Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2015 Issue

Science, Medicine, Travels and More from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

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Antiquarian books.

Librairie Thomas-Scheler has published their 44th catalogue of Livres Anciens (Antiquarian Books). This is a collection of very old books, dating as far back as the 16th century. Most of the books were published in French, though we do find some in other continental European languages and English. American and English audiences will also find first French editions of works originally published in their native tongue. There are a great many books of scientific, mathematical and medical interest to be found, but there are no limits. Travel and exploration are also prominent here. These are a few samples of the books we found in this latest presentation from Librairie Thomas-Scheler.

 

We begin with an early look at the pyramids of Giza, Description des pyramides de Ghize, et de la ville de Kaire et des environs, by Jacques Francois Louis Grobert, published in 1801. The French provided the West with some of the earliest detailed information about Egyptian antiquities, and everything else Egyptian, as a result of Napoleon's desire to build his resume just before the outset of the 19th century. Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, taking along all sorts of scholars to write detailed reports on everything about the country. He figured conquering the ancient land would win him support for leadership in France, from which he could carry out his much greater ambitions. Unfortunately for M. Bonaparte, Egypt turned out be a morass, his entrance appreciated neither by the Ottomans, who technically ruled the land, nor the independent-minded Egyptians, who retained much autonomy. Napoleon hightailed it back to France, no worse for the wear in the eyes of his people, soon to take over the government, from which he would have much more successful invasions of Europe until discovering Moscow gets very cold in winter. The author of this book, Jacques Grobert, was placed in charge of the artillery corps in Gaza during French rule. From this position he gathered much information about the ancient structures and was present for the opening of the Great Pyramid. His description of the pyramids and neighboring Cairo (Kaire) was considered the most detailed available at the time. Item 104. Priced at €2,000 (euros, or roughly $2,241 in U.S. currency).

 

Next is an even earlier work about a larger, though overlapping area by French naturalist and explorer Pierre Belon: Les observations de plusieurs singularités et choses memorables trouvées en Grèce, Asie, Judée, Egypte, Arabie et autres pays étrangèrs, published in 1553. Belon was a true “Renaissance man,” appropriate for a man living in the Renaissance. He studied many fields, from zoology to botany, medicine, natural history, ancient history, and comparative anatomy. In 1546, Belon set out on his journey which took him to Greece, the Levant, Arabia and Egypt. He went to study botanical specimens, but ended up conducting a thorough investigation of the lands, covering antiquities, the people, and natural history. It was the most complete study of the area to appear in France up to that point. Item 21. €9,500 (10,646).

 

Next up is one of the greatest American biographies, though it is in French. Item 185 is the first French edition of Vie de George Washington, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall's biography of America's revolutionary leader and first president. Originally published 1804-1807 in London as The Life of George Washington, this set was published in Paris in 1807. It includes five volumes plus the atlas. Marshall was certainly an admirer of Washington, but this was still the first major biography of the man and may well still be the best ever written. Washington began his military career fighting the French during the French and Indian War, but became close allies with the nation during the Revolution when France supported the American cause. €1,200 (US $1,344).

 

By the end of Washington's life, French-American relations weren't so good any more. The nations might have gone to war were not America's relations with France's main rival, England, equally bad. Item 90 is Pieces Officielles, messages, instructions, depeches, &c., Relatives a la Negociation qui a eu lieu en 1797 & 1798, sur les Differens eleves entre le Gouvernement des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique et le Directoire Executif de France, published in 1798. This is a compilation of correspondence between American and French officials as a result of the XYZ Affair. Three American diplomats had gone to France to negotiate issues that were threatening to bring the two nations to war. When they arrived, three unofficial French representatives, their names kept secret as X, Y, and Z, demanded payments and loans before the French would negotiate with them. Apparently, this was not an unheard of practice in Europe, but the Americans were deeply offended. It led to the “Quasi-War” between the countries, but it never broke into full-fledged hostilities despite the great anger. €120 (US $134).

 

Item 66 is the first published book by zoologist and studier of comparative anatomy Georges Cuvier: Tableau élémentaire de l'histoire naturelle des animaux, published in 1798. In this work he attempted to put together a classification of the animal kingdom. Cuvier compared the anatomy of living creatures with those found only in fossils. He was a proponent of the theory that some species had become extinct, a controversial point of view at the time as some believed God would never have created species he would then turn around and destroy. Cuvier did not believe in evolution, not even the pre-Darwinian ones of his time. He correctly saw in the fossil record that there were cataclysmic extinction events. He figured these were caused by floods. These cataclysms, he believed, were followed by new creation events. €1,000 (US $1,120).



Librairie Thomas-Scheler may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@thomas-scheler.fr

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Daniel Giraud Elliot. <i>A Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants,</i> 1870-1872, coloured plates. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Georg Braun und Franz Hogenberg. <i>Civitates orbis terrarum.</i> Cologne, 1597-c.1606, 5 volumes, hand-coloured, calf. £140,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Qianren Huang. "Blue Map" of China. [Daoguang, 19th century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Abraham Ortelius. <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1595. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Maxime Du Camp. <i>Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie. Dessins Photographiques.</i> Paris, 1852. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>China, Canton School. A superb album of 141 watercolours, c.1800. £70,000 to £100,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Alken (Henry), after. Salmon Fishing; Fishing in a Punt; Pike Fishing, three works, 1820. £600 to £800.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Early Images of Angling.- Hollar (Wenceslaus) Angling; River Fishing; and Salmon Fishing, after Francis Barlow, 3 engravings, [c. 1671]. £500 to £700.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Rolfe (Henry Leonidas). <i>Studies of Fresh Water Fish,</i> 1851. £500 to £700.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Morland (George), After. A Party Angling; The Anglers' Repast, a pair, mezzotints, 1789. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Pollard (James), After. Bottom Fishing; Anglers Packing Up, etchings with aquatint, 1831. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Angling's Age of Romance.- Sayer (Robert, publisher) & J. Bennett. The Angelic Angler, mezzotint, 1781; and another. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire.- London.- Roberts (Piercy). Patience at Paddington or angling in the Junction Canal, etching after Woodward, 1807; together with Woodward's 'Angling at Sadler's Wells', and another, 1794. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire - Cats Fishing.- Seymour (Robert). Waltonizing or - Green-land Fisherman, [c. 1830s]; together with 3 lithographs of cats fishing, [c. 1830s]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Portraits.- Zoffany (Johan), After. Master James Sayer, at the age of 13, mezzotint by Richard Houston, 1772. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Wilkinson (Norman). Come to Britain for Fishing, lithographic poster, [c. 1947]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Scottish Fishing.- Heath (William). Sporting in the Scottish Isles no. III. Salmon Fishing, 1835; and another. £150 to £200.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Simpson (Joseph). The Border Angler, drypoint, [c. 1927]. £150 to £200.

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