Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2006 Issue

Pre-1800 Continental Art & Architecture, Etc., from Charles Wood

Charleswood125

Continental books before 1800 from Charles Wood.


By Michael Stillman

From Charles B. Wood Antiquarian Booksellers we have received catalogue 125. It is headed, Architecture, History of Art, Garden Design, Arts, Crafts & Trades, & Related Fields. That describes the subject matter. The subheading is "continental books before 1800." Now we have the time and place for the material. These are early books primarily on the practical or artistic arts. The "continental," naturally, refers to continental Europe, with the greatest number of these titles in the French language, though others such as Italian and German are represented. Charles Wood is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and there are undoubtedly many American collectors of such continental material. However, we suspect that this catalogue will also be of great interest to many collectors located an ocean away. Here is just a sampling of a few of the titles Wood is now offering, but you will find much more variety within the catalogue itself.

The best of these books had a much longer shelf life in earlier days. Item 17 is Architecture pratique, qui comprend la construction generale & particuliere des Batiments...by Pierre Bullet. This is a 1774 edition of a work on practical architecture first published in 1691. It was intended to help contractors, architects and other tradesmen with such topics as selecting materials, determining costs, and complying with the Paris building code. It would continue to be republished at least as late as 1826. It is hard to imagine a manual on building from 1870 still being published today, 135 years later, as was the case with Bullet's guide. Priced at $500.

Item 84 is an illustrated catalogue of sculptures published in 1772, all of which were long ago lost to the ravages of time. In fact, not a one survived the following summer. These were ice sculptures, works of art destined to wither to a pool of water when the summer sun returned to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1772. Frankly, I have never understood those who employ such great effort and artistic talent to the construction of ice sculptures and sand castles, preordained to such a short life and complete destruction, but at least these frozen works of art from 1772 were preserved through the illustrations in this book. The artists were the students and teachers of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Drawing, but the book's author was Compte de Robiano. The title is Collection des desseins des figures colossales... $2,500.

Filippo Buonanni wrote the first complete survey of the architecture and decoration of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. With the title Numismata Summorum Pontificum Templi Vaticani fabricam, it recounts the structure's long architectural past. Buonanni used numerous sources to recreate that history, including literature, manuscripts, even medals minted by the Vatican through the centuries. Numerous illustrations are used to depict the basilica. This is a 1700 edition of this book first published in 1696. $4,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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