Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2016 Issue

A Spring Catalogue of Books about Books from Oak Knoll

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Spring Catalogue of Books about Books.

Oak Knoll Books has published their Catalogue 310 A Spring Catalogue of Books about Books. The catalogue is broken into separate sections, which gives a good idea of what you will find in a catalogue of "books about books:" Featured Books; Bookbinding; Book Illustration & Book Design; Book Selling, Collecting, and Publishing History; Fine & Private Press; Printing History & Type Specimens; Papermaking, Marbling, & Specimens; General Books-about-Books; Bibliography and Reference; and Miscellaneous. That final category allows for a few items that push the border of being books about books. Here are a few "specimens" from this catalogue

 

We begin with the most thorough examination of the man who was, if not the greatest book collector ever, the most voluminous. Sir Thomas Phillipps was a 19th century collector who made the most serious attempt of anyone to obtain a copy of every book and manuscript in existence. Of course, that is an impossible goal, but give Phillipps credit for trying. Every room in his home was filled to the ceiling with books and manuscripts, leaving barely enough room to get around. While he had a decent amount of money, he was always going broke as every cent he could find went to buying more works. While his book collection was large, it was his manuscripts that were of greatest note. Manuscripts, by their nature, tend to be one of a kind, and were it not for Phillipps' obsession, many that he saved would have been lost forever. After his death, Phillipps' collection was dispersed in a series of sales, that continued for over a century. Item 67 is the five-volume Phillips Studies, produced by the bibliographic scholar A. N. L. Munby. The set, which covers both Phillips' collection, his personal affairs, and the dispersal of his library, was published from 1951-1960. Priced at $450.

 

The reason it took so long to disperse the Phillipps' collection was partly because of its size and partly the will of Thomas Phillipps, who wished it remain together. It took over a decade before courts reduced Phillipps' stipulations which enabled the material to be sold. Over the next 50 years, sales were supervised by Phillipps' grandson, Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick. In 1935, A. E. Popham published a catalogue of a specific portion of the material collected by Phillipps' still held at that time by Fenwick: Catalogue of Drawings Formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F. R. S., Now in the Possession of His Grandson T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. It was privately printed for Fenwick. Thirlestaine House was also the residence and site of the collection for Phillipps. Fenwick died three years later, and in 1946 most of the Phillipps' collection of drawings was obtained by the British Museum. Item 46. $650.

 

As long as we are covering large, eccentric book collectors whose collections were sold many years after they died, how about William Beckford? Beckford inherited a fortune from his father, for which he had a very appropriate use – spending it. He spent a fortune building a huge Gothic estate, Fonthill Abbey, which he filled with books. Unfortunately, soon after its completion, he could no longer afford the place, which suffered from shoddy workmanship. He sold and moved to another fine residence, Hamilton Palace, where he remained until the end of his life in 1844. While he had sold many of his books earlier, Beckford still retained a major collection at the time of his death. It remained with the family for almost 40 more years until being sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge from 1882-1884. Item 56 is the Catalogue of the First (to fourth) Portion of the Beckford Library Removed from Hamilton Palace. These catalogues include penned in prices and names of buyers in the margins. $800.

 

There have been some noted book forgers over the years, but none top Thomas James Wise. Wise was a highly respected scholar, collector, and bibliographer. Unfortunately, he helped support himself by constructing forgeries. Wise didn't just copy existing books, but he would invent earlier editions of known books, thereby creating books that were both unique and seemingly enormously valuable. He made this believable by inventing copies of books originally published in collections and creating first separately published editions. This was doubly troubling considering Wise's role as bibliographer because not only was he defrauding purchasers, he was including his invented editions in his bibliographies, thereby making them dishonest too. Wise was able to get away with this for four decades, but his creations raised suspicions, and finally it all became clear with the publication of this book – An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets. The expose was written by John Carter and Graham Pollard, published in 1934. Both authors have signed this copy. Carter, in 1970, with an inscription. Pollard, humorously, in 1973, writing after Carter's name, "Signature authenticated by Graham Pollard." Item 204. $550.

 

Here is one from the miscellaneous category. It is a framed broadside headed The Life and Age of Woman. The subhead expands, Stages of Woman's Life from infancy to the brink of the grave. It was created by Albert Alden, circa 1835. It displays seven images of women from ages 1-90. It depicts and describes each of the stages, consistent with role stereotypes of the day. The woman is shown in a separate illustration as nurturer, teaching her child from the scriptures. The woman reaches her peak at the age of 30 when she is "at the height of her physical and intellectual powers." It's all downhill from there. By 90, "we see all that remains of her who once tripped the light fantastic." Alden also created one of these charming pieces for men, but at least men don't reach their peak until 50 before descending into decline and decrepitude. Item 275. $2,500.

 

Oak Knoll Books may be reached at 800-996-2556 or orders@oakknoll.com. Their website is www.oakknoll.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.

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