Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2011 Issue

Spanish and Portuguese Related Works from Paul Orssich

Orssich71

Iberian books from Paul Orssich.

Paul Orssich recently released Catalogo 71 Libros Antiquos. As one might expect from a catalogue so named, the focus is on works related to Spain. That's a bit too narrow a description, as Portuguese related works are also covered, so this is more an Iberian catalogue. As such, there is also material dealing with South and Central America, most of that land once having been colonies of Spain or Portugal. As befitting a Spanish book dealer located in London, the books are divided primarily between those in Spanish and those in English, with an occasional title in a third language. Many of the books were written by English men and women who visited Spain and Portugal, either as tourists, diplomats, or military personnel involved in the incessant wars that took place in Europe in earlier days. Our focus will be primarily on the English language books in deference to this reviewer's limited comprehension of Spanish. Now, here are a few of the 170 titles offered.

 

We will start with the earliest of Spaniards, though it is doubtful they considered themselves as such:  Fossil Man in Spain by Hugo Obermaier Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Madrid. Published by the Hispanic Society of America in 1924, its Vice-President, in his introduction, describes the work as "Absolutely essential to the understanding of the history of Spain." Professor Obermaier was one of the era's noted scholars and researchers in the field of pre-historic archeology and the diffusion of man through Europe during the Ice Age. At the time of this publication, Obermaier was conducting excavations in the cave of Altamira in Spain. Its walls are covered with prehistoric cave drawings, and excavations indicated it was populated 15,000 - 20,000 years ago, though some more recent evidence indicates some drawings may go back almost twice as far. Item 117. Priced at £70 (British pounds, or approximately US $113).

 

This book covers an era not nearly so ancient, but still a much earlier time, the eight pre-Columbian centuries in Spain. A divided Iberian peninsula in the post-Roman era fell to Moslem invaders from North Africa, better known as the "Moors," in 711. They moved rapidly forward, capturing all but the northernmost part of the peninsula from the Vandals and others who had conquered the land in the declining years of Rome. They would inhabit the land for almost eight centuries, though for much of that time it was a slow decline as local Christian kingdoms gradually seized power. By the 15th century, the Moors were pushed back to the southernmost areas of the peninsula, and in 1492, while Spanish ships under Columbus were engaged in explorations to the west, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the last of the Moors. Item 3 is The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain… This is an 1840-43 translation of the early 17th century work of Ibn Mohammed Al-Makkari. Al-Makkari's history is particularly important as he had access to numerous 9th-14th century sources that have since been lost. £1,200 (US $1,950).

 

Henry Swinburne was the son of an English baronet, which enabled him to live well without having to make a living. After some time at their estate, Swinburne and his wife decided to travel. Being Catholics as well as nobility, doors were open to them in Spain, France, and other Catholic countries. That connection would eventually lead to minor diplomatic posts, including Swinburne being sent to negotiate a prisoner exchange with France late in the 18th century. However, it was earlier on that he conducted most of his travels, some of which are described in Travels through Spain, in the Years 1775 and 1776. In which several Monuments of Roman and Moorish Architecture are illustrated by accurate drawings taken on the spot. Swinburne not only was a writer, but a skilled artist as well. Offered is the 1779 first edition of his work. Item 147. £1,100 (US $1,787).  A 1787 second edition is also available. Item 148. £900 (US $1,462).

 

George Ticknor was another man who grew up under circumstances that did not require him to struggle for a living. His father was a founder of the first insurance company and the first savings bank in Boston. The result was he became an academic, a writer, and during his residence in Europe, a collector of books. His specialty, both as an academic and collector, was the literature of Spain and Portugal. Ticknor was also a great benefactor of worthy causes, notably as one of the founders and first trustees of the Boston Public Library, which opened its doors in 1852. When he died in 1871, Ticknor left his book collection to Boston Public. Item 159 is a Catalogue of the Spanish Library and of the Portuguese Books bequeathed by George Ticknor to the Boston Public Library, by James Lyman Whitney, published in 1879. £180 (US $292).

 

Paul Orssich can be reached at 020 7787 0030 (International 44 + 20 7787 0030) or paulo@orssich.com. Their website is www.orssich.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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