CHRISTIE'S TO SELL ONE OF THE FINEST COLLECTIONS OF CHARLES DICKENS IN PRIVATE HANDS On April 2, Christie’s New York will offer the first portion of the William E. Self Family Collection: The Kenyon Starling Library of Charles Dickens.
was a connoisseur who sought the finest, rarest and most
important copies for his collection. The superior condition is evident throughout the library. With
estimates ranging from $2,000 to $250,000 some of the outstanding examples are the Bruton-
Suzannet copy of Sketches by Boz with a proof of George Cruikshank's wrapper, the near-prime
McCutcheon-Suzannet copy of The Pickwick Papers, and the superb copies of Nicholas Nickleby and
The collection boasts a remarkable 13 presentation copies, inscribed by Dickens to some of his
closest friends or literary associates. Among the most significant is a presentation copy of Oliver
Twist (1838) in a special presentation binding to his friend and fellow-author, William Harrison
Ainsworth, and a presentation copy of The Uncommercial Traveller (1861) to the novelist George Eliot.
The collection includes important autograph and manuscript material, most notably an extremely
rare manuscript page from the original manuscript of the Pickwick Papers, which constitutes a
comedic scene between Sam Weller and John Smauker. The Starling library includes many rare
minor works by Dickens and related ephemeral items (or Dickensiana). The Daily News No. 1, the
liberal newspaper that Dickens edited in 1846, is also among the rarest of the Dickens newspapers.
A fine series of eight playbills advertising dramatic performances of Dickens's works, including Oliver
Twist, A Christmas Carol and Nicholas Nickleby, are also scarcely found.
Additionally, the Starling Collection contains a significant collection of original drawings by Dickens
illustrators Hablot K. Browne (“Phiz”) and George Cruikshank. An early drawing by Browne of the
discovery of Jingle in the Fleet is the only drawing from Pickwick to appear at auction in at least 30
years. George Cruikshank's illustrations for Oliver Twist are considered by many to be the finest in
the Dickens canon, and the Starling Collection's original drawing of Bill Sikes threatening the
murder of his dog is an exemplary example of Cruikshank's handling of the London underworld.
Auction: The William E. Self Library Part I: The Kenyon
Starling Library of Charles Dickens April 2 at 10:00 AM
Viewing: Christie’s Galleries at Rockefeller Center March 28- April 1
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