Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Travels Featured in Jean-Francois Letenneur Rare Books' New York Fair Catalogue

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A catalogue for the New York Fair.

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares (rare books) printed a catalogue for the recent 58th New York Antiquarian Book Fair. As one might guess from their name, Letenneur is a French bookseller, located along the northwestern coast of Brittany, specifically, in Saint Briac-sur-Mer. Most of the material they offer is in the French language, with a smattering of other European tongues, English included. Nevertheless, there is much that will be of interest to collectors who focus on America. Letenneur specializes in travels, particularly the ocean-going sort which are primarily older books. This includes naval voyages along with charts, maps and atlases to help you find your way. French travel history is intimately tied to North America, ranging from early explorations of the continent to close allies during America's war of independence. Of course, there are also plenty of books for those whose focus remains in Europe, or on voyages to other parts of the world. Here are a few of these items, most of which are very old.

 

Writing an encyclopedia is a great enough challenge on its own, but how about writing one as a poem? That is what Gautier de Metz, a French priest, managed to accomplish. Of course, there wasn't quite as much knowledge to cover when he wrote it around 1246. Still, Gautier covers a lot of ground, his work being part fact, part fiction, though it is unlikely Gautier knew that dividing line in 1246. It ranges from creation and theology to the nature of the earth, cosmology, physics, all sorts of things, much borrowed from earlier authors (who can be blamed for many of Gautier's errors). He writes about the sky and the ether, how enormous it all is, and meteorological phenomena. Gautier gets particularly off track from reality with monsters in far off parts of the world, but people were still imagining such creatures several centuries later when they had better access to information than Gautier possessed. He does get it right about the earth being round, and is close when he says we don't fall off as we are held to the surface by magnetism. Item 14 is the only known copy of this French edition of Image du Monde, circa 1520-1530. It has a most interesting provenance. It once belonged to Ferdinand Columbus, Christopher's son. His father left him a healthy inheritance, including hundreds of slaves in the New World. Ferdinand compiled an enormous library for his time (even for ours), with over 15,000 books. He left it to a cathedral in Seville, but it was not well-maintained. An inventory in 1684 showed they only retained 5,000 of Columbus' books and that is now down to 2,000. Price on request.

 

Here is another early book related to Columbus. The title is Nova typis transacta navigatio novi orbis Indiae occidentalis... The author was the Benedictine Caspar Plautius, one of about a dozen missionaries from his order who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. Though that occurred in 1493, this first edition (second issue) was not published until 1621. It was meant as something of a Catholic answer to the New World descriptions of the Protestant de Bry. The work combines some good information about plants and dress of the natives with claims as fanciful as those of Gautier. One of the images depicts St. Brendan celebrating mass on the back of a whale, an event we can safely say did not happen. Another has Indians riding a large sea creature. Others display a contempt for the native religions, showing Indians practicing cannibalism, and priests being martyred. It is not hard to see why so much cruelty was practiced on the natives when even the European religious figures viewed them so savagely. Plautius has generously dedicated this book to... himself! Item 24. $18,340.

 

There is nothing like a good friend when you're young, and France was such a friend to the Americans after they declared their independence. Of course, the French had some of their own reasons for this support. Item 1 consists of two unsigned manuscript memos written in 1777. A marginal note says "D'invault," possibly tracing this to Etienne Maynon d'Invault, Controller General for Louis XV. The writer expresses reasons why France should join the war on the American side. These are primarily for France's own economic self-interest, the memo encouraging France to become America's first economic ally before the British reach a peace with them and take over that role. It is likely that these memos were produced for the King or a member of his cabinet. $4,280.

 

Item 38 is a personal photo album documenting a trip to Egypt in 1892 by Count Helie de Durfort. It contains 100 photographs and one panorama. Forty-five of the photographs were taken by the Zangaki Brothers and Antonio Beato, who specialized in selling photos to Egyptian travelers. The other 55 were taken by the Count himself. De Durfort was a captain in the cavalry along with being an amateur photographer. He went to Cairo, traveled up the Nile, and saw many of the notable sights. There are views of such obvious sights as the pyramids, sphinx, cities, and river. Then, there are also pictures of ordinary people, boys washing clothes, girls carrying water, rowers along the Nile, and other scenes such as camels, oxen, streets, and the desert railway. The album has been titled on the cover, Egypt Le Caire Le Nile Fevrier 1892. $6,720.

 

This next book is from the Marquis de Sade, whose name evokes images of the worst sort, but this isn't the de Sade with whom most are familiar. This is not a tame novel, but it isn't like that one either. The title is, Aline et Valcour, ou le Roman Philosophique. Écrit à la Bastille un an avant la Révolution de France. That translates to Aline and Valcour, or the philosophical novel. Written in the Bastille before the revolution in France." De Sade spent much of his life in and out of prison. This novel was written while he was in the Bastille from 1785-1788. He emerged, and was close to having it published when he and his publisher, in the midst of the Reign of Terror, were carted off to prison again. De Sade survived; his publisher was guillotined. Finally, in 1795, the book was published by the original publisher's widow. This story, told through letters, concerns the young lovers of the title, Aline's sympathetic and virtuous mother, and her cruel and materialistic father. The differences are also seen in two kingdoms described, one in Africa, brutal, cannibalistic, and everything else terrible, the other a paradise in the South Pacific ruled by a philosopher-king. Item 95. $14,000.

 

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares may be reached at 33 (0) 299 88 92 44 or librairie@jfletenneurlivresrares.fr. Their website is www.jfletenneurlivresrares.fr.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 20. WILSON, DOOLEY. Fine inscribed photograph to Celeste Holm with Casablanca reference. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.

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