Sole edition of this bibliographical catalogue of 210 printed works issued at the time of the Estates General of 1614-15, comprising official documents, memoirs, counsels, petitions, harangues, discussions of the death of Henry IV, arrêts du Parlement, pasquinades and satires.more...
Each entry includes a line or two of commentary. An advisory body representing the three estates in France, the Estates General had met periodically from the middle ages to 1614, which proved to be its last assembly for over 150 years. As France headed towards revolution, the Estates General was summoned as a desperate measure in May 1789 on the model of the 1615 assembly—doubtless the occasion of this rare little bibliography..see full details
Written in prison and first published in 1783, Mirabeau’s learned but witty treatise on the varieties of sexuality in antiquity was immediately banned and issued in very few copies (traditionally only 14).more...
Later editions continued to provoke the censor and are also rare. In this Paris edition, a near-contemporary reader has inserted notes on the early publication of the text, the opinion that Mirabeau presents ‘des tableaux plus licentieux que ceux de l’Aretin’, and Greek transliterations of chapter headings, with definitions.
Pia’s A-342 conforms to this edition, save for the spelling of the first word of the title. Pia gives ‘Errotika’ as in all previous editions, while ours reads ‘Erotika’. This may therefore be Pia’s error, and may also suggest ours is the first edition to bear the modernised title spelling customary in all later editions..see full details
A very rare French translation of Lancaster’s The British System of Education (1810).more...
In French, it is apparently preceded only by Système anglais dinstruction (1815) a translation by the duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, also rare. Lancaster’s ‘monitorial system’, in which huge groups of 100 pupils were educated in factory-inspired classes was widely adopted in Britain and the United State; with Dickens its most effective detractor (via the Coketown schoolrooms of Hard Times). The plates of this Brussels edition reproduce those of the English editions, with plans of the schoolroom workstations and plate illustrating group reading from a board (saving the purchase of books).
Born in London in 1778 the Quaker Joseph Lancaster founded several schools there, before introducing the system to North and South America. He died in New York in 1838 afer being run over by a carriage..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
Liseux was a pioneering figure in the publication of clandestine literature in English, working from Paris, but evidently supplying an English market. His publications were frequently scholarly texts in the history of sexuality and found their way onto the shelves of bibliophiles and collectors of erotica. Not generally been noted, the title here finds an echo the following year with the famous phrase ’The love that dare not speak its name’ in the poem ‘Two Loves’ by Lord Alfred Douglas, published in 1894, later discussed at length in the Wilde trial..see full details
Spuriously attributed to George Coleman the younger, but actually a new work, perhaps attributable to Richard Mockton Milnes. The head of the title bears the ‘Library illustrative of Social Progress’ headline. The publisher Hotten ‘had a particular line in flagellation literature, which ranged from A History of the Rod (1870) to a collection of mostly eighteenth-century flagellation pamphlets under the general title of Library Illustrative of Social Progress (1873)’ (Oxford DNB). This rare 1871 edition was of 250 copies only; it was reprinted in 1898..see full details
First edition, bound in red morocco with Napoleonic emblems by Rosa, who together with Bizouard, Bozerian, Tessier, Simier, Lefebvre and Doll, supplied bindings for the Imperial household.more...
Written under the encouragement of the First Consul this is an important work in defining the purpose of modern diplomacy. Flassan was (like Napoleon) a product of the École militaire de Paris and served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before becoming professor of history at the military school at Saint Germain-en-Laye.see full details
A splendid display of early nineteenth-century Chinese trades including craftspeople, a bookseller, purveyors of foods, medicines, fans, kites, toys and even a lion dancer, each drawing on one side of fine double-folded paper, captioned in ink in Chinese.more...
Albums such as these were produced in Chinese studios for the export market and were especially popular with Europeans for their exact portrayal of various aspects of Chinese life of the period: customs, costumes, occupations, flora and fauna. They ‘depicted those phases of Chinese life which fascinated the Westerner but defied descriptions to friends and family at home. Before the advent of the camera, this medium played an extremely vital role in revealing Oriental culture to the West.’ (Crossman, The China Trade, 1972). Though marketed to curious Europeans these albums represent important interpretations of Chinese life by indigenous Chinese artists. The present example is notable for being dated 1843, at the very end of the First Opium War just as five ports in China were being opened to the British.
These albums were luxury products, each one individually produced, and therefore priced beyond the means of any but the wealthy. Individual artists were never identified.
Lady Churchill, the original owner of the album, was born Lady Frances Fitzroy, the fifth daughter of Augustus Henry Fitzroy, third duke of Grafton. In 1801 she married Francis Almeric Spencer, youngest son of the fourth Duke of Marlborough and created first Baron Churchill of Wychwood in 1815. It is unlikely that the elderly Baron Churchill and his wife were in China at the time she received the album, and much more probable that it was presented to Lady Churchill in England as a gift, possibly by one of her military sons such as George Augustus Spencer, who was an officer in a regiment serving in China. .see full details
A rare highwayman’s narrative, purporting to be an autobiography handed by Munn to the Yarmouth gaoler on the morning of his execution. Thomas Munn of Benenden and Canterbury was one of Kent’s less illustrious exports. From a relatively prosperous family of Kentish brick-makers he became notorious in Canterbury as a cheat and bogus wine merchant before decamping for Essex where he met his end; being hanged for robbing the Yarmouth mail. The first-person narrative contains many fascinating episodes, including the account of a same-sex encounter in a Southampton Inn. Munn was joined in bed by the son of the innkeeper on the pretext of keeping warm, who then admitted, ‘I love to lie with a naked man’ and began ‘to act a Part so Contradictory to Nature’ that Munn leapt up and threatened him with a penknife. He reflected: ‘It was what I never met with before, no since, but had Philosophy enough in me, to think it a pity to expose a young Man, tho’ he pointed at a very heinous Sin; and certainly we that commit Crimes beyond what is common, ought to be pitied, for no Man is certain if he comes under the same Temptation, that he shall be able to withstand it...’
The Huntington library holds a copy (perhaps unique) with variant imprint, also giving Harris as bookseller, but with Essex and Suffolk booksellers named..see full details
First edition of this codification of the laws governing the Cornish tin industry.more...
The Convocation of Tinners exercised ancient rights of jurisdiction over much of Cornwall; customary rights exercised long before the codification of English law and which had been confirmed by royal charters since the time of Edward I. Stannary law was sanctioned by the crown in recognition of the special responsibilities of the Cornish tinners in providing a valuable raw material. It has been claimed that the right to hold Convocations has never been formally repealed by the English crown, a legal anomaly exploited by the Cornish nationalist movement. A previous codification had been printed in 1725. .see full details
First edition, rare, of this collection of children’s songs.more...
Ludovica Brentano, later baroness Desbordes (1787-1854), affectionately known as Lulu, was grand daughter of Sophie von La Roche (the first widely known German female novelist) and she became patron of the Grimm brothers; contributing two tales to their Kinder- und Hausmärchen..see full details
A contemporary translation of Letters from Portugal, on the late and present State of that Kingdom (London, 1777), with a 26-page ‘Compendio historico e analitico’ written by the great Portuguese statesman, the Marquês de Pombal, at the end.more...
It was not published until 1822. The fact that these are anonymous led to speculation as to the identity of the author. It has been mooted that they were written by the Marquis de Pombal himself, or by a certain John Blankett, or even by Philadelphia Stephens (1750–1824). This Englishwoman was the sister of William Stephens (1731–1802) and of John James Stephens (1747–1826), who ran the Real Fábrica de Vidros da Marinha Grande (the royal glass factory) for several decades and who benefited from major monopoly concessions. Philadelphia Stephens lived in Portugal from 1762 to 1810. However, every available fact points to her as having merely translated the letters into Portuguese shortly after they were published in Britain. The Portuguese translation is also anonymous, which contributed to heightening the controversy’ (Prof. Mira Castanheira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, private correspondence).
First edition, first issue - ‘de la plus grande rareté (Carteret) - printed for private circulation in an edition variously estimated at between 25 and 40 copies.more...
A remarkable copy, as issued, retaining the original printed wrappers in their entirety. From the library assembled at the Chateau de Cirey by Diane-Adelaide de Simiane, and presumably given to her by the author.
Ourika, based on fact, and influenced by Rousseau and Chateaubriand, is the complex story of a black African child raised in aristocratic circles in Revolutionary France. It is the first fully developed attempt to portray a black heroine in Europe and the first French novel with a black female narrator.
This first edition, which contains no date of publication, precedes the 1824 first trade edition published by Ladvocat by at least three months and was in circulation in December of 1823, on the evidence of several excited notices in the contemporary press (Pailhès). It is known in two issues, this copy being of the first, with the title page bearing only the title and a quote from Byron: ‘This to be alone, this, this is solitude!’. A second issue followed swiftly with the Byron quotation moved to the head of the text on p. 3 and 16 minor textual corrections; issue points which were recognised and enumerated by Louis Scheler in his article ‘Un best-seller sous Louis XVIII: Ourika par Mme de Duras’, Bulletin du bibliophile, 1988, 11-28. In both issues no author’s name is given and the place of publication and the printer (the Imprimèrie Royale) appear only as a colophon on p. 108. Scheler also cites Mme de Duras’s letter of 14 January, 1824, in which she notes that the first edition was of no more than 30 copies, though it is unclear whether this relates to the first issue only or the first and second. Scheler illustrates the upper wrapper of a first issue copy, but copies retaining the wrapper are of great rarity, with most of the few known copies of the edition being in contemporary or later leather bindings. This copy, never bound, yet retaining its original freshness is a remarkable survival.
OCLC locates only the Bn and Harvard copies of the first edition, none being uncut copies or retaining the printed wrappers. Harvard actually holds copies of the 2 distinct issues.
Ourika soon became a bestseller, with early translations into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Danish..see full details
First edition of the official report of Curzon’s administration of Indian home affairs during his period as Viceroy.more...
Curzon’s office was contentious and was concluded following a bitter feud with Kitchener. His belief in traditional sovereignty was frequently at odds with emergent Indian nationalism but many of his achievements have been long lasting, especially in the field of law, education and cultural heritage. Nearly 100 pages of the Home Department report are devoted to his judicial reforms with a further hundred concern policing and penal policies. His work reforming the University system is recounted in detail and there are interesting accounts of the merger between the Calcutta City Library and the Imperial Library to form what became the Indian National Library. Medical, sanitary and plague issues also occupy a full part.
This is one of several official reports on aspects of Curzon’s administration, subtitled: Public Works; Department of Commerce and Industry; Department of Revenue and Agriculture and Railway Board. All are very scarce. COPAC and OCLC between them list copies of the Home Department report at Bodley and Syracuse only..see full details
First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law.more...
Largely based on classical sources, history and (most interestingly) anecdotal evidence from the Orient, Ancillon considers the reasons for the phenomenon (including slavery, household, employment or punishment for sexual misdemeanour). The major contention is that while civil law permits a eunuch to marry, canon law should forbid it (as it did) on the grounds that a marriage could not be consummated. Along the way Ancillon recounts numerous anecdotes of famous eunuchs, notably Abelard, castrated at the instigation of Heloise’s family.
The book was later translated into English by Robert Samber as part of Edmund Curll’s Eunuchism display’d (1718).
This copy of Traité des Eunuques is one of at least two issues of the same year with slightly different paginations and title ornaments. The ‘Epitre dedicatoire’ is signed: ‘C. d’Ollincan’ an anagram of the author’s real name..see full details
‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’ A number of imitations and replies were elicited. It is early work by Perry (formerly ‘Pirie’, 1756–1821), a Scottish journalist recently arrived in London ‘to try to break into the literary world’ (Oxford DNB). By the end of his career he had become ‘one of the most notable journalists of the age when the newspaper press was becoming established as a force in the country’ (ibid.)
Studies of Gymnotus electricus by members of Royal Society and their correspondents had captured the imagination of the British public in unexpected ways. While the investigations of Walsh and Hunter made genuine discoveries into the nature of electricity (which culminated in the invention of Volta’s battery), contemporary wits and pamphleteers took advantage of the phallic connotations of the eel and its electrical properties to deride the sexual peregrinations of London society.
In this copy several of the printed lacunae have been filled in by a contemporary hand, identifying Lady Sarah Bunbury and Lady Grafton, among others, as devotees of the electrical eel..see full details
The Way to Wealth first appeared in French as a separate publication in 1775. The original English text was first published in Poor Richard’s Almanac for 1758; separately issued in 1760 under the title: Father Abraham’s Speech and frequently reprinted under the title: The Way to Wealth. La Science du bonhomme Richard was translated by A.F. Quétant; the Interrogatoire de Mr. Franklin by P.S. Dupont de Nemours and the Interrogatoire de M. Penn by A.F. Quétant and J.B. L’Écuy..see full details