Book Treasures Go under Hammer; Richard Edmonds Looks at the Bissell Collection of Books Being Sold Soon at Sotheby's

By Edmonds, Richard | The Birmingham Post (England), October 31, 1998 | Go to article overview

Book Treasures Go under Hammer; Richard Edmonds Looks at the Bissell Collection of Books Being Sold Soon at Sotheby's


Edmonds, Richard, The Birmingham Post (England)


The late Edward Ernest Bissell ran the village post office and shop at Ashorne in Warwickshire. He also sat on the parish council as part of his civic duties and was known affectionately as 'The Mayor of Ashorne'.

All very nice - but there's more. Bissell, who died in January aged 87, was a collector of some note of antiquarian books, who kept his choice volumes in a house in the village and scorned to lock his door.

Sotheby's will be including 58 lots from what is known nowadays as The Bissell Collection on November 10 and the estimate is a cool pounds 100,000. Not bad for the modest owner of a village shop.

But from all that I can gather, Bissell loved his books so much he rarely left them unattended at home. He declined invitations to lecture on children's books to learned societies and so scholars came to him instead from around the world for research and pleasure in handling fine things.

Another interesting sidelight for collectors on this wonderful collection is that it was largely purchased by mairder from booksellers' catalogues - and Bissell would certainly not have been a millionaire and so what he gathered together on a limited inc ome is astonishing.

Among the treasures is a first edition, first issue, of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (estimate: pounds 20,000).

A first edition, second issue of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is expected to make pounds 16,000. The book once belonged to the son of the original 'Alice'. The most sought after fantasy illustrations by that great artist Arthur Rackham, are the ones that Rackham did for J M Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. This fine copy, signed by Rackham, has 50 colour plates, is rare and will probably exceed the pounds 3,500 Sotheby's are expecting for it.

While his customers were buying stamps and postal orders many years ago, Bissell's mind must certainly have been in the land of books. His copy of the fairytale book, The Diverting Works of the Countess D'Anois was purchased and placed on his shelves not without some thought I imagine. The book is dated 1707 and is therefore one of the first translations into English of this celebrated French text.

It will probably fetch pounds 8,000 and is the only known copy of the work to appear at auction. A rare first edition of the first versification of the fairytale Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper is estimated to make between pounds 1,500-pounds 2,00 0.

Perrault's important book Histoires au Contes du Temps Passe, containing Cinderella, was first published in Paris in 1697. The first English translation appeared in 1729 and in 1808, Harris, the publishers, printed this current copy that will be sold and which is the first in verse.

I wish I had kept my childhood copy of Kenneth Grahame's classic The Wind in the Willows. Bound in green linen it was a wartime austerity edition and it was purchased for a shilling from the class teacher. But Bissell did much better than me. His first e dition, first issue of The Wind in the Willows has retained the illusive dust jacket showing the price six shillings. This rarity among children's books (although better enjoyed by adults to my mind) will no doubt exceed the pounds 15,000 Sotheby's expec t for it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Book Treasures Go under Hammer; Richard Edmonds Looks at the Bissell Collection of Books Being Sold Soon at Sotheby's
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.