Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

50 Fine Books from Shapero Rare Books

50 Fine Books.

Shapero Rare Books has released 50 Fine Books Winter 2014. These are special books, important, elegant, and in exceptional condition. Most are notable for their illustrations, often comparable to printed works of art. When we speak of books with art quality illustrations, the subject that always seems to come up is birds. Somehow, the beauty of what we now know to be miniature dinosaurs captured the imagination of skilled artists and illustrators. Of course there is Audubon and Gould, but there were many others, and several of their books are among these 50. Other animals and plants are also to be found. Then there is scenery, both beautiful natural views, and spectacular architectural designs. There are even some people, in their various costumes of the world. You will certainly have a fine time with these fine books. These are a few.

 

We will start with some of those pretty birds. Shapero describes this book as “the finest ornithological work published in the United States by the finest bird artist in America after Audubon.” Daniel Giraud Elliot set out to produce a continuation of the work of Audubon and Alexander Wilson before him. This book came 25 years after Audubon, and Elliot was filling in species discovered since the works of his predecessors. His contribution to the species is The New and Heretofore Unfigured Species of Birds of North America, printed in two volumes, 1866-1869. It contains 73 hand-colored lithographs. This copy came from the collection of H. Bradley Martin, heir to a steel fortune and one of the most important collectors of the 20th century. Item 16. Priced at £30,000 (British pounds, or about US $48,558).

 

Here is another book dedicated to some beautiful, American flying creatures, but they are not birds. Item 1 is The Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia. “Lepidopterous insects” is an ugly synonym for butterflies. This is an early work on American fauna, being published in 1797. It was authored by John Abbott and Sir James Edward Smith. Abbott did the leg work. An Englishman, he traveled to Georgia in 1775 and spent much of his life recording birds and insects he found there. However, he needed help in publishing the work back home in London where Smith, the first President of the Linnean Society and a man impressed by Abbott's work, complied. The book not only illustrated and described its subject as adults, but also as youngsters in their caterpillar stage, and shows the plants on which they feed. £40,000 (US $64,555).

 

Next we have a look inside ourselves – literally. Item 3 is Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body... published in 1749. This is a first English edition of a work originally published in Latin. The book's author is Bernard Albinus, with illustrations from Jan Wandelaar. Not only are the illustrations of the the skeletons exceptional, the artist placed them in front of ornamental backgrounds to give them added vitality. The most famous, and very unusual plate, puts a skeleton in front of a grazing rhinoceros (the rhinoceros is eating grass, not the poor human who became a skeleton). Wanderlaar sketched this from the first rhinoceros brought to Europe, which arrived at the Amsterdam zoo in 1741. £12,500 (US $20,145).

 

Item 27 is the privately printed Cranwell edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a Triumph, by T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. It was published in 1926 in a limited edition of 170 copies. It was expensive even then. Lawrence seemed rather dismissive of book collectors, in a letter saying “I hate bibliophiles,” and thereby building in confusion between copies and not releasing the now-known print run. He claimed, “I'm aiming at a public that will pay but not read...” However, his account of war in the Middle East in which he was so deeply involved became recognized as one of the great books, assuring this edition would grow in value regardless of whether anyone ever read its pages. £58,500 (US $94,348).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.

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