Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2015 Issue

Books from the Library of Anthony Hobson from Forest Books

32729ba4-729c-4be8-b761-912130375ca1

From the library of Anthony Hobson.

Forest Books has published a catalogue entitled A Selection of Books from the Library of Anthony R. A. Hobson. Anthony Hobson was a bibliophile, expert, particularly on Renaissance bindings, author of numerous books and articles about antiquarian books and manuscripts, and a director at Sotheby's auction, in charge of the book department. He succeeded his father, who had been one of the purchasers of Sotheby's in 1908, when the latter died in 1949. Anthony Hobson remained in that role until the 1970's when he left the firm, concerned about its expansion. Along the way, Hobson oversaw many important sales, perhaps the most recognizable being the final parts of the century-long Thomas Phillipps sale. He was a member of numerous book collecting societies and an avid collector. Mr. Hobson died in 2014 at the age of 92. In an article in the Spectator, his son noted that, while he felt sad dispersing his father's collection, his father had told him that when the time came, he should "let other collectors have their turn." Here's your turn. These are a few of those books.

 

Speaking of the obsessive Mr. Phillipps, item 128 is Portrait of an Obsession. The Life of Sir Thomas Phillipps, the World's Greatest Book Collector. Adapted by Nicolas Barker from the Five Volumes of Phillipps Studies. This adaptation of the 5-volume set by A. N. L Munby was published in 1967. Phillipps had been dead almost a century by that time, but it would still be another ten years before his final sale at Sotheby's would be held (some further remnants of his collection were sold by Christie's in 2006). Phillipps was beyond obsessive, building a collection unrivaled in size, even though he was a man of relatively modest means. He had a good income from a trust, but not nearly enough to cover his desire to own, quite literally, everything. His homes were filled to the ceiling, his bank account constantly in debt. While his book collection was massive, it was his manuscripts that far exceeded anything previously seen. Phillipps was noted for buying out entire libraries, auctions, and other inventories, particularly of manuscripts. The book comes with a letter asking Anthony Hobson to review this book, a 5-page typescript of that review, and some letters from Munby. Munby was noted for some ghost stories he wrote while a prisoner of war in Germany, but then settled down to a life as a librarian and in the book trade, a few years with Bernard Quaritch and several at Sotheby's. Priced at £95 (British pounds, or about $145 U.S. dollars).

 

Item 5 was in effect one of the earliest bibliographies. It is a catalogue of a large and magnificent collection, Index Bibliothecae qua Franciscus Barberinus... It was published in 1681 after the library's owner, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, died. Cardinal Barberini was a wealthy member of a wealthy family. At the young age of 26 he was named a cardinal. It didn't hurt that the then Pope, Urban VIII, was his uncle. Urban also named another nephew and his brother cardinals. Cardinal Barberini conducted diplomatic missions for the Pope, but more importantly, headed up the Vatican library. Meanwhile, his growing wealth enabled him to build his own spectacular library. The library at a minimum contained over 31,000 printed books when the Cardinal died, and a large collection of manuscripts. This catalogue, which covers only the printed books, comes in two volumes. A third volume for the manuscripts was planned but never published. This catalogue is considered one of the earliest bibliographies because it was arranged in a revolutionary manner for the time – alphabetical order by name. Barberini was noted as a great promoter of the arts (and spending). He deserves special recognition as one of only three of the judges who refused to sign the sentence of Galileo after his second trial, and arranged for him to spend his remaining years in comfortable surroundings, rather than being shipped off to a monastery. £5,000 (US $7,609).

 

Here is a word to the "wise" that everyone involved with rare books needs to keep in mind – not everything is as it seems. Item 149 is Thomas J. Wise in the Original Cloth. The Life and Record of the Forger of the Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, published in 1946. The author was Wilfred Partington, one of the primary investigators responsible for Wise's downfall. Thomas Wise was once a respected scholar, but he found he could make more money through book forgery. He would not just copy existing books, but create new ones under an author's name. He might take an article that first appeared in a collection and create a separate edition, dated from before the collection. Voila! He had an extraordinarily rare, previously unknown, "true" first edition. It worked for a long time, but not forever. This copy comes with an interesting letter from C. G. de Graz, managing directory of Sotheby's auction rooms, to Mrs. Wise in 1933, when Wise's fraud was first becoming known. In it de Graz writes, "I am not writing to Mr. Wise directly... all of us here sympathize with Mr. Wise in the unhappy controversy which has arisen this Summer..." Perhaps de Graz was unconvinced, or unaware of the extent of Wise's forgeries at the time. Other letters included are Mrs. Wise's reply, a letter from de Graz to Partington thanking him for a copy of his book, and a copy of a letter from Hobson to Partington. £75 (US $114).

 

I am not otherwise familiar with this book, but the quote provided by Forest has to be a classic description of a book. Item 231 is Recollections of Mr James Lenox of New York and the Formation of his Library, by Henry Stevens, published in 1886. The quote describes the book as, "Recollections of Henry Stevens by Henry Stevens, with Occasional References to Mr. James Lenox." £45 (US $68).

 

Forest Books may be reached at +44 1949-842360 or bib@forestbooks.co.uk. Their website is www.forestbooks.co.uk

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions