Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2005 Issue

A Catalogue for the Ages from the Antiquariaat Forum


Illustrator William Hogarth puts an interesting perspective on this tranquil scene.

Huygens first explains that his views about life on other planets are not contrary to scripture, as the Bible does not mention celestial bodies. This is critical as such views might have been considered heresy in those days and, in some lands anyway, been cause to have him burned at the stake. Huygens next reasons that the Creator would not have made a bunch of deserted, useless planets, so there must be life. He then looks at the various features of plants and animals, and concludes that many are so important that life on other planets must have them too. Therefore, these creatures must have sight and hearing, hands and feet. The highest must have reasoning. He concludes that water is a must for life, but recognizes temperatures on some planets are below freezing, and on others above boiling. So, he deduces that other planets have clear liquids that are similar to water, but with different boiling and freezing points. By the end, he concludes that the planets have reasoning beings, including mathematicians and musicians, that they live in societies, and build houses. It was all very logical, even if not exactly true. This book was finished just before Huygens death in 1695. His brother took over the task of having it printed, but he too died before the project was complete. Once it was finally published, it was very popular, and editions in many languages followed. Item 95 is the first English edition that was printed in England, that coming in 1722. Priced at Euros ?2,250.

Cometischer Gedenckzettel...by Christianus Uranophilus provides descriptions of various comets visible between 14 and 1677. However, this treatise engaged in speculation more worrisome than that of Huygens, as the author describes events that followed them. The Antiquariaat Forum points out that "these include deaths of prominent persons, earthquakes, thunder-storms, pestilences, wars, religious and political change." Of course, these things undoubtedly happened in years when there were no comets as well. Item 111. Published in 1677. ?2,000.

Joshua Kirby wrote a book to help artists entitled Dr. Brook Taylor's method of perspective, made easy, both in theory and practice. This was an attempt to put Dr. Taylor's confusing principles on perspectives into language artists could understand. The book was dedicated to William Hogarth, who created the amusing illustration which accompanies this page. The caption with the drawing says, " Whoever makes a design without the knowledge of perspective will be liable to such absurdities as are shown in the frontispiece." See how many you can find. Item 85. Second edition from 1755. ?8,000.

Item 261 is a wonderful catch for namedroppers and autograph collectors. It is the marriage contract of two members of French nobility in 1784, Augustine Olympe Sophie de Besiade d'Avaray and Antoine-Rene d'Escoubleau, Marquis de Sourdis. It was signed by everyone who was anyone in the French court during the dying days of the old regime. Leading the signatories are King Louis XVI and his lovely wife, Marie Antoinette. It is very unlikely that Marie Antoinette ever spoke the callous line "let them eat cake," but she surely did get her head chopped off at the guillotine nine years later. So did Louis. Hard times were coming for royalty, but in 1784, the deluge had not yet arrived. Among the other signers were Louis Stanislas Xavier, the king's brother who would rule as Louis XVIII, Charles Philippe, another brother who would rule as Charles X, and Le Duc d'Angouleme, Charles' son who would rule for twenty minutes as Louis XIX in 1830. Add to this various aunts and a sister of the king, wives of his brothers, and Louis Philippe Joseph, whose son Louis Philippe would rule France from 1830-1848. And, there are more. ?22,750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <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.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <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.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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