Collection of Constance and Lyons Gray, Winston-Salem, North Carolina | July 13-15, 2023

Hailing from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Constance and Lyons Gray are longtime collectors across many categories of antiques. With the expert guidance of historian, collector and publisher Stuart Wright, they built a very personal collection of fine objects that included Chinese Export porcelain, furniture, and a significant library of rare books and broadsides – with many titles from Wright’s own independent publishing house, Palaemon Press Limited. According to the Grays, “Our collection did what art is supposed to do–it added to our lives for over 20 years.” Brunk Auctions is pleased to offer a selection of the Grays’ items for sale in our upcoming Premier and Emporium Auctions this July 13-15th.

Highlights of the Grays’ collection include a large selection of Palaemon Press Limited titles and broadsides signed by the authors, including numbered and publisher’s copies; a charming and unique hand-illustrated copy of My Lady Nicotine by J.M. Barrie bound in custom-made cigar box boards containing numerous jewel-like drawings by American artists such as Henry Parton, Bayard Tyler, Alexander Wyant, G.W. McCord, James Brevoort, and others; and an early issue first edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the original publisher’s green cloth.

Born in Roxboro, North Carolina, Stuart Wright was an avid historian and bibliographer, with a special interest in Southern literature. In 1977, he started a private literary publishing house known as Palaemon Press Limited in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company produced attractive, high-quality limited edition brochures, broadsides, and pamphlets, often featuring works by notable Southern authors such as Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, Katherine Anne Porter, James Dickey, Richard Eberhart, A. R. Ammons, and many more. Wright himself was married to a member of the Gray family, and became a longtime friend to Constance and Lyons, sparking their interest in collecting and advising them on new acquisitions over the years before eventually relocating to the United Kingdom. Wright eventually bequeathed sizable portions of his own collection to The Duke University Library and East Carolina University, but some went to friends and family – the Grays among them.

The Premier and Emporium Auctions begins July 13th, 2023 at 9:00 AM EST.

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