Wheatley’s copy of Mortadello in Sothebys auction

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Thanks to imbas

Denis Wheatley’s copy of Mortadello or the Angel of Venice (1912), a presentation copy with a 12 line inscription and a 3 page autograph letter by AC goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s, London, on 7 December 2007 with a guide of £1000 to £1500.

Shall we all commit to a pact not to bid against me?!

www.sothebys.com

LOT 146

CROWLEY, ALEISTER.
MORTADELLO OR THE ANGEL OF VENICE. WIELAND AND CO. (BARABBAS AND COMPANY), 1912

1,000—1,500 GBP

Description

8vo, first edition, in alexandrines, one of an unknown number of copies issued with both cancelland and cancel title page, presentation copy with a 12-line inscription by crowley to his friend the author Dennis Wheatley on front endpaper, 3-page autograph letter signed by crowley to wheatley loosely inserted, advertisements for Crowley’s works at the end, original stiff covers.

Provenance

The author Dennis Wheatley, inscription to him by the author, his bookplate designed by Pape on upper paste-down

Note
This issue has both the published title page with the Wieland & Co. imprint and the cancelled leaf with the imprint of Barabbas and company. From the inscription Crowley appears to have presented this book as a reciprocal gesture having received a first edition from Wheatley, and goes on to discuss this particular issue:

“…At least my heart was touched, and I hope you will appreciate this ‘sample’ copy with the double title. I don’t know how many were printed like this: I have a vague idea that there were six. But where the others are no man — except the ‘occult Committee’ of the ‘Magic Circle’ – knows. Yours Aleister Crowley”.

The autograph letter to Wheatley is on Claridge’s Hotel headed note-paper dated 16 June (no year), “mourning” his absence at a recent lunch and informing him that “Liveright is interested in Black August – in case you haven’t placed it in U.S.A..”. Wheatley’s third novel Black August, which first introduced the character of Gregory Sallust, was published by Hutchinson in London in 1934 and by Dutton in New York in the same year. The knowledge of black magic rituals acquired by Wheatley from Crowley was of central importance in the writing of his most celebrated book The Devil Rides Out, also published in 1934.

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