Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

50 Fine Books from Shapero Rare Books

50 Fine Books.

Shapero Rare Books has published a catalogue of 50 Fine Books 2014. These certainly are fine books. While not stated, the most noticeable feature of these books is the exquisite illustrations. The text can be important too, but the majority of these books include illustrations that are works of art. Subjects include animals, birds in particular, flowers, architectural wonders, scenic locations, natives of far off lands, costume, and other topics that lend themselves to fine illustrations. These are books worthy of more than just reading. Here are a few of the fine fifty.

 

One would not expect a major early account of American Indian culture to have been written in German, but that is the case of the first edition of Reise in das Innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834, Prince Maximilian's account of a visit from 1832-1834. The German Prince wanted to learn about America's natives in what proved to be the waning days of their still being mostly uninfluenced by western culture. He traveled up the Missouri River, stopping at various forts and visiting numerous tribes, including the Sioux, Mandan, Crow, Cree and Blackfoot. He wintered over with the Mandan, becoming particularly familiar with their customs. Maximilian reached as far as Fort Mackenzie, operated by the American Fur Company, in present-day Montana. While the Prince was a close observer, he also brought an outstanding artist along to capture images of the natives. After returning to Germany in 1834, Maximilian prepared the text while artist Karl Bodmer completed his illustrations, which are both detailed depictions of what they saw and artistically commanding. There are also images of other places they visited on their journey, including lighthouses in Boston and Cleveland, New York harbor, Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, and the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. This first edition in German also includes a section on Indian languages that was not included in the English and French translations. The four volumes were published from 1839-1841. Item 6. Priced at £225,000 (British pounds, or about $374,466 U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have an album of eight portraits that fall along the border between realism and art, created by a device Shapero calls a “precursor of photography.” Frenchman Gilles Louis Chretien devised a contraption he called a “physionotrace” to capture realistic profile portraits. It was based on the principle of a pantograph, where a pen used to write or draw on one page is connected to a second pen that writes or draws the same image on a second page. That was sort of an early version of a copier. With Chretien's physionotrace, he would trace around the profile of the subject's face which would relay his movements to paper. It would later be filled in and colored by the “artist.” It enabled him to create realistic images of people without having extraordinary artistic skills. Chretien produced hundreds of these during the late 18th and early 19th century, including those of many notable subjects. £4,500. Item 15. (US $7,488).

 

This is not a book about evolution, and yet it was an essential piece to the puzzle Darwin put together. Indeed, while Charles Lyell would come to recognize the logic in Darwin's theory three decades later, he remained terribly conflicted by his deep religious beliefs. Item 36 is Lyell's Principles of geology, being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth's surface, by reference to causes now in operation, three volumes published 1830-1833, while Darwin was in South America making the discoveries that would lead to his theory. Lyell's principle was that geologic changes in the earth, from mountains rising to streams eroding, went on through time at a constant pace. This meant that the earth could not be anything like 5,000 years old, as many concluded from the Bible's timetable. It must, in fact, be far older to accommodate everything found in the geologic record, considering the slow pace of these changes. This would be critical for Darwin, as prior theories of “evolution” required sudden change, which would eliminate the mechanism of natural selection. However, once Lyell's realization that the earth was far older than previously thought was factored into the equation, Darwin's theory became a reasonable explanation for what was found. £12,500 (US $20,800).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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