Bloomsbury Auction Sale May 27th: Mike Walpole’s Library on general and continental botany and natural history
In accordance with his wishes, the library will be sold by Bloomsbury Auctions in two sales, 27th May for general and continental botany and natural history, and autumn 2010 for the English botany.
The sale on 27th May will also contain the remaining portion of the library of Peter Tate, 1926-2009, author of A century of birds books, second edition, 1985 and Birds, men & books, 1986, a literary history of ornithology. One lot includes an almost complete run of the Society’s Journal.
The catalogue will be of interest to members of SHNH and can be ordered from email@example.com at the discounted price of £7.50. The full price is £15. Alternatively the catalogues can be viewed free of charge on www.bloomsburyauctions.com.
Mike Walpole (1933-2009), was a member of SHNH for many years, and contributed an interesting article on William Curtis’ Flora Londinensis to the Society’s journal in 1976 (vol 7, pp 489-507). This distinguishes, for the first time, an 18th century reprint of the book, from the real first, and represents the heart of his very fine natural history library.
Mike Walpole started buying over 50 years ago, the days in which one could acquire a complete set of the Disciples’ edition of Cuvier’s Le Règne Animal distribué d’après son organisation for £60, for instance. The one public showing of his collection, with a small catalogue, was in the Loughborough School of Librarianship, for 6 days in 1968. The sixty items represented a wide ranging collection, taking in zoology as well as botany. Gradually, he tended to weed out the former, and even sold some of the continental botany, to concentrate on his home turf.
His library of British botany was widely agreed to be the finest in private hands. It includes such treasures as a 16th century portrait of John Gerard, which was exhibited in "London’s Pride: The Glorious History of the Capital’s Gardens", (Museum of London, 1990) as well as a complete copy of the herbal with contemporary colouring.