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Lawrences’ bi-annual book sales in Crewkerne regularly attract keen collectors and the 500 lots on offer in their summer outing drew in many determined collectors. There was considerable activity from online bidders, participating `live` on the internet.
An early highlight of the day of sales was the £7640 paid for a rare copy of Beatrix Potter’s beloved `Tale of Peter Rabbit`. Many children have enjoyed the story since it was published over a century ago but this copy came from the second privately printed edition of just 200 copies, hence its high price (within the estimate).
From the descendant of the late William Rooke came a fine library of antiquarian interest. The collection had once formed part of the library at The Ivy at Chippenham in Wiltshire and many volumes reflected Rooke's interest in The Grand Tour. High prices were paid for an incomplete set of Piranesi’s engravings of classical artefacts entitled `Vasi, Candelabri etc.` (£7170) and three volumes of 60 engravings after Raphael subjects in the Vatican (£5730). A very fine album of 28 architectural drawings by Antonio Maria Visentini (1688-1782) comprised views of Rome and took £14340 [image of Pantheon, built c.80-120AD]. Travels from further afield saw £3940 paid for John Marra’s account of HMS Resolution’s voyages under Capt. Cook (published 1772-1775). This book included engravings based upon some of the very earliest recorded sightings of Antarctica. A lithographed panorama of Moscow from 1848 on ten sheets extended to over 14 feet in length and made £7400.
For lovers of good Natural History, nine volumes of birds of Europe by H. E. Dresser contained over 720 hand-coloured plates and flew to £5250. For the modern collector, fifteen volumes of `James Bond` first editions by Ian Fleming must have left the vendor `shaken and stirred` when they sold for £3340 against hopes of £500. Finally, a fascinating archive of letters, cards, notes and photographic slides relating to T. S. Eliot was exceptionally well received. It came from Morley and Jean Kennerley and the former was a fellow director with Eliot of the publishers Faber & Faber. Eliot, who died in 1965, is buried at East Coker, between Crewkerne and Yeovil. The charmingly informal notes cast a refreshingly personal light upon Eliot and many of the messages reflected the depth of friendship between the Eliot and the Kennerley families. The archive was bought for £13140.