Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2014 Issue

Travel, Science and Art from Martayan Lan

Great books and maps from Martayan Lan.

Martayan Lan provided a catalogue for The 54th New York Antiquarian Book Fair, held last month. Martayan Lan is a map specialist, but this presentation includes many books, some containing maps, others not. It is divided into sections. The first, Travel, includes many atlases and maps. The other two sections cover Science & Medicine, and Arts & Humanities. These are important works, suitable for collections at the highest level. Here are a few examples.

 

The image of the unusually striped zebra you see on the cover comes from a very early trip inside the African continent. Relatione del reame di Congo et delle circonvicine contrade is an account by Filippo Pigafetta of the explorations of the Kingdom of the Kongo in 1578-1584 by Odoardo Lopes (first name sometimes written as Duarte or Edward, last name as Lopez). Martayan Lan notes that Lopes' knowledge of interior Africa would not be surpassed until the days of Stanley and Livingston, almost three centuries later. Pigafetta's account is a mix of fact and fiction, treating rumors, reports recounted by Africans, and ancient tales similar to eyewitness accounts. Nonetheless, considering all of the fantastic rumors and imagined creatures Europeans believed about inland Africa at the time, this presented a far more realistic view. Lopes believed the natives could be converted to Christianity, so they are portrayed more realistically as humans than as some fantastic creatures. This 1591 first edition contains the folding maps and plates, which provided the first updated representation of the land since the days of Ptolemy. Item 1. Priced at $49,500.

 

There is not a more foundational piece for a collection of Americana, except perhaps a Columbus letter, than this work: Cosmographiae Introducto... by Martin Waldseemuller. This is the St. Die edition, one of four published within four months of each other in 1507. All are extremely rare. The book includes the first collected edition of Amerigo Vespucci's four voyages. It was in this book that America received its name. It was the first time the name “America” appeared in print, as Waldseemuller stated that there was no way it should be named anything else since Amerigo Vespucci had discovered it. It is interesting that in his 1513 map, Waldseemuller labeled America as the “New World,” not “America,” perhaps because he had learned in the intervening years that it was not Vespucci who discovered the land after all. Item 29. Price on request.

 

Halfway into the 16th century, Sebastian Munster produced one of the greatest atlases of his time. Only a few decades after Waldseemuller, and not much more after Columbus, item 19 is Munster's Cosmographiae Universalis, published in 1552. The world had changed enormously. Munster provided the first separate printed maps of Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The greatest advancement in knowledge came in the Americas, where all Waldseemuller knew was an edge of the continents and a few islands. Munster's Americas still feature many misconceptions. A massive southern continent lies just a narrow strait south of South America, India is not all that far west of North America, Japan is a huge island not far from the west coast, and a great inland waterway almost divides North America in half. Nonetheless, for all the defects in his understanding, Munster's map of the Western Hemisphere is complete and clearly recognizable as the Americas. $75,000.

 

Item 51 is Sir Isaac Newton's pioneering work on Opticks. It was his most important work other than the Principia, and like that book, Newton not only looked to describe what he saw, but explain why. His most notable discovery was that white light was composed of all of the colors of the rainbow. This is a first edition from 1704, and unlike his other great work, this first was written in English. Newton had written this book several decades earlier, but because of heavy criticism from fellow scientist Robert Hooke, he delayed until after Hooke's death in 1703 to print it. $140,000.

 

Item 85 is a biography of a woman way ahead of her time, L'Eroina Veneta, Overo la Vita di Elena Lucretia Cornara Piscopia... by Antonio Lupus. Elena Cornaro Piscopia was a brilliant woman, so learned that she obtained a doctorate and numerous other honors during the 17th century, a time long before the acceptance of women in anything other than a domestic role. Though her mother was a peasant unmarried to her father, her father was of Venetian nobility. That was sufficient to get her an education. By the age of seven, she was proficient in Latin and Greek, which would lead her to the study of several more languages, mathematics, philosophy, and theology. Her tutor recommended her to the University of Padua for a doctorate in theology, which the local Bishop refused, but she was allowed to obtain a doctorate in philosophy. Numerous Venetian senators and representatives of other universities attended her award. Sadly, she died in 1684 at the age of 38 of tuberculosis. Her writings were published posthumously in 1688 and this biography in 1689. $2,850.

 

You may reach Martayan Lan at 212-308-0018 or info@martayanlan.com. Their website is www.martayanlan.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • 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
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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