A very rare juvenile edition of Deleuze’s translation of Darwin’s The Loves of the Plants (1789), his heroic poem on the Linnean system and the transmutation of species.more...
Deleuze’s translation had appeared in 1799 and was popular. Our edition, though separately published formed part of the Bibliothèque instructive (61 vols) issued by Schrambl in Vienna between 1812 and 1819. It is coupled with Castel’s continuation and commentary. From the library of Count Maurice Dietrichstein, connoisseur, composer and governor of the young Napoleon II..see full details
LINKING KEY FIGURES IN THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY REFORM MOVEMENTS, THE THREE LETTERS HERE ARE ADDRESSED TO MEDICAL PIONEER ELIZABETH BLACKWELL, THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE A MEDICAL DEGREE IN AMERICA AND THE FIRST TO BE ENTERED ON THE BRITISH MEDICAL REGISTER.more...
Blackwell’s old acquaintance, Florence Nightingale, writes to her in an apparently unpublished letter of 1871 of the difficulties of public health projects, which would involve: ‘going, for instance, into all the back slums of London & other towns – practically learning & teaching there what constitutes the health of dwellings, the health of children, the health of populations, of occupations &c.’ Twelve years earlier (1859) her cousin George Eliot, signing herself in her assumed name of Marian Lewes, responds to an appeal by feminist pioneer Barbara Bodichon by forwarding her letter to Elizabeth Blackwell, while novelist Dinah Mulock thanks Blackwell for a ticket to one of her lectures.
The documents were collected by a Mrs Denniss, perhaps given to her by Blackwell herself as a memento and include three excellent photographic portraits, including a magisterial print by Elliott & Fry. Comprising:
1. NIGHTINGALE, Florence. Autograph letter, signed ‘Florence Nightingale’ to Miss [Elizabeth] Blackwell. [August 2], 1871. ‘Nothing that you do, independently of our being old friends, can fail to interest me’. She states the business of bringing everyone, ‘the little as well as the big’ to understand the ‘Laws of Life’ is the first business of everybody. However, she expresses doubt that it can be achieved in the way Blackwell has suggested is possible: ‘Sanitary work of this kind can only be done by going personal grappling with the evils by going personally among those for whom it is to be done – going, for instance, into all the back slums of London & other towns – practically learning & teaching there what constitutes the health of dwellings, the health of children, the health of populations, of occupations &c.’ Nightingale had known each other since 1850, though their medical careers took diverging paths, Nightingale achieving celebrity for her work in the Crimean war, while Blackwell established her medical practice (against considerable odds) in America. By 1871, she had been back in England over twenty years pursuing her campaign for women’s medicine, by which time Nightingale was largely confined to her bed through illness. Two-and-a-half pages on a bifolium (black edged, leaf size 205 × 130 mm), folded twice, envelope addressed in Nightingale’s hand to Blackwell in London [redirected to Cornwall], marked ‘Private’, penny stamp, postally marked at London, Matlock and Penzance.
2. LEWES, Marian. [Mary Ann EVANS, ‘George ELIOT’]. Autograph letter, signed, to Dr [Elizabeth] Blackwell. Holly Lodge, Wimbledon Park, Wandsworth, Ap[ril] 16, 1859. ‘Being unable myself to respond to Barbara [Bodichon]’s appeal in the enclosed letter [not present], I obey her wish by forwarding it to you’. This short letter was written in the year Adam Bede was published, and two months after Eliot had moved to Holly Lodge with her partner George Henry Lewes, already married with children. It refers to ‘Barbara’s appeal’ ? almost certainly Barbara Bodichon, a mutual friend of Eliot and Blackwell, then engaged in several campaigns for women’s health, employment and suffrage. One page (177 × 115 mm), two lateral folds.
3. MULOCK, Dinah Maria. [later Dinah CRAIK]. Autograph letter to Dr Elizabeth Blackwell. Wildwood, North End, Hampstead, 29 Feb[ruary], 1859. Presenting compliments and thanking her for the ticket for the lectures, which she must forgo on grounds of health, but will pass on to a young friend. Mulock’s best-known novel John Halifax, Gentleman had appeared in 1856, followed by A Woman’s Thoughts about Women (1857) and A Life for a Life (1857), the latter arguing for a single moral standard for both women and men, and for the equivalency of their strengths. One-and-a-half pages on a small bifolium (112 × 90 mm).
4. BLACKWELL, Dr Elizabeth. Photographic portrait by Elliott & Fry, London, 1907. (147 × 98 mm), original publisher’s mount. Verso inscribed ‘To Mrs Denniss’ [not autograph] and in a later hand: ‘Dr Blackwell in August 1907 – 84 and a half years’.
5. ? Photographic print after the portrait drawing of 1859 by the Comtesse de Charnacée, a later reproduction of a photographic print by Swain, J. H. Blomfield, Hastings. (Oval 88 × 58 mm) publisher’s mount. Inscribed on verso: ‘…1859 the year Dr Blackwell was placed on the British Medical Register’.
6. ? Photographic print, reproduced from the portrait of 1888 and issued by W. A. Thomas, Hastings. (138 × 95 mm).
7. ? Photograph of Rock House, Hastings. (120 × 160), faded and creased.
8. ? Photogravure print of Blackwell’s grave and memorial at Kilamun, Holy Loch, Argyleshire. (200 × 138), soon after 1907. Frayed at head..see full details
Taxidermy was at the heart of most natural history cabinets and museums before the modern era, but there are relatively few treatises devoted to this art. Manesse’s was one of only a handful of treatises available to French naturalists dealing with the vast influx of animals and birds sent to Paris for study from all over the world. He proposed a type of tanning of the skins of carcasses to facilitate their long-term preservation. .see full details
A delightful collection by a prolific gastronomic author, devoted to the matter of women at table, a counterpoise to the masculinity of French gastronomy: ‘Une table sans femmes est une table sans fleurs’. This is one of 20 copies on Van Gelder, after 10 on japon (total edition 400)..see full details
First edition, an interesting psychological treatise seeking rational explanations for unexplained phenomena, including the effects of hypnotism, psychic experiences and occultism, by Guilbert, a Parisian hospital radiologist and laboratory director.more...
An appealing and unsophisticated gardener’s pocket notebook of some 10,000 words, with a first part (to page 21) concerning citrus fruit cultivation and the remaining majority to growing garofolo, or carnation [Dianthus caryophyllus].more...
Written from an entirely practical point of view this is a veritable grower’s guide, considering details of soil, situation, containers, seasonal care, factors affecting the size of the flowers, overwintering, avoiding ailments and cultivation from seed..see full details
A rare satirical elegy and epitaph for the celebrated electrical eel, who could no longer rise to the occasion.more...
A reissue of the sheets of the first edition of 1777 with a cancel title, of this elaborate addition to the corpus of salacious 1770s pamphlets devoted to the subject of the electrical eel, a topic of serious scientific enquiry and popular merriment. This one continues the phallic joke and manages to draw in the hapless Chevalier D’Eon (whose sex was then popularly debated) alongside the lecherous Earl of Harrington.
‘If the Gymnotus Electricus, lately exhibited to the Public, be really dead, it is to be hoped that we shall have no more of these witty indecencies’ (Monthly Review, Nov. 1777)..see full details
One of 500 copies, a typically-French literary celebration of progress, technology and telecommunications, commissioned by the Société anonyme de Télécommunications (established 1924). Sorel’s contribution is entitled, ‘La diplomatie et le progrès’. Demeurisse’s fine plates are twentieth-century emblems of technology and progress..see full details
First edition, number 20 of 25 copies on japon of a total edition of 300.more...
One of Mariani’s annuals extolling the virtues of his coca wine. This one is interesting for being lavishly illustrated by Albert Robida’s daughter, Émilie (born 1882). The final pages give a bibliographically-useful account of Mariani’s other publications..see full details
First editions of two very scare annuals printed for Angelo Mariani, novelettes with a partially graphic narrative extolling the virtues of his wildly popular coca wine (Vin Mariani).more...
Each copy here is number 38 of 50 copies on japon (of total editions of 500 copies). Mariani commissioned numerous bibliophilic productions from leading publishers and illustrators to promote his product. He had created his coca wine in 1863 and with an active content of around 6 milligrams per ounce it found enthusiastic drinkers all over the world, including Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII..see full details
An elegant new year gift book, comprising an illustrated survey of the popular French rose varieties, notes on culture and cultivation and a collection of rose poetry, completed with a calendar for the year 1819. The finely engraved plates are after Pancrace Bessa, a pupil and collaborator of Henri Redouté, painting tutor to the duchesse de Berry, and from 1823, official painter at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (replacing Redouté). The book was reissued several times with added calendars for successive years. The varieties illustrated include: Grand cuisse de nymphe, Rose de Portland, Damas simple, Manteau d’Evêque and Rose Bichonne..see full details
First edition of this important early treatise on the practical construction of the reflecting telescope.more...
It is precisely contemporary with Robert Smith’s System of Opticks (also 1738), and both books share credit as the first manuals devoted to the construction of this instrument. Later editions, with the title Construction d’un telescope par reflexion de Mr. Newton, appeared in 1741 and 1756.
The invention of the reflecting telescope is generally attributed to Isaac Newton who built one in 1668. However, due to the extreme difficulty of producing mirrors of sufficient quality, his telescope was not widely adopted until the 1720s and 1730s when British instrument makers began to produce finely polished metal mirrors and the reflecting telescope became a practical reality for European astronomers. Passemant, one of the most celebrated instrument makers of his age, later Ingenieur du Roy, built several to the design depicted in the folding plate here..see full details
FIRST ISSUE WITH THE PREFACE BY GEORGE SAND, ONE OF THE FEW COPIES ON HOLLANDE; A PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to Louis Grandeau French chemist and professor at Nancy University.more...
Le Droit au vol is Nadar’s important polemic advocating the development of heavier-than-air flight. Two years before, Nadar had commissioned and experimented with the balloon Géant, whose maiden flight had carried Jules Verne (among others) but whose alarming crash landing on a subsequent flight inspired Nadar to look towards aircraft other than balloons. He founded the Société d’encouragement de la navigation aérienne au moyen du plus lourd que l’air. The relationship between Dadar and Sand was longstanding: he had dedicated his collection Quand j’étais étudiant to her in 1856, and all the well-known images of her were taken by him. She was an enthusiastic supporter of his aerial endeavours.
This is the third of three issues appearing in 1865: the first two have only Nadar’s preface, while the third also contains an enthusiastic Preface by Sand. Though the publisher referred to these as distinct editions, it is more likely that they were simply re-issues of the same sheets with modified preliminaries..see full details
First edition, one of the few copies on chine, of Nadar’s own account of his famous experiments with a Géant balloon, with author’s inscription.more...
The Géant was the most ambitious balloon ever attempted, with 220 yards of silk used in its envelope and a two-story gondola housing two cabins, a photographic studio, a print room, a lavatory and a storeroom..see full details
First edition, first issue (before the addition of the preface by George Sand), presentation copy, Le Droit au vol is Nadar’s important polemic advocating the development of heavier-than-air flight.more...
Two years before, Nadar had commissioned and experimented with the balloon Géant, whose maiden flight had carried Jules Verne (among others) but whose alarming crash landing on a subsequent flight inspired Nadar to look towards aircraft other than balloons. He founded the Société d’encouragement de la navigation aérienne au moyen du plus lourd que l’air..see full details
First edition in English, very rare, of this celebrated treatise on inventions and origins, including accounts of the invention of printing, theatre, mathematics, medicine, magic, religion, law, government (as well as 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. As many as 30 Latin editions alone appeared before the author’s death in 1555. The 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.
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
A French country curate’s gardener’s guide.more...
In two parts: the first an alphabetical sequence consisting mainly of observations on the cultivation and conservation of various fruits and vegetables together with instructions for pruning and grafting; the second a calendar of tasks for the months. To this is added an index and various supplementary notes. The plants are what we might expect of a Norman garden artichokes, asparagus, spinach, beetroot, herbs, lettuces (50 varieties) rhubarb, rocket, melons and vines, and there a couple of interesting chapters on different soil types. There are hints on pest control and notices of just a few flowering plants: hortensia (hydrangea), roses and fuchsia.
M. Maurier identifies himself as ‘bachelier en théologie of the village of Gancourt-Saint-Étienne in the Pays de Bray region of Normandy..see full details