Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2012 Issue

75 Fine Books from Peter Harrington

Londonstreet

London street life.

Item 31 is what is known as the “foundation book” for an Australian collection: The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, with the Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island... Governor Phillip was charged with leading a flotilla of ships to Australia to settle a colony, arriving in the year 1788. However, he did not bring the typical group of settlers. His settlers were primarily convicts, people whose crimes were not serious enough to hang, but whom the British wanted to dump so far away they would not be able to return. Phillip landed at Botany Bay, a location chosen as a result of Captain Cook's earlier voyage, but he found the location unsuitable for farming. Instead, he moved to Port Jackson and Sydney Harbor, now site of Australia's largest city. The first few years were difficult for the immigrants, food shortages being the major concern, but in time they were able to overcome the problems. Gov. Phillip himself would return to England in 1792, never to go back to Australia. This book, published in 1789, is based mainly on Phillip's reports, and those of others in his crew, sent to the British government. The compiler is unknown. £45,000 (US $70,750).

Item 48 offers a look at the harder side of life in 1870s London. From 1877-78, photographer John Thomson and radical journalist Adolphe Smith collaborated on a monthly publication called Street Life in London. The photographs were taken on the streets of London. They show scenes of everyday life for the not-so privileged of London. While the scenes look natural, Thomson did have to get his subjects to pose. In those days, you couldn't take sharp pictures of moving subjects. Smith's text provides commentary from those who were subjects of the photographs. After the 12 monthly installments were released, the collection was published in book form, as here. £15,000 (US $23,580).

Peter Harrington may be reached at +44 (0)20 7591 0220 or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

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