• <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015, San Francisco</b>
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> MIGUEL COSTANSO. 1741-1814. The suppressed report of the portala expidition. US$ 80,000-120,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> FELIPE DE NEVE. 1724-1784. FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA. US$ 120,000-180,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JAMES O. PATTIE. c.1804-c.1850. The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie of Kentucky. US$ 30,000-50,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>KARL BODMER. 1809-1893. Pehriska-Ruhpa, Moennitarri Warrior in the Costume of the Dog Danse.<br>US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015, San Francisco</b>
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>JOEL PALMER. 1810-1881. Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains to the Mouth of the Columbia River. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>JOHANN AUGUSTUS SUTTER. 1803-1880. Letter Signed ("JA Sutter").<br>US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> J. ELY SHERWOOD. California: Her Wealth and Resources... US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> [JOHN LINVILLE HALL and GEORGE G. WEBSTER.] Journal of the Hartford Union Mining and Trading Company. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JAMES A. READ and DONALD F. READ, illustrators. Journey to the Gold Diggins. By Jeremiah Saddlebags. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> WILLIAM BESCHKE. The Dreadful Sufferings and Thrilling Adventures of an Overland Party of Emigrants to California. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> LORENZO D. ALDRICH. 1818/1819-1851. A Journal of the Overland Route to California! US$ 25,000-35,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JOHN WOODHOUSE AUDUBON. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. US$ 80,000-120,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Gold mining boomtown collection of 23 photos<br>of Goldfield, Nevada (1905)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Columbus and New World Exploration manuscript (1512)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A. J. Russell.<br>The Great West (1869) 50 original mounted photos
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Isaac Newton. <i>Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica</i> (1687).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Shakespeare's <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies</i> (1632).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. John Rockefeller. Ambrotype, the earliest known photograph of Rockefeller.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Muybridge, <i>Animal Locomotion</i> (1887) subscriber's copy.
  • <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Latest catalogue: 50 Fine Books 2015
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> M. Catesby,<br>The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1729-77).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (London, 1811). First edition of the Austen’s first published novel.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Koronatsionniy sbornik [Album of Nicholas II's coronation] (St. Petersburg, 1899): preferred deluxe version in Russian.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> A complete set of John Gould's magnificent bird books in attractive contemporary bindings (1831-88).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Andy Warhol, Bald Eagle from Endangered Species. Screenprint in colours, 1983, signed in pencil.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: The story of Shackleton’s last expedition 1914-1917 (London, 1919).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> J.J. Audubon, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (NY, 1845-54): The largest successful colour plate book of 19th-century America.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, The Works (Kelmscott Press, 1896). One of the finest illustrated books ever produced.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Lev Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Moscow, 1879):<br>first edition in book form of the celebrated novel.
  • <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Selection of Manuscripts
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Selection of Miniatures
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Selection of Early Printed Books
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b><br>St. Paul’s epistles, manuscript on vellum, illuminated by the Simon Master, c. 1150-75
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Book of Hours, illuminated by the Boucicaut Master, Paris, c. 1415
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Book of Hours, illuminated by the Rohan Master, probably Troyes, c. 1415-20
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Julius Caesar, De bello Gallico, manuscript on vellum, Milan, c. 1450-75
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Bible Historiale, illuminated manuscript in French on paper, Amiens, c. 1480-85
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Miniature Book of Hours, illuminated by Simon Bening, Bruges, c. 1530-35
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Saintly Pope, miniature on vellum, by Pacino da Bonaguida, Florence, c. 1310-15
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Christ calling St. Peter, miniature on vellum, by Pellegrino di Mariano Rossini, Siena, 1471
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Presentation in Temple, miniature on vellum, Nuremberg, c. 1490-1500
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Pliny, Historia naturalis, Treviso: Manzolus, 1479
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Valturio, De re militari, Verona 1483, first edition in Italian
    <b>Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books: </b> Celestial vision at Constantinople, single-leaf woodcut, Nuremberg,<br>c. 1490-91

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2008 Issue

A.E. Crowell Decoys offered by Stephen O'Brien Fine Arts

Obrien

A.E. Crowell carvings from Stephen O'Brien.


By Michael Stillman

Here is a catalogue uncommon for our reviews. It is certainly not of books, and only tangentially might be called “ephemeral." However, one of the favorite subjects for book collectors is sports and sportsmen, and in the days before baseball and football were massively popular, sports hunting was of keen interest, particularly for those of means. This brings us to the latest catalogue of Stephen O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts. It is entitled Select Carvings by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) . Crowell was both a master sportsman and artist, and those who collect in the field of hunting, particularly of waterfowl, will certainly appreciate these fine carvings.

Crowell grew up on a cranberry farm in East Harwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. Though not a hunter, his father gave young Crowell a shotgun when he was twelve. Crowell took to hunting like...well...a duck to water. He began devising ways to get waterfowl to stop at the lake near his home on their migrations. Although he carved some decoys early on, Elmer's preferred means was live decoys. He would train tethered ducks and geese to lure wild ones their way. He became something of a legend, and hunters sought his help.

Around 1900, Dr. John C. Phillips, sportsman, author, and Associate Curator of Birds at the zoological library at Harvard, hired Crowell, who would remain in his employ for ten years. Along with building better blinds and training his live decoys, Crowell began carving more. He carved both decoys and simply decorative works. However, this would remain a secondary activity until 1912 when Massachusetts passed a law outlawing the sale of migratory birds. Depletion of these bird species by clever techniques such as those employed by Crowell alarmed conservationists, who won their battle with the hunters in the state legislature. Unable to trade in live decoys any longer, Crowell turned to his carving skills to fashion wooden decoys and decorative carvings. This he would do for most of the remainder of his long life.

It is impossible to describe Crowell's carvings with words, other than to note that his great familiarity with the species he carved enabled him to achieve exceptional reality in his works. He carved and painted with meticulous attention to detail. His works are prized by collectors, the best having reached prices in excess of $1 million. Of course, not all are quite so pricey, but you probably would not want to use one of Crowell's carvings as an active decoy today. However, one would look spectacular on the shelf next to your antiquarian hunting books.

Stephen O'Brien may be reached at 617-536-0536 or visited online at www.americansportingart.com. The gallery is located on Newbury Street in Boston.

Rare Book Monthly


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