A celebrated comic lithograph depicting French men and women in extravagant contemporary attire being exhibited to a group of native Americans, satirising reactions to the group of six Americans brought to Paris by Colonel David Delaunay and exhibited to the Parisian public earlier in the year.more...
It was issued by La Silhouette, a journal published from the 24 December 1829 to the 2 January 1831, founded by Honoré de Balzac, Emile de Girardin-Ratier and Victor Varaigne. It was the first weekly caricature journal published in France and the illustrations were executed by Henri Monnier, Charles Philipon, Grandville, Daumier, Devéria and Traviès.
‘La Revanche’ is signed ‘Granville’ [sic] and ‘Lith. de V. Ratier no 8’. It is a complex image, not least because it appears to borrows from Prichard’s History of Man, using images of the King George’s Sound Aborigines (Albany, Western Australia), who were originally depicted by de Sainson. .see full details
A suite of very finely engraved floral arrangements, two or three per plate, that could be used as models for embroidery and decoration.more...
The fine engravings are the work of Nicolas Dufour (1725–c. 1818), although the publisher, Francis Vivares, was himself a celebrated engraver. From around 1750 he kept a print shop in Great Newport Street. He had previously published another pattern book of 6 plates, A new book of flowers. Drawn from nature by August[i]n Heckel [and engraved by Hemerick] (1761) and later A book of different trophies (1769), once again with 6 plates. The note in the National Art Library catalogue (V&A) for the 1761 work could equally apply to the present work: This charming set of six prints has a title page showing two loose posies of flowers and then five more plates each with three different single flower stems on each plate.
The flowers are not named but include tulip, lily of the valley, iris, carnation, rose, poppy, pansy and honeysuckle. This gives some idea of the range of flowers popular in the middle of the eighteenth century. This set of prints could be enjoyed by their owner just as prints or could have been purchased as inspiration for pastimes and trades such as watercolour painting, embroidery, engraving on silver objects or inlaying in wood.
The 1761 work is in the V&A; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has a suite with the same title and date as the present but larger plates and priced 1s 6d. I have not traced any other copies and only the Trophies is in the Berlin catalogue (no. 270)..see full details
Second edition, a reissue of the 1799 edition with a new title.more...
Middleton’s designs include several cottages ornés, typical of the contemporary Picturesque movement, substantial villas, a public bath, a court house, an observatory, greenhouses, an aviary, a ‘gothick chapel’ and tea houses in the form of a Chinese temple and a Turkish temple. ‘…Middleton adopted a manner of illustration that was peculiarly his own. The designs are etched in a nervous line that obscures smaller details but delineates significant features of the building design and surrounding scenery, but also contributes an uncommon liveliness and animation to the illustration as a whole. The plates are further distinguished by bright, sometimes garish color in in ocher, salmon, pale green, bright green and bright blue tints.’ (Archer, Literature of British domestic Architecture 1715-1842, 1985, 206.4 (1799 edition with identical plates).
Middleton trained in architectural draughtsmanship under James Paine, gaining admission to the Royal Academy in 1779, before being employed by Henry Holland around 1783. He superintended Holland’s works at Carlton House..see full details
Two representative issues of the first Western-style cartoon magazine in Japan.more...
‘Japan Punch was a cartoon magazine published by Charles Wirgman in Yokohama, from 1862 to 1887. Patterned after the French Le Charivari and its British derivative Punch, it was one of the first monthly serials published in Japan in the European mode, closely related to the European tradition of newspapers and political cartoons, and thus representing an important predecessor to Japan's own cartoons and modern newspaper industry.
The publication consisted chiefly of political cartoons referencing in-jokes pertaining to the foreign settlements in Yokohama, as well as parody, satire, and criticism of Japanese politics. Policies of extraterritoriality within the foreign settlements protected the paper from any possible reprisal by the Japanese authorities, thus granting Wirgman and his colleagues free reign in their critiques of, and jokes at the expense of, those authorities’ (The Samurai Archives online).
Wirgman introduced Western printing techniques in the form of lithography, though in a distinctive style sometime echoing Japanese woodblock printing and he used soft Japanese paper and traditional stitching. The magazine began abortively in 1862 and then successively from August 1865 to March 1887. Issues were usually of 12 leaves, though one of ours has 13..see full details
First edition in English, very rare, of this celebrated treatise on inventions and origins, including accounts of the inception of printing, theatre, mathematics, medicine, magic, religion, law, government, prostitution and warm baths.more...
First published in Latin in 1499 (Venice) and augmented in 1521, it digested a huge mass of classical, biblical and contemporary learning and became a Renaissance bestseller with as many as 30 Latin editions alone appearing before the author’s death in 1555. The 1546 English translation, an abridgement by Thomas Langley, did not appear until 1546, by which time the Urbino-born Polydore had been resident in England for several decades. A diplomat, scholar and historian Vergil counted Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas More, Cuthbert Tunstall, Thomas Linacre and Baldessare Castiglione among his acquaintances and correspondents (Oxford DNB).
Issued no less than three times in 1546, this English edition is remarkably rare. We can find only this copy at auction in the last 50 years.
The work is divided into eight books, from which Langley makes succinct abridgements, of which a selection of chapter headings gives a flavour:
I. 9. ‘The begynnyng of Tragedies, Comedies, Satyres, and newe Comedies; 11. ‘Who founde Musyke’; 12. ‘Who found Musicall instruments’; 14. ‘Astrologie’; 15. ‘Who fonde Geometrie, Artihmetike’; 16. ‘Physike’; 17. ‘The inventours of herbes medicinable’; 18. ‘The beginnyng of Magike’; 19. ‘Two kyndes of divination’.
II. 1. ‘The originall of lawes’; 2. ‘Who ordeyned the first gouvernaunces’; 6. ‘Who set furth books fyrst, or made a library, Printyng, paper, parchement, arte of memory’ (which includes the observation: ’Truely the com[m]odite of liberaries is right profitable & necessary, but in co[m]parison of the crafte of printyng it is nothyng, both because one ma[n] may printe more in one day, then many men in many years could wryte: And also it preserveth both Greke & Latine auctours fro the dau[n]ger of corruption. It was found in Germany at Mogunce [Mainz] by one J. Guthenbergus a knight , he found moreover the Inke by his devise that printers used ...)’
Among other entries we find treatments of: war, Olympiades, plays, metals, coins, painting, ‘wyne, oyle, honye, chese, and strange trees broughte into Italy’, labyrinths, theatres, prostitution and brothels, and Christian and Moslem origins and customs.
Provenance: Sotheby’s, June 14th, 1965, lot 231 (Traylen, £55); Blackwell, Centenary Catalogue, 1979, item 27, £450; private collection..see full details
First edition of this important illustrated serial with 250 picturesque views of British country houses and other architectural monuments, containing the earliest engravings after drawings by the young Turner (views of Rochester and Chepstow castles).more...
Working for Walker and The Copper-plate Magazine, for which he was paid 2 guineas per drawing, opened Turner’s career as a professional topographical artist.
‘William Walker ... was a gifted artist responsible for a wide variety of engraved portraits, historical scenes, and views, including landscapes after Paul Sandby, and his neat work graced many of the most handsome illustrated books of the period. John Walker (fl. 1784–1802), engraver, the only son of William Walker, was responsible for The Copper-Plate Magazine, or, Monthly Cabinet of Picturesque Prints (1792–1802), a much esteemed compilation which he engraved and published and which gave employment to the young J. M. W. Turner. Walker had learned his craft under his father, with whom he frequently worked in collaboration (Laurence Worms in Oxford DNB).
A selection from the earlier volumes of this work was also issued in a different form by Walker (completed in 1799), with the title The Itinerant, a title visible in the upper left-hand corner of some of the plates here..see full details
A CAPACIOUS AND OUTLANDISH FRENCH LIVRE DE RAISON (COMMONPLACE BOOK), DENSELY WRITTEN IN IDIOSYNCRATIC FRENCH WITH A SERIES OF NAÏVE AND HIGHLY-COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF HISTORICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL FIGURES.more...
Anonymous in its surviving form (it has lost 44 preliminary pages through accident or deliberate removal) it still represents a rich and surprising store of contemporary popular culture. It combines practical wisdom (medical and household recipes, a calendar and a formulary of letters) and history (accounts and memorials of the events of the Revolution and Revolutionary Wars), to which are added an abundance of oracles, popular songs, verses, maxims, puzzles, jokes and a wonderful dictionary for the interpretation of dreams. A brief sampling of the many texts suggests that this will become a rewarding resource for the reconstruction of a particular vein of popular culture. Detection of political bias or intention is no easy matter: though the writer clearly regrets the bloodthirsty acts of the Revolution, celebrates the successes of Napoleon in the subsequent wars, and reproduces a republican hymn to George III of England, a dialogue between Napoleon and King George and poem on Waterloo. Quite who compiled this remarkable manuscript and where is a matter for research. The relatively neat and regular script is countered by chaotic grammar and spelling — words and phrases are frequently phonetic, perhaps bringing the reader close to contemporary speech patterns. The maker’s literacy is certainly pragmatic, suggesting he was perhaps an official or clerk, capable of making effective records but remaining refreshingly untouched by high literary culture. The bold and naïve illustration is in keeping with this. Colour, ornamentation and visual impact are to the fore, while proportion and perspective are in short supply and if we need to seek parallels or comparisons for the style, then they are best found in contemporary popular woodcuts and broadsides produced by printers such as Pellerin of the Imagerie d’Épinal. It is quite possible that a regional location will be revealed through study, but for now, all that can be said is that the manuscript s very unlikely to be Parisian or metropolitan. Subjects for the images include numerous memorial portraits of victims of the Revolution (including the princesse de Lamballe, those drowned in the Nantes massacre of 1793/4, the duc de Berry and Louis XVII) plus a series of character sketches of selected inhabitants of the world. Among the latter are found English peasants and burgers, natives of African Guinea, Egypt, Castille, Rome, Gascony, Brittany and Paris; stilt-walking shepherds of the Landes, a Dover housewife, a pair of hairy savages and a depiction of house in America (‘habitation de la merique’). Other images are emblematic and include two misogynistic portraits of ill-tempered women, tempered by some rather touching heart-shaped emblems of love, wisdom and marriage..see full details
First and only complete collected edition, a superb and handsome set completed with 2 volumes of Cook’s ‘Life of Ruskin’ (1911) uniformly bound (41 vols in all).more...
‘The edition was the outcome of twelve years work by Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, although Cook completed the bulk of the editing. The aim of The Library Edition was to provide the complete works of Ruskin, both literary and artistic, in uniform volumes. The edition was undertaken by Messrs. George Allen, Ruskin's publishers. Illustrated by 820 wood blocks and 990 full-page plates with 120 facsimiles of MSS., the edition includes 269 plates of Ruskin's own drawings of which 200 had never before been published. Portraits of Ruskin are used as frontispieces to some of the volumes. The press work was carried out by Messrs. Ballantyne of Edinburgh, and the weight of type amounted to nine tons, whilst the printing ink weighed 1800lbs. Printed on hand-made, linen rag paper (about 87tons) with a double watermark of Ruskin's monogram and seal. The edition consisted of 2062 sets, of which 2000 were available for sale to subscribers for the full set. The first volume was published on 27 March 1903. George Allen did not live to see the completion of the edition dying on 5 September 1907, his children taking over the firm ... Cook and Wedderburn provide the standard reference work for Ruskin studies.’ (from the University of Lancaster’s Preface to their electronic edition).
‘The apogee of Ruskin's immediate influence was marked by the decision to publish a monumental Library Edition of his complete works in thirty-nine volumes, edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, which appeared between 1903 and 1912. Although biographically reticent and presenting a liberal version of Ruskin (as did Cook’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography), this became the foundation for future Ruskin scholarship’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
An engraved design meant to be folded and attached to a lady’s fan.more...
Publisher Sarah Ashton was a prolific maker of fan leaves who was admitted in 1770 into The Worshipful Company of Fan Makers. Her printing business was based in Little Britain, near St. Paul’s Churchyard. At least 13 of her designs are known. As you like it. Act II, Scene 7.
George Wilson was one of a now little remembered but active group of artists and makers specialising in fans, with a dedicated guild established in 1709 in Fann Street and roots in a largely immigrant Huguenot community which had settled in the area in the previous century. He worked closely with Sarah Ashton, who was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers in 1770 and continued a successful printing and publishing business after her husband's death. She published many of his designs, although he also published some independently. A humorous allusion to her on one of their collaborations, The Quiz Club, indicates a prominent element in fan design: 'by S.A. Professor of Physiognomy and Corrector of the Heart'. Indeed, this fan sheet illustrating Shakespeare's Seven Ages is complemented by another by Wilson and published by Ashton on the 1st January the following year, which illustrates the Seven Ages for women in overtly moral terms: the babe in arms is succeeded by the schoolgirl with her needlework, the lovesick lass, wife and mother, matron teaching the young, widow and finally, the devout soul resigned to death. It is in stark contrast to a pamphlet published some years earlier which illustrates the potential for a very different kind of treatment of a similar theme: an anonymous satire entitled The Figure of Seven showing the seven chief desires of a wicked woman: finery, flirtation, suitors, food, strong drink and sloth. While it is a delightful example of regency literary and artistic fashion, this fan sheet is also coloured with a vision of what a good life should look like and demonstrates the way in which such everyday objects were used to influence and reflect contemporary thinking and behaviour..see full details
The famous portrait of Helena Fourment, Rubens’s second wife, who had married him in 1630, when she was 16 years old (and he was aged 53).more...
The original was in the collection of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford at Houghton Hall; it is now in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon. The plate is known in several states, almost all attributing the painting to Van Dyck, while this rare state gives Rubens (agreeing with modern attributions). McArdell was one of the most succesful mezzotint engravers of the perios: ‘During the 1750s Macardell engraved several paintings by Rembrandt, and more particularly by Rubens and Van Dyck, demonstrating his virtuosity through his tonal interpretation of the luxuriant flesh and fabric of the Flemish school’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
A design portfolio, mostly dating from the last years of the Great War, made by one W.more...
How, who otherwise unknown, but presumably a young woman studying commercial design at a British college of art and design. The formal and informal elements of the collection, which includes many superb pencil and wash designs together with fabric and wallpaper samples, bridge the Arts and Crafts movement of the early century and a striking emergent modernism.
These spectacular designs are mostly formal exercises in pattern design, with an emphasis on the construction of repeating patterns, interchange, and counterchange (designs in which a certain colour of a motif and its ground are reversed in another part of the design). Also included are a number of more experimental designs, strikingly modernist, usually single panels, some elements of which are incorporated into the formal exercises. In several cases the time taken to make each sheet is noted (usually several hours), reflecting the commercial background of this formal training. The manuscript captions provide a key to each assignment, and some of the designs are marked with tutor’s comments (’good’, ‘beautiful’, excellent’, ‘all units too separate’, ‘good set but panel decoration has a sense of dropping at the centre’, ‘you want to try and get your units to unite’ etc).
Indian, geometric, floral, animals,
One rough pencil sketch in on the verso of a letterpress flyer for a benefit exhibition at Welwyn Garden City for the Women’s Committee for the Relief of Miner’s Wives & Children, at which pictures by Brangwyn, Nash, Rothenstein, Spencer and Fry were on sale, inadvertently providing a neat context for our designer’s work..see full details
An account of auction purchases of domestic goods by a Reverend Newcomb of Brandon from a Newmarket auctioneer, including garden furniture, kitchen implements, glasses, crockery and books Newcomb’s purchases total £61 5s and 11d, with the most expensive items an ‘Engine’ (£16 10s) and a brewing copper (£10, 7s 8d).more...
Newcomb bought 5 books: History of Turkey (2s 6d); the Works of St Cyril of Jerusalem; Burnet’s History and Theory of the Earth and Macclesfield’s Trial. He also took home a parrot cage (5s 6d)..see full details
First edition of one of the most influential works of French garden theory in French.more...
Morel was the father of landscape gardening in France, best known for the Théorie des Jardins and for his work with the marquis de Giradin in the celebrated garden at Ermenonville, and later at Malmaison. Morel never travelled to England, but was clearly influenced by theories of landscape being developed there. The title here bears a quote from Milton: ‘In narrow room nature’s Whole Wealth, yea more / A heav’n on earth ...’ (Paradise Lost IV)..see full details
A fine contemporary portrait, etched and engraved by Louis Jacques Cathelin after the portrait by Joseph Ducreux of 1771.more...
It was issued as part of a series depicting the Habsburg Royal family originally made to coincide with the arrival of Marie-Antoinette (Joseph II’s sister) in France. This example is of the reimpression of 1774 with the Esnauts et Rapilly imprint..see full details
First edition, privately printed, of this history of one of the pre-eminent London livery companies, founded in the fourteenth century, by members of the Guild of Pepperers, which dates from 1180.more...
The Company was responsible for maintaining standards for the purity of spices and for the setting of certain weights and measures. Its members included London's pharmacists, who separated forming the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 1617. Some Account containing biographies of eminent members and an antiquarian account of Grocer’s Hall in the City of London. The author was Master of the Company until the year this work was published and is an interesting figure:
‘John Benjamin Heath attended Harrow School (1798–1806) and for a time was fag to Lord Byron. He then entered his father's business, and in 1816 was appointed consul-general for the kingdom of Sardinia, a reflection of the firm's commercial ties with northern Italy. During the first half of the nineteenth century Heath & Co. became an established part of the City. This can be traced through the positions held by John Benjamin Heath, who was chairman of both the London Life Association and the Society of Merchants Trading to the Continent; most importantly, he was a director of the Bank of England for fifty years...’ (Oxford DNB). .see full details
First edition, complete, of this rare suite of Pillement’s oriental designs based on imaginary flowers; a characteristically whimsical and ethereal extension of the fashionable chinoiserie style.more...
Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728–1808) was a key figure in the dissemination of French rococo style and was well-known in England, counting David Garrick among his patrons (Oxford DNB). ‘Perhaps the most astonishing facet of his work, besides its far-reaching dissemination, was its easy translation into almost all media. Pillement declared his engravings suitable “à l’usage des dessinateurs et des peintres,” but in fact they received much wider application. Cabinet-makers in France and abroad copied his images for marquetry and for painting on furniture, and J. B. Réveillon printed a number of wallpapers based on his designs. In England, where his ornaments were particularly popular, they were adopted by enamellers at Battersea and by transfer-printers at Liverpool and decorators at Worcester...’ (Banham, Encyclopaedia of Interior Design, p. 960).
The NYPL catalogue suggests that the plates for Recueil de nouvelles fleurs de goût were probably made by Johann Heinrich Hess as part of Pillement's series of Ornaments, published 1758-1774 (cf. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek, Berlin. no. 449)..see full details
A SPECTACULAR AND ECCENTRIC BRITISH ANTIQUARIAN COLLECTION WITH NOTICES OF OVER 100 HISTORIC INDIVIDUALS OR MONUMENTS, EACH WITH A WATERCOLOUR AND ILLUMINATED TEXT, the latter in quasi-historical style evoking original manuscripts.more...
With a very few exceptions (Ignatius Loyola and Marie de Medici included) the subjects are British historical figures, beginning with William de la Way who came to England at the Conquest. Leveland provides watercolour portraits of each in an engagingly naive style, together with short biographies and armorial devices. Other figures include Robert Despenser, John de Pelham, William de la More, Henry Courtenay, Thomas Howard, Henry Howard, Anthony Woodville, Francis Villiers, William ‘Alderman’ Beckford (father of the novelist and collector), Nicholas Carew and Robert De Vere, among many others. The work is dedicated to Queen Charlotte, though probably without permission: ‘This Volume of Miscellaneous Antiquities is Humbly presented for her Gracious Patronage’ with her arms; the second volume contains an incomplete dedication to Charles Howard, Duke of Norfolk (1746-1815) following his full-page arms.
At the end of the first volume several pages are devoted to contemporary hero, Admiral Lord Nelson, with examples of his arms granted after the Battle of the Nile (1798) and the commemorative medal struck in the same year by Alexander Davison. The second volume is more diverse. While continuing the biographies of the first, it also contains entries on specific monuments, notably the churches at Fairford (Gloucs) with its celebrated early stained glass, St Michael (Crooked Lane, London) and Stoke Poges (Bucks.); a calligraphic facsimile (with seals) of the death warrant of Charles I and copy of the Institution of the Baronets of Nova Scotia (1629).
The style is certainly idiosyncratic, the highly-coloured figures rendered with limited attention to proportion or perspective accompanied by naturalistic illuminated borders of leaves, fruit and flowers sometimes inhabited by insects and a range of historical scripts and other apparatus (armorial devices, seals and frames). The coloured portraits of the artist in wig and cravat bound at the front of each volume are etchings with aquatint and were presumably privately commissioned; an uncoloured version with full margins is in the print collection of the British Museum.
Little is known of Clifford (1736-1815) but he was baptised at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden on 19 October 1736, second son and fourth child of Gervase Leveland, a London woollen-draper, and his wife Mary [Nutting]. He was a longtime Suffolk resident and created several antiquarian manuscripts; one (‘Auncient seles affixede to Charteres’) is now in the National Art Library (Victoria & Albert Museum), three more are in the William Salt Library (Stafford) and another is in a private collection. A book bearing his inscription, Barclay his Argenis, or, The Loves of Poliarchus and Argenis (1625) is at UCL and his will is preserved in the National Archives (it makes specific provision for the inheritance of Leveland’s painting materials). He managed at least one foray into print with The virtuous Wife: a sentimental Tale (Sudbury, privately printed, 1812)..see full details
This notorious caricature was issued as part of the segregation era ‘Darktown Comic’ series.more...
A black woman wearing a tattered brown dress and worn shoes, with an apron decorated in the stars and stripes, and a tall bonnet with a wide brim and white frill, standing on a plinth in the manner of the Statue of Liberty though looking far from serene, but rather clamouring; she holds a flaming torch and a book labelled ‘New York Port Charges’; at her feet is a cockerel crowing; she has her back to the city, shown behind her across the water, with a distant bridge.
The partnership of Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895) grew into one of the largest and most prolific printing companies of all time, at one point responsible for 95% of all lithographs in circulation in America. Beginning as a lithographer, Currier recognized the market for topical prints and news and became successful as an independent lithographer and later print publisher, before taking on his bookkeeper and accountant Ives as a partner. With hand-operated presses on one floor, artists, stone grinders and lithographers on the floor above and a team of others colouring the finished lithographs by hand on the floor above that, the firm extended well beyond its New York offices, selling retail and wholesale, from street-carts and through booksellers, nationally and internationally, including by mail-order. They flourished on their populist approach, promoting themselves as ‘The Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints’, and ‘the best, cheapest, and most popular firm in a democratic country’, providing ‘colored engravings for the people’ and issuing over 7000 prints in countless copies. According to Byran Le Beau, after initially depicting the horrors of slavery in the 1840s, the company began instead to focus on African Americans as the cause of divisive politics and civil war, until by the end of the century, they were portraying them as incapable of living in anything but a condition of servitude. If in this they were, as described by a prominent collector of Currier & Ives material, Harry T. Peters, ‘businessmen and craftsmen … but primarily mirrors of the national taste, weather vanes of popular opinion, reflectors of American attitudes’, they were in equal measure responsible for endorsing and establishing the distorted views they both targeted and marketed so well (cf. Bryan F. Le Beau, African Americans in Currier and Ives’s America: The Darktown Series, in Journal of American & Comparative Cultures). .see full details
A delightful fin-de-siècle devotional manuscript illuminated with great skill by a Miss Maury of Nice, reputedly when in her nineties.more...
Each day of the week is provided with prayers and devotions written in her neat calligraphic hand and almost every page bears at least one example of her minutely-rendered illumination. About the maker we know nothing else. She signs and dates the manuscript at the end..see full details