• <b><center>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>September 27<br>The Library of the Late Christopher Foyle of Beeleigh Abbey: Part One</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Bible, Dominican Use, in Latin. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, [France: probably Paris, c. 1240]. £10,000-15,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Book of Hours, <i>in French with Latin cues.</i> Illuminated manuscript on vellum [France, Normandy, early(?) 15th century]. £10,000-15,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Book of Hours, <i>Use of Rouen, in Latin and French.</i> Illuminated manuscript on vellum, [France: Rouen, c. 1480]. £30,000-40,000
    <b><center>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>September 27<br>The Library of the Late Christopher Foyle of Beeleigh Abbey: Part One</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Mary I (1516-1558). <i>Queen of England, 1553-1558.</i> Letter signed, ‘Marye the Quene’, Greenwich, 7 January 1558. £15,000-20,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Jonson (Ben). Works, 1st collected edition, 3 volumes, 1640. £7,000-10,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Essex. A sammelband of 27 English Civil War pamphlets mostly relating to the siege of Colchester, Essex, 1648. £5,000-8,000
    <b><center>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>September 27<br>The Library of the Late Christopher Foyle of Beeleigh Abbey: Part One</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Latham (Simon). Latham’s Faulconry, or the Faulcons Lure and Cure, 2 parts in one, 1658/. £2,000-3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Exquemelin (Alexandre Olivier). The History of the Bucaniers of America, 2 volumes in 1, 2nd edition, 1695. £1,000-1,500
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Campbell (Patrick). Travels in the interior inhabited parts of North America..., 1st ed., 1793. £5,000-8,000
    <b><center>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>September 27<br>The Library of the Late Christopher Foyle of Beeleigh Abbey: Part One</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Burton (Richard F.). Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, 3 volumes, 1st edition, 1855-56. £5,000-8,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Cosway-style binding. Napoleon and the Fair Sex, 1894. One of 9 similar lots. £1,000-1,500
    <b>Dominic Winter, Sep. 27:</b> Shepard (Ernest Howard, 1879-1976). Pooh and Piglet, original pen and ink drawing, 1958. £20,000-30,000
  • <center><b>Sotheby's<br>English Literature and History<br>Available for Immediate Purchase</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> William Shakespeare. <i>A Midsummer-Night's Dream,</i> 1908. 7,500 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. <i>Brontës' Novels,</i> 1922. 2,400 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> Lewis Carroll. <i>Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,</i> 1872. 25,000 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> Charles Dickens. Collection of Fiction including <i>Oliver Twist</i> and <i>Sketches by Boz,</i> 1838-1865. 6,250 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> Mary Shelley. <i>Frankenstein,</i> 1839. 4,250 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> James Joyce. <i>Ulysses,</i> 1925. 2,500 USD
    <b>Sotheby’s, Available Now:</b> Jane Austen. <i>The Complete Works of Jane Austen,</i> 1901. 5,250 USD
  • <center><b>Christie’s<br>Charlie Watts: Literature and Jazz<br>London and online auction<br>15–29 September</b>
    <b>Christie’s, Explore now:</b><br>F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940). <i>The Great Gatsby.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. £100,000–150,000
    <b>Christie’s, Explore now:</b><br>Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930). </i>The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes.</b> London: George Newnes, 1902. £70,000–100,000
    <b>Christie’s, Explore now:</b><br>Agatha Christie (1890–1976). <i>The Thirteen Problems.</i> London: for the Crime Club Ltd. by W. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., 1932. £40,000–60,000
    <b>Christie’s, Explore now:</b><br>Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961). <i>The Maltese Falcon.</i> New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. £30,000–50,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2023 Issue

Bemelmans' Mock-up of Madeline from Kislak Collection brings $190,500 at July Sotheby’s Auction


This is the cover illustration by Ludwig Bemelmans for the original mock-up of Madeline. The 46-page annotated maquette ca. 1938-39 from the Kislak collection brought $190,500 in a July 2023 auction at Sotheby’s. (Photo courtesy Sotheby’s)

A 46-page mock up of children’s classic Madeline by artist-illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans created ca. 1938-39 brought $190,500 (including the buyer’s premium) in a July auction at Sotheby’s, substantially exceeding the pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.

This is the record for a work by Bemelmans in book form,” according to Adrienne DeGisi of Sotheby's press office. The watercolor wash cover of the feisty little redheaded girl whose adventures have delighted generations of young readers and the sketches with notes for the entire book, rendered a little larger than actual published size, came from the collection of noted Bemelmans enthusiast Jean Hart Kislak.

Kislak was a longtime patron of the University of Pennsylvania. The mock-up was previously exhibited at the Kislak Center for Special Collections as part of a Bemelmans show at Penn in 2015 and was accompanied by a catalog titled Covered with Vines.” Kislak died in July 2022.

DeGisi pointed out that even higher prices were realized for original Bemelmans art work in a 2021 Sotheby’s sale. “The record for any work by Bemelmans,” she noted, “is for an original illustration Madeline and the Bad Hat’ (“Pepito carried a bulging sack”) mixed media ca. 1957 which achieved $302,400 (estimate $40,000-$60,000). It sold at Sotheby’s in March 2021.

Also, a Bemelmans Illustration for “The High World” ca. 1954 achieved $201,600 in that same sale far exceeding the original estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Ella Hall, 34, a specialist in Sotheby’s NY Rare Book and Manuscript Department, noted that prior to the recent sale, the Madeline maquette sold at auction in 2007 for $85,000. Hall attributed the increase to “a really great piece,” showing the beginning of Madeline in book form. It gives “a really delightful insight into his initial conception, complete with amendations, correction and changes.” There were several bidders, she said, adding the work was ultimately sold to a private American collector.

As for other pieces, especially art work, “There has been really good interest,” Hall commented, pointing out that “collecters of American fine art are starting to take notice.” The buzz, she speculated, could be helped along by the popularity of the Bemelmans mural on the walls of the bar at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC, where a new younger generation has enthusiastically embraced his work and nostalgia for the period it evokes. She mentioned that a number of other pieces from the Kislak collection were also offered at the July sale.


More than a childrens’ book illustrator

While many people are familiar with Bemelmans (1898-1962) as the creator of Madeline and the multiple related titles in that series, he was also the author and illustrator of a number of books for children including Hansi, Fifi, Parsley, Noodle and others.

Throughout his life, Ludwig Bemelmans saw himself, first and foremost, as a painter, despite his considerable success at writing for both children and adults,” according to a biographical sketch posted on the website nocloo.comHe wrote short stories, novels, articles, essays, poetry, and reminiscences of all sorts, and he always wrote about what he saw— usually with great wit, charm, and honesty. He was forty-one years old when Madeline was published in 1939, but everything in the book was drawn from a child’s point of view—the enormously tall and energetic teacher Miss Clavel, the twelve identically shaped little girls, the color, splash, and joy of the streets of Paris. Best of all was the simplicity and directness of his line.”


Though Madeline went on to become a classic, the book world has not been as enthusiastic about Bemelmans many other volumes of fiction, essays, travel writing, or his sprightly memoirs of his life in the hotel trade produced in the early and mid-20th century.


A quick review of the last few years of auction results compiled by Rare Book Hub shows the prices for original artwork including drawings, watercolors and limited edition prints definitely on the rise, but his books, with the exception of the first edition of Madeline, and special limited editions of one or two other titles, get scant notice.


That’s truly a pity because he wrote and illustrated some wonderful books that are well worth reading (and collecting) today. This reporter’s personal favorites are his recollections of life behind the scenes in the world of fine hotels and restaurants. One of the best is Hotel Splendide (1941), still quite widely available. In the same vein, Small Beer (1939) and Hotel Bemelmans (1946) both showcase some of his most popular works. Also worth having is La Bonne Table (1964) a fat hardback anthology of some of his most memorable writing and personal sketches in categories including Behind the Scenes, At the Table, and Fancies.


Given the rise of the interest in books about food and beverage and chefs as celebrity figures, it would not be surprising if all of these volumes find a new and enthusiastic audience. Though the hardback firsts in good condition of all of his hotel and food writing have become progressively harder to find, most are widely and relatively inexpensively available in reprint or later issues.


For those looking for the ephemera (which by the way when Madeline related brings a fancy price) there are his magazine articles for Holiday in the 1950s, a wealth of cover art for the New Yorker, and a variety of other publications. Most of these are offered in the $30 to $50 price range and are of varying interest and merit.


It should be noted that a series of original illustrations for a 1956 Madeline related Holiday magazine piece in McCall’s sold at Swann Auction Galleries in 2017 for $75,000.


As for Bemelmans other work, especially his fiction, there’s lots of it, but it does not have the appeal of the personal narratives or the mass audience of his work for children, and seems unlikely to return to popularity as the 21st century rolls on.


RBH spoke with Daniel Traister, 81, retired curator at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries who curated a 2015 exhibition of Kislak’s Bemelmans collection and authored the catalog for the show, Covered With Vines, The Many Talents of Ludwig Bemelmans.


He commented that one reason for the increase in price is the growth in desirability of manuscript materials. Traister said the title of his catalog comes from the opening lines of Madeline…”In an old house in Paris all covered with vines”… but also indirectly alludes to his impression that publishers were reluctant to properly promote Bemelmans other writing for adults, which tended to be darker and more complex, for fear of damaging the author’s reputation as a beloved figure in the world of children’s literature. Or as he put it, "they didn't want to kill the cash cow."


Traister said that he read much of the author’s other work in preparation for the show. Some of the themes he identified were a consistent anti-Nazi, anti-Fascist viewpoint, and depictions of sexual relationships that were not widely acknowledged in the mid-1950s.


He mentioned To the One I Love Best (1955) as an example of his writing for adults that might appear to be in conflict with his work for young people. It is a memoir about Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe). DeWolfe was a lesbian and her husband, a British diplomat, was a gay man. He termed their relationship a “marriage of protection,” and the subject itself, "one that required self censorship,” by the author. "If you knew, you knew," he said.




Covered with Vines, the Hidden Talents of Ludwig Bemelmans,” an exhibition catalog for the 2015 exhibition of the Jean Johnson Kislak Collection by Daniel Traister published by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Kislak Center Philadelphia, 2015. World Cat showed six copies, we did not find any copies offered for sale.

A short and interesting video featuring comments by curator Traister is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZK3s0VK9AE

Also of interest is Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA: November 15, 2014 - February 22, 2015. Softcover, 40 pages, full color. Includes "The Smallest One Was Madeline: An Appreciation of Ludwig Bemelmans'' by guest curator Jane Bayard Curley and "Dear Ludwig Bemelmans: An Appreciation" by Maira Kalman.

A short video from the show is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBBzXJluDPE

While both of these catalogs seem in short supply Bemelmans: The Life and Art of Madeline’s Creator by John Bemelmans Marciano, Viking 1999 in both hard and soft cover editions, is definitely easier to find and less costly.


There was also a 2014 exhibit at the NY Historical Society commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Madeline. A video from that show can be viewed at: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/madeline-the-everygirl-who-never-grows-old/


Reach RBH writer Susan Halas at wailukusue@gmail.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>28th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Asia.- Mandeville (Sir John). <i>Tractato bellissimo delle piu maravigliose cose & piu motabile che sitrovino nelle parte delmondo,</i> Florence, [Lorenzo Morgiani], [?1505] or possibly, 1496-99. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Arabic ms.- Ghazaliyaat Kan'at al-Arabi [Divan of Poetry written in Arabic], illuminated manuscript in Arabic, Safavid Persia (probably Isfahan), [second quarter of 16th century]. £12,000 to £16,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Foxe (John). <i>Actes and monuments of these latter and perillous dayes, touching matters of the Church…,</i> first edition, dwellyng ouer Aldersgate, [20th March, 1563]. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>28th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Barrie (J.M.) <i>Peter Pan or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up,</i> first play edition, signed presentation inscription from the author "To my dear Jane Pan", 1928. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Gillray (James). John Bull taking a Luncheon: -or- British Cooks, cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard, with Bonne-Chére, etching with hand-colouring, 1798. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Middle East.- Roberts (David). <i>The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia,</i> 6 vol. bound as 4, first edition, 1842-49. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>28th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Greenwood (C. & J.) <i>Map of London made from an Actual Survey in the Years 1824, 1825 & 1826...,</i> first edition, engraved map, 1827. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Newton (Sir Isaac). <i>Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light…,</i> first edition, 1704. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Smith (Percy John Delf). Collection of 19 original preliminary drawings for "Twelve Drypoints of the War 1914-1918", circa 1914-1918; together with 11 drypoints from "Twelve Drypoints of the War 1914-1918", 1925. £15,000 to
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>28th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Guild of Women Binders.- Watts (Alaric A.) <i>Lyrics of the Heart: with other poems</I>, in a stunning richly gilt green crushed morocco by the Guild of Women Binders, Longman, 1851. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Cosway binding.- Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). "Lewis Carroll". <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,</i> in a Cosway binding with miniatures by Miss C.B. Currie, 1868. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 28:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, first impression, 1953. £18,000 to £22,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Monroe Schulz, <i>The Peanuts gang,</i> complete set of 13 drawings, ink, 1971. Sold June 15 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Family Archive of Photographs & Letters. Sold June 1 — $60,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. Sold March 30 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>King Lear; Othello;</i> [and] <i>Anthony & Cleopatra;</i> Extracted from the First Folio, London, 1623. Sold May 4— $185,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> William Samuel Schwartz, <i>A Bridge in Baraboo, Wisconsin,</i> oil on canvas, circa 1938. Sold February 16 — $32,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Lena Scott Harris, <i>Group of approximately 65 hand-colored botanical studies, all apparently California native plants,</i> hand-colored silver prints, circa 1930s. Sold February 23 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Suzanne Jackson, <i>Always Something To Look For,</i> acrylic & pencil on linen canvas, circa 1974. Sold April 6 — $87,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> complete with 50 printed collotype plates, Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold June 15 — $68,750.
  • <b><center>CONSIGN NOW</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Preview:</b></br> H. Scherer, <i>Atlas novus exhibens orbem terraqueum,</i> 1702-10.<br>Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Preview:</b></br> L. de Varthema, <i>Die Ritterlich und lobwirdig rayß,</i> 1515.<br>Est: € 60,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Preview:</b></br> G. Heym, <i>Umbra vitae,</i> 1924.<br>Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Preview:</b></br>F. de Wit, <i>Orbis maritimus ofte Zee Atlas,</i> around 1680.<br>Est: € 15,000
  • <center><b>Gonnelli: Auction 46 Books<br>Autographs & Manuscripts<br>Oct 3rd-5th 2023</b>
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Tilson - Zanotto, Il vero tema. 2011. Starting price 150 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Munari, Storia di un filo. Starting price 400 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Debord, Contre le cinéma. 1964. Starting price 150 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Futurism books and ephemera
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Travel books
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Medicine books
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Levaillant, Histoire naturelle des perroquets. 1801-1805. Starting price 52.000 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Carrera, Il gioco de gli scacchi. 1617. Starting price 3200 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Vergilius, Opera. 1515. Starting price 800 €
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Colour Plate Books from the Library of Norman Bobins<br>26th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Alken (Henry), Thomas Egerton et al. <i>The Melange of Humour,</i> first collected edition, Printed by W. Lewis, [c.1835]. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> [Cheny (John) and Thomas Butler, publishers]. <i>[Horses & Their Pedigrees],</i> Cheny & Butler, 1740-1746 or 1751-1753. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Dikenman (R.) Voyage en Suisse, Zurich, [c.1830]. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Colour Plate Books from the Library of Norman Bobins<br>26th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Eckert (H.A.) Monten (Dietrich) and F. Schlever. <i>Das K.K. Russische Militair aus dem grossen Werke Saemmtliche Truppen von Europa,</i> first edition, Wuerzburg, 1840 [but c.1842]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Havell, Junior (Robert). <I>Costa Scena, or a Cruise along the Southern Coast of Kent,</I> hand-coloured aquatint panorama with original boxwood drum, 1823. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Heideloff (Victor). <i>Ansichten des Herzoglich Württembergischen Landsitzes Hohenheim,</i> first edition in original 6 parts, Nuremberg, 1795-1800. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Colour Plate Books from the Library of Norman Bobins<br>26th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Jones (Owen) and Jules Goury. <i>Views on the Nile: from Cairo to the Second Cataract,</i> first edition, Graves and Warmsley, 1843. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Meyer (Johann Heinrich). <i>Der Rigiberg in Zeichnungen nach der Natur,</i> Zurich, Fuessli, 1807. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Nichol (Andrew). <i>Five Views of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway,</i> first edition, Dublin, William Frederick Wakeman, 1834. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Colour Plate Books from the Library of Norman Bobins<br>26th September 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Schetky (J. C.) A series of four sketches, illustrative of various situations of His Majesty's Ship Pique, Portsea, Trives & Maynard, 1835. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Stackelberg (Otto Magnus von). <i>Costumes et Usages des Peuples de la Grece Moderne,</i> first edition, Rome, 1825. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 26:</b> Stucchi (Stanislao). <i>Raccolta di Scene Teatrali eseguite o disegnate dai più celebri Pittori Scenici in Milano,</i> 3 vol., Milan, 1817. £6,000 to £8,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions