The Bookplate Collection of Brian North Lee, FSA (1936-2007)
Collections, built during a lifetime with patience, cunningness and wit, in a never ending pursuit of the wanted and missing items, sometimes with sacrifices, and enriched by the collector’s research and eventually with items duly catalogued and archived, usually end up in Public Museums or Libraries – more or less hidden – or are sold in the market.
For other collectors a chance is then open to augment and improve his collection but in this case purchasing power and a bit of luck is paramount. But the collection will be inevitably dispersed, which is always sad to watch.
Brian North Lee books and bookplate collection met this fatal destiny.
Part of his fine bookplate collection was sold at Bonhams, at New Bond Street, on 13 Nov 2007, divided in lots 51-73 of the Auction Sale’s catalogue (see, The Bookplate Society website).
Especially rich in Jacobean and Chippendale British armorial bookplates, the collection was arranged for sale by albums, in some cases with more or less 500 items each, fetching prices which ranged from £ 6,200 - £ 450.
But the high point of the collection was lot 71 - «ROYALTY Seventeen albums, containing approximately 800 bookplates for members of the Royal family, British and European aristocracy and related figures» as described in Bonhams fine Catalogue. Fetching £ 6,200!
Another lot - with very sought after rare bookplates - was # 64 containing 350 Indian bookplates, was sold for £ 1,800.
Lot #65 AR containing bookplates and sketches by John Lawrence was sold at £ 1,400. (see, Sale #15232 at Bonhams on-line catalogue and sales result).
Let's hope that those fine bookplates ended up in good hands.
Brian North Lee’s library in turn is being sold by Claude Cox who has issued an on-line Catalogue 178 - Summer 2007
Last issue of «The Bookplate Journal» [Vol. 5, Nº 2, Sept. 2007) has an Obituary, by Paul Latcham.
See, also our Brian North Lee - R.I.P.