Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2011 Issue

Bibliography, Bookbinding and Reference from Forest Books

Forest110

Books for bibliophiles from Forest Books.

Forest Books has published their Catalogue 110. Bibliography, Bookbinding & Reference. This may seem like a niche field, but there are over 600 titles available. While Forest Books is located in England, the selection knows no boundaries. It is international in nature. Among the items offered are numerous catalogues of great collections, some a bibliographical accounting, others prepared for the auctions which dispersed them. What individuals once possessed in their personal libraries, before so much material was scooped up by institutions, is astounding today. Here is a look at some of the material Forest Books is offering for sale.

 

You may not recognize the individual in the photograph on the cover of this catalogue, but he is perhaps the greatest collector ever. He collected, quite literally, everything. While his book collection was extensive, he is even better known for his manuscript and ephemeral material. Much of it was one of a kind, and he quite literally saved an enormous body of work from extinction. He attempted to obtain a copy of everything, and if no one could ever quite succeed at that, he came closest among private collectors. His library filled not just his shelves, but every room in his house, to the ceiling, leaving little more than alleyways to move around. Indeed, it is odd to see him depicted in such a clean space, just two books and a table, with empty walls and floor space. This could only be Sir Thomas Phillipps, and he is shown here in 1860 at the age of 68. In his hand is a 10th century Horace text, now at Harvard University, while on the table is a 13th century Gospels in Armenian. He had just purchased the manuscripts at the sale of the library of Rev. John Mitford. Item 319. Priced at £695 (British pounds, or approximately $1,129 U.S. dollars).

 

Speaking of the obsessive collector, item 403 is Phillipps' copy of Straker's Catalogue of a Collection or Oriental Manuscripts, Etc., Etc. William Straker's catalogue was published in 1836, and Phillipps' notations in the copy displays his need to possess everything. He has marked those items he wished to purchase, over 80% of 497 items listed. It came to a total of just over £1,250, an enormous sum of money in those days, particularly for someone like Phillipps who while of significant means, was not a man of great wealth. £225 (US $365).

 

Item 282 is a catalogue dispersing much of the library of one of the greatest names in the book trade, William Morris of the Kelmscott Press. The title is Catalogue of a Portion of the Valuable Library of Manuscripts, Early Printed Books, &c. of the Late William Morris, of Kelmscott House, Hammersmith. It was published for the 1898 auction of many of the books held by Morris. However, the auction was not conducted by the estate of Morris, who died in 1896. It was held by the eccentric collector Richard Bennett, who had earlier purchased the bulk of Morris' library. Bennett kept what he wanted, then auctioned off the rest. Bennett was in a buying mood at this time, but he had his oddities, such as not wanting any books over 13 inches in size. So those larger folios in Morris' collection were sent out for sale. Two years later, Bennett sold his collection to J. Pierpont Morgan, with the result that this portion of Morris' collection is with the Morgan Library today. Henry Wellcome was the largest buyer at the sale described by this catalogue, so that much of this material is in the Wellcome Institute Library now. £295 (US $479).

 

Item 19 is a catalogue of publications by a long defunct Edinburgh book collectors club:  Catalogue of the Bannatyne Club Publications, published in 1833. It had been founded a decade earlier by Sir Walter Scott, then a very popular British writer and poet, to print rare Scottish literature, history and poetry. It was named in honor of George Bannatyne, a 16th century Scottish preservationist who created an 800-page manuscript of earlier Scottish poems. This catalogue contains brief descriptions of the 54 works the club had published up to that time, as well as a list of members (membership was limited to 31). The Bannatyne Club would in time print 116 volumes before being dissolved in 1861. £275 (US $446).

 

Item 122 is a bound collection of around 20 sermons from the first half of the 19th century. There are a few interesting ones here, such as a deliberately provocative sermon in favor of Catholic emancipation by Sydney Smith in front of a Bristol audience not noted for its tolerance. However, this doesn't explain why such a collection is in a catalogue full of bibliographies. The explanation is the presence of a very rare copy of A Sermon Preached in the Church of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, in May 1828, on the Visitation of the Venerable George Owen Cambridge… The sermonizer was Thomas Frognall Dibdin, a reverend in his own right, but better known as the world's greatest bibliophile, or, perhaps, bibliomaniac. Dibdin wrote several books on his passion for book collecting, and later in life, following a depression in market prices, on how underpriced books had become. Many in the trade would agree with those sentiments today. While Dibdin's books on books sold well, his sermons were not so popular, this item having been printed in a run of just 50 copies. It is so inscribed, "Only 50 Copies printed," likely in the author's hand. £1,295 (US $2,104).

 

Forest Books may be reached at +44 1949-842360 or bib@forestbooks.co.uk. Their website is www.forestbooks.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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