Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2013 Issue

English Verse 1751-1800 from Justin Croft and Simon Beattie

Beattiecroftengvera-g

Old English verse.

Justin Croft and Simon Beattie have issued a catalogue of English Verse 1751-1800. Part I: A-G. Who could have imagined there were so many poetical Englishmen? Here are over 300 poetical tracts covering just the second half of the 18th century and only authors from A-G. This is not filled with Shakespeares or Shelleys or whomever were their late 18th century counterparts. If you are deeply into English poetry of this period you will probably recognize a few names, but many are shrouded in obscurity. Some earned good reputations, others were seriously panned, at least by their contemporary critics. Many men of the cloth turned to poetry in this era, with varying degrees of success. This poetry will undoubtedly entertain you, some for the right reasons, others for the wrong. This is truly a remarkable collection of such work, much of which you undoubtedly will never find again. Here's your chance. Now, these are a few samples.

First up is Harold, a Tragedy, by Thomas Bryce. This is a poetical drama on the Norman Conquest that was delayed from publication until 1786 because of a similar, conflicting play. That other play, The Battle of Hastings, by a Mr. Cumberland, was described by the English Review as “one of the worst tragedies in the English language,” the reviewer noting that “Harald forms a bad subject for a tragedy.” Perhaps this review is what held poor Mr. Bryce, a clergyman, back from even publishing his version for years. The play was never performed. Another tragedy! Item 68. Priced at £250 (roughly $394 in U.S. dollars).

Item 87 is Buonaparte's Reverie: a Poem, by H.L. Galabin, published in 1799. This is an inscribed copy of what is described as “a witty poetic satire on Napoleon's grandiose delusions in the face of the recent failure of the Nile expedition.” Napoleon undertook a mission in 1798 to seize Egypt in the hopes of interfering with archenemy Britain's trade with the East. It did not go well. The Egyptians were an unruly lot, not willing to bow to Napoleon's wishes. Meanwhile, the French naval forces were defeated by Horatio Nelson (something that would happen again) in the Battle of the Nile. Bonaparte took advantage of unrest in France as an excuse to hightail it out of Egypt and return home. While his departure from Egypt made for some good British satire in 1799, Napoleon would soon wreak all kinds of havoc on the British and Europe before finally being subdued a decade and a half later. £600 (US $947).

Item 204 is A Collection of original Poems, by Samuel Derrick, published in 1755. Derrick was a linen-maker who left Dublin to become an actor on the London stage. Apparently he was a bad actor, his career short-lived. He turned to writing instead. He was not great at this either but eventually settled into the comfortable job of Master of Ceremonies at Bath, sort of a head greeter and P.R. person. During his literary years, he did manage to make the acquaintance of both Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. Boswell ended up rather contemptuous of him, describing Derrick as “a little blackguard pimping dog.” I'm not entirely sure what that is, but it doesn't sound nice. Johnson was perhaps a bit more tolerant, but according to Boswell, when asked who was the better poet, Derrick or Christopher Smart, replied, “no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea.” Again, this doesn't sound positive. £700 (US $1,105).

Item 183 is Rhymes after Meat. By a Bird at Bromsgrove... a fourth edition, circa 1800. John Crane was the “Bird at Bromsgrove” (get it?), a watchmaker whose emblem was a crane with a watch in his beak. The Monthly Critical Gazette described Crane as a man “whom the Gods, in their wrath, have made poetical.” Crane's aim in writing these poems may have been to promote his business, as his book is a vehicle for advertisements of the many goods he sold, including jewelry, nutcrackers, cutlery, musical instruments, cricket bats, and much more. £950 (US $1,501).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions