[ilds] quaint & intimate ld

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Sun Dec 21 14:52:02 PST 2008

On 11 December 2008, Bloomsbury Auctions put up for sale the Durrell 
items listed below this note.  These lots were collected under the title 
"Printed Books, Manuscripts and Artwork, including the Collections of 
Cecil & Desmond Harmsworth and Important Manuscripts and Books from the 
Library of the late Francisco Gil de Borja e Menezes."

The Durrell-related lots will interest subscribers to this listserv not 
only for their individual merits--the second lot is indeed 
/singular/--but also for their over-topping of estimates.   The 
Bloomsbury Auctions webiste notes:

>         In spite of deeply depressing economic news, Bloomsbury's last
>         sale of 2008, Printed Books, Manuscripts and Artwork including
>         the Collections of Cecil & Desmond Harmsworth (11-12th
>         December), was a success. It would seem that private
>         collections and items fresh to the market in good condition,
>         still find eager buyers.
>         A substantial part of the Harmsworth Collection (sold by
>         descendants of the newspaper magnates) was snapped up by an
>         institution. An autograph letter from WB Yeats to Cecil
>         Harmsworth on Irish Unification (lot 47) made £3120, three
>         times the lower estimate; a letter from Joyce recounting his
>         eye problems fetched £7800, almost double the lower estimate
>         (lot 85). Lot 87 was an interesting account of Harmsworth's
>         difficulties in drawing Joyce, it sold for £1800 (estimate
>         £300-400). Swift's presentation copy of Caludius Claudianus
>         (1650) made a healthy £9000 (estimate £6000-8000).
>         Once again Bloomsbury reaffirmed its place as the auction
>         house for Modern First Editions. As Roddy Newlands said, 'The
>         market is still strong for genuinely scarce items, especially
>         those in good condition or those with important associations.'
>         *The very rare first edition of Lawrence Durrell's Quaint
>         Fragment (lot 229), one of very few printed (only two have
>         appeared at auction in the last 30 years), and which contained
>         poems written by the author between the age of 16-18, sold for
>         £19200 against an estimate of £6000-8000.*

Whatever the vagaries of investments in other markets, "Lawrence 
Durrell" is apparently booming.


>     229. Durrell (Lawrence)  Quaint Fragment,  first edition , printed
>     in red and black, mounted portrait (actual photograph) tipped in
>     as frontispiece following title, with guard, mount with small
>     crease at corner, pencil note on front free endpaper "Cecil
>     Jeffrey's first printed book December 1931", endpapers a little
>     foxed, original bronze paper-backed crimson cloth, uncut, spine a
>     little rubbed with slight wear to head and foot, overall a very
>     good copy, 8vo, Cecil Press,  1931.
>     *
>     est. £6000 -- £8000*
>     The author's very scarce first book, one of only a few copies
>     printed. It contains his poems written during the ages of sixteen
>     and nineteen.
>     "'Never published. Cecil Jeffries bought a hand press and asked me
>     to give him something to practise with; poems were easier than
>     prose so I gave him an old notebook with roughs. Title was his. We
>     took two pulls I think before the type was dispersed. One copy
>     bound.' This book is extremely rare, but Durrell's statement that
>     only one copy was bound is an exaggeration. Three or four have
>     passed through the antiquarian book market in the last ten years,
>     and one copy, left behind in Corfu, was destroyed." Alan Thomas in
>     his bibliography for G.S.Fraser's Lawrence Durell: A Study , 1968.
>     Only 2 copies have appeared at auction in the last 30 years, the
>     most recent being the Bradley Martin copy in 1990.
>     *Sold for £16000*
>         Sale 672, 11th December 2008

>     1019. Durrell (Lawrence) .-  An intimate collection of material
>     illustrating the relationship between Lawrence Durrell and
>     Margaret McCall his "darling original McCall girl", as well as
>     material relating to McCall's time at the BBC and her contact with
>     other authors, including Philip Larkin, Henry Miller and John
>     Betjeman,  comprising a selection of autographed and typed
>     letters, postcards and telegrams between Margaret McCall and
>     Lawrence Durrell dating from 1967 , including :  c.5 A.L.s. from
>     Lawrence Durrell to Margaret McCall; c.15 T.L.s. from Lawrence
>     Durrell to Margaret McCall. Referring to the 1967 'Generals Coup'
>     in Greece Durrell writes: "At the moment nearly all my powerful
>     friends are locked up or limogees; but they find the exile islands
>     very restful it seems and the food good... The situation is both
>     dismal and quite farcical; both right and left are moaning. But
>     the real nigger in the woodpile is the Queen Mother who has sunk
>     her teeth into Constantine and won't let go. If she could be
>     persuaded to take a holiday in Austria Karamanlis would agree to
>     go back (Heleni was having talks with him when I saw her) and of
>     course win the elections and restore order and democracy..."; 3
>     telegrams; An A.Pc.s. from Durrell to McCall in which Durrell
>     muses "arriving 10.35 London Time p.m. Suppose you were in London:
>     suppose it was your evening off: suppose you got the keys from
>     Alan and came to hear all my adventures... wouldn't that be
>     wonderful for me?"; 6 photographs of Durrell (2 with McCall);
>     Original typescripts for "Midday Dialogue" and "Malcolm Muggeride
>     talking to Lawrence Durrell" along with some typescript notes; 2
>     ink and watercolour paintings by Durrell for McCall signed "Epfs"
>     (Durrell used the pseudonym 'Oscar Epfs' which he reportedly loved
>     as he thought it was impossible to say without sounding silly); a
>     number Durrell's publications inscribed to McCall including:
>     Collected Poems, 1968; Nunquam, 1970; The Greek Islands, 1978, all
>     signed presentation copies from the author all to Margaret McCall,
>     original cloth, some faded, dust-jackets, jackets rubbed,
>     extremities torn with loss ; and 11 others, by Durrell, many inscribed
>     Also included in the collection: a selection of autographed and
>     typed letters, postcards and telegrams between Margaret McCall and
>     Philip Larkin; Henry Miller; John Betjeman and others, including :
>     2 telegrams and 2 T.L.s. from McCall to Henry Miller, 1 A.L.s.
>     from Miller to McCall in which he states: "I must warn you in
>     advance that I am not much good on T.V. or film". He decides that
>     he would be more comfortable if "Larry (Lawrence) took over. He
>     knows how to handle me. With the Britishers in general I am
>     usually ill at ease."; A T.L.s. from Philip Larkin to McCall and a
>     copy of a T.L. from McCall to Larkin; 2 A.L.s. and 3 Pc.s. from
>     John Betjeman to "Darling Margaret" and a T.L.s. from McCall to
>     Betjeman in which she states: "You've never used auto-cue, so why
>     should you look through some lavatorial glass darkly into the
>     camera lenses now?" ; a number of typed and autographed letters
>     between McCall and Nicholas Ghike, Dimitri Papadimos and George
>     Katsimbalis; 2 A.L.s. to Phyllis McCall from Robert Graves; a
>     number of books by the above authors inscribed to McCall
>     including: Betjeman (John) Collected Poems, signed from "Banjo
>     Betjeman" , spine faded, 1970 § Stephanides (T.) The Golden Face,
>     signed and inscribed by the author on front free endpaper , 1965,
>     original cloth, dust-jacket, extremities chipped ; and 10 others,
>     many signed, v.s.
>     (qty)
>     *est. £1000 -- £1500*
>     Margaret McCall was a senior Producer and Director at the BBC in
>     the 1960s and later. She was responsible for many of the stations
>     best arts programmes and was tasked with getting many of the
>     leading artistic figures of the time to make their first
>     television appearances. These included Dali, Betjeman, Henry
>     Miller, Philip Larkin and, of course, Lawrence Durrell, with whom
>     she ultimately conducted a long-standing intimate friendship.
>     *Sold for £2600*
>     Sale 672, 11th December 2008

Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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