Event Date13 July 10:00 AM BST | Live auction 22621

The Magnificent Library of Norman Bobins: Part Two, The Colourful World

The Magnificent Library of Norman Bobins: Part Two, The Colourful World

Sale Overview

Christie’s is proud to present The Magnificent Library of Norman Bobins: Part Two, The Colourful World, on 13 July. This live sale, comprising about 340 lots, represents one the world’s most comprehensive gatherings of books illustrated by fine hand-coloured and colour-printed plates.

Concentrating on the period spanning from the second-half of the 18th century and through the 19th century, the library reflects Mr Bobins’ passions, namely history, art and travel, with sporting, satire and military subjects as dominant themes. The geographical scope of the collection is global, with works illustrating the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, India and Australia. Most of the books in the collection relating to the Americas will be sold in a dedicated sale at Christie’s New York on 16 June, The Magnificent Library of Norman Bobins: Part One, American Color.

The publication of travel books with beautiful and enticing illustrations assisted the emergence of a tourism industry, and books can be found in the collection promoting the likes of the Swiss Alps. These in turn, stimulated a demand for books illustrating regional costume and local customs. Variations of topographical books in the form of panoramas of views and cityscapes are also represented, some of them even depicting horse races. Linked to this theme are many sporting books in the collection, including a number illustrated with fine original watercolours, and many with importance provenances, such as purchases made at the H.R.H. Duke of Gloucester sale at Christie’s in 2006.

Auction times
13 Jul 10:00 AM (BST)

Brought to you by

Julian Wilson

Julian Wilson

Senior Specialist, Books, Maps & Manuscripts | Books & Manuscripts

Julian has over 20 years of experience in the antiquarian book world, and has worked for over a decade in Christie's Books & Manuscripts department.

Julian’s first job as a Christie’s Specialist was to catalogue the Foljambe Collection of natural history. This included selling a complete subscriber’s set of John Gould’s magnificent ornithological books for £1,252,500 (April 2008). He has gone on to handle many other fine natural history, science and travel books, including maps and atlases. Some of Julian’s favourite objects that he has brought to market include: a pair of John Russell’s extremely rare prints of the moon (£125,000, December 2016); two copies of Mendel’s offprint on genetics and the laws of inheritance, Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden (£242,500, July 2016 and £287,250, July 2019); an extremely rare example of the famous Chinese ‘Blue Map’, Complete Geographical Map of the Great Qing Dynasty (£137,500 December 2018); and Marx’s presentation copy of Das Kapital to his cousin (£344,750, December 2019).

He has also enjoyed being involved with non-book lots, and pioneered new markets for objects such as Apple-1 computers (£133,250, November 2010) and Enigma machines (£67,250, same sale), setting new world records at that time.

Over the past five years, Julian has grown and developed extremely successful sales of photographs, maps, posters and other ephemera relating to major 20th-century geo-political events. This ties into his life-long interest with TE Lawrence.

Julian also has a fascination with paleontology, geology and the earth sciences, and has helped catalogue a major private collection on the subject.

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