Sotheby’s sale of Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History in London on May 9 includes a large wall map of south-east Asia and Australia by the Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu (1596-1673). Titled Archipelagus Orientalis Sive Asiaticus, Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1659, the six engraved sheets include panels of descriptive text in Latin, Dutch and French.
In his capacity as cartographer to the Dutch East India Company, Blaeu had access to the company’s records of the ongoing exploration of the coasts of Australia. These included the earliest recorded European landfall, by the Dutch ship Duyfken in 1606, up to the more extensive exploration conducted by Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642-44.
The map, one of just two known copies in this state, has been in a private residence in central Italy since at least the late 19th century. Backed on the original linen and decorative rollers, it carries an estimate of £200,000-250,000.
Specially for Gwineth
A May 31 sale at Chiswick Auctions in west London includes this presentation copy of Augustus John’s Fifty-Two Drawings published by George Rainbird, 1957. This number 31 of an edition of 150 copies was signed by both the artist and the writer of the introductory text, Lord David Cecil. It is inscribed, Gwineth from Augustus. Gwineth, here spelt with an ‘i’, is believed to be Augustus John’s daughter Gwyneth Johnstone (1914-2010). Estimate £300-500.
Muriel Spark debut
A 1957 first edition copy of The Comforters, the first novel by the Scottish writer Muriel Spark (1918-2006), carries an estimate of £400-600 at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on May 17.
Complete with dust jacket, it is also inscribed by Spark to the front endpaper: Robin’s book love from Mum June 1977 (20 years later). It is one of a number of Spark lots from the estate of the late Samuel HL Spark, known to his mother as Robin.
Early Antwerp work
Previously in the collection of Howard M Nixon (1909-83), a former head of the rare book collections at the British Library, a first edition copy of Humanae Salutis Monumenta by Benedictus Arias Montanus printed in Antwerp in 1571 carries an estimate of £7000-10,000 at Dominic Winter of South Cerney on June 14.
Pictured above is one of 70 full-page emblematic engraved illustrations of scenes from the Old and New Testaments by Abraham de Bruyn, Pieter Huys and Hieronymus Wiericx, after Pieter van der Borcht and Crispiaen van den Broeck.
It is 500 years this year since Martin Luther penned his Ninety-five Theses and set in motion the Protestant Reformation.
Sotheby’s sale of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books in London on May 23 includes an untrimmed copy of the New Testament in German as translated by Luther and published in Augsburg in 1535.
Printed on vellum and coloured in a contemporary hand, it has been rebound in blind tooled morocco over beech boards. Estimate £50,000-70,000.
Map of the Med
Bonhams’ Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in Knightsbridge on June 14 includes a newly discovered ink on vellum portolan chart of the Mediterranean.
Centred on the island of Sicily and extending from the Holy Land to northern Africa, it is captioned beneath a roundel of the Virgin and Child [Placidus Cal]oiro et Oliva Fecit in Nobili urbe Messanae ano 1637. It comes from an English West Country estate with an estimate of £40,000-60,000.
Placidus Caloiro et Oliva was a member of the distinguished family of Catalan chartmakers. At least 16 members of the Oliva family are recorded as making portolan charts between 1538 and 1673.
A copy of Modern Development of the Dry Fly by Frederic M Halford carries an estimate of $5000-8000 as part of the Richard Beagle collection of angling and sporting books to be sold by PBA Galleries in San Francisco on June 1.
This is one of 75 deluxe copies produced for sale in Great Britain in 1910 with 33 examples of actual tied flies pinned in the second volume.
Austen classic art
An original signed ink and watercolour drawing by the Irish illustrator Hugh Thomson (1860-1920) for the 1897 edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park carries an estimate of £1500-2000 at Forum Auctions’ sale at the Westbury Hotel, London, on July 10. The drawing is titled Fanny was obliged to introduce him to Mr Crawford.
At Ketterer Kunst in Munich on May 22 one of 500 copies of Georg Heym’s Umbra Vitae with woodcut illustrations by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is estimated at €8000.
In the gazette
The June 13 auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books at Swann Galleries in New York includes three volumes of the magazine La Gazette du Bon Ton together with three original watercolours by Art Deco artist George Barbier (1882-1932). Barbier, a talented journalist as well as a versatile artist, was editor of La Gazette du Bon Ton (published between 1912-25). The estimate is $8000-12,000.
Forum Auctions’ sale of Modern and Contemporary Editions at the Westbury Hotel, London, on July 6 includes the 2004 Banksy inkjet print Wrong War (from Pax Britannica) estimated at £7000-9000.