Watership Down Author’s Library Collection Goes To Auction.

By November 23, 2017Authors, News

Richard Adams, author of the lagomorphic novel Watership Down, had a personal library many of us Reading Addicts would dream about. As a passionate bibliophile, Adams collected first editions, and rare manuscripts of his most favourite books from Shakespeare to Austen.

After his death at age 96 on Christmas Eve in 2016, his collection of books has been steadily examined and catalogued ready for auction in December 2017. Adams’ favourite book Emma by Jane Austen was amongst his collection- his copy being a rare first edition- and was well read and enjoyed by the author. Richard Adams was a true bibliophile; he did not keep his special and rare books locked away but knew they were there to be enjoyed.

Now thanks to his estate putting them up for auction they can be continued to be enjoyed.




The Watership Down author’s impressive collection of thousands of books includes a rare copy of the epic poem of Milton: Lycidas, Shakespeare’s Second Folio of 1632, a Bible that once belonged to King Charles II, and an array of first editions by 19th-century English novelists including George Eliot, Dickens, and Anthony Trollope.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers, which will sell the library on 14 December, has valued the author’s complete set of Jane Austen first editions at an amazing £60,000 to £80,000. The Lycidas is valued by the auction house at £50,000 to £70,000, while Shakespeare’s Second Folio may be worth up to £60,000.

Amongst the collection is a copy of Lord of the Flies inscribed to Richard Adams by William Golding himself: “Richard Adams spell binder extraordinaire”. It turns out that the two authors were friends and chess rivals.

Juliet Johnson, daughter of Richard Adams, wrote in an piece for Dominic Winter Auctions:

“Some of the first things he read were poems by Thomas Hardy, Treasure Island, much of Charles Dickens, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that distressed him terribly and cast a long shadow forward to the evil slave trader Genshed in his own novel Shardik. With his undergraduate studies interrupted by war, he found the works of Jane Austen, and particularly Emma, a solace and mainstay – as did thousands of soldiers both before and after him. And so it went on all his life. To Richard, books were a consolation that broadened your horizons, told you truths about things most people in your life would brush under the carpet or have no experience of, and comfort you when things were bleak.”

“He never quite succeeded in imparting to us his own overpowering love of poetry – and when I became a teenager, his overemotional poetry reading was embarrassing and made me uncomfortable – but we shared his love of novels, and generally responded enthusiastically to these,” she said. “(Once he became a successful writer) he could at last afford to indulge himself and become a true bibliophile. Much of what he collected remained unknown to us until we found it on the shelves after his death. I think it is fair to say we had no idea he had so much. Collecting became almost an obsession.”

Buy your copy of Watership Down here:




Wilde Season at Vaudeville

By | Authors, Literary Events, News | No Comments
“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.”

That famous quote from one of Wilde’s best know plays, “A Woman of No Importance”, is just one you can hear in a brand new series of his works that are being performed at London’s Vaudeville Theatre. Read More

MI5 Kept Dossier on ‘Young Communist’ Kingsley Amis

By | Authors, News | No Comments
A newly declassified dossier has shown that MI5 in the UK kept tabs on author Kingsley Amis when he was at Oxford University, referring to him as “a very promising member of the Communist Party”. The dossier, which may shock many shows that the Secret Service asked local constabularies for reports on the young academic and even quizzed Army commanders about his conduct. Read More

Darwin’s Annotated Origin Of Species To Be Sold At Auction

By | Authors, News | No Comments
A copy of Charles Darwin’s Origin Of Species has been discovered, complete with handwritten annotations by Darwin himself.  A translator of the German manuscript, HG Bronn, was thought to have had the annotated sheets when he died in 1862. Once they were retrieved and bound, the sheets were handed over to the German palaeontologist, and Darwin’s correspondent, Melchior Neumayr. The volume has apparently been with Neumayr’s descendants until now.

Read More

The Private Lives of Authors: Emily Dickinson

By | Authors, Literature | No Comments
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) was an American poet born in Massachusetts, USA. She grew up in a wealthy family, and was by all accounts a good child, causing no trouble and spending her time playing piano and reading.

Emily was a very bright young woman, and studied hard, but was plagued by morose thoughts of death. After a close friend died of typhus, Emily’s troubling thoughts of death deepened commenting a couple of years later: “it seemed to me I should die too if I could not be permitted to watch over her or even look at her face.”

As a young woman, Emily dove into poetry, reading Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson, finding influence in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and work by William Shakespeare.

Read More

Watership Down Author’s Library Collection Goes To Auction.

By | Authors, News | No Comments
Richard Adams, author of the lagomorphic novel Watership Down, had a personal library many of us Reading Addicts would dream about. As a passionate bibliophile, Adams collected first editions, and rare manuscripts of his most favourite books from Shakespeare to Austen.

After his death at age 96 on Christmas Eve in 2016, his collection of books has been steadily examined and catalogued ready for auction in December 2017. Adams’ favourite book Emma by Jane Austen was amongst his collection- his copy being a rare first edition- and was well read and enjoyed by the author. Richard Adams was a true bibliophile; he did not keep his special and rare books locked away but knew they were there to be enjoyed.

Now thanks to his estate putting them up for auction they can be continued to be enjoyed.

Read More

Leave a Reply