Next month, the Honresfield Library's unique collection of literary manuscripts, including pieces by Jane Austen, Walter Scott and the Brontë sisters, were due to be auctioned in London.
The sale orchestrated by Sotheby's was scheduled in three shifts, the first of which will be next July.
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A consortium of British libraries and museums decided otherwise. He came together to try to prevent the precious group of manuscripts from being divided and disappearing into private hands. He pledged to raise the sum to acquire the precious collection, valued at 15 million pounds (about 17.5 million euros), relates the specialized site Artnet. The auction house has agreed to postpone the auction until the institutions raise the funds.
In collaboration with the British charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), Sotheby's has agreed to postpone the start of the auction to allow negotiations for the acquisition of the entire library by a consortium of institutions for the nation,
”the auction house said in a statement.
The collection in question is the legendary Honresfield Library, an historic assemblage of handwritten letters, sketches, literary manuscripts compiled by Victorian industrialists William and Alfred Law at the end of the 19th century.
It includes poems by Emily Brontë, the autograph of Walter Scott's complete novel
from 1817, as well as letters from Jane Austen to her sister.
"The consortium is determined to raise funds to ensure that we can save the Honresfield Library for everyone to share and enjoy."
John Scally, FNL administrator and director of the National Library of Scotland
The Honresfield Library has been in the shadows since 1939, and many experts believed it had been lost. In late May, when Sotheby's announced a series of dedicated library sales, researchers quickly scrambled to find ways not to disperse it. The initiative is led by the Friends of National Libraries (FNL), a charity dedicated to the preservation of written and printed heritage in the UK, as well as a group of eight independent institutions, including the British Library, the National Library of Scotland and the museums of the Brontë, Austen and other authors. In a statement released this week, the consortiumpledged to raise the fifteen million pounds sterling needed to purchase the collection and redistribute it to libraries across the UK "
for the good of the public
The UK-wide consortium is committed to raising funds to ensure that we can save the Honresfield Library for everyone to share and enjoy,
” said John Scally, Trustee of the FNL and director of the National Library of Scotland, in a statement.
The association appealed for help from institutional donors and individual philanthropists, while the FNL launched a crowdfunding campaign. "
We are delighted to play our part in the preservation of this great library,
" said Gabriel Heaton, specialist in English literature and historical manuscripts at Sotheby's, in a statement. Before adding: “
This unprecedented initiative is a testament to the continued power of literature to inspire audiences so many years after these writers first wrote.