Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

Five Centuries of Remarkable Works from Martayan Lan

Martayan42

Five centuries of works from Martayan Lan.


By Michael Stillman

Martayan Lan has published a remarkable catalogue of Books, Manuscripts and Prints, from the 15th through the 19th Centuries. This is a half-inch thick compendium of significant works from the dawn of printing to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. We mention size, not because it inherently matters, but because each such large catalogue we have received has been notable not for its quantity of listings, but its quality and presentation. This one is no exception. Offered are 182 fine works, thoroughly described and illustrated. This is an outstanding collection of items rare and definitely antiquarian. These are a few.

Item 5 is a manuscript from Queen Elizabeth I's Privy Council, her most intimate advisers. The date was 1599, and England was in one of its various states of war with Spain. The document authorizes payment to a ship out of Plymouth sent to Spain on a spy mission. The amount granted was 200 pounds, a very considerable sum, and at first the Council was reluctant. However, payment was authorized as the mission intercepted "certaine letrs of the enemyes, wch served to good purpose for discovery of their intentions." Actually, this was a rather gentle mission, for as Martayan Lan points out, most of these visits by the British were intended to intercept Spanish shipping, a polite word for "piracy." In those cases, payment was unnecessary, as the arrangement was that the Crown, crew, and investors got to split the booty three ways. Priced at $12,500.

Item 14 is a first edition of one of the most important works of incunabula, Liber cronicarum cum figures et ymaginibus, a 1493 work better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle. Author and physician Hartmann Schedel created the first illustrated encyclopedia, and it is a masterpiece hard to imagine as printing was not yet 40 years old at the time. It is a history of the world, from Adam and Eve to what was then the present, plus the future, right to the end of times. It contains 1,809 woodcut illustrations including both historical personalities and places. These images provided many people with their first look at cities and places they could never hope to visit. $165,000.

It is probably just about the most familiar philosophical quotation around: "I think, therefore, I am." Item 82 is A Discourse of a Method for the well-guiding of Reason, and the Discovery of Truth in Sciences, by the quotable Rene Descartes. Of course, there are many more words of wisdom in this work, but let it be noted that this is a copy of the first English edition of 1649, meaning this was the first appearance of those words in the English language. $90,000.

Item 146 provides a very early Western look at Japan and the Philippines, and one focused on issues other than converting the natives. Francesco Carletti was a Florence merchant who circumnavigated the globe between 1594 and 1602, but spent much of that time in Asia. Most early reports from Japan came from missionaries, who were more interested in religious topics, while Carletti focused on matters of trade, along with topics such as food, construction, language, prostitution, and other such non-religious matters. On returning to Florence, Carletti presented his manuscript to Ferdinando de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but for whatever reason, it was not published until a century later. The book is Ragionamenti...sopra le cose da lui verdute ne suoi viaggi so dell'Indie Occidentali... published in 1701. $13,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until July 31</b>
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Cleveley, Jukes, & Cook - View of Charlotte Sound, New Zealand. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Peron - Platypus. $300 to $600.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Loon & Pitt - Map of the World published 1680 - <I>Orbis Terrarum nova et accuratissima tabula.</i> $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Maitres de l'Affiche by MUCHA - La Dame aux Camelias. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until July 31</b>
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Cause - Peony, Crocus, Dog's Tooth Violet. $400 to $800.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Redoute, Folio - Lemmonnier's Iris - Iris Monnieri. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Audubon, Imperial Folio - Common American Deer. $6,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Trillium, July 31:</b> Gould - Cuvier's Toucan (Ramphastos Cuvieri). $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> OUTHWAITE, Ida Rentoul. FROG TEACHER LEADING ELF PUPILS ... Watercolour, c.1920.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> SATO, Gyro. [GENDAI RYOKI SENTAN ZUKAN]. Tokyo : Shinchosa, 1931.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> CARROLL, Lewis. ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. London : Macmillan and Co., 1868.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> FLEMING, Ian and MILLER, Albert. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. New York : Random House, 1968.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> PHOENIX. Adelaide : Adelaide University Union, 1939.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> BOWEN, Emmanuel. A complete map of the Southern Continent. London : 1744.
    <b>ANZAAB Highlights Catalogue:</b> NORTHFIELD, James. AUSTRALIA. Melbourne : Northfield Studios and J.E. Hackett, c.1935
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jul 15:</b> Jessie Tarbox Beals, archive of signed photographs, 15 silver prints, c. 1930. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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