Rupert Brooke letters sell for over £9,000 at Cheffins Library Sale


07-05-2021
  One of the letters is dated December 17th, 1913, from ‘Grand Hotel, Auckland, NZ’ and the other is dated July 21st, 1914, in an envelope post marked ‘London July 24 ‘14’ with both addressed to ‘James Dixon Esq, Suva, Fiji.’  The first letter starts 'New Zealand isn't so bad, I wandered into a shop and found a few passable and possible books.... to prevent quarrelling, I send a book to each. But as an antifeminist I believe in the family as a unit... But I trust that not even Mrs Dixon has read all. And, o

Two autograph letters signed by English poet, Rupert Brooke, sold for £9,058 at the Cheffins Library Sale yesterday (Thurs), at the firm’s sale rooms in Cambridge. The letters, which had a pre-sale estimate of £4,000 - £6,000, were bought by a UK-based trade buyer online.

One of the letters is dated December 17th, 1913, from ‘Grand Hotel, Auckland, NZ’ and the other is dated July 21st, 1914, in an envelope post marked ‘London July 24 ‘14’ with both addressed to ‘James Dixon Esq, Suva, Fiji.’

The first letter starts

'New Zealand isn't so bad, I wandered into a shop and found a few passable and possible books.... to prevent quarrelling, I send a book to each. But as an antifeminist I believe in the family as a unit... But I trust that not even Mrs Dixon has read all. And, officially, as a Don and a Lecturer in Literature, I can recommend them.' Brooke goes on to say he has missed his boat '..on the 2nd I go to Tahiti, then 'Frisco--- and Home'.

The second letter written from Rugby, is one of sympathy to Mr Dixon who is suffering from a painful condition

'..You seem to be very brave: and that makes me proud. One feels "it hit him. It might have hit me God grant I should have borne it as bravely". ...The Life you led must have been fine: it was fine and lovely for a stranger to come into for a time. Finding you and your household in Fiji is the expression I treasure most and look back to with most delight in all my wanderings...' signed 'Goodbye and good luck, Rupert Brooke'.

The letters have been consigned to Cheffins from the deceased estate of the Douglas family, previously publishers in Edinburgh.

Charles Ashton, Director, Cheffins, says: “The price achieved today goes to show the importance of these letters, which provide an insight into the personality of one of the world’s most celebrated poets. Letters by Rupert Brooke are a rarity to the auction market, and, with this in mind, they saw significant pre-sale interest from both private collectors and trade buyers. We can surmise that the book mentioned by Rupert Brooke and the letter found their way into the Douglas family, since as publishers they would have had literary connections. We know that Brooke sailed the Pacific and spent some months in the South Seas as part of his recuperation following the collapse of his relationship with Katherine Laird Cox in 1912 and can assume that he was a guest of the Dixon family during this period. The second letter was written just before he enlisted in the army following the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914.”

The Cheffins Library Sale also included an additional 437 lots of books, maps, letters and drawings.

The price reported is the total, inclusive of buyers’ premium (24.5 per cent) and VAT.

 

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