Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

William Blake and Many Fine Books from John Windle Bookseller

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Blake and other books.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Catalogue 64. It begins with 10 items from their new William Blake Gallery in San Francisco. They explain. "The William Blake Gallery is the first gallery devoted entirely to Blake since 1806 when Blake opened (and rapidly closed) his own gallery in London." They note that this time, the audience will be more appreciative than it was in Blake's time. It will offer over 1,000 items related to Blake, including books, original prints, drawings, reference material, and ephemera. From there, the catalogue moves on to numerous other items, featured in categories such as fine books, fine press, children's books, and illuminations. Here are a few of them.

 

We will begin with one of the Blake items. The title is The Pastorals of Virgil, with a Course of English Reading adapted for Schools. This is an odd book in which to find Blake, but nonetheless, he was commissioned to provide illustrations for a schoolbook. The Pastorals was meant to teach Latin to youth, and this edition was the third published by its editor, Robert John Thornton. When Thornton added illustrations to the second edition, sales rose, so he decided to expand on that concept. Blake contributed 17 woodcuts to the book. They were not appreciated by the publisher who nearly rejected them and did not print the blocks with care. Like Blake himself, they are far more appreciated today. Fortunately, this is an exceptional copy, it being a presentation inscribed by Thornton to his daughter, rather than one actually used in a school. Windle notes that "the impressions of the woodcuts in this copy are the richest I have ever seen." Published in 1821. Item i. Priced at $67,500.

 

Captain William Bligh has a bad rap for brutality, but it seems he was really no meaner than the typical sea captain of his day. The cause of the mutiny on the Bounty was more likely the desire of some of her sailors to stay in Tahiti rather than to continue sailing and eventually return home. Once the mutineers took control of the ship, they put Bligh and his loyal seamen on a small boat and set them adrift. Thereupon, Bligh commanded one of the most remarkable journeys ever. He led 18 men on a 3,600-mile journey in a small boat, with few provisions, no charts, no compass, to rescue in Batavia (Jakarta today). Once he made it back to London, Bligh whipped off an account of what had happened to protect his reputation. He would later publish a longer version, but this is his first account, published in 1790, of what transpired on his ship: A Narrative of the Mutiny, on board his Majesty's Ship Bounty; and the subsequent voyage of part of the crew, in the ship's boat, from Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, to Timor, a Dutch settlement in the East Indies. Item 4. $12,500.

 

George Catlin was a lawyer by trade who became concerned with the disappearance of Indian culture as American settlers moved west of the Mississippi. He made it his life's work to capture and preserve that culture for future generations. His tool of preservation was the paintbrush. In 1832, he set out west, and would make a total of five trips over eight years. He painted hundreds of portraits and scenes of traditional Indian life before it disappeared forever. In the 1840's and 1850's, he toured with exhibits of his paintings, traveling across the eastern states and to Europe, often bringing living Indians along with him. Before starting his tours, Catlin published a book filled with his etchings. Item 15 is a copy of the first edition, first issue, published in London in 1841: Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. $5,500.

 

Item 53 is a poignant letter from composer Giacomo Puccini to his mistress in the spring of 1924. Puccini is known for his operas, including La Boheme, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly. He writes of plans to travel to Milan with his wife and of difficulty in finishing his final opera, Turandot. He complained of great suffering caused by severe throat pain. This would later be diagnosed as throat cancer. Puccini was a heavy smoker. The illness took his life six months later, and Puccini never finished his last opera, it having to be completed by others. $4,500.

 

Next we have a flower book, Floral Belles from the Green-House and Garden Painted from Nature. A contemporary advertisement from the publisher exclaims, "There are sixteen pictures in the volume...and each of them is painted from nature by the patient and laborious hand of the artist, and with such exquisite care and taste, and delicacy of touch as to vie with nature herself." The artist was Clarissa Munger Badger. Each of her flowers is accompanied by a poem. Mrs. Badger hand colored the flowers herself, and her skill is evident. Windle describes this volume as "among the best folio flower books produced in America." This first and only edition was published in 1867. Item 3. $6,500.

 

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be reached at 415-986-5826 or john@johnwindle.com. Their website is www.johnwindle.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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