A very rare translation of the pseudonymous Siege of London (1885), probably the first edition in French (a condensed French edition also appeared in 1885).more...
An excellent example of the many British speculative novels spawned by the fear of invasion, from the 1871 Siege of Dorking to Erskine Childers’s Riddle of the Sands (1903). In Posteritas’ account, the invasion is set against the background of a collapsed Gladstone Liberal government and crisis in the Middle East. The French invade via Portsmouth and later Dover and Scotland, with the aid of the perfidious Irish, and the novel culminates with the bombardment of Westminster and the Battle of Hyde Park..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An interesting manuscript prospectus of a large and still-unpublished account of the French revolution.more...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 He evidently wrote a long first hand account of the politics surrounding the Revolution, which remained unpublished.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 suite of seventy caricature portraits of prominent Belgian bankers by René de Pauw, a post-expressionist artist who studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts.more...
He painted landscapes, seascapes, genre-scenes and a fresco for the railway station of Bruges. Each plate has tissue guards with letterpress captions describing the characters in verse..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 EDITION, INSCRIBED BY VERTÈS to the critic Roger-Marx (1933).more...
Vertès’ humorous and warm-hearted caricatures on the theme of modern love between women had first appeared in issues of Le Rire in the same year. This is number 36 of 45 copies on Rives (total edition 52)..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
The celebrated life of a colourful swindler and impostor, first published in 1745 and reprinted numerous times.more...
This is one of two editions printed for Buckland, Bathurst and Davies in 1793. The final 5 pages contain a notable cant dictionary.
Carew fell in with a band of gypsies as a wayward young boy. “After a year and a half Carew returned home for a time, but soon after resumed a career of swindling and imposture, which saw him deceive people to whom he had previously been well known. Eventually he embarked for Newfoundland, but stayed only a short time. On his return to England he passed as the mate of a vessel, and eloped with the daughter of a respectable apothecary from Newcastle upon Tyne, whom he later married.
Carew soon returned to the nomadic life, and when Clause Patch, a Gypsy king or chief, died Carew was elected his successor. He was convicted of being an idle vagrant, and sentenced to be transported to Maryland. On his arrival he attempted to escape, but was captured and made to wear a heavy iron collar; he escaped again, and encountered some Native Americans, who removed his shackles. On departure he travelled to Pennsylvania. He was then said to have swum the Delaware River, after which he adopted the guise of a Quaker, and made his way to Philadelphia, then to New York, and finally to Boston, where he embarked for England. He escaped impressment on board a man-of-war by pricking his hands and face, and rubbing in bay salt and gunpowder, so as to simulate smallpox” (John Ashton, rev. Heather Shore in Oxford DNB).
This biography is variously attributed to Bampfylde Moore Carew himself, to Robert Goadby and also to his wife, Mrs. Goadby. .see full details
This rare and ephemeral booklet comprises one printed page of text followed by 13 full-page diagrams of cherub decorated Western clock faces with Japanese zodiac symbol notations. Each clock face is left blank besides the numerals, presumably for completion in manuscript by the student. It wasn’t until 1872 that the Japanese government officially adopted Western style timekeeping practices, including equal hours that do not vary with the seasons, (and, also the Gregorian calendar). Previously the Japanese had used an (unequal) temporal hour system that varied with the seasons; the daylight hours being longer in summer and shorter in winter. This system was abolished at the start of the, 1868, The Meiji Restoration, an event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan under Emperor Meiji. The Meiji Emperor announced in his 1868 Charter Oath that “Knowledge shall be sought all over the world, and thereby the foundations of imperial rule shall be strengthened.” This modernisation led to the emergence of a western-style clock industry replacing the typical Japanese clock which only had six numbered hours, from 9 to 4, which counted backwards from noon until midnight; (the hour numbers 1 through 3 were not used for religious reasons, being the numbers of strokes that were used by Buddhists to call to prayer). The count ran backwards because the earliest Japanese artificial timekeepers used the burning of incense to count down the time..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
Not found in any of the usual online or printed sources, a delightful juvenile almanac, containing ten moral verses each with a vignette, engraved throughout.more...
Though the publisher Maillard de Bresson produced several other almanacs, and this one is quite typical of the genre, it seems to have eluded bibliographers, including Grand-Carteret. The Journal historique et littéraire (January 1756) gives a useful account of the publisher’s business: ‘M. Maillard de Bressan continue a vendre des caractéres, des desseins & vignettes, des armes à jour, des papiers peints, des sentences, des devises, & forme avec succès la suite de ses fables morales, & instructives pour la jeunesse de l’un et l’autre sexe. It fait des envois auc Communautés Religieuses & à toutes personnes chargées de l’éducation des enfants, ou à des Marchands qui s’adressant à lui. Il demeure actuellement au Collége de Cambray, pres de la rue Saint Jacques, à Paris’..see full details
First edition, Bibliothèque des Chemins de Fer issue (of which it forms part of the second series).more...
A fictional account of the voyage to Sydney, the convict regime, the Australian interior and the gold mines. Merruau’s list of sources includes the ‘Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of the Colony of New South Wales’ as well as Rowcroft’s Tales of the Colonies and Haygarth’s Bush Life in Australia..see full details
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