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Indy Lifestyle Online
NOW THAT the spring sales of traditional art are over (ending on a depressed note as Old Masters and Asian art flopped), it is time for photographs and minor sales of modern Brits, literary manuscripts and collectable junk such as Harrods' shark-eating shark.

Christie's South Kensington, Friday (11am) leads the literature sales, having scooped some emotional, previously unpublished letters by Winston Churchill to Muriel Wilson, an heiress from Hull who had refused to marry him. Churchill was aged 30, MP for Oldham, when he wrote the first of the seven letters, which date from 1904 to 1957. It says: 'Don't slam the door . . . I can wait . . . I love you because you are good and beautiful.' Estimate pounds 2,000- pounds 3,000.

A letter from Churchill's wife, Clementine, whom he married in 1908, addressed to a nephew of Muriel's in 1965, says: 'I think when he was a young man he was very much in love with her.' Est. pounds 150- pounds 250.

The third of Churchill's letters, eight pages long ( pounds 1,500- pounds 2,500) says: 'I do love to be with you - to watch you, to study you, to come into contact with your nature.' The two last letters are short and typewritten. One, dated 1955, thanks Muriel for her gift of a watercolour ( pounds 200- pounds 300).

The same sale, besides modern first editions, offers a revealing letter about the early days of television - a 20th-century innovation not included in Mr Tibballs' book (see below). Written in 1929 by John Logie Baird, television's inventor, it says 'very big orders' for television sets, received at the Radio Exhibition, had not been executed because of the BBC's 'monopoly of the ether'. A letter of provenance from the vendor says: '. . . nobody would take them seriously as most big concerns regarded it as only a gimmick'. Est. pounds 1,000- pounds 1,500.

Bloomsbury Book Auctions also has a literature sale, Thursday (1pm), worth a careful search for gems. The account book of the township of Appleton in Cheshire, whose entries, dated 1712-45, include an item 'for Mary Leas Coffin & Funerall Expences', is est. pounds 150- pounds 200.

Harrods' 3.7-metre shark - with another shark in its jaws, labelled 'Tiny' and hung in the fish hall since 1991 - became famous last year when the store's chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed (whose joke it was), took it down and shook hands on the spot with 'Tiny' Rowland, joint chief executive of Lonrho, to signify the end of hostilities between them. Estimate: pounds 500- pounds 1,000 in aid of Childline at Sotheby's marine sale Wednesday (10.30am).

The first photographs to be sold by Magnum, the co-operative formed by Robert Capa and others in 1938 to safeguard photojournalists' copyright, are at Christie's, Thursday (11am). Estimates from pounds 200. A signed and stamped print of Cartier-Bresson's famous Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1954 (boy proudly carrying home a wine bottle under each arm): pounds 2,000- pounds 2,500. More photographs: Christie's following the Magnum sale (2.30pm), Sotheby's, Friday (10.30am).

Modern Brits: some admirable trifles, such as Sickert's pencil-and- brown-chalk study for Suspense, est pounds 300- pounds 500 at Christie's South Kensington, Thursday (11.30am) and Beaton's watercolour My Fair Lady ( pounds 200- pounds 300). Christie's, Friday (11am) has a Beaton pencil drawing of the Duchess of Kent ( pounds 700- pounds 1,000).

(Photograph omitted)

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