Eminent Victorians

Eminent Victorians

The Kinnear Family Autograph Album

We were delighted to present an important album of autographs containing 70 hitherto unseen and unpublished letters by Victorian luminaries including prime ministers, novelists, poets, historians, painters, scientists and social campaigners.

Offered in our September 2022 auction of Rare Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Photographs, the album formerly belonged to the Kinnear family of Kinloch House, Fife. Among the recipients of the letters are the radical politician John Boyd Kinnear (1828-1920), and his brother, photographer and architect Charles George Hood Kinnear (1830-1894).

Kinnear family autograph album

Lot 57 | Eminent Victorians | The Kinnear family autograph album | Sold for £6,048 incl premium


View Lot 57 ⇒


Many 19th-century autograph albums which come to market consist largely of clipped signatures from minor politicians and aristocrats who have long since fallen into obscurity. The Kinnear album, by contrast, contains an astonishing sequence of complete letters by men and women of enduring influence and repute.


Kinnear family autograph album


The Victorian literary scene is evoked in letters by Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Robert Browning, Harriet Martineau, George Henry Lewes, Richard Monckton Milnes, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and many others, while artists represented include William Holman Hunt, William Powell Frith, and Charles Locke Eastlake; among his many achievements Eastlake was the author of a noted guide to interior design, Hints on Household Taste, which was the inspiration and title for a recent single-owner sale held by Lyon & Turnbull in June 2022.


Kinnear family autograph album


The content of the letters is in many cases highly significant. Of special note is a letter by geologist Charles Lyall to the Scottish Lord Advocate mentioning a ‘geological appointment’ with Sir John Lubbock and Charles Darwin. Elsewhere, the pioneer of photography Fox Talbot writes to his acolyte Charles Kinnear on matters relating to the Photographic Society of Scotland, of which Kinnear was a founding member.



Auction Information


Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs

September 2022 | Live Online | Edinburgh


View the auction results ⇒




Rare Books, Manuscripts & Maps


Lyon & Turnbull’s dedicated team of Rare Books, Manuscripts & Maps specialists have established an international reputation for their auctions, selling both through our UK auction house, and via live online auctions. Our specialists are experts not only on books and manuscripts, but also on current market conditions, an essential combination to the successful sale of fine antiquarian books, modern first editions, folios, autographed letters and important archives.


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Dominic Somerville-Brown



0131 557 8844








0131 557 8844




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