Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2012 Issue

American Views from the William Reese Company


American Views.

The William Reese Company recently issued their Bulletin 26: American Views. These are printed, or occasionally original artworks of various scenic views in the Americas (North, South, and Central). Most are colored, often by hand. Many are individual images, others are books filled with color plates. All are artistic and interesting, with the individual images being appropriate for framing. Here are a few of these scenic views.

We start with Arnoldus Montanus' De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weerld. This is a book filled with information and illustrations of America, or the “New World.” It contains 32 double-page plates, seven portraits, 15 double-page maps and a large folding map. It covers both North and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Perhaps most notable is the very early view of New York, or “Novum Amsterodamum” as the Dutch preferred to call it. The “city” appears as no more than a country town at this date, 1671. Ironically enough, New Amsterdam would soon be turned over to the British, never to carry that name again. Item 2. Priced at $28,500.

In the 18th century, the most popular American waterfalls for visitors was not Niagara, but Cohoes Falls near Albany, New York. Niagara Falls was too far away for most to reach, but Cohoes Falls was possible to obtain. Though hardly a Niagara, it was still a spectacular sight, the second greatest falls east of the Rockies. Item 3 is A View of the Great Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River, published in London in 1768. It was originally included with Scenographia Americana, 28 plates issued in parts during the 1760s (complete sets are extremely rare today). The artist was Thomas Pownall, better known as a colonial governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony in the late 1750s, when Americans and the British were still on the same page. $8,500.

Item 7 is a view of those even more impressive falls, A View of the Western Branch of the Falls of Niagara, Taken from the Table Rock... This is a striking image produced by the American artist John Vander Lyn. He had spent five years studying art in France, and had recently returned to America when he began painting pictures of the falls. This hand-colored print, issued in 1804, is of one of them. Vander Lyn believed that by creating views of American sights, he could attract American clients. $12,500.

Item 15 is Die Weissen Schlosser... The White Castels [sic] on the upper Missouri. The artist is Karl Bodmer. Bodmer was a German artist who accompanied Prince Maxmilian on his great tour to see the Plains Indians of America in the 1830s. The Prince wrote a book about these still mostly unknown to the western world Indians, an account highlighted by Bodmer's illustrations. This image, however, displays a scenic view with wildlife, rather than Indians. Reese notes that this particular copy is a “remarkable survival.” It is the press proof Bodmer signed to acknowledge his approval of the printing. In French, Bodmer has written that he is certifying that all impressions of the image should conform with this proof. He has then signed his marginal notation “C. Bodmer.” $15,000.

Item 17 is Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, published in 1844. It consists of 25 tinted plates by British artist and architect Frederick Catherwood of ancient Mayan ruins. Catherwood accompanied American explorer and writer John Lloyd Stephens on two trips to Central America in the late 1830s and early 1840s. They stumbled across the long forgotten Mayan ruins, bringing this ancient civilization back to the attention of the West. Catherwood had earlier visited ancient Egyptian and similar sites around the Mediterranean, concluding that these structures were so different that they must have been built by American natives, not earlier visitors from the Old World. Stephens earlier wrote two books about their discoveries, illustrated by Catherwood. However, this book just focuses on Catherwood's exceptional illustrations of what he saw. $75,000.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <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
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    <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
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    <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
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    <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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