Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2008 Issue

17th and 18th Century Books and Pamphlets (Mostly British) from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers

Jarndyce174

17th and 18th century works from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers.


by Michael Stillman

This month we review our first catalogue from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, located opposite the British Museum in London. The firm has been selling books for 35 years, and this is the 174th catalogue they have issued. Jarndyce specializes in antiquarian English literature and history, although the works here are perhaps a bit older than most they usually offer. The catalogue is titled Books and Pamphlets of the 17th and 18th Centuries Part I. It contains 462 items, and we will undoubtedly see many more as this one only takes us through the letter "H." While there are exceptions, most are British works, in the English language, published in England, usually London. However, as noted, there are exceptions, such as a few books in French, published in Paris. Here are some of the many fascinating old books to be found in this latest Jarndyce catalogue.

Lest anyone think all British history is serious and proper, Item 49 is George Hickes' Ravillac Redivivus...To which is annexed, an account of the tryal of that most wicked Pharisee Major Thomas Weir, who was executed for adultery, incest and bestiality. Weir was an apparently deeply religious Presbyterian official, former soldier, and most respectable of men. The result is that it came as a great shock to his neighbors when at the age of 70, he suddenly confessed to all of these and other crimes. His 60-year-old sister backed him up, confessing to incest with him as well as witchcraft. What on earth compelled these two to make such terrible, and unforced confessions is hard to fathom. There was evidently some serious mental instability in the family, but it may well be that there was also truth to some of their confessions, and perhaps a consuming guilt led them to suddenly blurt out admissions they knew would have terrible consequences. While town officials at first tried to attribute Weir's statements to insanity, physicians could find no signs of illness (they must not have looked very hard). Weir was convicted and on April 11, 1670, he was strangled, his body burnt. The following day, his sister was hanged, tearing off her clothes on the gallows as she wished to die in even more shame. This 1682 account of their trial (and that of another preacher, James Mitchel, for murder) is priced at £350 (US equivalent of approximately $681).

Daniel Defoe is best remembered for his novel Robinson Crusoe, but it took him a long time to get there. Defoe was involved in a myriad of business ventures and political intrigues, almost always in debt, and on occasion in prison. Indeed, he had only recently been released from prison when perhaps the worst storm to ever hit Britain pounded the island on November 26 and 27, 1703. Thousands of people died. Defoe wrote hundreds of pamphlets and books over the course of his life, generally for the purpose of relieving his debts, and in this storm he saw an opportunity to make some money. He ran advertisements in the paper looking for eyewitness accounts, which he used to write this book: The Storm, or, a Collection of the most remarkable Casualties and Disasters, which happen'd in the late dreadful Tempest, both by Sea and Land, published in 1704. Item 318. £650 (US $1,265).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Railroad,</i> etching, 1922. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Sheet of Studies with Men in Hats and a Saloon Keeper,</i> pen, ink & pencil, circa 1900-05. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Night Shadows,</i> etching, 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> John Marin, <i>Woolworth Building, No. 2,</i> etching & drypoint, 1913. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Charles Demuth, <i>Tulips,</i> watercolor & pencil, 1924. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Under Control,</i> gouache, ink & wash, circa 1907-10. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NIGHTGOWN WORN BY CHARLOTTE CARDEZA DURING THE TITANIC DISASTER AND RESCUE. $40,000 to $60,000

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