Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

50 Fine Books from Shapero Rare Books

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50 Fine Books.

Shapero Rare Books has published a catalogue of 50 Fine Books 2014. These certainly are fine books. While not stated, the most noticeable feature of these books is the exquisite illustrations. The text can be important too, but the majority of these books include illustrations that are works of art. Subjects include animals, birds in particular, flowers, architectural wonders, scenic locations, natives of far off lands, costume, and other topics that lend themselves to fine illustrations. These are books worthy of more than just reading. Here are a few of the fine fifty.

 

One would not expect a major early account of American Indian culture to have been written in German, but that is the case of the first edition of Reise in das Innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834, Prince Maximilian's account of a visit from 1832-1834. The German Prince wanted to learn about America's natives in what proved to be the waning days of their still being mostly uninfluenced by western culture. He traveled up the Missouri River, stopping at various forts and visiting numerous tribes, including the Sioux, Mandan, Crow, Cree and Blackfoot. He wintered over with the Mandan, becoming particularly familiar with their customs. Maximilian reached as far as Fort Mackenzie, operated by the American Fur Company, in present-day Montana. While the Prince was a close observer, he also brought an outstanding artist along to capture images of the natives. After returning to Germany in 1834, Maximilian prepared the text while artist Karl Bodmer completed his illustrations, which are both detailed depictions of what they saw and artistically commanding. There are also images of other places they visited on their journey, including lighthouses in Boston and Cleveland, New York harbor, Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, and the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. This first edition in German also includes a section on Indian languages that was not included in the English and French translations. The four volumes were published from 1839-1841. Item 6. Priced at £225,000 (British pounds, or about $374,466 U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have an album of eight portraits that fall along the border between realism and art, created by a device Shapero calls a “precursor of photography.” Frenchman Gilles Louis Chretien devised a contraption he called a “physionotrace” to capture realistic profile portraits. It was based on the principle of a pantograph, where a pen used to write or draw on one page is connected to a second pen that writes or draws the same image on a second page. That was sort of an early version of a copier. With Chretien's physionotrace, he would trace around the profile of the subject's face which would relay his movements to paper. It would later be filled in and colored by the “artist.” It enabled him to create realistic images of people without having extraordinary artistic skills. Chretien produced hundreds of these during the late 18th and early 19th century, including those of many notable subjects. £4,500. Item 15. (US $7,488).

 

This is not a book about evolution, and yet it was an essential piece to the puzzle Darwin put together. Indeed, while Charles Lyell would come to recognize the logic in Darwin's theory three decades later, he remained terribly conflicted by his deep religious beliefs. Item 36 is Lyell's Principles of geology, being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth's surface, by reference to causes now in operation, three volumes published 1830-1833, while Darwin was in South America making the discoveries that would lead to his theory. Lyell's principle was that geologic changes in the earth, from mountains rising to streams eroding, went on through time at a constant pace. This meant that the earth could not be anything like 5,000 years old, as many concluded from the Bible's timetable. It must, in fact, be far older to accommodate everything found in the geologic record, considering the slow pace of these changes. This would be critical for Darwin, as prior theories of “evolution” required sudden change, which would eliminate the mechanism of natural selection. However, once Lyell's realization that the earth was far older than previously thought was factored into the equation, Darwin's theory became a reasonable explanation for what was found. £12,500 (US $20,800).

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 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

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