Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

Illustrated Books and Fine Bindings from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins114

Illustrated books and fine bindings.

Catalogue 114 from James Cummins Bookseller is headed Illustrated Books, Fine Bindings & Works on China and India Paper. The common thread is attractiveness of appearance. That is not to say there aren't worthy texts here, but rather that appearance was the primary concern when they were produced. Some feature fine bindings, printing, and other external features, while others are noted for illustrations within. Several are privately made albums of illustrations, including original artwork and prints. This is essentially a collection of books and paper as art, and as such, it is harder than most catalogues to describe with words. But, we shall give it a go. Here are a some examples.

Gustave Doré was a French artist, illustrator and engraver of the 19th century. Doré displayed his artistic skills at an early age, and by the time he reached his early 20s, was being selected to provide illustrations for important works. In 1855, at the age 23, he was selected to illustrate an edition of Les Contes Drolatiques (Comic Tales) by Honoré de Balzac. Doré provided 425 wood engravings for this work. It is cited as his “early masterpiece.” The wood blocks for these engravings were later purchased by the firm of Garnier Freres, which released editions in 1861 and 1867 (and more later). Item 43 is a copy of the 1867 second Garnier edition, and one of what was probably a small number printed on China paper. Priced at $2,250.

What could be more beautiful than a book of pin-up girls? This was probably as close as one came in 1834-35 when Edward Finden released in 13 parts Finden's Byron Beauties: A Series of Ideal Portraits of the Principal Female Characters in Lord Byron's Poems. This is a collection of 39 portraits of women who appeared in Byron's poems. How Finden knew what they looked like is unclear, especially fictional women. Perhaps he assumed that the women in Byron's poetry must be beautiful. Lord Byron was no longer around by then to give judgment, but my guess is he would have approved. Item 29. $1,750.

Next we have a collection of far less attractive portraits, or at least, portraits of far less attractive people. Item 72 includes 40 original watercolors produced by Auguste Raffet (circa 1847) to illustrate Lamartine's L'Histoire de Girondins. The Girondists were a moderate anti-monarchy force during the French Revolution, first leading the way, but later overcome by more radical elements, many of their members ending their lives at the guillotine. However, with 39 of the 40 illustrations being portraits, it is not just the Girondists who are pictured but all elements who played a role. Considering how many ended up at the guillotine, you would think portraits of heads would be sufficient, though these generally cover at least the upper body too. They range from King Louis XVI and his bride, Marie Antoinette, early visitors to guillotine, through Mirabeau, Marat, Charlotte Corday, Danton and Desmoulins, and finally, St. Just and Robespierre. None of the above survived the revolution, and only Mirabeau was fortunate enough to die of natural causes before all Hell broke loose. $40,000.

Item 69 is a most interesting set of hand-colored cards from 1824. It is called Panaramacopia. Designed by T.T. Dales, drawing master. The technical name for this is myriorama, a term with which you (if you are like me) may not be familiar. What it is is a set a of cards that can be placed in any order to form a consistent image. The edges of each card are designed to flow into the next, no matter what order you place them. This set shows a country setting, with some trees, buildings, and people in the foreground, a large body of water in the back. These myrioramas were a favorite of children in the day, just as similar mix and match illustrations are today. $4,000.

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.

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