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Auction of Foyle private library may reach GBP.10m



Auction of Foyle private library may reach GBP.10m
By Will Bennett, Art Sales Correspondent

(source: Electronic Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ )

RARE manuscripts and books from the private library of William Foyle, founder
of the famous London bookstore that bears his name, were sold for more than
GBP.8.6 million in London yesterday . By the time that the three-day auction
finishes at Christie's tomorrow the collection of 4,000 books and documents
built up by Mr Foyle is expected to have fetched well over GBP.10 million.
Experts at Christie's had predicted that the sale of the library assembled by
Mr Foyle at his country home in Essex would fetch about GBP.6 million.

But yesterday this was exceeded in the morning session alone, which totalled
GBP.6.4 million in just two and a half hours as collectors and dealers pushed
prices far above pre-sale estimates. Mr Foyle, who died in 1963, revolutionised
popular bookselling after he and his brother Gilbert opened their bookshop in
Charing Cross Road, central London.

The Foyle name became synonymous with British bookselling but the shop's founder
was a passionate collector as well as a dealer and built up a huge library. It
included manuscripts dating from the 11th century, documents signed by English
monarchs including Henry VIII, Mary and James I, and bound sets of books by some
of the greatest names in English literature.

Mr Foyle spent many happy hours among his books at Beeleigh Abbey, a
12th-century monastery on the River Chelmer, near Maldon, and continued to add
to his collection until shortly before his death. The library remained at the
abbey, where his daughter Christina lived surrounded by her pets, including
dogs, cats, tortoises and peacocks, until her death aged 88 last June.

The eccentric Miss Foyle, who ran the bookshop with an iron hand and founded the
famous Foyle's literary lunches, left almost GBP.60 million in her will. Most
of this and much of the proceeds of the auction will go towards setting up a
charitable foundation to be named after her.

The highest price yesterday was GBP.883,750 paid for Jean Mansel's La Fleur des
Histoires, a lavishly illustrated four-volume set of an early 16th-century world
history. It had been expected to sell for GBP.200,000 to GBP.300,000. A unique
illuminated manuscript of Aesop's Fables dating from about 1495, which had been
estimated at GBP.100,000 to GBP.150,000, attracted fierce bidding and
eventually sold for GBP.575,750.

A 12th-century illuminated manuscript of the Psalms from Lambach Abbey in
Austria, which is still in its original white leather binding after more than
850 years, sold for GBP.245,750 while a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the
first printed book, fetched GBP.28,200.

Tom Lamb, head of Christie's book department, said: "While it is sad to see the
books leave the library, Mr Foyle would appreciate the great pleasure that they
will bring to a new generation of book collectors."





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