Unseen Manuscript Poem By First World War Poet
Siegfried Sassoon Offered At Auction
A signed manuscript poem entitled The Dug Out (1918) by eminent First World War poet, Siegfried Sassoon, will be offered for sale for the first time in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' sale of Modern Literature on Friday 11th April.
Belonging to British anti-war writer and journalist Henry Major Tomlinson, the manuscript is offered for sale by his family. Tomlinson had been an official war correspondent for the British Army in France, and met Sassoon while the latter was working as a book reviewer for the British newspaper, the Daily Herald. They began a lifelong friendship that lasted until Tomlinson's death in 1958.
Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, Sassoon's poetry serves as a moving tribute to soldiers in the trenches, and often describes the horror of the situation in vivid detail. This copy of the poem was written in pencil in August 1918, and later overwritten in ink by Sassoon who had by then been wounded and invalided for the final time. A later note on the reverse reads: "Siegfried Sassoon original drafted in pencil - then inked over. (H.C. Tomlinson confirmed)."
The manuscript poem is sold together with three photographs of Sassoon, two of which are signed and include H.M. Tomlinson and his family. They are estimated to sell for £2,000 - 3,000 [Lot 133]
Also offered for sale by Tomlinson's family is a signed, first edition, presentation copy of Sassoon's book of religious poetry, Sequences (1956). Sassoon converted to Roman Catholicism in 1957, and for some time before this religion had been a principal theme throughout his work. Despite much of his religious poetry receiving negative reviews Sequences was praised by many critics. Derek Stanford celebrated the book in his collection of essays, Books and Bookmen, where he said: "the poems in Sequences constitute some of the most impressive religious poetry of this century."
The presentation inscription is from Siegfried Sassoon to H.M. Tomlinson and Tomlinson's daughter Dorothy, and includes a further presentation inscription below to 'Mum & Dad' in Tomlinson's hand. The autographed letter, signed from Sassoon to Tomlinson, says: "Your messages always sustain my spirit greatly (hence the dedication). No one else understands - or anyhow expresses understanding - as you do." This very personal book is estimated to sell for £200-300 [Lot 134]
The auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' London saleroom in the heart of Mayfair, with viewing from Monday 7th - Thursday 10th April. The catalogue and details of online bidding with no additional fee can be found at www.bloomsburyauctions.com.
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 Frasers Autograph's. 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.
London - 31st March 2014