Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2011 Issue

The Great South Land from Hordern House

Hordernsouthland

The Great South Land from Hordern House.

Hordern House has prepared a magnificent new catalogue entitled The Great South Land. Searching for the antipodes, from classical scholars to Quiros & Dampier. Before describing the catalogue's content, we first need to mention its presentation. Hordern House produces some of the most spectacular book catalogues you will find, and this one is certainly no exception. Three-quarters of an inch thick, this is a large hardcover book, richly illustrated and filled with detailed descriptions of its books and subject matter. It will be a collectible soon enough itself.

 

Hordern House is an Australian bookseller, and "the Great South Land" naturally includes their home. However, it would be totally wrong to consider this an Australian catalogue. Its subject is a much wider land, even if most of it would in time prove to be illusory. The "antipodes" refers to land directly opposite on the globe to others, that is, reached by running a straight line from one point, through the center of the Earth, to another. In the days before the Age of Discovery, Europeans had some knowledge of much of the Northern Hemisphere (excluding North America), but almost none of its antipodes, the Southern Hemisphere. The result was much speculation, and some fundamental misunderstandings as to what was on the other side.

 

Some of these earlier books contained descriptions, even drawings, of the creatures that supposedly lived down there. What possessed people to believe such things lived in the Southern Hemisphere is hard to know. However, what was the most fundamental belief about the world to the south was that there existed a massive southern continent, extending from the South Pole almost to the edges of South America and Africa, and still farther north into the Pacific Ocean. The primary explanation for this belief was as explorations began into the Southern Hemisphere, it was realized that there was much less land there than in the Northern Hemisphere. This upset the firm belief in antipodal balance. Scholars concluded there must be a balancing continent in the unknown part of the Southern Hemisphere, its far south. This would be the dominant theory about the southern half of the globe all the way up until James Cook's second voyage, when he sailed deep into what was supposed to be part of the southern continent with still no land in sight.

 

This catalogue does not contain the voyages of Cook or those who put the southern continent to rest, or put the final touches on the outlines of Australia. Instead, it ranges from works of the ancient Greeks and Romans and their vision of the world, to the earliest eastern explorers - Marco Polo and John Mandeville, to the early Age of Discovery up to the early years of the 18th century, when the southern continent was still alive, and Australia, or New Holland, had been discovered, but was still an amorphous mass whose true nature was yet unknown. Here are a few of these works.

 

Item 3 is an early printing of Pomponius Mela's Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis, just the fourth printed edition of this ancient text, published in Venice in 1478. Pomponius Mela was an ancient Roman geographer, whose work was well over a millennium old by this time, but still, along with Ptolemy, the most up to date geography. Pomponius believed that the southern half of the globe was unreachable because of a belt of impenetrable heat that separated the two halves. Nonetheless, he still believed there must be a balancing, huge southern continent at the bottom (or top if you will) of the Earth. Priced at AU $36,000 (Australian dollars, or roughly $37,283 in American dollars).

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> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <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>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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