19 Nov 2012
Lewis Carroll's masterpieces from the 'Discovery' library are on sale with Bonhams
The timeless books 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1889) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1901) are featured in the Polar II sale at Bonhams on 4th December at Knightsbridge (estimate £2,000-£4,000)
These treasured editions of Carroll's best work, on the market for the first time, were kept on the mess deck of Scott's 'Discovery' expedition to Antarctica. They were available for reading by the non-officer class to ease the difficult living conditions on an icy expedition and would most likely have provided an imaginative escape from the harsh surroundings.
Also included in the sale is an electroplated silver teapot with a wooden handle dated to 1901 (estimate £8,000-£12,000). Engraved with the emblem, 'Discovery Antarctic Expedition 1901', it is a further insight into the attempt to evade the relentless conditions of this polar expedition through home comforts.
These copies of Carroll's books and the teapot have come to auction directly from the descendents of Reginald Koettlitz, a physician on the 'Discovery' expedition. Koettlitz was an established physician and geologist who was the first person to perform a surgical procedure in Antarctica. After his involvement in these voyages he eventually settled in South Africa where he died in 1916 from dysentery.
Other notable lots in the sale include a photograph of 'Captain Oates & Ponies' by Herbert George Ponting (estimate £3,000-£5,000) and another chilling photograph of 'The "Terra Nova" at the Ice Foot' also by Ponting (estimate £7,000-£9,000).
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com