Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2011 Issue

Private Press Works from Sotherans


One of Gertrude Hermes' long delayed engravings.

Item 1a is a spectacular, rare item, a privately printed work created for the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, to give away. Edward VIII was the British King who abdicated the throne for “the woman I love.” It is called The Legion Book, and was published to raise money for the British Legion. It was edited by Capt. H. Cotton Minchin, and contains the writings and artwork of many notable figures of the era. Among the authors included are Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, P.G. Wodehouse, Aldous Huxley, G.K. Chesterton, Vita Sackville West, and Georges Clemenceau. The latter, France's World War I Prime Minister, died in its year of publication, 1929. The book was printed in an edition of just 100 copies at the Curwen Press. All 100 were given to the Prince to be used as presentation copies. Each copy is signed by all of the contributors, along with the Prince's presentation inscriptions. This copy was presented to George, Earl Haig, and is signed “Edward P.” George was but 11 years old at the time, but his father was the founder of the British Legion, having died the year before. This copy was given to his son “in remembrance of his father.” £8,500 (US $13,287).

Item 167 represents a production long in the making: Wood Engravings by Gertrude Hermes being Illustrations to Selborne, published by Gwasg Gregynog in 1988. Gwasg Gregynog was operated by the University of Wales at the time, and is now a charitable company. However, this book was originally meant to be printed by its private predecessor, the Gregynog Press, in the 1930s. Hermes was commissioned to create engravings for a proposed edition of Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne. However, Hermes had personal issues that preoccupied her at the time, and production of the engravings was seriously delayed. In 1932, now in the midst of difficult financial times, the Directors of the Gregynog Press decided to postpone the printing until more favorable times. That time did not arrive until 1988, when the illustrations were published on the 200th anniversary of the original release of White's work. £498 (US $778).

Sotheran's may be reached at 020 7439 6151 or books@sotherans.co.uk. Their website is found at www.sotherans.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.

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