Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

50 Fine Illustrated Books from Shapero Rare Books

50 Fine Illustrated Books.

Shapero Rare Books has created an extraordinary catalogue of 50 Fine Illustrated Books 2017. Shapero is noted for having the best of material and catalogue presentations that match the books. Here we have 150 pages to describe and illustrate the 50 beautiful books offered. Most have multiple color illustrations along with the textual descriptions. Here are a few samples of these fine illustrated books.

 

There are a few subjects that regularly appear in the most beautiful of illustrated books, because they lend themselves to beauty. Flowers and birds are at the top of the list for obvious reasons. Among the illustrators of birds, Audubon and Gould are the best known names, but here is one that goes back centuries before either was born. We will not pretend that Pierre Belon's artwork is on the level of that of the other two artists, but his work was more scientifically oriented. Belon was a man of many talents, a student of zoology, botany, medicine, natural history and ancient history. From 1546-1549, he embarked on a journey around the Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. He wrote about what he saw on his journey, and a couple of books about fish, before producing this, his most notable book, L'Histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux (natural history of birds), published in 1555. The book both illustrates and provides scientific descriptions of the varieties of birds he discovered on his journey. The most notable illustration is one in which he shows a bird's skeleton next to that of a human. The Dictionary of Scientific Biography credits Belon as being "the originator of comparative anatomy" for this accomplishment. The similarities must have been stunning to people in this time three centuries before Darwin. Item 6. Priced at £37,500 (British pounds, or approximately $46,760 U.S. dollars).

 

Speaking of Gould and Darwin, by the time Darwin returned from his journey to South America, the lessons from which would lead to his theory of evolution two decades later, Gould was already a well-known ornithologist. Darwin consulted him in identifying and classifying the new bird species he had discovered on his trip. Darwin's return coincided with publication of the final volume of Gould's The Birds of Europe (1832-1837), whose publication coincided with Audubon's book on the birds of America. Unlike Audubon, Gould relied on the assistance of others to do many of his drawings. In this case, the book uses many plates by Edward Lear, a spectacularly talented artist who specialized in birds. Lear also helped Gould's wife, Elizabeth, who also provided artwork for her husband's books, improve her techniques. Deteriorating eyesight led Lear from art, particularly the fine detailed sort needed for his bird illustrations, to music, and then writing nonsense poems, including the still familiar The Owl and the Pussycat. Item 23 is a first edition of Gould's The Birds of Europe. £115,000 (US $143,492).

 

Pierre-Joseph Redouté is generally acknowledged as the greatest artist when it came to painting roses. His likenesses are both uncannily accurate and beautiful – beautiful as... a rose. Along with being a great artist, Redouté was a remarkable survivor. He was an official artist for Queen Marie Antoinette, and any association with her was practically a death sentence after the Revolution turned to terror and the Queen, and so many others, had their heads chopped off. Somehow, Redouté survived, and when Napoleon became emperor after the Revolution fell apart, he became an official artist to Empress Josephine. His artwork was that good! With the end of the Napoleonic era, Redouté no longer held quite such status, though his serving Josephine did not hurt him any more than his service to Marie Antoinette. He just had to scrounge a bit harder for financially rewarding projects. Item 41 is Choix des plus belles fleurs et de quelques branches des plus beaux fruits (the most beautiful flowers and some branches of beautiful fruits), an 1835 re-impression of a work originally published 1827-1833. This is a book of beautiful drawings of flowers, bouquets, and fruits on their branches. It is one of the examples which led to Redouté's reputation as "the Raphael of flowers." £45,000 (US $56,162).

 

It was a spectacular celebration, matched by this illustrated tribute to the event. Item 3 is Description du Sacre et du Couronnement de leurs Majestés Impériales l’Empereur Alexandre II et l’Impératrice Marie Alexandrovna, published in 1856. It is a celebration of the coronation of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Empress Marie Alexandrovna. This is an enormous book, an elephant folio featuring 52 illustrations. The cost to make it was similarly large. It was produced in two issues of 200 copies each – one in Russian, the other in French. The French issue, such as this one, was created for high court officers and the diplomatic corps. Alexander II ruled until 1881, when he was assassinated. He was a reform-minded ruler, with a Lincolnesque emancipation of the serfs and other reforms, not followed by his son and grandson. They would have been well advised to show more concern for their people. £85,000 (US $106,113).

 

In 1941, the great twentieth century artist Henri Matisse underwent surgery for abdominal cancer. He was 71 years old, and while he survived the disease, movement became more difficult for him. Painting and sculpture were now a challenge, so, ever the artist, he turned to a different medium, a form of collage. He would have his assistants paint paper in bright colors, which he would then cut into various shapes. He called it "drawing with scissors." The result was something between his painting and sculpture, art with a somewhat three dimensional appearance. In 1947, he published a collection of 20 of these brightly colored pieces in a quantity of 270 copies. Matisse's handwritten text is printed in facsimile, making this the only book of which Matisse was both author and illustrator. He chose Jazz as its title as this music form reflected the creativity of the work. That is one of these illustrations which graces the cover of this catalogue. Item 31. £400,000 (US $499,300).

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 207 493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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