First Editions Celebrate Literary Legacy of C.S.Lewis

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions Important Books Sale

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To mark the 50th Anniversary of the death of leading children's author C.S. Lewis, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are offering a first edition set of The Chronicles of Narnia, at their Mayfair saleroom on Thursday 28th November. Adding interest to the sale are original illustrations for Prince Caspian by Pauline Baynes.

The first editions of Lewis's classic fantasy novels, much loved by young and old, have retained their original bright covers and dust-jackets and are in remarkably good condition. They are estimated at £6,000-8,000 [Lot 142].

When asked by his editor to explain what inspired him to write The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis wrote: "…a man writing a story is too excited about the story itself to sit back and notice how he is doing it…And afterwards, when the story is finished, he has forgotten a good deal of what writing it was like."At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it…I don't know where the Lion came from or why He came. But once He was there He pulled the whole story together, and soon He pulled the six other Narnia stories in after Him."

From the same collection is a group of 11 original drawings from Lewis's Prince Caspian by Pauline Baynes, who was chosen by Lewis personally to illustrate his imaginative narrative. The pen and ink vignettes are split into three lots and are estimated to achieve a total of £18,000-24,000 [Lots 143, 144, 145].

The auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Maddox Street Saleroom in London on Thursday 28th November at 1pm, with the sale on view to the public on Tuesday 26th November (9.30am-5.30) and Wednesday 27th November (9.30-7.30pm). The catalogue is available to view at

Celebration of Lewis's work continues into the December auction, which features his earliest published work, Spirits in Bondage (1919), printed under the pseudonym 'Clive Hamilton'. Discovered in a second-hand book shop by the present owner who thought it looked like "a good read", the book bears an ink ownership inscription of C.S. Lewis's cousin, Clare Clapperton.

In his book: Into the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles, David C. Downing states how in later life the cousin recalls: "…a large, ornately carved oak wardrobe…Claire [sic] remembered that sometimes as children they would climb into the wardrobe and sit in the dark, listening to "Jacks" tell adventure stories".

Written before Lewis's conversion to Christianity and move away from poetry towards novel writing, Spirits in Bondage, a collection of poems, received a frosty reception, with his publisher subsequently destroying most copies. Brought to auction only once, in 2008, and achieving £17,000, this rare survivor remains in good condition and will be estimated at £10,000-15,000 in the sale on Wednesday 18th December 2013. The catalogue will be available to view online two weeks before the sale at


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Apex Philatelics. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Bloomsbury - 25th November 2013