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Books & Manuscripts

  • Fidel Castro Signed Speech Transcript
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    Fidel Castro Signed Speech Transcript


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    • A rare signature by one of the most significant political leaders of the 20th century

    Fidel Castro (1926 – 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who led the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, and then as President from 1976 to 2008.

    Castro was the architect behind the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which overturned the right-wing authoritarian government and turned the nation into a one-party socialist state.

    Castro remains one of the most divisive political figures of the 20th century, revered by many as a champion of social justice and anti-imperialism, and hated by others as a brutal dictator.

    Prior to his death in November 2016, Castro was listed on the PFC40 Autograph Index as the world's most valuable living signature, with the price of his autograph having risen 16.9% per annum since 2000.


    This printed booklet contains the text of a speech by Fidel Castro entitled "Pay tribute to the empire or pay tribute to the motherland".

    Castro gave the speech on July 18, 1985, during the final session of the Latin American and Caribbean Workers Trade Union conference in Havana.

    The conference was held at the peak of the Latin American debt crisis, which saw many countries crippled by billions of dollars in foreign debts far outweighing their national GDP.

    Many delegates, including Castro himself, called for the debts to be cancelled to help the Central American economy to recover.

    "I like the total cancellation of the debt more than a mouse would like a ton of Swiss cheese,' said Castro during the conference, and later suggested "the debt will never be paid's mathematically impossible".

    During the conclusion of his stirring speech, Castro declared:

    "I have sometimes been accused of being an optimist.  Some companeros remember when we met for the first time, and we were seven guerrilla members carrying rifles...

    "I told them: We have won the war.  We were only seven men.  Some companeros said that out of respect for me, they said nothing, but they disagreed...Anyway, time went by and we won the war.  So, do not be afraid to be optimistic.  Life has shown me that we must not be afraid to be optimistic. 

    "I told you that I know this continent, this region of the world can become free and lead the struggle.  Today, we are also fully convinced that the workers will also be leaders of this struggle between the different levels and sectors of the population.  They will be the vanguard of this struggle."

    The booklet is signed boldly by Castro in black ink on the title page, and remains in good condition, with light creasing to the front cover.

    Booklet measures 5.5 x 8".

  • Frank James handwritten letter
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    Frank James handwritten letter


    • A touching handwritten love letter by one of the most legendary outlaws of the Old West

    Frank James (1843 – 1915) was a U.S Civil War Confederate guerrilla and notorious Old West outlaw.

    Together with his younger brother Jesse James, he helped established the James-Younger Gang, which robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches throughout the southern states.

    The gang cultivated a reputation as folk heroes, with help from the editor of the Kansas City Times, who published Jesse James' letters and proclaimed him to be a modern-day Robin Hood.

    The gang's spree of robberies and murder lasted from 1866 until 1876, when several members were killed or captured during a disastrous raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

    Frank James retired from his life of crime soon after, but his brother Jesse struggled to adapt to normal life, and formed a new gang which continued to operate for several years.

    Following the murder of Jesse by fellow gang member Robert Ford in 1882, Frank James feared for his own life and surrendered to the authorities, stating:

    "I have been hunted for twenty-one years, have literally lived in the saddle, have never known a day of perfect peace. It was one long, anxious, inexorable, eternal vigil."

    He was tried for his roles in two robberies/murders in Missouri and Alabama, and was acquitted in both cases, before returning to Oklahoma to live with his family.

    For the next 30 years Frank James held a variety of jobs, including a shoe salesman, an AT&T telegraph operator and even a ticket taker in a burlesque theatre.

    He also gave public lectures on the Old West, invested in Buckskin Bill's Wild West Show, and gave tours of the James family farm, where he eventually passed away in 1915 at the age of 72.

    Frank James and Ann Ralston

    The story of how Frank James first met Ann Ralston remains somewhat of a mystery.

    She was the highly-educated daughter of a wealthy businessman, and was working as a teacher when she suddenly eloped with James in the summer of 1875.

    Her parents received a letter which read simply "Dear Mother: I am married and going West. Annie Reynolds", and were distraught at her disappearance.

    It wasn't until several months later that they discovered their new son-in-law was one of the country's most wanted men.

    In 1876 Ann's father arranged for a New York newspaper article about the marriage, to ensure his family was not linked to the criminal gang

    "The James brothers, who are, with the Younger boys, creating so much stir just now, have had a love scrape, or at least one of them has. But this love affair is different from all other love affairs. No one who knows anything of the career of the James brothers would expect them to woo, win and marry like other people...

    "Mr. Ralston has had no connection or communication with the train robbers whatever. His daughter he has not seen since she left home, a year and one month ago.

    "If she is alive she will not write home, lest her letters should guide the officers to her husband's retreat. If she was dead Frank James would have notified her parents. So they can only rest patiently in the uncertainty of perhaps seeing their daughter again."

    Ralston never returned home, but despite the dramatic nature of their courtship and Frank's life of crime, they maintained a happy and stable marriage.

    They had a son, Robert Franklin James, and following Frank's surrender and subsequent acquittal for murder in 1883, they remained together until his death in 1915.

    Ann Ralston James lived out the rest of her days on the James family farm, before passing away in 1944, and the couple's ashes were buried together at Hill Park Cemetery in Jackson County, Missouri.

    The letter

    The letter, dated July 7, 1883, was written by James to his wife whilst incarcerated in jail in Gallatin, Missouri.

    He was awaiting trial for murder and robbery of the Rock Island Line train at Winston, Missouri, in which the train engineer William Westfall and a passenger Frank McMillan were killed.

    Having spent a year in custody, James' trial began on August 20, and lasted just three days, before the jury returned a resounding verdict of 'not guilty'.

    The tender love letter reveals James to be both highly romantic and highly literate.

    Although he lived much of his life as a violent outlaw, he had been raised as a preacher's son surrounded by books, and during his youth developed a love for the works of Shakespeare.

    James was said to always carry a book in his saddle bag, even when he was on the run from the law, and he shared this passion for literature with Ann throughout their 40-year marriage.

    He writes, in part:

    "If there is anything on Earth that is half as dear to me as my wife I have failed to find it. You are everything to me and the only living human being that has ever possessed my whole love, my entire confidence and the only one that ever will and I feel as that love and confidence will never be abused.

    "I have lived as I think to see my fondest hopes realised. Long years ago I hoped and prayed that God would give me a true woman for my wife and I feel as he has done."

    James signs the letter as 'Ben', a protective alias that he used when writing to his loved ones.

    The single page letter, with text on both sides, measures 203 by 126mm, with fold creases and bleeding of ink in some sections.

    A remarkable piece of history, which offers a personal insight into one of the Old West's most legendary figures.

  • J.K Rowling illustrated personal horoscope
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    J.K Rowling illustrated personal horoscope


    • An incredibly rare unpublished work by J.K.Rowling
    • A personal Horoscope with a hand drawn natal chart for Jack David Buchanan, born 19 February 1994, 5.01 p.m.

    Unpublished illustrations and writings by J.K. Rowling are incredibly rare and offer a wonderful insight into the creative mind behind Harry Potter.

    This horoscope provides a fascinating example of Rowling's prose.

    On white paper, with double-sided typescript on yellow card providing a detailed interpretative reading, including of the sun sign, ascendant, ruling planets, significant conjunctions and oppositions, and their effect on character, personal strengths, possible careers, emotional and erotic characteristics, and compatibility with other signs, and a cover illustration depicting the chart's key astrological symbols in pen, ink, and coloured pencil laid down on bright blue coloured card.

    Comprising 12 loose pages in a plastic folder. In excellent, mint condition.

    "Born the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces. He will enjoy school, perhaps be accident-prone, (like all Pisces) could be prone to alcoholism, and (perhaps like us all) may well fall in love with someone totally incompatible.

    The chart apparently suggests that the boy will have great literary talent ("...the planet of fantasy and imagination meets a sign frequently associated with bookishness...")

    Rowling wonders whether his "ability to weave a good yarn" could perhaps bring fame and fortune, before deciding that becoming a film director would better suit his talents.

    Apparently wishing for some small slice of fame for herself, J.K. Rowling wonders if the boy would perhaps at least mention her in his Oscar acceptance speech ("...This peculiar woman my mother knows predicted I would be standing before you today ... of course, my parents laughed at the time...") ...Human destiny may be deciphered by the planetary rays... (Professor Trelawny)

    It is possible to detect in this short piece some of the characteristics that were shortly to bring Rowling's prose such extraordinary success: a great and varied sense of humour, flights of fancy underpinned by an internal logic, and - of course - a mingling of the everyday world with the strange and magical.

    The horoscopes show Rowling to have a detailed technical knowledge of Western astrology.

    She is at ease explaining the significance of having one's Moon in the First House but peppers her interpretations with quotations and wryly amusing comparisons.

    In general the astrologers that she cites tend to be popular rather than academic.

    Rowling's knowledge of astrology has undoubtedly played into the Harry Potter books.

    Harry himself is a Leo (sharing his birthday with J.K. Rowling herself), whilst the meticulous worrier Hermione is naturally a Virgo.

    An important influence on Harry in the first book is Firenze the centaur, a star-gazer who helps and teaches him before his first encounter with Voldemort.

    Sybill Trelawney, Professor of Divination, makes an appearance in later books; she is considered by many a fraud (and is a fine satire of New Age fortune tellers) but her predictions frequently come true in unexpected ways.

    On a deeper level, an issue that goes to the heart of astrology is the apparent conflict between free will and fate, and this is one of the central themes of the Harry Potter series.

    NB: Please note copyright remains with J.K. Rowling and no permission is granted for reproduction

  • J.K Rowling personal illustrated horoscope
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    J.K Rowling personal illustrated horoscope


    • A rare, unpublished and illustrated work by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling

    J.K Rowling (1965 -) is an English author, screenwriter, producer and philanthropist.

    Rowling is the creator of the Harry Potter series of children's novels, which to date has sold a record 400 million copies worldwide.

    The seven best-selling books also spawned a series of blockbuster Hollywood movies, video games, several theme park attractions, and an empire of merchandise worth an estimated $25 billion.  

    Aside from her literary career, Rowling has also been praised for her philanthropic work, and has raised tens of millions for good causes including Comic Relief and her own children's charity Lumos.

    The document

    J.K Rowling's fascination with astrology can be seen throughout the Harry Potter series of books, in characters such as Professor of Divination Sybill Trelawney and Firenze the star-gazing centaur.

    Whilst writing her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rowling also produced highly detailed personal horoscopes for some of her friends.

    This horoscope was written for Roger Julian Tosswill, who Rowling first met along with his partner Kate Buchanan during ante natal classes.

    Rowling also wrote a similarly detailed horoscope for their newborn son Jack Buchanan, which we are able to offer for sale here.

    Tosswill is a Libra, born October 13, 1966 at 11.05pm, and the horoscope covers his personality traits, relationships, potential careers and compatibility with his partner.

    The close relationship Rowling shared with the family is evident throughout the horoscope.

    When comparing the couple, she writes: "I should say at the outset that these two horoscopes (Roger and Kate) could have come straight out of an astrological text-book, captioned 'compatible partners'."

    And in reference to young Jack Buchanan, she writes: "The words 'isn't he like his father?' are likely to be repeated with tiresome regularity throughout Jack's childhood."

    Throughout the 12 page document Rowling displays a strong knowledge of astrology, referencing texts such as the influential 15th century French work 'The Kalendar and Compost of Shepherds'.

    The strength and humour of her writing also clearly shines through, particularly during a passage in which she images the couple escaping from international terrorists, using hand grenades made from Coke cans and Semtex "weaselled out of a guard who was no match for his Machiavellian Mars".

    The 12-page folio document features Rowling's cover illustration in pen, ink and coloured pencil, mounted on a sheet of blue card.

    The horoscope is a double-sided typescript on yellow card, and the astrological chart is printed on white paper with annotations in Rowling's hand, laminated with a sheet of plastic.

    The entire document is hole-punched, and bound together with gold and silver ribbons.

    Two of the pages feature small tears around the hole punches, and the cover displays signs of wear around the edges.

    A unique document, written and illustrated by the world's most successful living author.

    NB: Please note copyright remains with J.K. Rowling and no permission is granted for reproduction

  • Lewis Carroll Pair of Handwritten Letters
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    Lewis Carroll Pair of Handwritten Letters


    • A pair of handwritten letters by one of the most influential writers of the 19th century.

    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), known more commonly by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was a renowned English writer, mathematician and photographer.

    As Carroll he wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), its sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871), and the epic poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876), all of which are classic examples of the literary nonsense genre.

    To date his works have sold millions of copies around the world, and have inspired countless adaptations on the stage and screen.

    Dodgson was also a highly skilled amateur photographer, who took up the new art form during the 1850s and established his own studio, creating an estimated 3,000 photographs during his life.


    In January 1877 Dodgson began a correspondence with Edward T. Draper, an agent for the Royal Marines and a fellow amateur photographer.

    Draper sent Dodgson several photographs, including some of his 13-year-old daughter Dolly, telling him she was a fan of his books.

    Dodgson then wrote in return to Dolly Draper, and struck up a friendship with the family.

    These two handwritten letters are part of that correspondence.

    Dodgson's first letter, dated February 5, 1877, included a photograph of himself and poked fun at his famous 'alter ego' of Lewis Carroll:

    "Here is the portrait of the man I told you about. He is no relation of mine (but I have known him all my life)—at least, if he is a relation, I don’t know what sort of relation you would call him—He is about the same age as I am, but he certainly isn’t my brother, nor any kind of cousin."

    The four-page letter is written across two adjoining sheets, and measures 3.25 x 5.25". In fine condition, with a rusty paperclip mark on the top of the front page.

    In the second letter, dated April 12, 1877, Dodgson mentions sending Draper and her family copies of his most famous books, and also includes a piece of nonsense wordplay typical of his work:

    "I think the only way to prevent you all forgetting me again…is to send each a copy of some one of my 3 books…I’ll tell you what I was thinking of sending…—For Jessie, Alice’s Adventures…for Roger, the Snark…& for you, the Looking-glass…

    "With these helps, you may perhaps remember me for a while, but it will give a far better chance if you would put me in among your Modern History dates…—And then if even Roger says ‘Why, I don’t believe you care a fig for Mr. Dodgson,’ you can say ‘Ah, but I care a date for him!’"

    The three page letter is written on two adjoining sheets, measuring 4.5 x 7", and is in fine condition. Dodgson's signature at the bottom of the letter has been clipped, and replaced with a facsimile.

    Both letters are written in Dodgson's trademark violet ink, an unusual colour which he used for the majority of his correspondence throughout his life.

    Additionally, the second letter is contained in its original folder from Walter Benjamin Autographs, the renowned US autograph dealership established in 1887.

    Benjamin is recognized as playing a significant role is the development of the autograph collecting hobby in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the company continued to trade for 121 years.

    Later typed copies of both the letters are also included.

  • Madonna handwritten song lyrics
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    Madonna handwritten song lyrics


    • A sheet of handwritten song lyrics from the Queen of Pop

    Madonna (1958 -) is one of the most iconic figures in pop music history.

    Known simply as the "Queen of Pop", Madonna is renowned for pushing creative boundaries and the ability to continually reinvent herself as a performer.

    Over a career spanning 35 years, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, making her the world's most successful female artist.

    She is also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, with ticket sales of more than $1 billion since 1990.

    Alongside her music career, Madonna has enjoyed a successful career as an actress, starring in 16 feature films and winning a Golden Globe for her role as Eva Peron in the 1996 musical Evita.

    Madonna's music continues to influence generations of female artists, and she remains a cultural icon to millions of fans around the world.

    The document

    These lyrics for an unreleased song were handwritten by Madonna in blue ballpoint pen.

    The 22-line manuscript originate from the personal collection of Darlene Lutz, Madonna's long-time friend who served as her personal art consultant for many years.

    The page of lined yellow paper measures 8.5" x 11", and is in good condition.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte Order of the Iron Crown Signed Document
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    Napoleon Bonaparte Order of the Iron Crown Signed Document


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    • A significant historical document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the most influential military and political leaders in human history.

    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) was a French military and political leader who ruled over much of Europe during the early 19th century.

    Having risen to prominence during the French Revolution, he engineered a coup and became Emperor of France in 1804, whilst his armies swept across Europe creating a new empire for him to rule over.

    Napoleon is regarded as one of the finest military commanders in history, and his tactics and campaigns are studied at military schools to this day. When once asked to name the greatest military general of the time, the Duke of Wellington replied: "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon."

    Napoleon's dreams of conquering Europe finally ended in June 1815, when the French were defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, and he was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena where he died in 1821.

    Many of the ideas that underpin modern society, such as meritocracy, religious tolerance, property rights, secular education, and the encouragement of science and the arts, were firmly established across Europe during Napoleon's reign.

    He remains one of the most influential and controversial leaders in human history, whose political and cultural legacy can still be felt more than 200 years later.

    Having conquered most of Italy during the early years of the 19th century, Napoleon decided to convert the republic into a kingdom, and crowned himself as King at the Cathedral of Monza in Milan on May 26, 1805.

    Napoleon was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, a medieval gold crown said to include iron from a nail used at the crucifixion of Jesus, and proclaimed: "God gives it to me, beware whoever touches it".

    Napoleon's full title became Emperor of the French and King of Italy, signifying the importance he placed on the role.

    To commemorate his coronation, Napoleon also established the Order of the Iron Crown on June 5, 1805. This chivalric order of merit was divided into three classes, consisting of 20 grand cross knights, 100 commander knights, and 500 ordinary knights.

    Initially, Napoleon bestowed the honours on members of his French army who had distinguished themselves in battle. However, he quickly began awarding titles to Italian officials such as bishops, judges and mayors, in a bid to legitimise the order and entrench support for himself as King.

    The order was disbanded after the collapse of the French Empire in 1814, but was later re-established in 1815 by Francis I, Emperor of Austria, when Imperial Austria regained control of Lombardy.

    This manuscript document is dated February 14, 1809, and was signed by Napoleon at the Imperial Tuileries Palace in Paris.

    The document is a decree presented to the Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Iron Crown, naming 19 men as Knights of the Order of the Iron Crown.

    The list includes officers from several military regiments, such as the 1st Regiment of Italian Light Infantry, the 4th Regiment of Italian Infantry of the Line, the Royal Italian Chasseurs, the Napoleon Regiment of Dragoons and the Italian Regiment of Sappers.

    Signed boldly by Napoleon, the clean and crisp document measures 20 x 30.5cm and is in good condition.

  • Paul Signac autograph manuscript and sketches
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    Paul Signac autograph manuscript and sketches


    • A fascinating document by of one of the most significant French artists of the 20th century.

    Paul Signac (1863-1935) was a French Neo-Impressionist painter who developed the style of Pointilism along with George Seurat.

    Signac worked alongside many of the greatest artists of the era, including Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Camille Pissarro and Odilon Redon, and shared a close friendship with Vincent van Gough.

    In 1884 Signac was one of the four founding members of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, an association which hosted major exhibitions and set important artistic trends for more than three decades.

    He also wrote several important works on the theory of art, and throughout his life served as both an inspiration and a patron to younger artists.

     This four page manuscript features a series of pencil drawings and sketches, along with lengthy annotations in French which offer an insight into Paul Signac's artistic process.

    The rough illustrations on page one of the manuscript include notes referring to colours and background scenery of a possible future work:

    "Opposite a white palace, with pink line, harmony in pink, with green blinds… Communal Palace.. retouching Gozzoli virgin fresco…blue background…"

    The second page features four individual sketches, with figures and religious imagery such as a virgin and an angel. These scenes are accompanied by notes, which read in part:

    "The small virgin in white,…right wall with chorus, landscape with sun, white, pink…a clown scene with the dog and cat under the bed...the chapel of St. Martin…"

    The third page include a lengthy annotation which reads in part "...the dry aspect that the murals research and the shapes can achieve…", along with a quick line sketch which is developed more fully on the fourth page.

    This second version of the sketch depicts a small cottage on a shoreline, with a large cliff face rising up behind it.

    Signac had a love of sailing, spending many summers throughout his life exploring the French coast, and the shorelines in the South of France – perhaps including this very scene - were amongst his most popular subjects.

  • The Casual Vacancy First Edition Signed by J.K. Rowling
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    The Casual Vacancy First Edition Signed by J.K. Rowling


    J.K Rowling (1965-) is one of the best-selling authors in literary history.

    As the creator of the Harry Potter series of novels, Rowling has sold more than 400 million books around the world, and the cultural phenomenon has spawned a media franchise of films and theme parks worth $25 billion.

    Rowling has also been praised for her philanthropic work, and has raised tens of millions for good causes including Comic Relief and her own children's charity Lumos.

    In 2012, following the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, Rowling published her acclaimed first novel for adults entitled The Casual Vacancy.

    The book, which dealt with social issues and the dark private lives of a small English community, sold a million copies within its first three weeks, and was later adapted for television by the BBC.

    This first-edition hardback copy of The Casual Vacancy is signed by Rowling on the title-page in black ink.

    The book also includes an official J.K Rowling hologram sticker, which the author now adds to signed copies of her books to authenticate them.

    Complete with dust jacket, publisher's black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, corners slightly bumped.

  • The Silkworm First Edition Signed by J.K Rowling as Robert Galbraith
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    J.K Rowling (1965-) is one of the best-selling authors in literary history.

    As the creator of the Harry Potter series of novels, Rowling has sold more than 400 million books around the world, and the cultural phenomenon has spawned a media franchise of films and theme parks worth $25 billion.

    Rowling has also been praised for her philanthropic work, and has raised tens of millions for good causes including Comic Relief and her own children's charity Lumos.

    Following the conclusion of the Harry Potter series in 2007, Rowling published the adult fiction novel The Casual Vacancy in 2012.

    In 2013 she also published her first crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, featuring the private detective Cormorant Strike.

    The novel was written under the pseudonym 'Robert Galbraith', and was critically acclaimed as a debut novel for a new crime author – until Galbraith's true identity was uncovered by reporters.  

    The Silkworm, published in 2014, is the second of Rowling's three detective novels written as Galbraith.

    To date, the 'Cormorant Strike' series has sold more than two million copies worldwide, and has been adapted for television, with the series set to air in 2017.


    This first-edition hardback copy of the book is signed by Rowling as "Robert Galbraith" on the title-page in black ink.

    The book also includes an official J.K Rowling hologram sticker, which the author adds to signed copies of her books to authenticate them.

    Complete with dust jacket, publisher's black cloth, spine lettered in gilt.

  • William Wordsworth Autographed Poetry Quotation
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    William Wordsworth Autographed Poetry Quotation


    • A handwritten poetry inscription signed by one of history's most celebrated poets

    William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is one of history's most famous poets, and was a founder of the Romantic Age in English literature.

    In 1798 Wordsworth and his close friend, poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published their volume 'Lyrical Ballads', which inspired a generation of Romantic writers including John Keats, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake.

    Wordsworth served as Britain's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850, and is most renowned for 'Daffodils', one of the world's most famous poems, which begins with the iconic line "I wandered lonely as a cloud..."


    In this handwritten note, Wordsworth has inscribed four lines from the poem 'Old Age' by the 17th century poet and politician Edmund Waller:

    "The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
    Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
    Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
    As they draw near to their eternal home."

    The note is signed "Wm Wordsworth", and is dated "6 July, 1839".

    It also bears the address of Wordsworth's Lake District home Rydal Mount, where he lived from 1813 until his death in 1850, and which today remains a public museum dedicated to his life and work.

    The page measures 17 x 20.3 cm (approx. 6.7" x 7.9"), and features a small tear to the upper left portion, along with two horizontal fold creases.