The Collection of The Garden Ltd. Magnificent Books and Manuscripts.
New York: Sotheby's, 11.9-10.89,
large quarto, cloth. (444)pp, 308 items listed. Sotheby's, Item #7412
This magnificent sale has a 4pp. Foreword by Nicolas Barker followed by a 10pp. Preface by the book collector (as he liked to be addressed), Haven O' More. A fantastic [auto]biographical statement, written in the third person, ends the catalogue. The sale of this library, The Garden Ltd., was brought about by a lawsuit filed by Michael Davis against Haven O'More. Davis, son of the businessman, Leonard Davis, entered into a partnership with O'More in which Davis turned over control of $17 million to O'More as the sole general partner of The Garden Ltd., an association formed " primarily to write and develop new manuscripts, to rewrite, edit and publish manuscripts, and to hold and collect rare books and manuscripts." The tale of this financial partnership and its collapse, and more interesting, the story behind the enigmatic Haven O'More is told in detail in Nicholas Basbane's book, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, chapter 6, "To Have and to Have No More. " Not to be overlooked is the magnificent library built by O'More. As Nicolas Barker states in his Foreword, "The decision to choose the best authors and the best works, in the best available copies, is aptly demonstrated." Beginning with an Egyptian manuscript [ca. 1080-746 B.C.] Book of the Dead, there are copies of the first Ptolemy and Aesop, first editions of Dante, the first printing in Greek of Homer, all four Shakespeare folios, the first edition of Don Quixote, Paradise Lost, Blake' Songs of Innocence and of Experience, and his Book of Thel. Redoute watercolors on vellum, Johnson's English Dictionary, Melville's copy of Dante's Divine Comedy heavily annotated, a first edition of The Whale, the Swann-Streeter copy of Leaves of Grass, W. B. Yeats, Albert Einstein, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Hart Crane, Cobden-Sanderson's copy of the Kelmscott Press Chaucer inscribed by Morris, Ashendene Press, Eragny Press, Doves Press, Shakespeare Head Press, Cranach Press, Golden Cockerel, Gregynog, Arion Press, and much, much more. Fine.