Books for the California Fair from the Antiquariaat Forum
By Michael Stillman
The latest Short Title List from the Antiquariaat Forum of the Netherlands was published for the recent California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Los Angeles, sponsored by the ABAA. The Antiquariaat Forum is a regular participant in book fairs all over the world, and they always bring some of their most interesting books along. Here are few which made the recent journey across the ocean to California.
Christiaan Huygens was a great Dutch astronomer, physicist and mathematician of the 17th century. He discovered the composition of Saturn's rings, invented the pendulum clock, was a leader in the development of calculus, along with many other achievements in the era of scientific revolution. Late in his life, he began speculating, based on reason, what was out there in space. He believed it only logical that there would be beings on other planets and that they would logically be similar in form to humans. His thoughts were printed in this his final work, Kosmotheoros, published in 1698. Item 29 is a rare first edition. Priced at $14,650.
Item 49 is an account of a French journey to Australia by Francois Peron and Louis Freycinet. The title is Voyage de decouvertes aux Terre Australes, a second and improved edition published in 1824. Peron was the naturalist, Freycinet the cartographer. They were sent by Napoleon to discover the strait which divided Australia in two. Not surprisingly, they did not find it. Nevertheless, they did make many discoveries. $51,475.
If they had stuck around longer, perhaps they could have written A descriptive vocabulary of the native language of West Australia. Instead, the honor belongs to John Brady, the first Bishop of Perth. Brady first traveled to eastern Australia, where his flock consisted largely of Irish convicts. In 1843, he was sent to Perth, where he quickly saw an opportunity to evangelize the aboriginal population. As part of a plan to bring more priests to the area, he published this work in 1845. In time, Brady would run into conflict with church authorities and left Australia, first returning to Ireland, and living his last years as a hermit in France. However, he retained his title as Bishop of Perth for the remainder of his life. Item 10. $5,525.
Item 45 is a rare first edition of the first printed account of a Dutch voyage to South America, Journael Oft Daghelijck-register van de Voyagie na Rio de Plata… by Hendrik Ottsen. The voyage which took Ottsen and his mates to the mouth of the La Plata River did not accomplish very much, Ottsen being imprisoned for a time while most of the men fell to disease. They were saved by a Dutch privateer who came along at an opportune time. Nevertheless, this account did help to instill national pride in the Dutch, though that was not enough to establish a very large empire in the New World. $139,675.
Item 57 is the first atlas of Peru, Atlas Geografico del Peru, by Mariano Paz Soldan. Paz Solden was a state official, at first in charge of designing a penitentiary, later a director of public works. Along the way, he created this atlas, with 45 maps and plans plus numerous views and much statistical data. Published in 1865. $8,100.
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