Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #78 ends in

Stern (Irma)


Signed, Inscribed and includes a separate handwritten letter by Irma Stern to Anthony Thompson (cataloguer at UCT Library who helped her write her book).

Published: J L van Schaik, Ltd., Pretoria, 1943

Edition: First Edition

Current Bid: $0

Reserve: $10,000


Estimate: $20,000

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50 pages (complete). 24 grayscale tipped-in plates, other photographed works, plus sketched illustrations. The book is covered with cloth and woven grass. The titling is in claret. The spine and spine area is covered in woven grass to make a decorative raffia style.

The stone coloured woven cloth has some light handling marks with minimal shelving wear about the edges and corners. Otherwise the book is in very good condition indeed.

First edition of Stern's visit to the Congo in the late 1930s, numbered 11 of a limited edition of 300 copies. Signed by Irma Stern on the certification page. On the same page an inscription in Stern's hand with a second signature: "To Anthony Thompson with sincerest thanks - for rocking me over many a cliff - Irma Stern 1943". The front paste-down has affixed to it a review of this book by Prebble Rayner.

Most interesting is the following handwritten letter to Anthony Thompson in which she acknowledges his help with the book;

"The Firs, Chapel Road, Rosebank, Dec 9. 1943.

Dear Mr Thompson

Thank you for your letter which in returning yesterday I found waiting for me. So I have to apologise very sincerely in this delay. I hope though you still will receive this letter before you leave. - Many thanks for your very kind and generous assistance - helping me write my book. The book is now out and I am posting you a copy.

I hope you are going to have a most enjoyable vacation and will come and see me with your wife, after your return.

Best regards

Yours Sincerely

Irma Stern."

Anthony Thompson was working as a cataloguer at the University of Cape Town library at the time. He worked there from 1937-1944. The letter is neatly affixed to the frontispiece. It is in excellent condition as is the ink. Thompson (very neatly) inscribed his name and address on the frontispiece.

'Anthony Thompson was born in Edenbridge, Kent in 1911. He was educated at Bedales School, Kent and Magdalene College, Cambridge where he graduated in Modern Languages (French and German) and an Advanced Diploma in Russian. Thompson worked as a cataloguer in the Department of Printed Books at the British Museum (1935-1936) and at the University of Cape Town (1937-1944) before leaving to serve in World War II. On his return to the UK, Thompson worked as the Librarian at: Edinburgh College of Art (1947-1948); the Royal Institute of British Architects (1948-1953) and the Science Museum (1953-1959), before taking up the position of full-time Secretary for the International Federation of Library Associations.

  • Binding Condition: Very good
  • Overall Condition: Very good plus
  • Name: Booktown Africana
  • Contact Person: Chris Shelton
  • Country: South Africa
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  • Telephone: 0679155808
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Internet banking transfer (EFT), PAYPAL. Regret no Credit Card facility.
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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