For Immediate Release
13 July, 2000

Contact:
Catherine Fenston 020.7389.2982

THE PRIVATE LIBRARY OF WILLIAM FOYLE TOTALS £12.6 MILLION ($18.9 MILLION)

The Highest Total Ever Achieved For A Library At Auction In Europe

The Private Library of William Foyle, 11-13 July 2000
13 July 2000


London - The final day of Christie's sale of The Private Library of William Foyle brought the sale total to £12.6 million (18.9 million), creating a new record price for a European private library at auction. The three-day sale saw interest from buyers worldwide and attracted over five hundred visitors in person to Christie's salerooms. The sale was 97% sold by lot and 98% sold by value.

"The extraordinary interest in William Foyle's wide-ranging library surpassed all our expectations, confirming London's continuing status as a major focus for the international book market. The quality and depth of the collection brought many new buyers to Christie's salerooms. The success of the Foyle library sale is a fitting tribute to the taste of William Foyle, one of the greatest booksellers of the 20th century," says Tom Lamb, Head of Book Department, London

Among the extraordinarily rich and diverse collection of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts was a lavishly illustrated copy of La Fleur des Histories (1490's and c. 1505), Jean Mansel's great universal history in French that sold for £883,750. Other highlights include a unique illuminated manuscript of Aesop's fables (c.1495), which sold for £575,750, and a 12th century illuminated manuscript of the psalms from Lambach Abbey, Austria, still in its original binding, that sold for £245,750.

The session of Early Continental Books was equally well received and a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first ever printed book, sold for £28,200. Other highlights include a first edition of the lavishly illustrated work on natural history, in Italian, by Pliny (Venice: 1476), which sold for £102,750, and a fine illuminated copy of Ortelius's landmark atlas (Antwerp, 1601), which sold for £278,750, doubling the previous world record.

There was great interest in the extraordinary collection of English Literature covering the canon of great authors, including Shakespeare, Chaucer, Wordsworth, Keats, Austen, the Brontë sisters and Dickens. Among the particularly rich section of English historical documents was an impressive archive of autograph letters and documents from Horatio Nelson, including a love letter to Lady Emma Hamilton and a fragment from the foretopsail of the HMS Victory, which sold for £52,875, above the pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000.

Felix de Marez Oyens, Director of the International Book Department, commented after the sale: "The Foyle Library is the single most valuable collection of books ever sold at auction in Britain or indeed in Europe, surpassed only by the sale totals of The Doheny Library (Christie's New York) and the H.B. Martin Collection (Sotheby's New York); but, whereas the latter two were sold over a period of several years, Christie's London decided to offer the Foyle collection in a single sale of five sessions. The strategy has paid off brilliantly, as the world of bibliophily turned up en masse and paid record prices across the board. It is fitting that the illuminated manuscripts should account for half the value realised, as it was the choicest part of the library and the surest proof of William Foyle's talents as a collector. Foyle's third Shakespeare folio is the finest copy of any of the folio editions I have ever seen and it may be interesting to note that apart from American and English bidding, there was strong French competition for the book. A striking feature of the Foyle Library was the collector's versatility and wide-ranging taste. Thus, the London Book Department called on all its specialists to participate in preparing the catalogue and market the sale. The result confirms Christie's leading international position as auctioneers of literary property, with total sales so far in 2000 of some $60million."

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For Immediate Release
11 July, 2000

Contact:
Sophie Jepson 020.7389.2965

Illuminated Manuscripts Shine at Christie's Sale of The Private Library of William Foyle

Day One Of Sale Smashes Overall Pre-Sale Estimate, Realizing £8.6 Million

The Private Library of William Foyle, 11-13 July 2000
Part I: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
Part II: Early Continental Books


11 July 2000

London - The first day of Christie's historic sale of The Private Library of William Foyle attracted a truly international audience, realizing over £8.6 million and surpassing Christie's original pre-sale estimate of £6 million for the entire three-day auction.

The morning session of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts included an extraordinarily rich and diverse collection of works. In the packed saleroom, the most treasured lots attracted highly competitive bidding and the morning session was 100% sold. The star lot of the sale was a lavishly illustrated copy of La Fleur des Histories (1490's and c. 1505), Jean Mansel's great universal history in French compiled at the Burgundian court, which sold for £883,750.

"We are thrilled with the results for today's sales which attracted interest from buyers both in the UK and around the world. The library of William Foyle is the largest British book collection of it's type to appear at auction for over twenty years and has created enormous excitement amongst established collectors and literary devotees. We look forward to further success as the sale continues," says Tom Lamb, Director and Head of Book Department, London.

Other highlights from the morning session included a unique illuminated manuscript of Aesop's fables (c.1495) which sold for £575,750. While a 12th century illuminated manuscript of the psalms from Lambach Abbey, Austria, still in it's original binding, over 850 years after it was created, sold for £245,750.

This afternoon's session of Early Continental Books was equally well received by a buzzing saleroom. A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first ever printed book, sold for £28,200.

Other highlights include a first edition of the lavishly illustrated natural history in Italian by Pliny (Venice: 1476) which sold for £102,750 and a fine illuminated copy of Ortelius's landmark atlas (Antwerp, 1601) which sold for £278,750, doubling the previous world record.

William Foyle opened his first 'People's bookshop' on Charing Cross Road, London, in 1907 and almost immediately the Foyle name became synonymous with British bookselling. From the 1940's until his death in 1963, William Foyle built up a gentleman's library at his country home, Beeleigh Abbey.

Comprising over 4,000 books, the collection of unsurpassed quality spans works from the 11th to the 20th centuries, including early illuminated manuscripts, classics by Austen and Dickens, and early 20th century private press editions.

The sale continues with English Literature and Manuscripts and Travel Books tomorrow 12 July and Thursday 13 July.

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For Immediate Release
9 March, 2000

Contact:
Catherine Fenston (44 20) 7389 2982
Sophie Jepson (44 20) 7389 2965

Christie's Unveil the Private Library of William Foyle

A Historic Sale Spanning the Canon of English Literature:
Chaucer
Shakespeare
Wordsworth
Keats
Austen
Dickens


The Largest Private British Book Collection Seen At
Auction For Over Twenty Years


The Private Library of William Foyle
11 - 13 July 2000


London - Christie's announces that the historic sale of The Library of William Foyle will take place over three consecutive days between 11 July and 13 July 2000. The largest British book collection in private hands to appear at auction for over twenty years, the library of William Foyle offers an extraordinary opportunity to both established collectors and literary devotees. Comprising over 4,000 books, the collection spans works from the 11th to the 20th centuries, including early illuminated manuscripts, classics by Austen and Dickens, and early 20th century private press editions. The extensive library is estimated to realise in excess of £6 million.

"The Foyle Library sales serve as a fitting tribute to William Foyle, a man who revolutionised popular bookselling in the 20th century. The Foyle Collection, like the famous Foyles bookshop, offers something for everyone. While it is sad to see the books leave the library, William would appreciate the great pleasure that they will bring to a new generation of book collectors," says Tom Lamb, Head of the Book Department, Christie's London.

Books were both the public and private passion of William Foyle. He opened his first 'People's bookshop' on Charing Cross Road, London, in 1907 and almost immediately the Foyle name became synonymous with British bookselling. From the 1940's until his death in 1963, William Foyle built up a gentleman's library at his country home, Beeleigh Abbey. Over the years he assembled a collection of unsurpassed quality, including all four Shakespeare folios from the 17th century. William Foyle spent many happy hours among the books in his library. These private treasures remained hidden and unseen by the public for over thirty-five years and only now can be revealed in all their glory.

Part I: Illuminated Manuscripts
Tuesday, 11 July

The Foyle library includes an extraordinarily rich and diverse collection of medieval manuscripts; it is unlikely that any comparable private collection will ever be offered at auction again. Ranging from 11th to 16th centuries, the manuscripts, include works of prose and verse, in Latin and in the vernacular and of both religious and secular subject matter. A superb 12th century manuscript from Lambach Abbey, Austria, with elegant illumination and still in its original white leather binding (estimate: £150,000-225,000) is among the highlights.

Part II: Early Printing and Continental Books
Tuesday, 11 July

A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first book ever printed, leads examples from the earliest and most important Continental presses. The Bible was the first book printed by Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, at Mainz in circa 1455 (estimate: £12,000-16,000). Other highlights include the dedication copy, printed on vellum and finely illuminated, of Jacques Lefevre's humanist translation of the letters of St. Paul (estimate: £12,000-16,000).

Part III: English Literature 16th - 19th Century, Library Sets and Travel Books
Wednesday, 12 July and Thursday, 13 July

The extraordinary collection of English Literature covers the canon of great authors including Shakespeare, Chaucer, Wordsworth, Keats, Austen, the Bronté sisters and Dickens. Hardy and Eliot are among the great English authors whose works are included in the early 20th century library sets of classic literature, bound in fine morocco leather many are accompanied by autograph letters and extra sets of engravings. Among the particularly rich section of historical manuscripts are documents signed by English monarchs including Henry VIII, Mary I and James I.

Exhibition dates:
Highlights from the collection will be exhibited at Christie's:

15 & 16 June Christie's Paris, 9 Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris.
29 & 30 June Christie's New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York NY 10020.
7 - 12 July Christie's London, 8 King Street, St. James's, London SW1Y 6QT.

Highlights from The Private Library of William Foyle
11 - 13 July 2000, Christie's London


Part I: Illuminated Manuscripts
Tuesday, 11 July

•  A superb 12th century manuscript from Lambach Abbey, Austria with elegant illumination and still in its original white leather binding (estimate: £150,000-225,000).
•  Forty Books of Hours from the 15th century include a remarkable group from the Northern Netherlands as well as fine French examples, such as the Hours for the Use of Rome, illuminated by the Master of Charles de Neufchâtel (estimate: £35,000-50,000).
•  An exceptional selection of 15th century manuscripts in Middle English include The Brut Chronicle, outlining the history of England up to the reign of Henry V (estimate: £30,000-40,000).

Part II: Early Printing and Continental Books
Tuesday, 11 July

•  A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first book ever printed and a historical landmark in textual, as well as typographical, history (estimate: £12,000-16,000).
•  The first edition in Italian of Pliny's Historia Naturalia, translated by Cristoforo Landino, (estimate: £40,000-60,000).
•  The dedication copy of Jacques Lefevre's humanist translation of the letters of St. Paul, the Epistola ad Rhomanos (Paris: 1512). This rare copy is luxuriously printed on vellum by Henri Estienne and finely illuminated (estimate: £20,000-25,000).

Part III: English Literature 16th - 19th Century, Modern Library Sets and Historical Manuscripts
Wednesday, 12 July and Thursday, 13 July

•  All four Shakespeare folios from the 17th century are included in the sale. The first folio, published in London in 1623 under the title "Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies", is the most highly valued of the four folios (estimate: £180,000-250,000).
•  A fine example of one of 46 specially-bound copies of the Kelmscott Press' masterpiece, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (estimate £40,000-60,000), is illustrated with woodcuts designed by William Morris and Sir Edward Burne-Jones.
•  Among the particularly rich section of historical manuscripts are documents signed by English monarchs. The earliest is Henry VIII's signed ratification of the Treaty of London (1516) (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

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