Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    W. Somerset Maugham. Three Autograph Letters Signed to Art Dealer Sir Hugh Lane. Three art-related letters from Maugham to his art dealer, an influential and prescient collector whose opinion Maugham trusted implicitly.

    More Information:

    Sir Hugh Lane (1875-1915) was an Irish art collector and critic who established the Municipal Gallery in Dublin (the first public gallery of modern art). He was an early and fervent collector of Impressionist art, and he is credited with encouraging Maugham to buy theatrical paintings (Maugham's collection became the finest outside of the Garrick Club's). Lane died at the young age of 39 as a passenger aboard the ill-fated Lusitania.


    This lot contains three letters:


    Autograph letter signed by Maugham on notepaper printed with a London address, and dated simply "Friday" [1909]. Signed "W. S. Maugham." Two-page letter with usual folds. Some ink-smearing to the lower half of the first page, otherwise fine. Maugham asks to meet with Lane to be advised in the purchase of four pictures by his friend Henry (Harry) Bishop (though still relatively unknown at the time of this letter, Bishop had provided the cover art for Maugham's Liza of Lambeth). [and:]


    Autograph letter signed by Maugham on plain paper, written from Lake Como, Italy, and dated May 3 [1909]. Signed "W. S. Maugham." One-page letter with usual folds. Shallow creases to center of top and bottom edges. Fine. Maugham writes that Bishop has several works at Goupil & Cie in Paris and asks that Lane, again, offer his professional opinion: "You would be a brick if you would send one or two possible purchasers to look at the pictures." [and:]

    signed by Maugham on plain paper, written from Paris, and dated October 6 [1909]. Signed "W. S. Maugham." One-page letter with usual folds. Fine. Maugham writes to say how happy he is to purchase from Lane a painting by Philip Wilson Steer (1860-1842), an English Impressionist painter: "From your brief description it sounds not only very beautiful, but the sort of Steer which I particularly like. I am sure I shall be delighted to have it. Ever since I bought the little effect of rain I have felt that I could not be entirely happy till I possessed another & more characteristic Steer. I have found by experience that they are very delightful pictures to live with." (The two Steer paintings he refers to in this letter are both reproduced and discussed in Maugham's last book, Purely For My Pleasure.


    From the Collection of Norman F. Moore.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 850

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Oct 17, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 24 days left to consign to the 2021 December 9 - 10 Books Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search