Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2004 Issue

Charles Wood Offers Books <br>On Conserving Works of Art

Woodcover[1]

Conservation and Restoriation of Works of Art from Charles Wood.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from Charles Wood is an absolute must for anyone who collects 18th and 19th century works pertaining to the field of art. It is a well-described collection of 386 books, and they cover just about everything imaginable in the preparation, preservation, and restoration of art. The official title is “Conservation & Restoration of Works of Art” and it is Wood’s 119th catalogue.

Among the subjects covered by the volumes in this catalogue are painting with oil (or “oyl” in the really old volumes), watercolors, color shades and charts, preservation, painting on glass, metal, and ceramics, sketching, cleaning works of art, many titles on dyeing, varnish, weaving, engravings, concrete, coppersmithing, even paperhanging. The list goes on. We can only mention a few volumes, and these may not completely reflect the works in this catalogue as we have selected some of the more unusual titles, rather than those which are most obviously related to art.

Here’s one that covers art and more: Johann Beckmann’s A History of Inventions and Discoveries. This is an 1814 second English edition of a book originally published in German in 1777, but it includes an additional fourth volume. It offers sections on dyeing, weaving, papermaking, sugar refining, shoemaking, watchmaking, glass cutting and more. All of 1777’s latest technology. Item 24. Priced at $550.

Then there are those dealing with some borderline forms of art. Item 277 is Alexander Paul’s The Practical Ostrich Feather Dyer. Dyed ostrich feathers don’t have a lot of practical use today (unless you are an unattractive ostrich), but once upon a time they were desired for ladies’ hats. And, if you can prove that these recipes don’t work, the author will pay you $1,000, enough to both cover the cost of the book and yield a tidy profit. Of course, it may not be easy to track down the author as this revised edition was printed in 1888. $550.

Item 3 is J. W. Alston’s 1820 Hints to Young Practitioners in the Study of Landscape Painting, Illustrated by Five Engravings Intended to Show the Different Stages of Neutral Tint, to which are added Instructions on the Art of Painting on Velvet. Painting on velvet? Does this mean that before there were velvet Elvises, there were velvet Beethovens? $300.

Item 62 will intrigue collectors of both the visual arts and contemporary music. It is Louis Castel’s L’Optique des Couleurs… from 1740. This includes a description of a musical instrument which would combine the projection of colors with the playing of individual keys. It was a forerunner of the early electronic color organs of the 1890s. Move ahead another century and it leads to the psychedelic light shows of modern musical concerts. $1,000.

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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions