LIFE

From the Battle of Navarino to Cavafy, rare manuscripts go under the hammer

A previously unpublished manuscript describing the landmark Battle of Navarino during the Greek War of Independence is going under the hammer in Athens. The battle, which took place on October 20, 1827, off the southwestern coast of the Peloponnese, pitted the Ottoman armada against the allied forces of Britain, France and Russia. Penned by a French navy officer, the manuscript is unsigned yet contains vivid details of the naval battle. The bidding will start at between 4,000 and 6,000 euros.

The item is part of “Rare Books, Manuscripts, Documents and Engravings,” a sale organized by the Vergos Auctions and taking place at the Plaza Hotel in Syntagma Square on Monday, March 17. The sale presents 472 lots and the bidding is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Besides items of major historical importance, the upcoming auction will showcase rare finds from the worlds of culture, visual arts, photography and poetry. Highlights include two manuscripts by celebrated Alexandrine poet C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933) featuring his poems “Desires” and “Finished.” Starting bids are set at 5,000 to 7,000 euros for each poem.

A collection of 12 lithographs of sketches by George de la Poer Beresford (1826-1865) has a starting bid between 2,500 and 3,500 euros. “Twelve studies in double-tinted lithography of scenes in southern Albania” includes views of Ioannina, Arta and Parga, among others – Southern Epirus became Greek territory following the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913. 

A publication on traditional Turkish costumes in 1873, published in view of the Vienna International Exposition held in that same year, starts between 3,000 and 4,000 euros. The work was carried out by Turkish statesman, art expert, painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) and artist and amateur historian Victor Marie de Launay.

The bidding for six watercolors and two lithographs by Greek painter, icon painter and engraver Aginor Asteriadis (1898-1977), a member of the so-called Thirties Generation, will start at between 2,000 and 3,000 euros. The limited edition works are signed and were executed in the artist's Athens workshop in 1944.

Stereoscopic photographs of the island of Crete shot by teams of travelers reporting for France's Revue generales des sciences during the 1902-1903 period start at 1,500-2,000 euros.

Also in the photo department is a series of nudes by Nelly's (born Elly Sugutzoglu, 1899-1998). These include a photograph of a German dancer at the Mary Wigman dance school in Dresden in 1923 (bidding starts between 1,000 and 1,500 euros).

The lots will be on display through March 15 at Vergos Auctions (10 Neofytou Douka, Kolonaki, 1st Floor), weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit www.vergosauctions.com.

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