Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

Early English and Italian Works from Samuel Gedge, Ltd.

Gedge1

Catalogue I from Samuel Gedge, Ltd.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received Catalogue I from U.K. bookseller Samuel Gedge, Ltd. Recently established in Mundesley, Norfolk, Samuel Gedge and Ernesta Campaner apply their expertise in English and Italian books and manuscripts prior to 1850 to the trade. However, as you will see from some of the titles, their offerings extend farther than that might imply, as some of these books connect to areas all over the world. Samuel Gedge Ltd. has put together a collection of unusual and often quite rare titles that will cover the interests of many different collectors.

Among the types of books found in Gedge's first catalogue are those designed to help English speakers navigate various foreign languages. Others provide guidebooks to foreign lands, or a guidebook for outsiders to England itself. There are very early schoolbooks, and a large collection of works pertaining to plagues in Italy during the early 17th century. Violations of various quarantines were punishable by death. The cures offered were often entertaining, though hardly effective. Between the punishments, cures, and the plague itself, this was a very dangerous time. Here are a few of the works you will find in this most interesting new catalogue.

Rimedi preservativi... is a 1630 translation of remedies for the plague by the French physician Auger Ferrier. Ferrier was the personal physician of Catherine de Medici, and in accordance with the beliefs of the times, liberally recommended blood-letting. However, in credit to Ferrier, he had figured out that many "cures" were spurious. As Gedge notes, he advised against, "mercury pills, urine drinking, scorpion oil and ashes of frogs." Out of that bunch, I guess the overdone frogs legs sound best, but antibiotics were truly a major step forward. Item 77. Priced at £550 (US equivalent of approximately $1,077).

If you are planning a trip to Rome, The Antiquarian or the Guide for Foreigners to go the Rounds of the Antiquities of Rome, by Angelo Dalmazzoni should help. The guide dates to 1803, but presumably the antiquities haven't changed. Dalmazzoni, himself a personal guide, notes that while there are many other such books, they are all "copied one from another," and all contain "the same unbecoming praises, the same faults, and equally want exactness, brevity and erudition." His, obviously, is better, though today very scarce. Item 23. £1,400 ($2,741).

Here is an even more fascinating guidebook for Englishmen who did not plan on traveling quite so far. Published in 1780 by an author who preferred to remain anonymous, the title is Characters of the Present Most Celebrated Courtezans. Interspersed with a Variety of Secret Anecdotes Never Before Published. This is a most useful reference book for gentlemen, something of a Consumers' Report for the trade. For the once lovely Mrs. B-dd-y, we are told, "...the utmost stretch of human imagination is inadequate to conceive any thing more delicately lovely than the tout ensemble of this adorable girl...the wretched vestiges of which are scarcely to be treated in the present emaciated remains of Mrs. B-dd-y...her eyesight is decayed, her memory extinct, and her whole frame relaxed to a degree of almost infantile imbecility, by a dreadful indulgence in love, liquor, lust, and laudanum..." Mrs. F-rr-r fares little better.

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>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <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.

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