March 6th, 2021

mr. Gruff

Crazy stuff from the California Antiquarian Virtual Book Fair

 Odd to put Antiquarian cheek-by-jowl with Virtual. 

52 letters from HPL to Frank Belknap Long. This is the collection that the HPLHS recently had a fundraiser to help purchase (with a tiny help by me) with the intent of donating it to the collection at Brown. The pricetag at the fair is $225,000. Apart from the two houses, probably the highest pricetag of anything I've ever bought a fraction of.

The same dealer also has the original pencil manuscript of Chambers' "The Messenger".

The Recipe Book of The Mustard Club [with] Mustard Uses Mustered [and] History and the Mustard Pot.

Items written for Colman's Mustard by Dorothy L Sayers during her time at an ad agency, experience that wound up in her Peter Wimsey novel, Murder Must Advertise.

The Hobbit programme for the New College School, Oxford production, 1967, signed by Tolkien

The production of The Hobbit at New College School was the second stage dramatisation of Tolkien’s seminal work of fantasy to be performed, but the first to be authorised by Tolkien. 

Cats in the Isle of Man, by Daisy Fellowes

Rare novel by the French-American socialite and heiress (to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune) who was one of the most well-known and influential style icons of her day. At one time the Paris editor of Harper's Bazaar, she was one of the most important customers/patrons of couturier Elsa Schiaparelli -- who created one of her signature colors, Shocking Pink, expressly for her. As one journalist put it, "she lived on a diet of morphine and grouse, with the occasional cocktail thrown in" 

At any rate, it's got a fabulous Fantomas/Dracula-evoking jacket design, with a naked woman spreading her black cloak (which sort of resembles bat wings) as a dark-eyed stranger looms behind her. (And just for the record: none of the action in this book takes place on the actual Isle of Man, so I think we have to assume it's a metaphor, or something.)