Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #110 begins on 28 Sep 2023

US Auction #16 begins on 18 Oct 2023

Mrs. Jacoba De la Rey, Louise Vescelius-Sheldon, and Lucie Lady Duff Gordon

A Woman's Wanderings and Trials during the Anglo-Boer War AND An I.D.B. in South Africa AND Letters from the Cape

Three women reflect on their distinctly different experiences in South Africa- Mrs. (General) De la Rey, a recently widowed American visitor, and the ailing Lady Duff Gordon. See also Frances S. Colenso's Letters.

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A Woman's Wanderings and Trials during the Anglo-Boer War. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1903. Translated by Lucy Hotz. First edition (pp. 144, adverts). Duodecimo (19 cm) in brown cloth, red-lettered titles; eight photographic illustrations of scenes in camp and on the trail. Unwin’s paper is browned and getting browner, but holding. Otherwise a Near Fine copy.


An I. D. B. in South Africa. London: Trubner, [1888?]. First edition (pp. 206). Duodecimo (19 cm) in green cloth, gilt titles, pictorial decoration. A number of drawings by way of illustration. Vescelius-Sheldon’s second book, a novel featuring a tangled tale of diamond smuggling, miscegenation, and local colour. An "I. D. B." is an illicit diamond buyer. Her first book, Yankee Girls in Zulu Land (1887), was an account, perhaps embellished, of her adventures in South Africa with her two sisters. Vescellius-Sheldon was a concert singer, writer, and a Yankee (she was born in Newark, New Jersey, c. 1846). A Near Fine copy.


Letters from the Cape. Gathered and recorded by Janet Ross, annotated by Dorothea Fairbridge. London: OUP, Humphrey Milford, 1927.  First edition thus (pp. xii, 163). Octavo (22 cm) in dark red polished calf, gilt titles, all-over gilt decoration, a.e.g., gilt doublures, marbled endpapers; illustrated with twenty plates. Better known for her letters from Egypt, whence she removed upon leaving South Africa, Lady Duff-Gordon lived for perhaps two years at the Cape, beginning in 1861, where she hoped to find a climate easier on her delicate constitution than that at home in England. Much more at Mendelssohn (I: 620). A Fine copy of this highly decorative edition… given her reputation as a sympathetic and unaffected personality, Lucie Austin might not have admired the Oxfordian glitz of the binding. Still, an awfully pretty book.

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