News & Insights

From Humpty Dumpty to the British Raj

3rd September 2018.

Tennants Auctioneers’ Books, Maps & Manuscripts Sale on 12th September is set to contain a wide array of printed delights, from Agatha Christie first editions to illustrated bibles and original illustrations for Ladybird books by artist John Berry.

Of interest to collectors is a rare volume of photographs depicting the Indian Army at the height of the Raj. Frederick Bremner, originally from Banff, Scotland, set up a successful chain of photographic studios across India after his arrival in the sub-continent in 1883. Types of the Indian Army: Illustrating the Races Enlisted in the Bengal, Punjab, Madras & Bombay Armies was published in 1897 and is being offered with an estimate of £2,000-3,000 plus buyer’s premium. Not only is this volume of note in the history of photography, but it focuses on the ethnographic make up of the armies; adding to the interest of the photographs is the fact that they were shot on location, depicting the soldiers at work rather than staged set pieces.

One of the earliest books in the sale is a copy of John Foxe’s Ecclesiasticall History, conteyning the Actes and Monuments of Martyrs (1576). Foxe’s work was written in opposition to religious oppression in the late 16th century, and in particular religious executions by the Catholic Church. The book was to become integral to creating the English Protestant identity.  A rare edition from Foxe’s lifetime, this is a critical text in religious history, Renaissance typography, Elizabethan policy and English national myth-making (estimate: £800-1,000 plus buyer’s premium).

On a lighter note is a scarce copy of an engraved, panoramic retelling of Humpty Dumpty laden with political satire. Published in 1843, the fold-out volume was created by Aliquis - a pseudonym presumed to be the Reverend Samuel Edward Maberley. This rare survival has the well-known nursery rhyme printed in English, French, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and German, and is being offered with an estimate of £300-500 plus buyer’s premium.

A fully illustrated catalogue for the Books, Maps & Ephemera Sale will be available on our website, www.tennants.co.uk leading up to the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details.

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