and relevance of her work. In the essay, Bright praises Langworthy’s book for illuminating a painful analogy between close-seeming (yet ever distant) stars and human relationships.

The word sidereal dates to the seventeenth century and refers to distant stars; sidereal time is based on the Earth’s rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars (Wikipedia).

Langworthy, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, began “accidental research” for the project in 2017, ahead of the total solar eclipse in the United States. Interested in the sky and browsing old astronomy textbooks, Langworthy happened upon The Heavens (1873) by Amédée Guillemin. As Juror Betty Bright writes, she recognized “the bones of poetry” in Guillemin’s prose. Langworthy excerpted and reshaped this language to explore questions of distance and perspective:

We draw a map,
to bridge the immensity of this abyss
to measure and express the fearful distance.

“Visually the book is stunning, replete with openings of coruscating starscapes,” Bright writes, explaining how Langworthy built the book’s “velvety imagery” by combining relief-printed collagraph blocks and pressure printing, layering the inks until stars slowly emerged.

Due to safety precautions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned in-person exhibition shifted online. All 158 submissions, including the 32 semi-finalists, four finalists, and the winning work, are on view at mcbaprize.org. Images of the artwork—and, in the case of the winner and the four finalists, video—are contextualized with artist statements and bios.

According to Bright, the four finalists also “explore and express the tenor of today” with an authentic voice.

Finalists for the 2020 MCBA Prize each receive a $500 award:
    •    Hyewon Jang, Urtod
    •    Ravikumar Kashi, ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest.
    •    Veronika Schäpers, A Darkened Boat
    •    Peng Wu and Jammo Xu, Arriving Ashore – a memorial for the lives lost in the forceful migrations

The winner was announced at the virtual MCBA Prize Reveal & Live Artist Talk on Friday, October 23, 2020, which also featured a brief first-hand account of our 35-year history from Betty Bright, who helped start MCBA. After the winner announcement, guests were treated to an artist talk between Bright and Langworthy, a participatory Q&A, and a toast to MCBA’s anniversary with a special “MCBA 35” cocktail. A recording of the event is viewable here

New to this year’s award categories is the People’s Book Art Award. The winner—chosen by you, the people—also receives $500. We invite you to cast your ballot for the People’s Book Art Award at mcbaprize.org by January 10, 2021.

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Courtesy of the British Library

London — The British Library announces it has acquired the Lucas Psalter, an important and hitherto unknown copy of the Psalms dating from the second half of the 15th century.

Made in Bruges for an English patron, the late medieval manuscript is known as the Lucas Psalter after the added arms of Thomas Houchon Lucas (1460-1539) of Suffolk, the secretary to Jasper Tudor and Solicitor General under Henry VII.

Featuring eight large finely painted initials, the manuscript is a previously unknown example of the work of the Master of Edward IV, one of the most influential artists of the late Middle Ages. This Psalter is an unusual example of his painting in a sacred text, which might have originally formed part of a breviary volume or set of volumes. The artist is known for his contributions to manuscripts made for Edward IV, the majority of which are now in the Royal collection in the British Library.

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Courtesy of Christie's

Left to right: Quentin Blake’s “Sunshine Traveller’s #1,” 2020, pen, ink, watercolor paper, signed. Estimate £700-1,000; Quentin Blake’s “Birds as people #6,” watercolor pencil, watercolor paper, signed. Estimate £500-800; Quentin Blake’s “The Dancing Frog,” 2019, pen, ink, watercolor paper, signed. Estimate £500-800

London — Christie’s Classic Week presents Quentin Blake: 200 Drawings, open for browsing from 25 November and bidding from 2 to 16  December. With estimates ranging from £100 to £2,000, the online auction is the latest collection of works offered directly from the artist’s studio, sold to benefit House of Illustration, the UK’s only gallery and education space dedicated to illustration and graphics. Proceeds from the sale will support the charity’s ongoing projects, which include the redevelopment of New River Head in London into the renamed Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, the world’s largest public arts space dedicated to illustration. Set to open in 2022, the centre will be a new cultural landmark for the UK that will become a permanent home for the archive of the organisation’s founder, Sir Quentin Blake, with selections from his archive of more than 40,000 works on permanent display.

Quentin Blake said of 200 Drawings: “There are very few days of the year on which I don’t produce drawings; in addition to originals for publication, there are alternative versions, sequences of drawings exploring themes that appeal to me, experiments with unfamiliar implements and sometimes a drawing simply because I feel the need to. Christie’s auction means for me, delightfully, that all kinds of people actually get to take these drawings home to look at and that is a pleasure enormously enhanced for me by the knowledge that their money contributes to the development of the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, which, when it opens 2022, is going to be an extraordinary new cultural destination.”

Following the success of Quentin Blake: Not in Books in 2019, 200 Drawings will showcase the wide variety of work undertaken by Sir Quentin in recent years, from drawings for publications to designs for public artwork and large-scale works for installation.

Highlights of the sale can be viewed here. Lots are offered without reserve, with the sale open for browsing from 25 November and bidding from 2 to 16  December.

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