Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2021 Issue

Catalogue XXXI from Samuel Gedge Ltd.



Samuel Gedge Ltd. has issued their Catalogue XXXI. Roman numerals are appropriate considering this unusual mix of items has one thing in common – it's old. The material is primarily British except there is a large selection of novels, often obscure, originally written in English but in French and German translations. These tend to be quite rare. There are numerous manuscripts and other documents, some artwork, a few items that are not books or anything on paper, such as a large wallet that likely held business papers a couple of centuries ago, and an anti-slavery medal. These are a few of the items to be found in this latest selection.


We begin with a book of advice for mothers on raising their children. It is 200 years old, but most of the issues are surprisingly similar to what people face today. We still need answers. Among the topics are the importance of sleep, the advantages of breast feeding and what to feed once the baby is weaned, the importance of pure air and exercise (even more important today), walking, attention to dress, injurious consequences of clothing that is either too warm or two cold, importance of attention to the feet, overindulgence of food, the importance of bathing, washing, and cleanliness. There is also a section on mischief resulting from tight dressing, which might be a little baffling until seeing someone in very tight clothing. That could lead to mischief. The title is Letters to a Mother on the Management of Infants and Children, Embracing the Important Subjects of Nursing, Food, Clothing, Exercise, Bathing, &c. It was published in 1817. Item 24. Priced at £1,250 (British pounds or approximately $1,692 in U.S. dollars).


This author is generally considered the first American woman writer of Gothic novels. She is also known as the first novelist from Maine. She actually had a head start there. Her first four novels were published while Maine was part of Massachusetts. She wrote them anonymously as “A Lady from Massachusetts,” and not until her fifth and final novel used the sobriquet “A Lady from Maine.” While known as a first Gothic novelist, only her first book really fit that description. Her name was Sarah "Sally" Sayward Barrell Keating Wood, though most knew her as Sally or Madame Wood. In keeping with what we find in Gedge catalogues, item 62 is a copy of her first, and the Gothic novel, in the first French edition. The title is Le Baron Illuminé, published in 1804, a translation of her 1800 book, Julia and the Illuminated Baron. All but her final novel were published in a short window from 1800-1804 though she lived 95 years, from 1759-1855. Though married twice, her marriages lasted only five and seven years, with long stretches of widowhood, which was when she did her writing. Item 62. £3,500 (US $4,738).


Speaking of illuminated Gothic, this next item is a transparency, circa 1815, of a nocturnal monastic funeral possession in a medieval chapel. You don't get much more Goth than that. It is an eerie sight. Transparencies were images meant to be back lighted. The back lighting illuminates the moon and a mysteriously glowing crypt. The funeral procession carries a shrouded corpse to be placed in the crypt. Item 63. £1,250 (US $1,692).


Item 19 consists of the copper plates for two trade cards. You can print more of them so long as you don't call them “contemporary.” One is for William Monk Horse Slaughterer circa 1815, the other for William Barber Successor to the Late William Monk Licensed Horse Slaughterer. I didn't even know there was such a profession, but apparently this is more common in England. They say they were slaughtering 50-60 horses a week, which I guess is something to be proud of. They call themselves a “manufacturer of genuine horse fat,” which had a variety of uses back then. It all sounds strange to Americans who prized horses so much for transportation they would kill someone for horse theft. They point out that “the description & marks of every horse brought to this establishment are carefully entered in a book, & when improperly obtained every facility given to detect the offender...” Horse theft must have been an issue in England too. Item 19. £950 (US $1,286).


This is a playbill for Theatre, Leeds, for July 7, 1815, a Benefit of Mr. Mansel. Two plays were to be performed, First, West Indian, followed by a couple of songs, and then the more interesting The Forest of Bondy; Or, The Dog of Montargis. The title role was performed by The original Dog, Dragon. The plot was based on a 14th century French legend. The dog's master is killed in the forest of Bondy. The wise dog not only informs authorities of his master's death, but saves an innocent person accused of the murder. Gedge tells us that this play was noteworthy as it was “the first instance of a trained dog performing a significant role on stage.” Give that dog a hand. Item 61. £250 (US $338).


Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or rarebooks@samuelgedge.com. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition: the Collection of Chet Ross<br>October 12, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [BYRD]. VEER, Willard Van der and Joseph T. RUCKER, cinematographers. The 35mm motion picture Akeley camera that filmed the Academy Award-winning documentary “With Byrd at the South Pole”. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [SHIRASE, Nobu, his copy]. RYUKEI, Yano. <i>Young Politicians of Thebes: Illustrious Tales of Statesmanship.</i> Tokyo(?), 1881-84. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest H. <i>The Antarctic Book.</i> Winter Quarters 1907-1909 [dummy copy of the supplement to: <i>The Heart of the Antarctic</i>]. London, 1909. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [USS BEAR]. The original auxiliary deck wheel from the famed USS Bear, 1874-1933. “PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS SHIP IN THE HISTORY OF THE COAST GUARD” (USCG). $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> HENSON, Matthew. <i>A Negro Explorer at the North Pole.</i> With a forward by Robert Peary. Introduction by Booker T. Washington. New York, [1912]. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Monroe Schulz, <i>The Peanuts gang,</i> complete set of 13 drawings, ink, 1971. Sold June 15 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Family Archive of Photographs & Letters. Sold June 1 — $60,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. Sold March 30 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>King Lear; Othello;</i> [and] <i>Anthony & Cleopatra;</i> Extracted from the First Folio, London, 1623. Sold May 4— $185,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> William Samuel Schwartz, <i>A Bridge in Baraboo, Wisconsin,</i> oil on canvas, circa 1938. Sold February 16 — $32,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Lena Scott Harris, <i>Group of approximately 65 hand-colored botanical studies, all apparently California native plants,</i> hand-colored silver prints, circa 1930s. Sold February 23 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Suzanne Jackson, <i>Always Something To Look For,</i> acrylic & pencil on linen canvas, circa 1974. Sold April 6 — $87,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> complete with 50 printed collotype plates, Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold June 15 — $68,750.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>Magnificent Books and Bindings<br>11 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachie, Paris, 1546, Parisian calf by Wotton Binder C for Marcus Fugger. $300,000 to $400,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Leonardo da Vinci, Trattato della pittura, manuscript on paper, [Rome, ca. 1638–1641], a very fine pre-publication manuscript. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Paradis, Ung petit traicte de Alkimie, [Paris, before 1540], contemporary morocco by the Pecking Crow binder for Anne de Montmorency. $300,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Capocaccia, Giovanni Battista, A wax relief portrait of Pius V, in a red morocco book-form box by the Vatican bindery, Rome, 1566–1568. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Serlio, Il terzo libro; Regole generali, Venice, 1540, both printed on blue paper and bound together by the Cupid's Bow Binder. $400,000 to $500,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Tiraboschi, Carmina, manuscript on vellum, [Padua, c. 1471], the earliest surviving plaquette binding. $280,000 to $350,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>The Aldine Collection A–C<br>12 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Anthologia graeca, Venice, Aldus, 1503, printed on vellum, Masterman Sykes-Syston Park copy. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1528, contemporary Italian morocco gilt, Accolti-Landau copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1545, contemporary morocco for Thomas Mahieu, Chatsworth copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Cicero, Epistolae familiares, Venice, Aldus, 1502, printed on vellum, illuminated, Renouard-Vernon-Uzielli copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Venice, Aldus, 1499, Gomar Estienne binding for Jean Grolier, Spencer copy. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Crinito, Libri de poetis Latinis, Florence, Giunta, 1505, Cupid's Bow Binder for Grolier, Paris d'Illins-Wodhull copy. $250,000 to $300,000.

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