24 January 2018

Sneak Preview of Sylvia Plath/Ted Hughes Bonhams Auction Lots

Maev Kennedy wrote in today's print edition of The Guardian about the forthcoming Bonhams auction:  "Writers' Lives: Auction offers intimate glimpses inside the marriage of Plath and Hughes" (pg 7). The article, though, posted online yesterday. It's safe to say in the Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes realm, the news went viral.

Frieda Hughes is set to auction about 108 lots of items from the estates of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Olwyn Hughes that she inherited. The range of items is breathtaking for peanut-crunchers and collectors, archivists, and librarians. Clothing, jewelry, personal library books, typescripts, and realia such as furniture. The items reflect the lives of, at a minimum, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Frieda Hughes, Nicholas Hughes, Olwyn Hughes, William Hughes, Edith Hughes, Otto Plath, and Aurelia Plath.

When I learned about the auction in December it was really hard to obey the request for confidentiality. But, I did it! When I saw the early catalogue last, which was honored to proof and to edit, I was practically hyperventilating. I have been given the go-ahead to post a few of them here.

However, please keep in mind this is early, and titles, descriptions, and maybe even pricing is subject to change. The full catalogue will be available about a month before the 21 March 2018 auction date.

Green leather folding double photo frame, gilt blocked "S.P." and "June 15, 1954" on the upper cover, slightly rubbed, 215 x 165mm., [1954]

£200 - 400

Plath's "dragon" pendant and chain, with maker's stamp "Coro", base metal, openwork Maltese Cross design flanked by two dragons, some wear, diameter 50mm., [1950s]

£2,000 - 3,000

Meet My Folks!, FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED TO SYLVIA PLATH "To Sylvia with all my love from Ted, April 1st, 1961", illustrations by George Adamson, publisher's pictorial boards, dust-jacket [Sagar/Tabor A4], small 4to, Faber and Faber, 1961

£2,000 - 3,000

A Japanese blue embroidered silk jacket, light blue lining, 4 toggled "frog" buttons and mandarin collar, shoulders faded, label "Made in Japan"; A blue collarless tunic top, damask pattern, with label "Made in Italy. Dickins and Jones, Regent Street" (2)

£400 - 600

Animal Poems, SPECIAL PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO HIS SON, WITH 9 MANUSCRIPT POEMS, interleaved, with the additional manuscript poems written in black in on 10 pages (including the title), manuscript correction by Hughes to one printed poem ("Otter"), green morocco gilt by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, g.e., slipcase [Sagar/Tabor A13], 4to, [Richard Gilbertson, [1967]

£2,000 - 3,000

Are your appetite's whetted? Start saving your pennies!

All links accessed 24 January 2018.


Tim Clair said...

With 108 items (or lots) there must be something I'm down for that won't require a bank loan. Thank you, Frieda. It must be difficult to let go of some it.

Hélène said...

sooo excited to see the catalogue!!!

Eva Stenskar said...

I've been wondering so long about that necklace... Any idea who gave it to her (Ted)?

A Piece of Plathery said...

AHHHH Can we purchase the catalogue through Bonhams?

Peter K Steinberg said...

Tim-- Good luck if and when you bid!!
Hélène: Me too... I've seen the descriptions but I can't wait to see the pictures.
Eva: I'm not sure who gave it to Plath or when she got it. I feel like it was purchased in Northampton or Boston in 1958 as I'm not sure I remember seeing it ever before then.
Plathery: Yes, the catalogue, once finalized, will be available for purchase. Maybe even download as a PDF, too.


Amy in Texas said...

Eva- I too have wondered about that necklace! Knowing the jeweler's mark is extremely helpful. CORO was a very well-known US costume jewelry maker, and I have already found many examples of this coat-of-arms style of pendant necklace from them. Similar styles are all from the mid 50's.
Exciting stuff for those of us who are kind of obsessive.

Amy in Texas said...

I also have an ad from Seventeen magazine that advertises the CORO "Heraldic" line of jewelry with very similar examples. It's dated March, 1952. Comments wouldn't let me post it, so here is the url:


Eva Stenskar said...

Amy in Texas - thank you! Interesting stuff.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you, Amy in Texas, for these comments. They are very useful and very much appreciated! ~pks

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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017.
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2, 1956-1963. London: Faber, 2018.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.