‘Father of Parole’ outlines his views on penal reform

A re-issue of a famous Tallis map, this 'Illustrated Plan of London and its Environs…' was published in 1851 to promote the Great Exhibition of that year and is bordered by 49 small London views. It sold in the Tennants auction for £1400.

One exceptional and very successful lot in a recent Yorkshire sale focused on penal reforms on the far side of the world.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sold for £4800 – some 20 times the estimate – at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) on September 11 was a volume featuring the writings of Captain Alexander Maconochie, an ex-Royal Navy officer who came to be known as the ‘Father of Parole’.

The key works, published in Hobart, Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land), in 1838-39, were Thoughts on Convict Management and General Views regarding the Social System of Convict Management.

These damning accounts were critical of discipline and a regime that focused exclusively on punishment of the convicts and returned them to society resentful and without a spark of enterprise.

At the time, Maconochie’s views were deemed too progressive and not adopted but, said the cataloguer, when rediscovered in in the mid-20th century became the basis for the modern penal system.

Maps and plans also featured among the more successful lots.

A coloured copy of Braun & Hogenberg’s pioneering 16th century plan of London made £3800; a coloured 1622 copy of the Yorkshyre map engraved by William Hole for Michael Drayton’s Poly-Olbion realised £1100, and the ‘Great Exhibition’ London map shown above made £1400.

Sold at £3900 was an 1880 first of Captain W Vincent Legge’s History of the Birds of Ceylon, a work that includes among its illustrations 34 hand-coloured plates by or after JG Keulemans.

Bound as a single volume in half morocco, this copy had in 1883 been presented as a school prize by Legge at Aberystwyth Grammar School.