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Captain Playfair and the attractions of Aden

22 September 2004

ESTIMATED at £70-100 but bid way past that level by Taikoo Books of York was a copy of Captain R.L. Playfair’s History of Arabia Felix or Yemen…, a Bombay imprint of 1859 which also includes an account of the British settlement at Aden.

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Amazonian ambitions

22 September 2004

RIGHT: translated by William Hamilton, the 1661 first English edition of Blaise François de Pagan, the Comte de Merveilles’ Historical & Geographical Description of the Great Country and River of the Amazones in America..., contains this important folding engraved map showing French ambitions in the area.

Psalmanazar the Formosan fraud

22 September 2004

BOUND in contemporary panelled calf, a 1704 first of An Historical & Geographical Description of Formosa..., the two folding engraved plates (of 16 in all) torn but skilfully repaired, realised £600 in a Lawrences of Crewkerne sale of July 6.

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Rock Climbing

22 September 2004

THE early 20th century George Abraham of Keswick issued three titles that have become classics of rock climbing literature and two of them, offered by Dominic Winter on July 21, are seen right.

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Far and farthest south...

22 September 2004

RIGHT: a folding plate from an 1847 first of James Clark Ross’ Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, the two vols. bound in later polished calf gilt by Henry Young of Liverpool, which made £1200 in a Dominic Winter sale of August 25.

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The wonderful industry of Oziana

16 September 2004

THERE are few things so distinctly American in the book auction world as the collections of ‘Oziana’ that arrive in the salerooms with remarkable regularity.

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Jane Austen

16 September 2004

PART of a 12-vol. Winchester edition (1911-12) of the works of Jane Austen, bound in half red calf gilt by Sotherans, that made £3400 as part of the July 21 Lyon & Turnbull sale at Jordanstone.

The short poetic life of Private Isaac Rosenberg

16 September 2004

ISAAC ROSENBERG had produced just two small pamphlet collections of verse and a play before he was killed in action on April Fool’s Day, 1918, but his reputation is now established as one of the finer war poets.

Tonnage and Poundage rates reach £1000

16 September 2004

THE Rates of Merchandise, that is to say, Subsidy of Tonnage, ...Poundage and ...Woollen Clothes, or Old-Drapery, as they are Rated and Agreed on by the Commons House of Parliament..., a 1660 copy in rebacked contemporary calf of the book of rates required by the passing of that year’s Act of Tonnage and Poundage, was sold for £1000 in a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of June 17.

Montfaucon’s explanations ...

09 September 2004

SOLD for £3000 to David Stone in an Y Gelli sale of July 23 was a first edition set of Bernard de Montfaucon’s L’Antique Expliquee... of 1719-57, comprising ten vols. (in 15) including supplement.

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Victorian Bindings from the Library of Dr Nigel Temple

01 September 2004

A DOMINIC Winter sale of July 21 included a collection of Victorian bookbindings from the library of the late Dr Nigel Temple.

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Rennaissance bindings

24 August 2004

A LOT from the Michael Wittock collection of important Renaissance bindings sold by Christie’s on July 7, this is one of the two vols. that make up an exceptional copy of the 1540, first Aldine edition of the works of Machiavelli and was one of a large number of books bound in Venice in 1547 for Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, the humanist Bishop of Arras, by a craftsman who came to be known as the Fugger Binder after one of his later patrons.

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Bound and whipped by royal command

24 August 2004

ONCE owned by a member of Henri III’s ‘Compagnie des Confrères de la Mort’, this psalmbook, right, a 1586 Parisian edition of Le pseaultier de David..., is bound in French sombre morocco.

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The remarkable Maria Sibylla Merian

19 August 2004

I HAVE often illustrated plates from the works of Maria Sibylla Merian, but never before a portrait of that remarkable lady herself.

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Stalkers £6000 Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing ...

10 August 2004

THE earliest book in English on the subject, John Stalker’s Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing... of 1688 has been described by H.D. Molesworth as “a work of art in its own right... as readily accepted for its literary content as for its technical information”.

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Harris and Dugdale counties

10 August 2004

SOLD for £3800 as part of the June 21 Christie’s sale at Chirk Castle was a copy of the first and only published part of John Harris’ The History of Kent, bound in contemporary speckled calf, now rubbed and splits at the joints.

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Tame Cats & Wild Things

21 July 2004

A LARGE scale oil by Kathleen Hale of Orlando Reclining Amongst Flowers failed to sell against a £10,000-15,000 estimate at Sotheby’s on July 8, but the autograph draft manuscript of Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) becomes a Doctor of 1944, right, each page with pencil and coloured crayon drawings (some with added wash or gouache, a few unfinished) did sell at £5000 to a London gallery.

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Harry Pottering

21 July 2004

HARRY Potter prices are not quite as strong as they once were, but the fine “unread” copy of the 1997 first of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone seen right was sold on June 17 for £11,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions, who had it hopefully estimated it at £15,000-20,000.

Ephelia revealed

20 July 2004

IN reporting the sale of the John R.B. Brett-Smith library at Sotheby’s on May 27 (Antiques Trade Gazette No 1646, July 3), I mentioned and illustrated the sale at £2800 of a work of 1679 called Female Poems on Several Occasions written by Ephelia.

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Hevelius and Selenographia - all his own work

13 July 2004

SCIENCE books in a June 24 sale held by Bloomsbury Auctions included a 1647, Danzig first of Hevelius’ Selenographia, the first lunar atlas, illustrated with a portrait and 111 plates (one with volvelle), mostly engraved by the author from drawings that he made in the observatory that he had equipped with instruments he had built himself.