Varied Items Found in Lowry-James' Rare Bookseller's Catalogue
By Michael Stillman
We review our first catalogue from Lowry-James Rare Prints & Books this month: Rare Bookseller's Catalogue #4. Spring 2008. Lowry-James is located in Langley, Washington, on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, a bit north of Seattle. This catalogue is both broad and specific. It offers works in specific fields, but those fields are diverse and not notably connected to one another. Here are the topics covered this month: botany; natural history; ornithology; sporting and game; British culture; art theory and technique; and Americana. The dates range from the 18th to the late 20th century. Many of these works, because of the quality of their illustrations or bindings, are worthy of collections within the book arts as well. These are a few of the items you will find.
Verzameling van allerley Bekende Hoorens en Schulpen (collection of many well known horns and shells) is the Dutch edition (first printing) of a major conchology of the 18th century. Shell collecting was very popular among the wealthy of Europe as well as naturalists at the time of this publication (1770-1775). Author Georg Wolfgang Knorr was an artist/illustrator and engraver, and this six-part two-volume set includes 190 hand-colored engravings. Knorr documented the holdings in many shell collections, with the names of the collector who owned each illustrated specimen listed beneath the shell. Priced at $23,000.
John James Audubon is undoubtedly the most famous artist at depicting the birds of America, but for practical guides to help people identify the various species, no one has played a greater role that Roger Tory Peterson. His guides are the birdwatcher's bible. Item 31 is the first trade edition (after the limited edition) of his The Bird Watcher's Anthology, first published in 1957. $65.
Item 32 is about the aforementioned Audubon, Kathryn Proby's Audubon in Florida. This 1974 first edition covers Audubon's travels in Florida and includes photographs, maps and plates of birds native to the Sunshine State. $65.
Here is a book that will either make your mouth water or your stomach turn: A Treatise on the Esculent Funguses of England, by Charles Badham, M.D. For those who do not use the word everyday, "esculent" means edible, so that what we have here is a book about edible mushrooms. Nevertheless, referring to them as "funguses," thereby placing them in the same category as ringworm and athlete's foot, is probably not the best way to sell these as delicacies. This is the revised second edition, published in 1863. $895.
Item 67 is a British work about America's pilgrims: The Pilgrim Fathers; or, The Founders of New England in the Reign of James the First. This is an 1854 second edition of W.H. Bartlett's attempt to explain America's founders, and the struggles they went through to form a new nation. The British public may have needed to be sold on their virtues as the pilgrims had traveled to America to escape intolerance in England, and their descendants later revolted against the homeland. $395.