The manuscript of W. H. Auden’s famous poem Stop all the Clocks is to be sold in Part I of the Roy Davids Collection Part III: Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 10 April. It is estimated at £6,000-8,000.
The work became known around the world when it featured in the 1984 hit British film, Four Weddings and a Funeral as a tribute read by Matthew (played by John Hannah) at the funeral of his lover, Gareth (Simon Callow).
It was sent to a Miss Boyd, possibly as a contribution to an anthology of poetry for use in schools. In the accompanying letter Auden speaks of experimenting with songs and of the difficulties of writing poems suitable for children.
The sale at Bonhams is the fruit of 40 years of collecting by the poet and scholar Roy Davids and is the finest collection of poetry ever to come to auction. In Mr David’s own words, “it would now be impossible for the present collection to be even approximately replicated.’