Library and Archives Canada confirmed Thursday it purchased eight lots of Canadiana at an auction conducted Wednesday in London by Christie's auctioneers. The lots, for which LAC paid almost $183,000, including buyer's premium, were among 325 offerings consigned to Christie's by the estate of Peter Winkworth. Before his death at 76 in 2005, the London-born, Canada-raised, Oxford-educated Winkworth spent 45 years famously and ferociously collecting Canadiana artifacts relating mostly to the 18th and 19th-century colonial periods.
LAC already is the major holder of Winkworth artifacts, having directly purchased more than 4,000 prints, oils, watercolours, maps, charts, books and assorted ephemera in separate sales in 2002 and 2008. Wednesday's auction, which garnered sales totalling more than $6.5- million, represented the final dispersal of the Winkworth Collection which had been housed primarily in the Winkworth mansion in Kensington until the death of Winkworth's wife, Franca, in 2013.
LAC's purchases Wednesday were a mix of paintings, illustrations and journal material. Its single costliest acquisition, at $46,750, was a large oil of a fish hatchery in Newcastle, N.B., painted by Edward Scope Shrapnel in 1883. Pre-sale, Christie's affixed an estimate of $9,350-$14,960 to the canvas.
Two of the acquired lots consisted of two items. One was a two-volume illustrated journal, titled Journal of a tour in Canada, the United States and Jamaica, 1833-1835, by Alfred Domett, a British colonial secretary (1811-1877); it was purchased for close to $24,000, The other lot consisted of drawings, on paper in pencil, sepia and blue wash, of scenes of pioneer life circa 1831. Both, done by Capt. James Edward Alexander, a British officer and illustrator, sold for a total of about $21,100.