Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

Voyages, Americana, Atlases, Science and More from Les Trois Islets

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A variety of works from Les Trois Islets.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received the fifth catalogue from French bookseller Les Trois Islets. The rare book seller is located in the town of Saint-Briac sur mer in Bretagne on France's northern coast. This catalogue is primarily in the French language, but we will translate the title to A Selection of 150 Books: Voyages - Americana - Atlas - Marine (Exploration, science and technology, military art). While there is a preponderance of French works in this catalogue, there are numerous others also to be found. From an American standpoint, you will find both items of French Americana and first French editions of books of American interest. This catalogue offers a wide variety of works including many of great importance. Here are a few of the 150 inside its covers.

Item 13 is a very early look at the New World, particularly New France in North America. Marc Escarbot was a scholar and writer who was invited to visit the new French colony of Acadia in 1606. On this and a subsequent voyage, Escarbot learned much about the French colonies and the native tribes. On his return home, Escarbot wrote the book Histoire de la Nouvelle France... which was published in 1609. He covers discoveries made by other explorers, including in Florida and Brazil, but then focuses on the area now known as Canada. While part he learned from others, including Champlain's early visits, he also presents much from his own first-hand knowledge or from others with whom he spoke directly. Escarbot's work is generally regarded as a "reliable" account of life in New France at the turn of the 17th century. This first edition, published in Paris, is extremely rare (it was described as "very rare" in 1917 in the Huntington catalogue). Price on request.

Item 1 is a book in French by a French diplomat, but it is likely to be of greatest interest to collectors of Americana. It is Histoire de la Louisiane et de la Cession de Cette Colonie par la France aux Etats-Unis... published in 1829. Author Francois Barbe-Marbois was appointed by Napoleon to conduct the preliminary negotiations which led to the sale of the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803. President Jefferson had only been looking to purchase a small amount of land at New Orleans to guarantee American access to the Mississippi, only to be surprised by Napoleon's willingness to sell the entire territory. The purchase instantly doubled the size of the United States. Barbe-Marbois recounts the history of the territory and describes the negotiations that led to this momentous event in American history. €1,200 (euros, or roughly $1,623 in U.S. dollars).

Item 71 is the account of a voyage that was as popular to the French as Cook's voyages were to the English. Jean-Francois de La Perouse led a mission to the Pacific in 1785 that lasted until 1788. His explorations were extensive, visiting numerous Pacific islands, including Hawaii, the west coasts of North and South America, including the coast from California to Alaska, Japan, Russia, China, and finally Australia. At several of his stops, La Perouse sent back his notes, which eventually became the basis of this account. However, La Perouse and his crew did not return. They disappeared after leaving Australia's Botany Bay and were never heard from again. Their disappearance was a mystery for 40 years until wreckage of their ships was finally discovered on the isolated island of Vanokoro. It is fortunate that La Perouse sent his notes back with others, enabling the publication in 1797 of this five-volume first edition of Voyage de La Perouse autour du monde... €22,000 (US $29,782).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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