Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2011 Issue

Private Press Works from Sotherans

Sothransprivate2011

Private Press works from Sotheran's.

Sotheran's, the English bookseller now celebrating its 250th anniversary, has issued a catalogue of fine printing and production entitled Private Press 2011. It celebrates the work of the small, private presses that have been creating books that double as works of art since the time of Henry Morris' Kelmscott Press in the late 19th century (and a few even earlier). These fine press productions in limited editions have long had a following among those who appreciate the book as artistic object as much as source of text. Electronic books may steal the hearts of those who seek only information, but they will never compete for the affections of those who love books with the passion of those who love paintings – as objects of art, not pixels on a screen. Here are a few of these private press works being offered by Henry Sotheran Ltd.

Item 181 is a history of one of the most noted of violin makers, or in this case, a family of violin makers. The Guarneri family, originally from the violin-making stronghold of Cremona, in northern Italy, produced violins in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their violins are still favored by many great recent violin players, such as Heifetz, Menuhin and Perlman, even over the legendary Stradivarius. They were also the favorite of the extraordinary Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini, who left his Guarneri to the city of Genoa when he died in 1840. In 1931, this tribute to the family was created by William, Arthur, and Alfred Hill: The Violin-Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762), printed by John Johnson at the Oxford University Press. The Hill family of London was also noted for violins. From 1887-1992 they built, repaired, and authenticated violins, operating under the name of W.E. Hill & Sons. Priced at £1,995 (British pounds or approximately $3,117 in U.S. Currency).

Item 5 is one of several titles offered from the production of Charles Henry St. John Hornby's Ashendene Press. Ashendene not only produced limited editions, it produced a limited number of editions, averaging just one a year during its years of operation, 1894-1935. This one is Sir Thomas Malory's The Noble and Joyous Book Entytled Le Morte d'Arthur, published in 1913. This work was first published by William Caxton in 1485. It is filled with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It was bound by W.H. Smith after the design of Douglas Cockerell. It contains 29 woodcut illustrations, with chapter headings and final lines in red. £5,500 (US $8,611).

Item 10 is A Hand-list of the Books Printed at the Ashendene Press. This list is not quite complete. It was printed in 1925, and Ashendene still had a decade to go. It contains descriptions of all the books and other pieces printed at the press, and announced the upcoming edition of Don Quixote, then in production at Ashendene. £148 (US $231).

The more complete bibliography of Ashendene would be published in 1935. Indeed this would be the last item to come off their press, and it is regarded as one of the finest. It was printed in 390 copies, signed by Hornby. This is number 283. It is titled A Descriptive Bibliography of the Books Printed at the Ashendene Press. 1894-1935. It is more than a simple bibliography. It contains thorough descriptions of each of the 40 books printed at Ashendene, along with illustrations, hand-colored letters, and specimen leaves from original editions or reset facsimiles for most works. It was also bound by W.H. Smith. Item 15. £1,850 (US $2,894).

Here is an item which would need to be described as a first edition “thus” as it was almost 500 years old when this fine press printing was produced. Item 329 is The Letter of Columbus on his Discovery of the New World, published by the USC Fine Arts Press in 1989. This was the letter that announced Christopher Columbus discovery of what we now call “America,” though he described what he found as “islands of the India sea.” It was originally published in 1493, and the USC edition reproduces woodcuts from that edition, along with a facsimile of the 1494 Plannck printing in actual size. The University of Southern California's Fine Arts Press operated from 1986-1993. £198 (US $309).

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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