An exceptional 11-lot group of the works of James Sowerby featured in a Swedish summer sale.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay
It included a record bid of SKr430,000 (£35,985) for a lot presenting the five large octavo volumes of his British Mineralogy of 1804-17 and the two volumes containing supplements on Exotic Mineralogy that followed over many years.
In all, the set sold by Stockholms Auktionswerk (22.5% buyer’s premium) on June 14 presented more than 700 engraved plates, all hand coloured by Sowerby and his sons.
Some spotting, foxing and offsetting was evident, but this was an exceptional set in later uniform bindings of brown half calf, and like the other works noted here had been acquired in the 1920s in London by a descendant of Sowerby’s daughter, Charlotte Anne.
Bid to a far higher than expected and record SKr38,000 (£3180) was a copy of Sowerby’s two-volume Genera of Recent and Fossil Shells, for the use of Students in Conchology and Geology. Initially issued in 42 parts that began appearing in 1820, this set in later half calf contained 265 (of 267) coloured plates.
Another notably rare and in this context rather unusual Sowerby work was A New Elucidation of Colours…, illustrated with seven plates, all bar one of them coloured. Untrimmed as issued in the original boards of 1809, now partly loose, it too set a record at the same sum of SKr38,000 (£3180).