Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2013 Issue

Fine and Unusual Bindings from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

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Fine and unusual bindings.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Occasional List Four: Fine and Unusual Bindings. For those who believe the old adage you can't judge a book by its cover, these are the exceptions. Some of these books really shouldn't be judged by any other criteria. They are meant to be works of art, appreciated for the visual rather than textual appeal. The text may be interesting, but that is hardly the point. They were not meant to be reading copies, not even in the beginning. For those who collect surface beauty, here are 35 books that will catch your eye.

 

Here is a binding that is both fine and unusual, wrapped around a book that is also unusual. Item 3 is the Arion Press 1980 edition of Flatland. A Romance of Many Directions, by Edwin Abbott, first published in 1886. This edition includes an introduction by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who has also signed the book, as has Arion publisher Andrew Hoyem. It is one of a limited edition of 275 copies. The book itself is an odd story about different dimensional worlds. Flatland is a two dimensional world (hence its being flat). Males in Flatland are polygons, while women are limited to being straight lines. This can be dangerous, as when a woman approaches a male, she comes straight on as a point, and can impale and kill the male. Hence, they must enter their homes through separate doors. Some of these two-dimensional creatures come to meet up with inhabitants of a one-dimensional world, and then a three-dimensional one such as ours. They cannot cope with the differences and so speaking of these other worlds becomes a crime. Abbott uses the book to speculate about worlds with more than three dimensions, which some see as something of a precursor to Einstein. He also uses the book for social satire about relationships. This Arion edition plays up the flat world by presenting the book as 56 accordion-style folded panels, which when opened lay out flat, 33 feet long. It is bound in an aluminum cover with an aluminum frame, hinged and clasped. Priced at $3,000.

 

This was already a notable edition even before being bound in white vellum stamped in gilt with silk ties. It is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the 1915 edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham. It is one of only two Dickens books Rackham illustrated. It contains 11 color and 20 black and white illustrations. This is the Deluxe limited edition (500 copies) signed by Rackham. “Surely the best of all illustrated versions,” notes Windle. Item 11. $6,500.

 

There is something unusual, or perhaps ironic about the fine bindings on this 1940 Limited Editions Club book. It is half green morocco with decorated boards and a gilt backstrip with floral decorations using red morocco inlays. The book features lithographs by the artist Thomas Hart Benton. What is perhaps ironic is the title chosen for this treatment – John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. It is the story of dirt poor Oklahoma farmers driven to California during the height of the Dust Bowl and Depression, barely making enough money to survive, an odd choice for such a rich presentation. Item 31. $795.

 

For those who would like to do a lot of reading, or to have a lot of attractive books on the shelf, item 33 is a set of the complete Delphin Varirum Classics. These are works from antiquity edited and put in a set of 166 volumes by A.J. Volpy, published from 1819-1830. Each volume is in matching vellum bindings with gilt borders and backstrips. You will unquestionably impress your friends with a set like this on your shelves, especially if you can quote from them. $17,500.

 

From 166 books we turn to the other extreme. Item 24 is a single book, and a miniature at that. It is the London Almanack for the year of Christ 1790. Published in 1789, it contains 24 pages, and measures a demure 2.25” x 1.25”. It features full red morocco covers with blue and white morocco inlays with wavy gilt lines. And, it all fits on the cover. Item 24. $1,750.

 

We conclude with one odder piece for a fine binding. Item 1 is a bound edition of the full run of Horseshit. The Offensive Review. It was published from 1965-1970, but four issues comprises the entire run. It was an anti-war, anti-establishment sort of publication as one might expect from this era, with a touch of what was, at least at the time, considered pornography. It is an odd choice for a fine binding, but obviously the owner of these masterpieces published by brothers Bob and Tom Dunker had a sense of humor (along with money). They had it bound by Arthur Johnson, who would have enjoyed the task, having a sense of humor himself. The binding has an American flag motif, an erotic image with wavy red and pale stripes and white stars on a blue background. The binding is signed “AJ” in 1973. Item 1. $7,500.

 

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be reached at 415-986-5826. The website is www.johnwindle.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

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