Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2015 Issue

Books and Other Items from Douglas Stewart Fine Books

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Melbourne 2015.

This month we received our first catalogue from Douglas Stewart Fine Books of Melbourne, Australia. The title of this catalogue is Melbourne 2015. Rare books and documents 1459-2012 exhibited for sale at the 43rd Australian Book Fair. That's quite a date range. Talk about something for everyone! 553 years. It begins with a leaf from the fourth book ever printed. It then runs through numerous very old to old books, then photographs from the early days of photography, and the more recent items are works of art. Along the way there are also some interesting ephemeral items. There are more Australian pieces than in the typical, say, European or American catalogue, but there is much to be found from other locations as well. After all, they weren't printing too many books in Australia in 1459. Here are a few samples.

 

We begin with that very old leaf. It comes from Rationale Divinorum Officorum, by Guillelmus Duranti. Duranti didn't collect his royalties, having died in 1296. He was a 13th century bishop who wrote about ecclesiastical matters, including practical things like building and furnishing church buildings. It was printed in Mainz, the same place as the first book printed with movable type, Gutenberg's 1455 bible. The printers were Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer. They had assisted Gutenberg with his bible, and followed that up with psalters in 1457 and 1459. This fourth book came off the press in October of 1459. The leaf is folio in size and is printed on vellum. Item 1. Priced at AU $32,000 (Australian dollars, or approximately $22,536 in U.S. dollars).

 

The world didn't know much about Australia when James Cook set out on the first of his three voyages. It still didn't know much after he returned, but it was far more than people knew before. Joseph Banks was hired on as Cook's naturalist, and he brought along a couple of artists. One of them was Sydney Parkinson. Cook was sent out to observe the Transit of Venus, attempt to locate an imagined great southern continent, and chart the area. There was no great southern continent, but Cook charted substantial portions of Australia. Parkinson was the first European artist to draw images of the natives of Australia and New Zealand. He also drew botanical specimens and many other subjects, some 1,300 drawings in all. Like Duranti, Parkinson never saw his book published. He came down with dysentery and died in Batavia (today Jakarta) in 1771. However, after Cook returned, Parkinson's brother, Stanfield, published A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavor. Faithfully transcribed from the papers of the late Sydney Parkinson. An injunction was issued to prevent the book from being published prior to the official account. It was published the same year as, but later than, the official account in 1773. Item 8. AU $12,000 (US $8,451).

 

It didn't take long for the British to come up with a practical use for this vast newly discovered land. Their prisons were terribly overpopulated and they didn't know what to do with all the criminals. They could hang 'em, but not even King George and his men felt all that comfortable with executing people for minor crimes. Australia was the solution. Ship them off to someplace so far away they could never return. So began the transportations. They began in 1787 and continued as late as 1847. Along the way, many books were written about them. The topic was fascinating in its own morbid way to the British public. Not all were completely accurate. Item 16 is The Extraordinary Life of James Stewart, the unhappy Transport. There weren't many happy transports, but Stewart was not as unhappy as most since he was a fiction. He supposedly worked in tobacco fields with black slaves for 12 years. Perhaps he accidentally was transported to the Caribbean. Nor are there any records of Stewart or his supposed crimes. Nevertheless, this 1824 book undoubtedly provided hours of entertainment. These books were obviously intended to discourage the crimes that resulted in transportation, and just as obviously were unsuccessful at doing so. AU $3,000 (US $2,112).

 

Item 25 is a photo album with the cover title Album Chinois (Chinese Album). It contains a page of text and 41 leaves of mounted albumen photographs. It was anonymously produced, but the text (in French) likely places it with missionaries from the Compagnie de Jésus. They were missionaries in China at the time. It is undated, but contains an inscription from French painter Augustin Aubert, who died in 1857. That places this as a quite early collection of photographs of China. It includes portraits of both missionaries and Chinese people, along with historical scenes. AU $15,000 (US $10,563).

 

What would an Australian catalogue be without kangaroos? We don't have to worry about that. Item 42 is The History of Hoppers. This children's book contains verses by Bessie Parker and illustrations by Nancy Parker. This circa 1912 book contains the adventures of a family of anthropomorphic kangaroos. Item 42. AU $2,850 (US $ 2,007).

 

Douglas Stewart Fine Books may be reached at +61 3 9066 0200 or info@douglasstewart.com.au. Their website is found at www.douglasstewart.com.au

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000
  • <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.

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