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>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>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions