• Fine Printed Books, Manuscript auction at Christies

    Sale 5829

    Fine Printed Books, Manuscripts, Traditional Sports

    23 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 149

    SYSONBY, Frederick Ponsonby, 1st Baron (1867-1935). Extensive autograph and typescript drafts towards his memoir Recollections of Three Reigns, chiefly preparatory material in diary form, approximately 1,500 pages, loose and in three leather bindings; with related material including five letters by Admiral Sir John Fisher, and manuscripts for two other (unpublished) works by Ponsonby, 'Safety in Numbers' and 'Stolen Love' (a typed filmscript). Provenance: By descent from the author.

    Price Realised  

    SYSONBY, Frederick Ponsonby, 1st Baron (1867-1935). Extensive autograph and typescript drafts towards his memoir Recollections of Three Reigns, chiefly preparatory material in diary form, approximately 1,500 pages, loose and in three leather bindings; with related material including five letters by Admiral Sir John Fisher, and manuscripts for two other (unpublished) works by Ponsonby, 'Safety in Numbers' and 'Stolen Love' (a typed filmscript). Provenance: By descent from the author.

    The 'quintessential figure of the court establishment' (according to the Duke of Windsor), 'Fritz' Ponsonby spent over forty years at court in the service of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V, for whom he was Keeper of the Privy Purse. Recollections, published posthumously in 1951, is arranged 'in a series of anecdotes suitable for after-dinner hilarity' (ODNB); Nancy Mitford told Evelyn Waugh there was 'a shriek on every page'. Ponsonby began writing his memoirs in 1933, but finding that working from memory meant his writing was 'like a patchwork quilt' he arranged his notes in diary form (as they appear here) based on his letters (see Recollections..., Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951, p.xi-xii, with Colin Welch's explanation of how he prepared the material for publication after Ponsonby's death).


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