Mahatma Gandhi autograph

SKU: PT1299

Sale price£11,995
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  • A scarce autograph book beautifully signed in fountain pen by Gandhi in London in late 1931
  • Contains a hugely rare, left handed signature from Gandhi (Gandhi was forced to use his left hand to write between August and December of 1931, due to thumb pain in his right)
  • 13 x 19.5 cm. Original Morocco and gilt cover
  • Superb provenance – please see below

Background and provenance

In September 1931, Gandhi attended the Second Round Table Conference in London as the representative of the Indian National Congress Party, to further India’s fight for independence.

The British government laid on a suite of rooms at the Hilton hotel for Gandhi and his entourage during their three-moth stay.

Gandhi declined these arrangements, instead opting to stay at Kingsley Hall in Bow, east London, a small independent church run by his friend Muriel Lester and her sister, Doris.

Muriel had met Gandhi many times previously, in her role as Travelling Secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Mrs I Dellar, the autograph book’s original owner, volunteered a great deal at the church. Mrs Dellar was able to ask Gandhi for his signature during his stay.

Accompanied by two notes of provenance from Mrs Dellar’s family, and two modern-day newspaper cuttings regarding Gandhi’s stay at the church of Muriel Lester. 

The page is also signed by Muriel Lester and Mirabehn "Mira" - a British supporter of the Indian Independence Movement who in the 1920s left her home in England to live and work with Gandhi.

The autograph album is also signed by Nellie and Violet Lansbury – the daughters of social reformer and politician George Lansbury (1859-1940).

Further information regarding Gandhi’s stay at Kingsley Hall

Gandhi lived in simple fashion in a ‘cell’ on the roof. Kingsley Hall, Bow became the centre of world attention during his three month stay and many famous people came to see him, including Charlie Chaplin, but he was more interested in meeting and getting to know the east Londoners.

Gandhi's high-profile stay in London significantly increased support among British citizens and politicians for his Indian independence campaign. A campaign that culminated in independence in 1947.

When Gandhi left to return to India in December 1931, he wrote in the Kingsley Hall Visitors’ Book: “Love surrounded me here”.

Other notes

Slight ‘railroading’ in the first letter of Gandhi’s signature, due to slow ink flow and Gandhi’s speed of writing.

Hugely rare. Gandhi signatures seldom appear for sale on the private market, especially examples with such strong provenance and connection to a key moment in Gandhi's quest for independence. Left-handed signatures are particularly scarce. 

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