Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2016 Issue

Eight Books by Timothy C. Ely from Abby Schoolman Books

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Eight books from Timothy C. Ely.

Once in a while, a catalogue comes across my desk that is very hard to describe. This time, one has arrived I find impossible to put into words. The title is Timothy C. Ely 8 Books, the bookseller Abby Schoolman Books of New York. These eight books are all the handcrafts of Mr. Ely. They are not antiquarian. Timothy Ely is still very much alive. But, they are rare, extremely so. Mr. Ely has no print runs. He makes them one at a time, and each is unique. Every one of Ely's books is as rare as it can possibly be.

 

Naturally, there are no "reading copies" of a book as rare as one copy, but that is all right here. These are not to be read, at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, they are compilations of Mr. Ely's art, from the unique bindings to the artwork that constitutes their internal pages. Here is where the descriptions become impossible. I really have no words to describe the art he has created.

 

The closest comparable that comes to mind is the mysterious Voynich Manuscript. That is the strange manuscript of unknown origin, believed to date back to the 15th century. You have probably read about it or seen images of it. It combines drawings, some scientific-looking artistic designs, and a language no one has yet been able to decipher. Ely's work is far more artistic and less textual. And yet, his work also contains symbols and drawings that look scientific or mathematical, but in a language we don't quite understand. They, too, will take you on flights of fancy, trying to discover precisely what they mean. Ultimately, their meaning becomes the meaning we give it, rather than what Mr. Ely assigns, for this is a language of art and imagination rather than math and science.

 

The titles of the eight books are Bones of the Book, Gamma Cruxis, Mechanism, PhiaL, Second Road, Tethys, Transmission, and Tor. That doesn't much help describe them either. You know from the title what The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is about, but Tethys? PhiaL? Again, each person will have to create their own understanding of the mysteries as Mr. Ely provides no lecture notes. The artwork is dramatic, colorful, and beautiful. What stands apart from other art is the use of symbols, shapes that look like they come from mechanical devices, grid work representations, and such. They look to be telling us something specific, and yet, only the viewer can give them meaning.

 

With that, I will try no more. Rather, here is a link to Timothy C. Ely's eight books and a few more that Abby Schoolman Books is offering. Each is illustrated and described better than I can do, but you will probably want to create your own interpretations and descriptions. Click here.

 

Abby Schoolman Books may be reached at 917-612-0693 or abby@abbyschoolman.com. Their website is found at www.abbyschoolman.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> Initial A on vellum, Cologne around 1300. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> J. A. du Cerceau, <i>Les plus excellents bastiments de France,</i> 1607. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> L. de Austria, <i>Compilatio de astrorum scientia,</i> 1489. Est: €9,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> B. Besler, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> around 1750. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> <i>PAN,</i> 1895-1900. Est: €15,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1545. Est: €40,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> F. Schiller, <i>Die Räuber,</i> 1781. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> J. Albers, <i>Formulation : Articulation,</i> 1972. Est: €18,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> G. B. Ramusio, <i>Delle navigationi e viaggi,</i> 1556-1613. Est: €14,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> M. Wied Neuwied, <i>Reise in das Innere Nord-America,</i> 1839-41. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b> E. Paolozzi, <i>Bunk,</i> 1972. Est: €25,000
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.

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