London – Christie’s is pleased to offer an outstanding array of Books and Manuscripts during its auction on 11 July. Highlights include the Plantin Polyglot Bible, one of only 13 copies printed on vellum, produced over 450 years ago for King Phillip II (estimated at £400,000-600,000, see separate press release here); two examples of ornithological works by the famous John Gould and Redoute’s Liliacees, one of the most luxurious and spectacular botanical books ever published, as it was specially produced for the Duchesse de Berry with the plates in two states, the whole bound in a sumptuous red morocco gilt binding (estimate £350,000-500,000, illustrated above left).
The sale also contains a cartography section, manuscripts ranging from a 15th-century Book of Hours all the way to materials relating to Leonard Cohen from the 20st century. We are also pleased to present a rare engraved panorama of London which shows the city pre-Great Fire; as well as the world’s oldest extant table football game, just in time for the World Cup.
The celebrated John Gould bird books include The Birds of Asia which is comprised of 7 large folio volumes and 530 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates (estimated £80,000-120,000 illustrated above right), and The Birds of Great Britain, which is in 5 large folio volumes, with 367 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates. This set is bound in contemporary green morocco, with gilt borders to covers, and has an estimate of £50,000-80,000.
There is an extraordinarily rare great engraved panorama of London, mapping out the city pre-Great Fire. This panorama extends over 2 metres in length and was engraved by the great Dutch cartographer Nicolaus Visscher (estimate is £80,000-120,000).
For collectors who have always dreamed of possessing materials relating to Leonard Cohen, Christie’s are offering four volumes of his writing signed and inscribed to his great love, Marianne Ihlen, between 1960 and 1966, along with two wonderfully evocative personal possessions: a silver ID bracelet – inscribed ‘Leonard N. Cohen’ – and his McGill university debating key-ring. Perhaps the most touching of the inscribed volumes is 1966’s Beautiful Losers, dedicated ‘For Marianne/all my love/Leonard’ with an accompanying sketch of a moonlit forest (estimate: £3000 - £5000).
Coinciding with the World Cup, Christie’s are also pleased to be offering the world’s oldest extant table football game (estimated at £30,000-50,000). A green-painted pitch, with carved, yellow-painted grooves terminating in seven recesses, each contested by two plungers actuated by seven finger-pieces, this lot is accompanied by related documentation, including a patent letter and a page of written notes dated 1912 on ‘The Bush Ball Game’.
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.