Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2009 Issue

Fine Press, Artists' Books, History and More from Kelmscott Bookshop

Kelmscott4

Kelmscott's Catalog 4 with a couple of


By Michael Stillman

Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books has released their Catalog 4 of Artists' Books, Private Press, the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris, Photography, Art, Fine Literature, History, & More. To that list we can add "Baltimore." As the Kelmscott name implies, you can expect many works of artistic quality from fine presses in their catalogues. However, as noted, there is also more. Here are a few of the items now available.

William Morris' accomplishments were so diverse as to be hard to imagine for one person - literature, poetry, art, architecture, printing, design, and probably anything else he put his mind to. His later years were spent operating the Kelmscott Press, inspiration for this bookshop. Item 42 is a copy of his book, News From Nowhere, which Kelmscott describes as "his most famous book." It depicts a utopian new world living under the socialist ideals Morris held. This is one of 250 copies of the 1891 large paper edition and contains a rare inscription from Morris. It is to his daughter, Jenny, who suffered from ill health and was very close to her father. Priced at $9,500.

Item 27 is a Pre-Raphaelite Aeneid of Virgil in the Collection of Mrs. Edward Laurence Doheny of Los Angeles, Being an Essay in Honor of the William Morris Centenary 1934. Estelle Doheny was the wife of oil tycoon Edward Doheny, who with the encouragement of her husband's attorney and noted book collector Frank Hogan, became probably the greatest woman book collector ever, and one of the greatest without regard to gender. Much of her collection, left to a small seminary in California after her death in 1958, would be sold 30 years later for almost $38 million. Mrs. Doheny was a Morris collector, and this item celebrates one of Morris' greatest works that she possessed in her collection, an illuminated manuscript Aeneid he never quite finished. It is signed by Mrs. Doheny. $625.

Item 15 is a 2007 work from the Lone Oak Press with the unusual title of Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. This is a fine press limited edition, #23 of just 30 copies of a work written by the turn of the century British writer and gardener, with illustrations from Abigail Rorer. Rorer has drawn entertaining "portraits" of the disliked plants to accompany Farrer's humorous comments about them. The strange title is one of the nonsense words Farrer devised to describe things, and it certainly sounds fitting for unpleasant vegetation. $900.

For those who appreciate photographs from the theater, particularly the 1940s, here is a one-of-a-kind collection. Dr. Leslie French was a prominent Washington physician and amateur photographer. He would take his camera to the theater where he snapped these 400 black and white photographs, apparently from the orchestra seats. They are filled with images of famous actors and actresses, including Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Helen Hayes, Ronald Reagan and soon-to-be first wife Jane Wyman, Mickey Rooney, Peter Lawford, Rex Harrison, Glenn Miller, Ed Sullivan, and many more. The photos have been mounted on 72 cardboard sheets with handwritten identifications. Item 50. $1,700.

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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