Joyce First Edition to sell for £40k

Bloomsbury's next rare collectible book auction in London offers a range of texts from natural history, politics and literature.

Perhaps the most beautiful work for sale, inside and out, is Richard Bowdler Sharpe's rare book of the birds of paradise, published in the last decade of the 19th century. 79 finely hand-coloured lithographed plates in two brown and gold bound volumes. They are expected to sell for £25,000-30,000.

Sharpe's Birds of Paradise
From Sharpe's Birds of Paradise

Matteo Columbo is famed for his discovery of the pulmonary circulation through which blood is oxygenated before being sent round the body. A first edition of his De Re Anatomica Libri XV book (1559) is on offer here.

The work contains a dedication to Pope Pius IV. It is somewhat damaged, including staining, but has been skilfully repaired. It is expected to sell for £8,000-12,000.

A crucial work for the Jewish faith, Arthur Szyk's version of The Haggadah (a prayerbook for The Passover) was described by The Times of London as "worthy to be placed among the most beautiful of books that the hand of man has ever produced".

Szyk's Haggadah
Szyk's Haggadah

This copy, in English and Hebrew, is one of 125 copies to be signed by both Szyk and editor Cecil Roth is magnificently bound in deep blue, and valued at £15,000-20,000.

A collection of 66 linen bound plates from around 1947 depicts the extremely successful (but not factual) reconstruction of the Ukraine after the Second World War with the fourth Five Year Plan. The colour pictures are an excellent example of Russian constructivist propaganda.

One very interesting variation is that the text includes Hebrew. This is a relic of Russia's tentative engagement with the emerging state of Israel, though for the most part Stalin was not sympathetic to Zionism. The work is expected to achieve a hammer price of £30,000-£35,000.

Joyce's Poems First English Edition
Joyce's Pomes Penyeach

Marginally the top lot, one of 25 signed copies (the whereabouts of 12 are known) of James Joyce's first English edition of Pomes Penyeach is available, listed at £35,000-40,000. Joyce is most famous for his novels Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and poetry such as is contained here.

The text is a recreation of Joyce's original handwritten work, and it is bound in watered green silk over boards - a very appealing and unique piece.

The auction is to take place this Thursday, November 19 at 1pm.

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