Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

An Antiquarian and Rare Miscellany from Forest Books

Forestmisc4

Miscellany Four from Forest Books.


By Michael Stillman

UK bookseller Forest Books has issued a new catalogue headed Miscellany Four. Naturally, a catalogue so titled does not have a specific focus. What we can say is that these are books that qualify for the label "antiquarian," they were mostly published in England, and many are very rare, often being the only known copy. Here is a look at the over 200 items presented in this latest catalogue.

Here is one of those very rare books: The Compleat Servant Maid's Guide; or, the Lady's Delight in Cookery. This is a 1796 printing without a stated location. A single copy of a different edition is all that is otherwise known. It includes 60 short recipes, and perhaps this helps explain the rarity. Among the recipes are calf's head hash, swine's head, calves feet jelly, and other delicacies. Maybe it's rare because no one wanted a book of recipes like this in the first place? Item 40 £1,250 (or roughly $1,714 in U.S. Dollars).

Here is another ridiculous one-of-a-kind item, only this time it is the subject of the book, rather than the book itself: Delineations of Fonthill and its Abbey, by John Rutter, published in 1823. Fonthill was the massive gothic estate of William Beckford, an eccentric heir to a fortune who became a writer, Member of Parliament, major book collector, and wastrel of his father's fortune. Beckford commissioned the most fashionable architect of his day, James Wyatt, to design the palace. Wyatt was evidently careless in the design or overseeing of construction, as Fonthill was not built for the ages. The most prominent feature was a 225-foot tower, which had to be built three times after collapsing twice. Money seemed no object to Beckford who continued to build his massive estate, surrounded by a six-mile wall. However, financial reverses at his inherited Jamaica sugar plantation forced Beckford to sell Fonthill and his library in 1823. It was just as well, as the tower collapsed for a third time two years later, and the rest of Fonthill quickly deteriorated. Within 20 years, it had to be demolished. Item 158. £975 (US $1,338).

Item 135 is an item whose behind the scenes intrigue is undoubtedly more interesting than that within its pages: Ianthe, or the Flower of Caernarvon, a Novel, in Two Volumes. Dedicated by Permission to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. By Emily Clark, Grand-Daughter of the late Colonel Frederick, Son of Theodore, King of Corsica, published in 1798. Her grandfather was the "late" Colonel Frederick because he had shot himself in the head the previous year, unable to find a better way of escaping his debts. However, he was evidently a fraud anyway. Theodore had served briefly as King of Corsica, a German adventurer who helped temporarily free that island from Italian domination. He, like Frederick, ended up in debt in England. Still, it is dubious that Frederick was the son of this King. Nevertheless, Mrs. Clark used the epithet honestly, as she, like everyone else at the time, was fooled by Frederick's claims.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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>

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