Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2004 Issue

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


Alexander Paul provides practical instructions for dyeing ostrich feathers.

Item 269 is meant for a very specialized collector. It is Essay on the Causes of Dry Rot in Buildings… by John Papworth. This could well be the holy grail for collectors of books about dry rot as it is possibly the first book on the subject, having been printed in 1803. Actually, anyone who has ever lived in a very old house will appreciate the need for books like this which were designed to alleviate this pernicious problem. This is a first edition and is very rare. $750.

Item 4 is The American Advertising Directory, for Manufacturers and Dealers in American Goods for the Year 1831. It provides city and alphabetical listings for manufacturing and mercantile businesses and discusses the tariff. This was the first annual edition of a publication that lasted but one more year. $475. Item 255 is The New-England Mercantile Union Business Directory… This is an 1849 publication and interestingly for a date so early lists 52 Daguerrean artists for Massachusetts alone. $200.

Here’s one to send you to a dictionary: Andrew Millar’s Scumbling and Colour Glazing. “Scumbling” is a process designed to soften the colors in a painting. You can read all about it in item 386. $285.

Talk about uncertain definitions, how about Original Geometric Diaper Designs… by David Ramsay Hay? No, this is not about decorating your baby’s inner garments. Diaper designs are patterns of geometric shapes, far more pleasing aesthetically than the other type of diapers. Hay was a famed housepainter and author of his day who decorated the home of Sir Walter Scott among others. Item 184, printed in 1844, is one of six Hay items available in this catalogue. $1,500.

Item 5 is called Advice to Proprietors on the Care of Valuable Pictures painted in Oil, with Instructions for Preserving, Cleaning, and Restoring Them, when Damaged or Decayed. It was written simply by “an artist.” This book is significant because it is the first work in English devoted solely to restoring paintings. However, it is not recommended that you follow the advice herein if you have an old Rembrandt gathering dust in the attic. The “artist’s” heart was obviously in the right place, but the advice is unsound. $550.

Item 34 is Charles Blunt’s An Essay on Mechanical Drawing… Wood notes that the drawings are so good as to appear photographic, but that this is impossible since the book was printed in 1811. Plates include drawings of a printing press, an apparatus for weighing livestock, an American machine used in woolen manufacture, and more. $1,350.

Cartoonists will like Francis Grose’s Rules for Drawing Caricatures: with an Essay on Comic Painting. This is a second edition circa 1791. Wood quotes from it “The art of drawing caricatures is generally considered as a dangerous acquisition, tending rather to make the possessor feared than esteemed…” Over two centuries later, this warning can still apply, at least to political or other topical cartoonists. Item 159. $300.

Chares B Wood, Antiquarian Booksellers, may be found online at www.cbwoodbooks.com and reached by phone at 617-868-1711.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>[Sutro Baths] / On the Shore of the Pacific Ocean,</i> designer unknown, 1896. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Osvaldo Ballerio, <i>Biscottini e Amaretti Delser,</i> circa 1900. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Maxfield Parrish, <i>Harper’s Weekly,</i> 1896. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Les Parfums de J. Daver Paris,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Jacob Lawrence, <i>Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture,</i> 1968. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Lion Noir, Cirage – Crème,</i> 1949. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On,</i> designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Walter L. Greene, <i>Adirondack Mountains / Lake Placid,</i> 1930. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Laura Brey, <i>Enlist / On Which Side of the Window Are You?</i> 1917. $1,500 to $2,000.

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