Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2014 Issue

Binding, Printing, Selling, and the Book Arts, from Forest Books

51af61ca-7d36-4463-8482-90674ed61bf7

The book arts.

Forest Books recently released their Catalogue 113. A selection of books pertaining to the book arts, particularly relating to bookbinding, printing & bookselling history. A subheading adds, Including books from the working library of Roger Powell (1896-1990) bookbinder. Powell was at one time a partner in the firm of Cockerell & Son before setting out on his own. His reputation was that of one of the finest bookbinders of the 20th century. Here are a few items from the book arts from Forest's latest catalogue.

 

Item 21 is a catalogue of a sale with a strange tale behind it: The Valuable Library of Books, in Fonthill Abbey. It includes 20,000 books, and many other items, from Fonthill. The auction was set to run through much of September and October of 1823. Fonthill Abbey was a Gothic castle built by William Beckford during the first two decades of the 19th century. Beckford, who served for a time in Parliament, had inherited a small fortune from his father. He expended it on his mansion, filling it with books, art, furniture, and whatever else he wanted. He even built a tower to view the countryside. Unfortunately, he spent all of his money, and construction of the castle was shoddy. In 1822, he was forced to sell it all, the buyer being John Farquhar. Farquhar paid Beckford £300,000. Farquhar had little interest in books. It was just an investment. So, in 1823, it was Farquhar who put the books and other items up for sale in this massive auction. Priced at £795 (British pounds, or approximately $1,362 in U.S. dollars).

 

Let this next item serve as a warning for those who wish to publish or sell treasonous books (or, at least, treasonous in the eyes of authority). Item 324 is An Exact Narrative of the Tryal and Condemnation of John Twyn, for Printing and Dispersing a Treasonable Book. It also includes sections on the trials of bookseller Thomas Brewster and others for selling, printing, or binding seditious and scandalous pamphlets. In Twyn's case, he was brought to trial in 1664 for publishing the book A Treatise of the Execution of Justice. In it, Twyn asserted the right to revolt against an oppressive government. This was a right later claimed and exercised by the American patriots, and perhaps Twyn's case shows what would have befallen them had they not succeeded. Twyn was convicted, hanged, drawn and quartered, beheaded, and had his head put on display as a warning to others. £1,495 (US $2,561).

 

Item 262 is a first: Bibliotheca Americana; or, A Chronological Catalogue of the Most Curious and Interesting Books, Pamphlets, State Papers, &c. Upon the Subject of North and South America. Published in 1789, it is the first bibliography of works about America. It was written anonymously, attributed to various people associated with the British Library, but now believed to be the work of Leman Thomas Rede. Along with the bibliography there is an essay on the state of literature and bookselling in America. This is not the easiest bibliography to follow, and does have some errors. Joseph Sabin, the later American bibliographer, pointed out its shortcomings in his bibliography of the same name a century later. Nonetheless, it was a first, and contains 1,600 early listings pertaining to America. £795 (US $1,362).

 

If you would like to know what Members of Parliament once read, at least the common (not the lordly) ones, item 183 is a Catalogue of Books in the Library at the House of Commons. It was published in 1830. This is an important account of what was in the old library, formed in 1818. In 1834, the library was destroyed in a fire, much of the collection being lost. £125 (US $214).

 

Thomas Frognall Dibdin was one of the greatest book collectors ever. This is not because he had the greatest collection. He was not a wealthy man. It was a case of his love for books exceeding that of just about anyone else. Dibdin wrote Bibliomania and many other classic books about his love for collecting, but this isn't one of them. Before he wrote all of his books about books, he wrote this one – Poems – self-published in 1797. In hindsight, Dibdin was not impressed with his first separately published work. “I struck off 500 copies, and was glad to get rid of half of them as waste paper; the remaining half have been partly destroyed by my own hands... My one consolation is that the volume is now exceedingly rare.” It must be even rarer today. This is why Dibdin is remembered as a book collector, rather than a poet. Item 99. £575 (US $985).

 

Item 9 is a Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers in the British Isles. It was published by the ABA (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association) in 1932 (third edition). It includes descriptions of booksellers, with the facing page left blank for notes. A previous owner has added some comments. A few are quite biting - “Mostly new bindings (his own) of rather second rate quality,” “Untrustworthy,” “Large but rather dirty stock (sometimes imperfect) little real knowledge of books,” “Fakes, stolen property,” “We consider them the most reasonable and trustworthy of London dealers.” Either his standards were very high, or their standards quite low. £45 (US $77).

 

Forest Books may be reached at +44 1949-842360 or bib@forestbooks.co.uk. Their website is www.forestbooks.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown SOYUZ-3 space navigation indicator with unflown on-ground transformer. <br>US$ 30,000-40,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Original Gemini 133P Trainer Assembly Five Part Electrical System & Attitude Maneuver ... US$ 60,000-90,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Apollo 11 Navigational Chart. Taken to Lunar surface mapping the start of the <br>first manned lunar descent. <br>US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> FFlown Apollo 11 Flight Plan Sheetmission Day One. Some of the first words and data values written by Neil Armstrong. US$ 18,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions