Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Two of the many works at Morphets (17.5% buyer’s premium) that boasted handsome or otherwise unusual bindings are featured here.

Uniformly bound in contemporary calf gilt and bearing the arms of the Dukes of Newcastle, two of the pocket-sized, duodecimo editions were made popular by the celebrated Dutch booksellers, publishers, and printers, the Elzevirs.

These little editions are exemplified by those issued by Bonaventura and Abraham Elzevir in their partnership years of 1622-52, works famed for elegant design, clear typography and good paper.

The three volumes present two works from their ‘Republics’ series, a two-volume, 1632 edition of the Africae Descriptio… of the Andalusian-born Berber diplomat and scholar known as Leo Africanus, and Joannes de Laet’s De Imperio Magni Mogolis. sive India… of the previous year. Together they sold for £3000.

A 1603, first issue of Basilikon Doron…, a treatise on government written by James VI of Scotland, the future King James I of England, and printed in London by Felix Kyngston for John Norton, sold for £2600.

This record-breaking copy was bound in limp vellum using what the cataloguer identified as a part of a recycled 15th century manuscript.