Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2014 Issue

Travel, Science and Art from Martayan Lan

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Great books and maps from Martayan Lan.

Martayan Lan provided a catalogue for The 54th New York Antiquarian Book Fair, held last month. Martayan Lan is a map specialist, but this presentation includes many books, some containing maps, others not. It is divided into sections. The first, Travel, includes many atlases and maps. The other two sections cover Science & Medicine, and Arts & Humanities. These are important works, suitable for collections at the highest level. Here are a few examples.

 

The image of the unusually striped zebra you see on the cover comes from a very early trip inside the African continent. Relatione del reame di Congo et delle circonvicine contrade is an account by Filippo Pigafetta of the explorations of the Kingdom of the Kongo in 1578-1584 by Odoardo Lopes (first name sometimes written as Duarte or Edward, last name as Lopez). Martayan Lan notes that Lopes' knowledge of interior Africa would not be surpassed until the days of Stanley and Livingston, almost three centuries later. Pigafetta's account is a mix of fact and fiction, treating rumors, reports recounted by Africans, and ancient tales similar to eyewitness accounts. Nonetheless, considering all of the fantastic rumors and imagined creatures Europeans believed about inland Africa at the time, this presented a far more realistic view. Lopes believed the natives could be converted to Christianity, so they are portrayed more realistically as humans than as some fantastic creatures. This 1591 first edition contains the folding maps and plates, which provided the first updated representation of the land since the days of Ptolemy. Item 1. Priced at $49,500.

 

There is not a more foundational piece for a collection of Americana, except perhaps a Columbus letter, than this work: Cosmographiae Introducto... by Martin Waldseemuller. This is the St. Die edition, one of four published within four months of each other in 1507. All are extremely rare. The book includes the first collected edition of Amerigo Vespucci's four voyages. It was in this book that America received its name. It was the first time the name “America” appeared in print, as Waldseemuller stated that there was no way it should be named anything else since Amerigo Vespucci had discovered it. It is interesting that in his 1513 map, Waldseemuller labeled America as the “New World,” not “America,” perhaps because he had learned in the intervening years that it was not Vespucci who discovered the land after all. Item 29. Price on request.

 

Halfway into the 16th century, Sebastian Munster produced one of the greatest atlases of his time. Only a few decades after Waldseemuller, and not much more after Columbus, item 19 is Munster's Cosmographiae Universalis, published in 1552. The world had changed enormously. Munster provided the first separate printed maps of Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The greatest advancement in knowledge came in the Americas, where all Waldseemuller knew was an edge of the continents and a few islands. Munster's Americas still feature many misconceptions. A massive southern continent lies just a narrow strait south of South America, India is not all that far west of North America, Japan is a huge island not far from the west coast, and a great inland waterway almost divides North America in half. Nonetheless, for all the defects in his understanding, Munster's map of the Western Hemisphere is complete and clearly recognizable as the Americas. $75,000.

 

Item 51 is Sir Isaac Newton's pioneering work on Opticks. It was his most important work other than the Principia, and like that book, Newton not only looked to describe what he saw, but explain why. His most notable discovery was that white light was composed of all of the colors of the rainbow. This is a first edition from 1704, and unlike his other great work, this first was written in English. Newton had written this book several decades earlier, but because of heavy criticism from fellow scientist Robert Hooke, he delayed until after Hooke's death in 1703 to print it. $140,000.

 

Item 85 is a biography of a woman way ahead of her time, L'Eroina Veneta, Overo la Vita di Elena Lucretia Cornara Piscopia... by Antonio Lupus. Elena Cornaro Piscopia was a brilliant woman, so learned that she obtained a doctorate and numerous other honors during the 17th century, a time long before the acceptance of women in anything other than a domestic role. Though her mother was a peasant unmarried to her father, her father was of Venetian nobility. That was sufficient to get her an education. By the age of seven, she was proficient in Latin and Greek, which would lead her to the study of several more languages, mathematics, philosophy, and theology. Her tutor recommended her to the University of Padua for a doctorate in theology, which the local Bishop refused, but she was allowed to obtain a doctorate in philosophy. Numerous Venetian senators and representatives of other universities attended her award. Sadly, she died in 1684 at the age of 38 of tuberculosis. Her writings were published posthumously in 1688 and this biography in 1689. $2,850.

 

You may reach Martayan Lan at 212-308-0018 or info@martayanlan.com. Their website is www.martayanlan.com.

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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