Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2005 Issue

British Gardening Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

7r2

British Gardening Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J Shapero Rare Books
recently issued a catalogue of "British Gardening Books." This is an outstanding collection of old gardening books, some among the earliest such books in the English language, dating back as far as the 16th century. Unlike many other similarly old books, there is much within them still applicable today, though certainly some techniques have changed. You could still grow a nice garden following the advice these books give, though you probably wouldn't want to follow recommendations offered in, say, medical treatises from the same period. Some ideas age better than others.

One of the bonuses in collecting gardening books is that often they are among the more richly illustrated editions. Books showing flowers, or country estates, are almost certainly going to have some of the more attractive illustrations. Even more practical guides, such as those for growing fruit trees or vegetables, can carry illustrations that could pose for art. Many of the books Shapero offers in this catalogue are as beautiful as they were practical in the years in which they were written.

Sir Joseph Banks was one of Britain's greatest Botanists. In the late 18th century, he financed several expeditions to locate unknown varieties of plants. Perhaps most famous is his raising funds for nine colleagues to accompany Captain Cook in his expedition aboard the "Endeavour" to Australia. They discovered over 800 previously unknown plants. Banks was the one who named Australia's "Botany Bay." However, other commitments kept Banks busy after he returned, and with co-author Daniel Solander's death in 1782, the book went unpublished. The first edition of this three-volume set was not released until 1900-1905. Item 12 is a copy of this set, Illustrations of Australian plants collected in 1770 during Captain Cook's voyage around the world in H.M.S. Endeavor... Priced at L4,000.

Item 40 is described as the first Scottish agricultural work, Husbandry anatomized, or an enquiry into the present manner of teiling and manuring the ground in Scotland... by James Donaldson. This is a second edition from 1697, although it is frequently cited as the first as the 1696 edition is almost unknown. Donaldson provided advice not only on soil preparation and planting, but on keeping horses, cattle and sheep. There is even a bit of financial information on managing a 60-acre plot. L3,400.

Item 133 is described as "a classic of nineteenth century moss literature." This is probably not the most competitive category in which to be named a classic. How much nineteenth century moss literature can there be? Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly one of the best. Author Robert Rennie provides information on the formation of moss and classifications of various types. The book is, Essays on the natural history of peat moss... L140.

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions