Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2011 Issue

Uncommon and Unusual Items from Simon Beattie

Beattie4

Simon Beattie's Short List 4.

Simon Beattie Rare Books, Manuscripts, Music, Ephemera has published Short List 4, the fourth in his series of long short catalogues. These are the largest catalogues we receive in terms of dimensions (the only ones we can't fit in a scanner), and yet this is certainly a "short" list, with just 25 items offered. And, while the descriptions are ample, with four of these large pages devoted to text, there are 20 of them employed to illustrate the 25 works. There is no shortage of illustrations in Beattie's unusual catalogues. Perhaps the curious nature of these catalogues is appropriate, as the material is frequently quite unusual. The topics can vary widely, as the bookseller's name implies, but the material is fascinating and certainly unexpected. Let's take a look.

Item 3 is a Russian book whose title translates to The State Duma in portraits. This offers a collection of portraits from Russia's first parliament, seated in 1906. It resulted from the 1905 revolution that brought about some reforms in the government. Each of these bearded men looks quite distinguished. Any one of them could pass for a Tsar. However, none of them was, and the real Tsar had this parliament dissolved in July 1906, in only its fourth month of existence. Nicholas II was loathe to share power, which might have been a mistake, considering what his intransigence led to a decade later. Nonetheless, Karl Fisher's 1906 souvenir album, which also included pictures of some of the rooms in the structure, lives on, even if Nicholas and the Duma do not. Priced at £2,000 (British pounds, or about $3,083 U.S. dollars).

There were better times to be a tsar. Item 11 is L'Olivuzza, an 1846 tribute to the Romanovs commissioned by the Italian Duke of Serradifalco, Domenico Lo Faso Pietrasanta. Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I, was for years a very ill woman. She was also deeply loved by her husband (seemingly rare among royalty) and he was heartbroken when her doctors said she must seek warmer climates during the cold Russian winters. They chose an area near Palermo, Italy, which explains this Italian tribute to her family. Her hosts treated her (appropriately enough) like royalty, with King Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies doting on the every need of their illustrious guest. £1,800 (US $2,773).

Do we really need to know about the great political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau's private relationships with members of the opposite sex? Of course we do. Rousseau was a complicated man, and had various relationships with women, including an older woman who cared for him in his teens and became his lover, and a woman as uneducated and he was learned who bore him an illegitimate son given up for adoption. For more details, you should read Ueber Rousseaus Verbindungen mit Weibern (About Rousseau's Relations with Women) by Carl Gotthold Lenz, published in 1792. Item 15. £2,500 (US $3,850).

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions