Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2016 Issue

Eight Books by Timothy C. Ely from Abby Schoolman Books

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Eight books from Timothy C. Ely.

Once in a while, a catalogue comes across my desk that is very hard to describe. This time, one has arrived I find impossible to put into words. The title is Timothy C. Ely 8 Books, the bookseller Abby Schoolman Books of New York. These eight books are all the handcrafts of Mr. Ely. They are not antiquarian. Timothy Ely is still very much alive. But, they are rare, extremely so. Mr. Ely has no print runs. He makes them one at a time, and each is unique. Every one of Ely's books is as rare as it can possibly be.

 

Naturally, there are no "reading copies" of a book as rare as one copy, but that is all right here. These are not to be read, at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, they are compilations of Mr. Ely's art, from the unique bindings to the artwork that constitutes their internal pages. Here is where the descriptions become impossible. I really have no words to describe the art he has created.

 

The closest comparable that comes to mind is the mysterious Voynich Manuscript. That is the strange manuscript of unknown origin, believed to date back to the 15th century. You have probably read about it or seen images of it. It combines drawings, some scientific-looking artistic designs, and a language no one has yet been able to decipher. Ely's work is far more artistic and less textual. And yet, his work also contains symbols and drawings that look scientific or mathematical, but in a language we don't quite understand. They, too, will take you on flights of fancy, trying to discover precisely what they mean. Ultimately, their meaning becomes the meaning we give it, rather than what Mr. Ely assigns, for this is a language of art and imagination rather than math and science.

 

The titles of the eight books are Bones of the Book, Gamma Cruxis, Mechanism, PhiaL, Second Road, Tethys, Transmission, and Tor. That doesn't much help describe them either. You know from the title what The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is about, but Tethys? PhiaL? Again, each person will have to create their own understanding of the mysteries as Mr. Ely provides no lecture notes. The artwork is dramatic, colorful, and beautiful. What stands apart from other art is the use of symbols, shapes that look like they come from mechanical devices, grid work representations, and such. They look to be telling us something specific, and yet, only the viewer can give them meaning.

 

With that, I will try no more. Rather, here is a link to Timothy C. Ely's eight books and a few more that Abby Schoolman Books is offering. Each is illustrated and described better than I can do, but you will probably want to create your own interpretations and descriptions. Click here.

 

Abby Schoolman Books may be reached at 917-612-0693 or abby@abbyschoolman.com. Their website is found at www.abbyschoolman.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 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.

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