Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2022 Issue

Artists' Books, Private Press, Art, History, Travel & More from the Kelmscott Bookshop


Catalogue 19 from Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books.

Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books has offered their Catalog 19: Artists' Books & Private Press, Illustrated Books, Art, Literature, History & Travel, Plus More! Kelmscott offers an interesting mix. Much of what they have is what you might expect from a bookshop named “Kelmscott.” It features many works from the book arts and private press. Especially common are recent vintage books by artists who have created unusual works in very small numbers, in some cases each copy being unique. But then, the catalogue evolves into all sorts of other material. They get into historical works, literature, and a variety of other topics, with books now often being several centuries old rather than a year or two. It's not a mix I see very often but it makes for an unusual and fascinating selection. Here are a few examples.


We begin with a book from Argentine calligrapher and artist Marina Soria. She began her career teaching at the University of Buenos Aires, including the first course offered in her country on calligraphy, but later focused full time on her art. At the beginning of the century, she visited Japan, which led to a year of study of sumi-e, Japanese painting. That takes us to this recent work she created just last year. The title is Pink Hanami, “hanami” being Japanese for “flower watching,” particularly Sakura, sort of a cherry blossom festival in the spring. The pages are an abstract riot of pink cherry blossoms with some brown for the trees. It is a pop-up book and tabs on the back hold it up and open for display. She also also created a poem, in Spanish, which features her calligraphic skills. An excerpt, in the English translation, reads:


“She has flourished in the spring

And has lived her whole existence

Just for this moment

Sublime and evanescent”


It is accompanied by a card with the English translation and the book's description, signed by the artist. Item 64. Priced at $3,600.


This is an older book and one that is quite unusual. It comes from the 19th century French artist J. J. Grandville. The title is Les Fleurs Animées (animated flowers). Grandville was a man of great imagination and he lets it run free in his illustrations. He is perhaps something of a pre-surrealist illustrator. In this case, he has created human, female in particular, flowers. These beautiful young ladies sprout from the branches of flowers, each part human, part flower. Grandville is noted for his creation of both anthropomorphic flowers and animals. There are 52 color plates in the two volume set. This is the 1867 new edition published 20 years after the first. Item 94. $500.


In case you are wondering about the macabre wrapped skeleton on the cover, it is The Mask of the Red Death. A Fantasy. Thankfully, it is just a fantasy. This is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, originally published in 1842. It occurs at a time of a plague, the “Red Death,” a period we can all relate to these days. Some mysterious and frightening things take place, as one might expect of Poe. This is a 1969 edition and the first book published by the Aquarius Press of Baltimore. It features the illustrations of Federico Castellon. Castellon was born in Spain but moved with his family to New York at a young age. He was taken under the wing of Mexican painter Diego Rivera, developing his own style, described sometimes as surrealistic, and becoming accomplished in lithography. He found that Poe spoke to him in his searching for what life was about, leading to his choice of this work to illustrate. The book includes a separate portfolio of 16 signed and numbered lithographs along with six unrelated erotic lithographs. This is copy “A” of ten lettered copies reserved for the collaborators. Item 8. $4,000.


Horace Walpole, son of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole and an MP himself, was a writer, printer and possessor of an enormous library. He also built a neo-Gothic castle in sections, beginning in 1749. It was called Strawberry Hill and within it he housed his Strawberry Hill Press. So many people wished to see his castle that Walpole complained that he was driven from his own home by tourists. You can still visit it today. Item 68 is Walpole's A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole, Youngest Son of Sir Robert Walpole Earl of Oxford, at Strawberry Hill Near Twickenham, Middlesex. It was printed at the Strawberry Hill Press in 1784. It documents Walpole's estate and some of the possessions within. This copy has a handwritten table of contents bound inside and handwritten notes and list of plates laid in. $1,000.


Now for something completely different. This is an account of an early expedition in what was then primarily New Mexico territory in the American Southwest. The title is Report of an Expedition Down the Zuni and Colorado Rivers, presented to the U.S. Senate in 1854. The author and head of the expedition was Capt. Lorenzo Sitgreaves. They were sent to explore this unknown part of northern New Mexico and look for a route to California. Sitgreaves spent much of his career as a topographical engineer for the army. It contains numerous plates of Indians, landscapes, fauna and flora they saw along the way. Occasionally, they found themselves in firefights with hostile Indians. Wheat described the accompanying map as “a monumental achievement...generally correct and exceedingly well done.” Item 118. $250.


The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books may be reached at 410-235-6810 or info@kelmscottbookshop.com. Their website is www.kelmscottbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Autograph album leaf signed, 1826. €9,000 to €12,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Franz Kafka: Autograph letter unsigned, 1924. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Torquato Tasso: Autograph poem signed, no date. €12,000 to €16,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Charles Darwin: Autograph letter signed, 1866. €4,500 to €6,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Albert Einstein: Autograph letter signed, 1933. €6,000 to €8,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Heinrich Hertz: Autograph manuscript signed, 1889. €18,000 to €24,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Giambattista Bodoni: Autograph letter signed, 1787. €900 to €1,200.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Francisco de Goya: Autograph letter signed, 1789. €18,750 to €25,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Martin Luther: Notes from his desk, no date. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Ludwig van Beethoven: Autograph letter signed, 1816. €22,500 to €30,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Gustav Mahler: Foto portrait signed and annotated, 1907(?). €7,500 to €10,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Bed?ich Smetana: Autograph letter signed, 1883. €4,500 to €6,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Roman binding.- Pindar. <i>Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia,</i> translated by Johannes Lonicer, contemporary Roman binding by Niccolo Franzese, Basel, 1535. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Raverat (Gwen). Comprehensive album of 530 wood engravings, circa 1909-1950. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>Fiesta,</i> first English edition, first impression dust-jacket, 1927. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, first impression, 1953. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>Great Expectations,</i> 3 vol., first edition, first impression, Chapman and Hall, 1861. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Campbell (Colen) & others. <i>Vitruvius Britannicus, or The British Architect...,</i> 5 vol., vol.1-3 later editions, vol.4 & 5 first editions, [?1731]-31-67-71. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Geography.- Mela (Pomponius). <i>Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis,</i> Venice, Franciscus Renner de Heilbronn, 1478. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> America.- [?Espinosa y Tello (José)]. <i>Relacion del Viage hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana en el Año de 1792,</i> 2 vol. including Atlas, first edition, Madrid, 1802. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Australasia.- Péron (Francois) and Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet. <i>Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes,</i> 5 vol. including Atlas, second edition, Paris, 1824. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Botany.- Curtis (William). <i>The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed,</i> 83 vol. in 62, 1794-1956. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Darwin (Charles).- Lecky (W.E.H.) <i>The Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe,</i> 2 vol., Darwin's copy with inscription "Charles Darwin 1865", pencil marginalia and pencil notes, 1865. £7,000 to £10,000.
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript African Americana:<br>March 30, 2023</b>
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Papers of pianist-composer Lawrence Brown relating to Paul Robeson & more, various places, 1925-54. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Freedom Summer archive of civil rights activist Karen Haberman Trusty, Atlanta & elsewhere, 1963-64. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> New York, 1933. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Archive of letters from the sculptor Richmond Barthé to a close Jamaican friend, various places, 1966-85. $25,000 to $35,000.
  • <b><center>Koller Auctions<br>Books & Autographs<br>29 March 2023</b>
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> DADA - <i>Cabaret Voltaire.</i> A collection of artistic and literary contributions. Edited by Hugo Ball. CHF 5,000 to 8,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> EXPRESSIONISM - <i>Der Sturm.</i> Weekly magazine for culture and the arts. Almost complete suite from the years 1910 to 1932. CHF 20,000 to 30,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> LISBON EARTHQUAKE - <i>Augsburg collection of copper engravings of Lisbon. CHF 40,000 to 60,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Hamilton, William. <i>Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.</i> Naples, 1776-1779. CHF 50,000 to 70,000.
    <b><center>Koller Auctions<br>Books & Autographs<br>29 March 2023</b>
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Leonardi, Domenico Felice. <i>Le Delizie della villa di Castellazzo descritte in verso dall'abbate Domenico Felice Leonardi lucchese fra gli Arcadi Ildosio Foloetico.</i> Milan, 1743. CHF 12,000 to 18,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Zwingli, Huldrych. <i>Von erkiesen und freyhait der speisen. Von ergernusz und Verbößerung. Ob man gewalt hab die speyß zu etlichen zeyten verbieten [...]</i>. CHF 2,500 to 4,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> HENDRIK VAN VULLENHOE, UMKREIS. Benedictional and other texts for Johannes von Venningen, Bishop of Basel. Latin manuscript on parchment. CHF 50,000 to 80,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Gujer, Hans Rudolf. Master typist's book by Hans Rudolf Gujer from Wermetschweil (Wermatswil). German manuscript on paper. CHF 3,000 to 5,000.

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