An unusual New Years’ gift from an unnamed compiler ‘for my dearly beloved Isabella Sophia Ochando de la Vanda.more...
January one, 1830’; a manuscript compilation of verse and pious texts by hymnodist Edmeston, Shepherd, Southey (’The Victory’), Millman, Bowring, Burden, Emmerson, and Carlyle’s ‘Hymn before public worship translated from the Arabic’. Most of the texts are in English but a couple, by the Mechitarian cleric Nerses Clajense, are in Spanish and French respectively.
A lively collection of biographies of the unpopular Fermiers généraux – men responsible for collecting indirect taxation in ancien régime France.more...
The Mémoirs pour servir l’histoire du Publicanisme moderne was never published in print but circulated widely in manuscript — its tone is familiar, ironic and sometimes scurrilous in its treatment of the careers of these powerful and wealthy men.
There are more than 100 entries including those for important cultural figures, Alexandre Le Riche de La Poupelinière (one of the prime-movers in the great Lafontaine edition of 1762 called the ‘Fermiers généraux’ edition), Charles Le Normant de Tournehem (guardian of Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future marquise de Pompadour) and the collector Pierre Grimod du Fort. Each entry provides a brief account of the sources of their wealth, of their families and progeny, and of their administrative capabilities (or otherwise). Morality is neverfar from the surface, and there are frequent grumblings of sexual infidelities. The biography for Le Riche de La Poupelinière (the longest in the collection) includes the anecdote of his being surprised in bed with an actress from the Opera, mistress of the Prince de Carignan and of the secret passageway from a neighbouring house through the firelplace, through which his lovers came and went.
The text mostly in a single hand of 1750. Each entry includes spaces left for the arms of the subjected, never completed). A second hand, perhaps not much later, adds notes, some additional biographies and tables. The book apparently existed for some time stitched in the simple wrapper of its first and last leaves before being bound, probably a little later in the century..see full details
A delightful sequence of floral gowns, one for every month of the year, depicted in accomplished watercolour.more...
The dress for each month includes seasonal flowers and fruit. The winter costumes represent ice and fire, with holly and ivy; in spring they are decked in leafy sprigs, buds and flowers; summer sees a predominance of grasses and meadow flowers, while autumn shows moths and grapes. The artist is presumably ‘Barenne’ as lettered on the upper cover, probably an accomplished amateur.see full details
One of the most spectacular fruits of nineteenth-century Medievalism, with its elaborate chromolithograph interpretations of illuminated manuscripts, many with gold and silver inks. The text volume additionally contains a sequence of original photographic reproductions of prints by Wierix. Issued as a series of 70 individual numbers, the pagination of the plate volumes is very erratic, with numerous additional plates outside the main sequence and with some leaves having plates on both sides, others on just one. The appendix provides an historical and bibliographical key to the plates, listing manuscripts in mainly French and Italian libraries..see full details
A collection of children’s stories evidently written by a father (perhaps Herr Schmutzer, who’s stamp appears in each) for two young daughters.more...
Each volume is a separate story telling of the girls’ adventures around the world. The text is in German throughout and every page bears a large illustration. A terrifying insight into one early-twentieth century father’s idea of a family entertainment.
Das buch von den beiden Babys. [n.d. c. 1902]. Small 4to (206 × 165 mm), pp. , alternating text and drawings. A tale of parental neglect: a family outing on a steam train goes terribly wrong.
‘...Laurentia und Emerentia Stutzlmeier’. 1902. Folio (330 × 210 mm), ff.  (the last blank) of which 28 each bear text and a large drawing. Card wrappers, loose in cloth backed boards. The tale of two young sisters lost in the forest during a family picnic. Rescued from a wolf by a kindly hermit they embark on a series of miraculous adventures with a cartload of magic pears and a menagerie of animals. Reunited with their parents they return to the woods to find the hermit dying; they bury him and he is borne aloft by angels.
‘Die gar wundersame geschichte von den beiden Babys in der Techanei’. 1904. Folio (325 × 210 mm), ff. , of which 54 each bear text and a large drawing. Crudely sew in cloth-backed boards, uniform with the above. The father takes his daughters out on an excursion, but an encounter with a witch separates the girls from him. Kidnapped in the witch’s house, they elude her protective snake, toad and cat and escape in a paper boat. Reunited with their father they embark on a series of terrifying adventures under his protection: he slaughters all assailants with a pistol, sword and bare hands, leaving a trail of bloodshed. A return to a derelict house scattered with the skeletons of pets and family members begins a new chapter, before the trio return home in a magical amphibious horse-drawn cart.
‘Die Geschichte von die beiden Babys und die Reise um die Erde’. 1910. Folio (340 × 205 mm), ff. , of which 41 each have text and a large drawing. Cloth backed boards. In this final volume Herr Scmutzer oversteps the mark. Taking his young daughters on a round-the-world trip in a self-propelled car (Gibraltar, Africa, Egypt, Persia, China, Siberia, The North Pole) he indulges in the worst kind of xenophobic violence against most of the inhabitants of the known world, all in the interests of the protection of his daughters..see full details
A superb fashion album from the year of the Paris siege, with a great variety of dated designs showing the vogue for dresses emphasising a narrow figure with low sloping shoulders and skirts gathered extravagantly at the back with ribbons, tapes, ruches and ruffles.more...
Outdoor and walking dresses, evening dresses, hairstyles, headresses, veils, parasols, nightgowns, shoes and coats. Colours, especially for outdoor wear, tend towards darker palettes with deep greens, mauves and black in abundance.
Despite the Franco-Prussian war and the advance of the Germans on Paris, the city remained at the centre of the fashion world. The military realities of the Paris siege of that year impinge with one image of a rifleman (franc-tireur) of the Légion de la Seine (dated 25 August 1870) and the styles for 1871 exhibiting occasional military references with square cut coat pockets, brocades and frogging..see full details
A file of miscellaneous antiquarian notes in various hands, almost all concerning Shropshire families, churches, parishes and manors from the medieval period onward, and often apparently transcripts from Shropshire records.more...
Includes: an account of the borough of Bridgenorth, transcripts from the parish registers of Claverley (1568-1714), Lilleshall, Pontesbury, Alveley and others, and a bifolium with eighteenth-century transcripts from the registers of Cherbury. .see full details
An extensive manuscript containing biographies of overseas residents and visitors to England, from the medieval period to the 1770s: it includes kings and queens, members of the nobility, clergymen, politicians, artists, musicians and criminals.more...
Evidently compiled over time (the second smaller volume may be the earlier) the collection is derived from various print and manuscript sources, which are often named. The smaller volume is apparently drawn from state and diplomatic papers and letters, while the larger is derived from a large range of printed works (Rapin, Frehenus, Moréri, Hawkins’s History of Music, several antiquarian cathedral and county histories, the Annual Register and various journals, including the Newgate Calendar).
The biographical entries, extending from just a few lines to some of several full pages include: Henri Estienne, Bernouilli, Helen and Judith (celebrated Hungarian conjoined twins exhibited in London in 1708), Erasmus, Rousseau, Lassus, Boerhaave, Geminiani, an African prince who appeared at the Theatre Royal in 1759, singer Signora Faustina, Handel, Theodore Gardelle (painter, enameller and murderer), Paolo Rolli, John Tradescant (a curious inclusion, as a traveller rather than an immigrant), the chevalier D’Eon (transvestite and spy), Peter the Wild Boy, Simon Pingano (forger), Bartholomew Rocque (agriculturalist), Emin Joseph Emin (army officer in the East India Company and Armenian nationalist), Domenico Angelo (fencing master), Joseph of Arimathea, Miles Coverdale, Leonard the Indian, a group of Cherokee Indians visiting London in 1730 and ‘Chitqua’ (Tan-Che-Qua, Chinese artist who worked in London 1769-72). In each volume, an alphabetical index has been added at the beginning, probably at the time of binding, on tabbed pages of paper watermarked 1804, but the major part of each volume appears to have been written earlier. Many pages are marked with a single vertical line and there are occasional entries ‘entered’, suggesting the text was reproduced somewhere else, or intended to be, but we are not aware of a printed equivalent.
Phillipps MS 13746, purchased 1849 from the Duke of Buckingham sale (Stowe 2120), where it was joined with another volume of historical portraits..see full details
An extended heraldic manuscript by Thomas Willement, heraldic researcher and author who was to become a major figure in the Victorian gothic revival as a stained glass artist.more...
It includes reasoned descriptions of arms and quarterings for: Lord Henry Thomas Howard Molyneux Howard (1819), Francis Rawdon Hastings, Earl of Moira (1819), Henry Nevile, Earl of Abergavenny (1819), Lord Viscount Curzon, Earl of Tyrconnel (1819), Henry Pelham Clinton, Duke of Newcastle, Percy of Northumberland, Russell Duke of Bedford, Hugh Duke of Northumberland, Darell of Calehill, Foljambe, Mrs Mostyn (Madame Piozzi), Montagu-Cholmeley and the Knyvett and Stafford Cooke families. It also includes pedigrees of the Kings of England (in reverse from William IV, crowned 1830 to William the Conqueror) and a genealogies of the families of Salisbury (from the time of Charlemagne) and Cholmeley.
Thomas Willement was an important figure in the Victorian gothic movement and is credited with the revival of the art of stained glass in England, lost since the reformation. Born in 1786 to a heraldic coach painter, he became heraldic painter to King George IV and later Queen Victoria and executed stained glass for more than 1000 buildings (including St George’s Chapel, Windsor). He collaborated with Pugin on several projects. In 1845 he bought the Priory and Church at Davington (Faversham) then in a dire state, with the church having been used for lambing and for storage of smuggled goods, and set about restoration. Willement, was the author of many books, died aged 85, on 10 March, 1871, and is buried in a vault at Davington Church..see full details
An interesting manuscript prospectus of a large and still-unpublished account of the French revolution.more...
François-Jean Baudouin had been a printer and bookseller to the Assemblée nationale in the revolutionary period, later becoming a journalist and publisher. He evidently wrote a long first hand account of the politics surrounding the Revolution, which remained unpublished. It was apparently in the hands of one Tacheron, a doctor to the XI Légion at the opening of the nineteenth century, who wrote this manuscript prospectus of it, transcribing part of the introduction and giving a detailed précis or analyse of its 16 chapters. He notes that it would run to some eight or ten octavo volumes, probably suggesting he was intending to publish it. In the event it seems never to have been published and since the whereabouts of the manuscript is now unknown, this 43-page summary is witness to a major work of Revolutionary history.
‘François-Jean Baudouin, imprimeur-libraire, né à Paris en 1759, mort en 1838. Elu député suppléant du tiers aux Etats Généraux, il dut à cette circonstance d’être nommé imprimeur de l’Assemblée Nationale, privilège qu'il conserva jusqu’en 1809. Il fut aussi propriétaire du Logographe, journal dont il envoyait tous les jours le premier exemplaire à Louis XVI... Il publia en 1810, un Projet de règlement pour l’imprimerie et la Librairie...’. Larousse II, 387..see full details
A beguiling anonymous illustrated manuscript with painted miniatures on vellum.more...
The text is a poem by French poet of Greek and Franco-Levantine origin, Chénier (1762-94) who perished under the guillotine during the Terror. Praised as a precursor of the Romantics, his work was rediscovered and published during the nineteeth century. His exotic subjects, coupled with his tragic end made him a favourite among devotees of the decadent..see full details
The personal account book of an English provincial bobby posted in Northamptonshire (variously at Northampton, Kettering, Oundle, Paulerspury, Daventry, East Haddon and Naseby) recording every arrest he made in the course of a 32-year career.more...
After early stints in Northampton and Kettering, Clarke’s experience was based in smaller villages and his notebook is a valuable and grimly fascinating account of English rural life at the opening of the twentieth century. The crimes here records include drunkenness, obscenity, vagrancy, poaching, gambling, begging, petty theft, domestic abuse, animal cruelty, unlicensed use of firearms, bicycle and motoring offences and playing football on the highway. Clarke was an assiduous recorder, itemising every arrest and its outcome, then, at the end of the year making a final reckoning. So, for the year 1911 he sums up, in red ink: ‘24 proceeded against. 15 fined £10,18.0. 5 sent to prison 16 months 21 days. 1 dismissed. 2 warned of reward. I bound over for 12 months’. The hundreds of arrests made over the course of his career is totalled in pencil at the end: ‘32 years service, Cases 523, Fines £359.15.5. Sent to Prison 53 years 6 months 0 weeks 5 days. Pay £5272. 5 [shillings]. 7 1/2 [pence].
One interesting development charted here is, of course, the rise of motor transport and its attendant offences. In the early years Clarke apprehends very few motorists (but rather more cyclists), while towards 1930 the vast majority of his successes (and revenue) involve reckless and speeding drivers from all over England. A few excerpts give a flavour:
‘October 30th  Danile Bailey John Abrahams Edward Smith & Jim Mallard charged with stealing Fruit valued 5/- the property of Jethro Johnson Fine and Costs 7/6 each.’
‘Dec 16th  Frederick Albert Coe, scholar, age 13 Abbey St Daventry Charged with stealing a Dutch Cheese Valued 2/6 the property of Messrs Bayley Brothers & was ordered to receive 6 strokes with Birch’.
‘March 3d  Richard Clarke Cycle Maker Coventry charged with being a wandering Lunatic at Daventry committed to Berrywood Asylum’.
‘19 August  Fred[eric]k Juggings... Commercial Traveller charged with Indecently assaulting Mollie Simpson age 5 yrs at Weston Favell. Fine £2.10.0 costs 6/-’
‘June 17  Lady Mabel Gore Langton Cosgrove Hall charged with keeping 5 male servants with 3 licences. Cautioned.’
‘Jan 27  William Lee, Cold Ashby, charge with supplying to [sic] wounded soldiers with whisky. Fined £10.’.see full details
A typical Victorian handwriting copybook, devoting a page to each letter of the alphabet, with a single sentence, phrase or word repeated over several lines, the text of varying size.more...
‘All thy commandments are righteousness’; ‘Be ye angry and sin not’; ‘Fulminate’; ‘Knowledge is Power’, ‘Mathematician’; ‘Obrometer’, ‘Vice is attended with sorrow’; ‘X begins no word in the English language’. The sequence is broken in two places, with 2 pages of elementary mathematical exercises, and the last page is signed ‘William Blundell June 29th 1868 in Sussex’..see full details
An autograph copy of a classic text of French orientalism, made by the author for his wife and inscribed ‘À Etelka, ma femme bien-aimée, qui est pour moi toute la splendour du monde et toute la poësie.more...
Franz Toussaint. Mai 1936.’
Le Jardin des caresses. Traduit de l'arabe, consisting of Toussaint’s interpretation of Moorish poems, partly anonymous, written in tenth-century Spain, first appeared serially in the Mercure de France and Revue de Paris in 1909-1911, then published together in 1911 and reprinted and translated in numerous editions throughout the twentieth century (the Golden Cockerel Press printed an English edition in 1934). Its numerous short stanzas, whose titles include: ‘Les Seins, les yeux, et la chevelure’, ‘Les oiseaux de la mosquée’, ‘La Sultane de l’amour’, ‘Al Maghreb’, ‘Les Sorciers’, ‘L’Astronome’ and ‘La Volupueuse’proved especially suitable for musical settings and so the work also found huge popularity in song.
Toussaint is an interesting figure, both a respected scholarly translator of Arabic and other eastern languages, and a director of silent films, the best-known of which is Inch’Allah of 1922. This appealing little manuscript was evidently made by the author as a gift for his second wife, Turkish-born Adelaïde Etelca Stefania Braggiotti, who he married in 1925. .see full details