Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2016 Issue

An "Intermezzo" from Erasmushaus

Intermezzo 52.

Swiss bookseller Erasmushaus has issued a new catalogue, Intermezzo 52. An intermezzo, in music, is a shorter section between the major parts of a work. We imagine that applies to this catalogue, placed between a few larger ones. There is no further description of what is inside, but we can note that it contains a variety of serious works dated prior to the 19th century. The catalogue itself is written in German, but Erasmushaus says that descriptions are available in English on request. Books are in German, Latin, French and English. Here are a few of the items offered.

 

We begin with what Erasmushaus describes as "the first architectural book for the Americas." It was published in that most important American year – 1776. However, it is not meant for the soon-to-be United States, and even less so for Canada. It was intended for use in the Caribbean colonies. The author was the Chevalier d'Albaret, first name unknown, the title, Différens projets relatifs au climat et à la manière la plus convenable de bâtir dans les pays chauds, et plus particulièrement dans les Indes Occidentales. That translates to "different projects relating to the climate and the most suitable manner of building in hot countries, and more particularly in the West Indies." It consists of nine home plans for the tropics, with their heat, heavy rains, and the possibility of hurricanes, earthquakes, and slave revolts. So they were practical rather than ornamental designs, including covered courtyards to protect from sun and rain, well-drained roofs, lots of ventilation, low-rise structures for protection in earthquakes, frames filled with bricks. One house offers a protection from slave revolts reminiscent of Middle Ages castles. Albaret has surrounded it with a moat, the only entrance being reached via a drawbridge. While the intention was practicality, the criticism of his designs was that they sound more practical than perhaps they really are (a moat and a drawbridge?). Item 8. Priced at CHF 28,000 (Swiss francs, or approximately $27,710 U.S. dollars).

 

George Sinclair was the son of a Scottish gardener, who became a gardener himself. He was hired to that position by the 6th Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, a massive estate with spectacular landscape gardens. However, Sinclair did not limit himself to tending the gardens, but carried out important research. His discovery that fields planted with mixed vegetation were more productive than those with a single type was influential on Darwin's thinking. In 1816, he published the first edition of this book, Hortus Gramineus Woburnensis: or, an Account of the Results of Experiments on the Produce and Nutritive Qualities of Different Grasses and other Plants. The first edition had actual specimens of dried grasses inside, but subsequent editions used lithographed plates. This book covers his research on which types of grasses are most productive as a source of animal fodder. Item 70 is a third edition from 1826. While this edition is not otherwise special, this copy is. It is imprinted in gold on the cover, "To Nicholas the First Emperor of all the Russias. Presented by the Author." It also is marked with the Imperial Stamp of the private library of Nicholas I. CHF 4,500 (US $4,455).

 

Item 24 is the most notable work of French author Jacques Cazotte. He worked for the French ministry in Martinique for several years before returning to Paris and taking a shot at success with a pen at the age of 40. He wrote less than weighty material that nonetheless became popular, with some fantastical children's stories. In 1772, he published this book, Le Diable Amoureux (the Devil in love). It was his best, a satirical piece, with etchings that make this first edition very desirable. He later became a follower of mysticism, described as a "mystical monarchist." The second part of that description proved his downfall when the French Revolution swirled out of control. Cazotte was guillotined in 1792. CHF 3,500 (US $3,467).

 

Next is the Experimenta Nova of Otto von Guericke, published in 1672. Guericke was a 17th century German scientist and inventor, whose achievements are surprisingly overlooked. He attacked the standing belief, "nature abhors a vacuum," convinced that vacuums could exist. He developed an air pump capable of creating vacuums. He demonstrated the effect by putting together two copper hemispheres from which the air had been evacuated. Teams of horses pulling each of the hemispheres were unable to separate them. Guericke recognized that it was not some attribute of the vacuum inside that made them impossible to separate, but rather the effect of the air pressure on the outside. He also was able to counter claims that such air pressure was not possible or we would all be crushed by explaining that the air pressure comes at us from all angles. Guericke developed a barometer to measure air pressure and realized it varies at different times. He also discovered that variations in air pressure could portend changes in the weather, developing the first method of meteorological forecasting. The book also describes Guericke's experiments with static electricity. Item 35. CHF 42,000 (US $41,617).

 

Erasmushaus may be reached at +41 61 228 99 44 or hdb@erasmushaus.ch. Their website is found at www.erasmushaus.ch.

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
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.

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