• <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions:</b> Rowling (J.K). <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, seeking consignments:</b> Thornton (Samuel). <i>A Large Drought of the North Part of China Shewing…the Harbour of Chusan,</i> copper engraved map, 1711. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, seeking consignments:</b> Stuart (Helen). Portrait of a Maori, over-painted gelatin silver print, signed and dated, 1885. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, seeking consignments:</b> Picasso (Pablo). Minotaure vaincu, plate 89 from La Suite Vollard , signed, Paris, 1939. £4,000 to £5,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, seeking consignments:</b> Pissarro (Camille). Vachère au Bord de l'Eau, NUMBER 14 OF 100 PROOFS, etching, 1890. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, seeking consignments:</b> Einstein (Albert). Copy of typewritten script of the episode "The Atom" of the TV programme "Your World Tomorrow", signed by Einstein. £2,000 to £3,000
  • <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Blaise Cendrars and Fernand Léger, <i>La Fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D.,</i> Paris, Editions de la Sirène, 1919
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> André Breton, <i>Second manifeste du Surréalisme,</i> Paris, Editions Kra, 1930
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Paul Eluard and Pablo Picasso, <i>La Barre d’appui,</i> Paris, Editions « Cahiers d’Art », 1936
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Blaise Cendrars and Fernand Léger, <i>La Fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D.,</i> Paris, Editions de la Sirène, 1919
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Hans Bellmer, <i>Die Puppe,</i> Paris, G.L.M., 1936
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Salvador Dali, <i>La femme visible,</i> Paris, Editions Surréalistes, 1930
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Book of Hours. Illuminated manuscript, Flanders or northern France, c. 1450. With 12 full-page illuminated miniatures. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Zahrawi, Abu’-Qasim, al- (c. 936-1013). <i>Albucasis chirurgicorum omnium,</i> Strasbourg, 1532. The first comprehensive illustrated treatise on surgery. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Milles, Thomas. <i>The Custumers Alphabet and Primer,</i> 1608. Gilt supralibros of 17th-century English bibliophile Edward Gwynn. £2,000 to £3,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Guillemeau, Jacques. <i>Child-Birth or, the Happy Deliverie of Women,</i> 1st edition in English, 1612. The second midwifery manual printed in English. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Rabisha, William. <i>The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected,</i> 1st edition, 1661. Rare. Five copies in libraries. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Royal binding. <i>An Abridgment of the English Military Discipline,</i> 1678. Contemporary red goatskin gilt by Samuel Mearne for Charles II (1630-1865). £1,500 to £2,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Pallavicino, Ferrante. <i>The Whores Rhetorick,</i> 1st edition in English, 1683. Rare anti-Jesuit satire. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>The Benefit of Farting,</i> 1st London edition, 1722. Teerink 19. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Edwards, George. <i>Natural History of Uncommon Birds</i> [and] <i>Gleanings of Natural History,</i> 7 volumes, 1743-64. Contemporary tree calf, 362 hand-coloured engraved plates. £8,000 to £12,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Campbell, Patrick. <i>Travels in the Interior Inhabited Parts of North America,</i> 1st edition, 1793. Howes C101; Sabin 10264. Uncut in original boards. £5,000 to £8,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Hearne, Samuel. <i>A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay, to the Northern Ocean,</i> 1st edition, 1795. Sabin 31181. Large-paper copy. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Edgeworth, Maria. <i>The Match Girl, A Novel,</i> 1808. £1,000 to £1,500

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2015 Issue

Cayenne, The Dry Guillotine

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Stomp them in

 

Louis-Ange Pitou was carried to Cayenne aboard the frigate La Décade (Aymé, of whom we shall talk in another article, sailed aboard La Charente, and Ramel aboard the corvette La Vaillante); he reached there in June 1798. And his first impression was a terrible one: “Some avid eyes are staring at us... O my God, what beings! Are they men or beasts?” At the time, only 800 people lived in Cayenne. There were more than 15,000 in 1763! The plague and other diseases had sent them all to the grave. An unfriendly territory, indeed; full of dreadful... insects! The chiques would dwell under your feet nails to devour your flesh; if not treated, their wounds led to amputation and death. The gouty’s lice, a red vermin that loved creeping under your skin, “was to be found by the thousands on any blade of grass”; the crocodiles would catch every dog they could, and the vampire bats that caught you sleeping left you in a pool of blood. As our author says: “What a place!

 

But things are never so bad that they can’t be made worse. Soon, Pitou was sent to another part of Guyana, Konanama, under the “care” of Director Prevost, and the head storekeeper Beccard. In their case, to administer the place meant exploiting the prisoners by any means necessary. The change was so brutal that some committed suicide: one Sourzac suddenly jumped into the nearby river, and one Brunégat simply walked straight ahead until he met his death. But even in Cayenne, man remained the most dangerous animal.

 

 

The recently freed Negroes who were supposed to take care of the deportees actually charged them for everything, and left the poorest ones to die helplessly. They even refused to bury them—buried by his Belgian fellowmen, as the Negroes refused to do so, wrote Beccard beside the name of a dead priest (Pitou). “They laugh at all this mess,” writes Pitou, “and say, in their own language: We right fi steal the white people-them; Freedom gi wi de right.” In order to collect more money from burials, they rushed their work. Beside the name of Chapuis, another dead non-juring priest listed in Pitou’s work, we can read: “He was among those whom the Negroes stomped into their graves.” This particular event deeply affected Pitou, who dedicated a plate of his book to it. It shows the Negroes hastily burying some dead deportees; in the background, Beccard and Prevost, rejoice and dance with some female Negroes. The caption quotes Aymé’s book: “The undertakers have been seen breaking the legs of the dead, stomping them into too narrow and too short a grave. They acted this way to rush to another victim.”

 

 

Yet Pitou held no personal grudge—he wrote: “After the attempted coup of Fructidor 18th, the Directoire showed no mercy, and threw us upon this island, granting us a shadow of justice only (...). Beccard and Prevost (...) will be less guilty, if we dare scrutinizing the human heart. Their fierceness is a local crime they might have avoided had the deportees been less numerous, and hadn’t the bone of contention embittered both sides (...). The Negroes weren’t involved in all these crimes. They are manlike creatures that freedom has turned into mean tigers. (...) In a word, they’re wasting their freedom.” Pitou blames the system more than the individuals. After all, Beccard became “half-mad with drinking and pain” himself, before perishing in 1799, “in terrible convulsions.

 

Cannibals

 

As the title of his book reads, Pitou rubbed elbows with some cannibals while in Guyana. Sent to dry the morasses of La Franche, another deadly “desert”, he eventually mingled with a tribe of Indians, observing them and sharing their lifestyle for quite a while—but one day, they were attacked by a bunch of cannibals. “Lord! This is no battle, or slaughter; this is something even worse. Each winner takes his victim with him, tears him apart just like a lion revenging against the hunter who has hurt him.” Meanwhile in France, another type of cannibal was at work; Napoléon took over the Directoire on November 9th, 1799 (18 Brumaire) and pardoned the deportees. As Louis-Ange Pitou finally sailed away from Cayenne, he seemed to hear the voice of the martyrs he was leaving behind: “Thus, you’re leaving this place where our ashes rest in peace! Tell our families to forgive our enemies; we were 329 upon our arrival, half of us were sent to the grave in the twinkle of an eye. Carry our names to France and don’t forget you’re leaving in those deserts some companions of hardship...”

 

Upon his arriving in Paris, Pitou learnt the death of his beloved one; “From that day on, his life will be nothing but a difficult and unfortunate struggle against fortune,” writes Philippe Descoux. Sent back to prison for a few months, he was eventually pardoned; he then remained far from politics until the restoration of the Monarchy; he then tried to publish a “heavy and hard to digest composition without sense” (Descoux) about the Stuarts and the Bourbons, but the unexpected return of Napoleon put an end to the project. When Louis XVIII came back for the second time, Pitou was granted a pension of 2,100 francs; but he expected more, and he wrote dozens of inappropriate letters to the King. At the end of his life, “his intelligence has darkened” (Descoux), and he paid the price of his “stupid stubbornness” until being reduced to begging to survive. He died on May 8th, 1846, in the middle of an unfriendly “desert” of France, far from those in Guyana, where he had obviously left a part of himself—the angel had come out alive from the fiery furnace, but not intact.

 

Writers

 

Our three authors were arrested after the coup of Fructidor 18th, and then deported together to Cayenne; but they sailed in three different boats, and didn’t spend much time together, as it seems. Louis-Ange was just a street singer while Aymé was a former politician, and Ramel an officer in the French army. Pitou talks about Aymé in his book, who only lists him among the deportees as a 30 years-old singer in return. Aymé sends the reader to Ramel’s book to learn about the pains endured by the deportees of Sinamary. But Ramel talks about neither Pitou nor Aymé. On the contrary, they all mention Tronçon-Ducoudray, who ruined his health in anger and discontent. On one hand, Pitou claims he died from a putrid fever in May 1798: “He stubbornly refused to drink some turtle stock that would have saved him inevitably.” But on the other hand, he writes beside his name: Dead of sorrow. A sort of dry death.

 

Thibault Ehrengardt

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts Online<br>Now through June 21</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i> Walden: or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> BUKOWSKI, CHARLES. Archive of Correspondence Addressed to Kay "Kaja" Johnson, Los Angeles, California: July – November 1961. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> DICKENS, CHARLES, AND GEORGE CRUIKSHANK [ILLUSTRATOR]. Unpublished autograph letter signed, to Cruikshank, completed on the artist's proof, related to the publication of The Pic-Nic Papers. $7,000 to $10,000
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts Online<br>Now through June 21</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> FEYNMAN, RICHARD. <i>"Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!" Adventures of a Curious Character.</i> As Told to Ralph Leighton. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1985. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> GERSHWIN, GEORGE. Autograph music manuscript of "Leavin’ for de Promise’ Lan’" from the opera Porgy and Bess, Act One Scene Two. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 21:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Document signed ("Abraham Lincoln") as sixteenth president, being a military commission for Rufus H. Johnson. $8,000 to $10,000
  • <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini. June 27</b>
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KENNEDY ONASSIS, JACQUELINE Typed letter signed to Oleg Cassini. $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> [CASSINI-KENNEDY FASHIONS] Important archives related to the development of fashions for Mrs. Kennedy… $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> [CASSINI-KENNEDY FASHIONS] Detailed ledger of the Kennedy White House years… $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KELLY, GRACE. Four autograph letters to Oleg Cassini. $5,000 to $8,000
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini. June 27</b>
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> CASSINI, OLEG. Group of Kennedy-era original fashion sketches. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KENNEDY ONASSIS, JACQUELINE. Autograph letter signed to Oleg Cassini. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> CASSINI, OLEG. Fashion sketch titled “Mrs. Kennedy-Palais de Versailles-State Dinner.” $800 to $1,200
    Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini: [CASSINI, OLEG - KENNEDY, JACQUELINE.] Group of approximately 130 original fashion designs… $800 to $1,200.

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