Nov 7, 2023 10:00 EST

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps including the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection

 
Lot 179
 

179

David Livingstone sets off for parts unknown

Estate / Collection: The Esmond Bradley Martin Collection

LIVINGSTONE, DAVID

Autograph letter signed. To Captain Drew, dated Pioneer 11th March, 1861. 9 7/8 x 8 inches (25 x 20.5 cm); two pages on a folded sheet. written in black ink, asking about the fate of photographic apparatus, and describing the beginning of a voyage up the Rovuma River, an undertaking that would ultimately lead him to discover Lake Nyasa. Small tear at the head of the second sheet, traces of an old album mount in the blank central fold, the periphery with traces of a mounting tape. With an accompanying transcription.

A fine letter, written on the day Livingston left the mouth of the river Rovuma in his attempt to find a way to Lake Nyasa, He writes, in part: "My Dear Captain Drew, I beg leave to trouble you about a photographic aparatus [sic] which we understand had been sent to the Cape along with certain bales of calico addressed to the care of the Admiral. If they have come within your notice you will oblige me by forwarding the aparatus by any cruizer that may be disposed to favour us. The calicoes are not so important though they will be welcomed as better adapted for this region than any that have come out."

"We start today up the River Rovuma. It promises well—the mouth a mile wide is over seventeen fathoms, and no bar. A large body of water rushes out, but this is flood time, as we saw maize and rice gardens covered with water. The highlands begin eight or nine miles up—a good omen of a short delta—country well wooded & that seems its character higher up for many snags appear, People speak same dialect nearly as they do at Senna so we shall get on. We have the Bishop & mr Rowly aboard—fine characters they are. Hope we shall get well up and a road to Nyassa but all is in the future. 'To Him who knows all we commend our work in the hope that we may become a blessing."

Provenance: Sotheby's sale Alder, lot 466, 1958; to Charles Sawyer

Sold for $2,835
Estimated at $1,500 - $2,500

Includes Buyer's Premium


 

Estate / Collection: The Esmond Bradley Martin Collection

LIVINGSTONE, DAVID

Autograph letter signed. To Captain Drew, dated Pioneer 11th March, 1861. 9 7/8 x 8 inches (25 x 20.5 cm); two pages on a folded sheet. written in black ink, asking about the fate of photographic apparatus, and describing the beginning of a voyage up the Rovuma River, an undertaking that would ultimately lead him to discover Lake Nyasa. Small tear at the head of the second sheet, traces of an old album mount in the blank central fold, the periphery with traces of a mounting tape. With an accompanying transcription.

A fine letter, written on the day Livingston left the mouth of the river Rovuma in his attempt to find a way to Lake Nyasa, He writes, in part: "My Dear Captain Drew, I beg leave to trouble you about a photographic aparatus [sic] which we understand had been sent to the Cape along with certain bales of calico addressed to the care of the Admiral. If they have come within your notice you will oblige me by forwarding the aparatus by any cruizer that may be disposed to favour us. The calicoes are not so important though they will be welcomed as better adapted for this region than any that have come out."

"We start today up the River Rovuma. It promises well—the mouth a mile wide is over seventeen fathoms, and no bar. A large body of water rushes out, but this is flood time, as we saw maize and rice gardens covered with water. The highlands begin eight or nine miles up—a good omen of a short delta—country well wooded & that seems its character higher up for many snags appear, People speak same dialect nearly as they do at Senna so we shall get on. We have the Bishop & mr Rowly aboard—fine characters they are. Hope we shall get well up and a road to Nyassa but all is in the future. 'To Him who knows all we commend our work in the hope that we may become a blessing."

Provenance: Sotheby's sale Alder, lot 466, 1958; to Charles Sawyer

Auction: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps including the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection, Nov 7, 2023

  • Successful Auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps Tops $1 Million!
  • November 7, 2023 Sale Featured the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection of Africana & Travel
  • Consignments Are Currently Being Accepted for Future Auctions


NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle's successful auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on November 7, 2023 topped $1 million amid competitive international bidding. Offerings in this popular sale spanned early illuminated manuscripts to modern literary first editions.

The Esmond Bradley Martin Collection of Africana and Travel comprised fascinating material that attracted bidders from around the world. Highlighting the collection was a copy of the first Latin edition of the earliest published collection of voyages, including those of Columbus and Vespucci: the 1508 Milan Fracanzo da Montalboddo, which achieved a strong $239,400. The collection also featured a rare uncut copy of Livio Sanuto's 1588 atlas of Africa that doubled its estimate at $25,200, as well as a group of 19th and early 20th century material relating to Zanzibar that attracted intense competition, sending the lots soaring over expectations. (Read more about Esmond Bradley Martin below.)

Property of other owners was highlighted by a first edition of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking scientific work, On the Origin of Species, 1859, which realized $94,500. This copy bore provenance of Charles Darwin's great-grandson Quentin Keynes, to the naturalist Richard Bayard Dominick, thence by descent to the consignor.

Robert Browning's first edition copy of John Keats’ poem, Endymion, 1818, sold for $37,800, many times its $7,000-10,000 estimate. The poem begins with the well-known verse, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."

The selection of livres des artistes featured François-Louis Schmied's Daphne in a major Art Deco binding by Pierre Legrain, 1924, one of 140 copies. The book tripled its $8,000-12,000 estimate, selling for $32,760.

Manuscripts in the sale were highlighted by a medieval manuscript on paper, Calculus temporum Ecclesiasticus, which sailed past its estimate of $3,000-5,000 to achieve an exceptional $31,500. This fascinating calendrical manuscript in Latin, circa 1360, possibly English in origin, was once the property of antiquary and collector Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872).

100 years before the Revolution: from Plymouth Colony to the Salem Witch Trials - The Victor Gulotta Collection, offered a curated collection of 17th and 18th century manuscripts documenting life in colonial New England. Among the rarities were a 1691 document signed by two notorious Salem witch trials magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin that realized $5,670, a document from 1686/87 signed by Edmund Andros as Governor of the Dominion of New England that sold for $5,670, and a 1656 Boston court document relating to a divorce case that achieved $6,300, all three exceeding their estimates.

Esmond Bradley Martin

Esmond Bradley Martin (1941-2018) was educated as a geographer and philosopher. He and his wife Chryssee had an enduring fascination with Africa, and settled in Nairobi, Kenya, in the mid-1970s. He wrote extensively, oftentimes in conjunction with his wife, publishing works including Zanzibar. Tradition and Revolution, Hamish Hamilton, 1978; Cargoes of the east. The ports, trade, and culture of the Arabian Seas and western Indian Ocean, Elm Tree Press, 1978; and many other works on African history and conservation. In the late 1970s, he began extensive research into the illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn, which included substantial stints incognito posing as a buyer of illicit wildlife products. For a while, he served as special envoy for rhino conservation for the United Nations. He continued this work until 2018 , when tragically he was stabbed to death in his Nairobi home

For about thirty years, beginning in the mid-1960s, Esmond Bradley Martin assiduously collected books and manuscripts on Africa and its history, acquiring a phenomenal collection of letters by many of the major English explorers of the nineteenth century, as well as numerous rarities from earlier centuries. He was buying at a time when troves of such material surfaced frequently at English auctions. Doyle was privileged to offer the first selection of his collection in the November 7 auction. A second and final portion will be offered early next year.


We Invite You to Auction!

Consignments are currently being accepted for future auctions. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our Specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

For information, please contact Peter Costanzo at 212-427-4141, ext 248, or Edward Ripley-Duggan at ext. 234, or email Books@Doyle.com

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