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  • Le Moyen de devenir peintre en trois heures, Et d’exécuter au pinceau les ouvrages des plus grands maîtres, sans avoir appris le dessein. Nouvelle Edition, revuë, corrigée & augmentée. by [VISPRÉ, François-Xavier]. [VISPRÉ, François-Xavier]. ~ Le Moyen de devenir peintre en trois heures, Et d’exécuter au pinceau les ouvrages des plus grands maîtres, sans avoir appris le dessein. Nouvelle Edition, revuë, corrigée & augmentée. Amsterdam: M. Magérus, 1766.
    First edition with an illustration. A treatise on miniature painting on glass, in the form of a dialogue between the author and his female pupil,… (more)

    First edition with an illustration. A treatise on miniature painting on glass, in the form of a dialogue between the author and his female pupil, a marquise. Vispré’s method was based on the transfer application of an engraving to a glass or mirrored surface, allowing the amateur artist to make superb reproductions in ‘under three hours’. The book, which first appeared in 1755 (without a plate), seems to have been as much an advertisement for Vispré as both a tutor and supplier of artists’ materials to a fashionable clientele, and the two earlier editions (like this one, surprisingly rare) give his address in the rue Pavée, beside the Comédie Italienne.

    By 1766, when this edition appeared, Vispré had settled in London making his way as a successful portrait painter and miniaturist, exhibiting first with the Society of Artists and then quite frequently at the Royal Academy. This edition is the first to include a plate, perhaps designed to be used by the pupil as a test piece.

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  • Devotional crafting
    [Mary Magdelene]. by (DRESSED PRINT). (DRESSED PRINT). ~ [Mary Magdelene]. [Probably French, but the print Augsburg: Martin Engelbrecht, mid-eighteenth century]. 1830
    A striking and well preserved ‘dressed print’ cut from one of the popular devotional prints by Martin Engelbrecht. The weeping Magdalene has been modified by… (more)

    A striking and well preserved ‘dressed print’ cut from one of the popular devotional prints by Martin Engelbrecht. The weeping Magdalene has been modified by being pasted onto glazed paper, giving a dramatic black-sky background, her robes are embellished with three different brocade fabrics (two with metallic thread), and the print further enhanced with hand-colouring, some metallic lace and ground glass. As often, the dressing has been ingeniously applied both under and over the surface of the original engraving. The print includes Mary’s traditional attributes of a cross, a book, a myrrh jar and skull, while her left foot rests on a globe or orb.

    The fashion for dressing prints existed probably from the origin of printed illustrations themselves, though it was a widespread, predominantly female recreation during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, often with a devotional intent. It is hard to be sure when the print was dressed or adorned. The print dates from the mid eighteenth century. Having been stitched at 10 points around the margin to a ruled backing paper, it must have been framed in the following century, to judge by the framer’s label. The colouring and character of the applied materials suggest it was adorned in the eighteenth century, though the problem of dating is compounded by the widespread use and recycling of earlier materials.

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  • La Belgique en cage et un coin de Belgique libre. Opgesloten België en een hoek van vrij België. by (GREAT WAR). WILLEMS, Frans. (GREAT WAR). WILLEMS, Frans. ~ La Belgique en cage et un coin de Belgique libre. Opgesloten België en een hoek van vrij België. [Netherlands, 1915].
    An atmospheric series of watercoloured prints of the German-controlled Dutch-Belgian border in 1915, some showing the German electric fence, by a Belgian artist in exile… (more)

    An atmospheric series of watercoloured prints of the German-controlled Dutch-Belgian border in 1915, some showing the German electric fence, by a Belgian artist in exile in Holland. Issued in very small numbers (perhaps no more than 20 copies), it is marked ‘Série 1’, but no more were produced.

    In 1915, to put an end to clandestine cross-border traffic, the German authorities decided to close the border between Holland and Belgium, by erecting a high-voltage wire fence. It was erected between April and August 1915. On Belgian territory, it ran from the German border, just behind Vaals (Limbourg), all the way to the Belgian coast. The Elektrische Grenzabsperrungszaun claimed many lives, often due to a lack of knowledge of how electricity works, but very quickly, and smugglers refined their methods and the border was never completely sealed.

    Willems had studied in England (notably the watercolours of Turner) but was at home with his family in Belgium when war broke out, fleeing to Holland in 1914, where these remarkable and evocative prints were produced and published the following year.

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  • Pamela Stanley as Queen Victoria. by MCBEAN, Angus. MCBEAN, Angus. ~ Pamela Stanley as Queen Victoria. [after 1938].
    A SUPERB LARGE-SCALE COLLAGE BY ICONIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND DESIGNER ANGUS MCBEAN, COMBINING MANUSCRIPT MODIFICATION, SURREALISM AND HIGH CAMP. It uses portions of McBean’s own original… (more)

    A SUPERB LARGE-SCALE COLLAGE BY ICONIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND DESIGNER ANGUS MCBEAN, COMBINING MANUSCRIPT MODIFICATION, SURREALISM AND HIGH CAMP. It uses portions of McBean’s own original photograph of actress Pamela Stanley as the young Queen Victoria in the adaptation of Laurence Houseman’s Victoria regina (1934) at the Gate Theatre in 1938 ― an image from his surrealist series for the weekly Sketch magazine, (bromide print, 1938 original size 289 × 239 mm).
    Angus McBean (1904-1990) was one of the most important theatrical photographers and designers of his era and transcended the confines of his medium through his brilliant and eccentric collages made throughout his career. The Pamela Stanley photograph series brought together two of his personal icons, the actress and Queen Victoria, here used with iconoclastic glee to modify an enormous engraved and calligraphic royal grant of 1853 (to one John Henry Johnson of Lincoln’s Inn) with added hand colouring, ink drawing, cuttings from the original photograph, gilt paper decoupage, glitter, shells and string. McBean made collages throughout his later career, often in the form of miniature stage sets which he then photographed for this much-prized Christmas Cards. This Queen Victoria collage is among the largest he attempted and was part of the collection left on his death to partner David Ball.

    The Hon. Margaret Pamela Stanley was the daughter of the 5th Baron Stanley of Alderley and acted on the stage and in films in the 1930s as Pamela Stanley. She appeared on Broadway as Ophelia opposite Leslie Howard in Hamlet before a triumphant return to London in her role as Queen Victoria in June 1937. Provenance: The Angus McBean Collection, 12 April 2013, Lacy, Scott & Knight (Bury St Edmunds), lot 242.

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  • The Queen’s Matrimonial Ladder. by (GEORGE IV and Queen CAROLINE). [George CRUIKSHANK]. (GEORGE IV and Queen CAROLINE). [George CRUIKSHANK]. ~ The Queen’s Matrimonial Ladder. London: William Hone, 1820.
    A ladder-shaped folding toy — rare graphic satire on the separation of George IV and Queen Caroline published after the opening of the ‘trial’ of… (more)

    A ladder-shaped folding toy — rare graphic satire on the separation of George IV and Queen Caroline published after the opening of the ‘trial’ of Queen Caroline on 17 August 1820. It was printed to be sold with a popular pamphlet of the same name, which ran to numerous editions that year, but the two are rarely found preserved together, and the toy/print very rare (lacking in most library copies). This copy has never been folded into a ladder and is loose, as sold, in its original plain paper wrapper. The form of the print is based on another contemporary paper toy (The Matrimonial Ladder) on the ups and downs of marriage, which was being offered by sellers of books, prints and novelties in 1820.

    ‘George IV’s determination, following his succession to the throne in 1820, to finally obtain a divorce from his estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick, sparked an opposition campaign, both in Parliament and in the country, which threatened the survival of Lord Liverpool’s Tory administration. It also led to extensive proceedings in the House of Lords, which took on the appearance of a state trial. On 5 June 1820 Caroline, who had been living abroad for the past six years, arrived unexpectedly in England to claim her right to be crowned queen. The government, under intense pressure from the king, reluctantly agreed to introduce a bill of pains and penalties into the House of Lords, which would have annulled the royal marriage and deprived Caroline of her title. She thereupon became the unlikely beneficiary of a wave of indignant public sympathy, being perceived as a ‘wronged woman’ who was bravely struggling to uphold her rights against a callous political establishment’ (’The Queen Caroline Affair, 1820’ in The History of Parliament, online). BM Satires 13808

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  • Marriage Costumes of various Nations. by ACKERMANN, R[udolph], publisher. ACKERMANN, R[udolph], publisher. ~ Marriage Costumes of various Nations. London: R. Ackermann, Repostory of Arts, [ 1824].
    Very scarce. A set of 12 lively portraits: Africans, Austrians, Hungarians, Illyrians, Italians, Poles, Russians, Scotch, Spaniards, Styrians, Swiss, Turks. Ford, J. Ackermann, p. 226. (more)

    Very scarce. A set of 12 lively portraits: Africans, Austrians, Hungarians, Illyrians, Italians, Poles, Russians, Scotch, Spaniards, Styrians, Swiss, Turks. Ford, J. Ackermann, p. 226.

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  • Le Volant d'Artimon. Poèmes. by MARCOUSSIS, Louis, illustrator. Paul DERMÉE. MARCOUSSIS, Louis, illustrator. Paul DERMÉE. ~ Le Volant d'Artimon. Poèmes. Paris: Jacques Pobolozky & Cie, 1922.
    First edition, unnumbered copy reserved for the author, and inscribed by him (the edition was of 216 copies). An important cubist collaboration.

    Belgian avant garde poet… (more)

    First edition, unnumbered copy reserved for the author, and inscribed by him (the edition was of 216 copies). An important cubist collaboration.

    Belgian avant garde poet Dermée was discovered by Tristan Tzara and the Dadaists when he moved to Paris in 1910 and knew Apollinaire, Picasso, Jacob and the Dealaunays. Polish-born Marcoussis exhibited with the Section d’Or and was close to Apollinaire before the Great War. The 1920s witnessed his most intensive period of printmaking. Worldcat finds no copies in the UK or US (though there is a copy in the Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco).

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  • Physiologie de la lorette … Vignettes de Gavarny … by ALHOY, Maurice. ALHOY, Maurice. ~ Physiologie de la lorette … Vignettes de Gavarny … Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne …, [ 1841].
    A nice pairing of physiologies, of the courtesan and the married man, illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a… (more)

    A nice pairing of physiologies, of the courtesan and the married man, illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • Gentle Emetic. by GILLRAY, James. GILLRAY, James. ~ Gentle Emetic. London: H[annah] Humphrey, Jan 28 1804.
    One of a set of three Gillray prints of medical conditions that were also astute studies in facial expression.

    The printer, Hannah Humphrey, is an interesting… (more)

    One of a set of three Gillray prints of medical conditions that were also astute studies in facial expression.

    The printer, Hannah Humphrey, is an interesting figure. Known as ‘Mrs Humphrey’ although she was unmarried, she was sister of printer William Humphrey from whose address in St Martin's Lane she published her first prints. She became the leading publisher of expensive satirical prints, especially by Gillray who worked for her exclusively from 1791, and who lived in her house for the last twenty years of his life. ‘The two lived together in circumstances of domestic intimacy for many years, but so discreetly that the prurient gossips of the next generation could find little to say against them. When Gillray made his will in 1807 he left all his possessions 'to my dearest friend Hannah Humphrey' (Oxford DNB). BM Satires 10304.

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  • Le Somnambule, Oeuvres posthumes en prose et en vers, ou l’on trouve L’histoire générale d’une Isle très-singulière, découverte aux grandes Indes en 1784. by [BEAUHARNAIS, Fanny, comtesse de, attributed to]. [BEAUHARNAIS, Fanny, comtesse de, attributed to]. ~ Le Somnambule, Oeuvres posthumes en prose et en vers, ou l’on trouve L’histoire générale d’une Isle très-singulière, découverte aux grandes Indes en 1784. ‘L’Isle de France; et se trouve a Paris’ [Paris]: Didot, 1786.
    First edition, usually attributed to Fanny de Beauharnais, the popular salon host and aunt by marriage to the future Empress Joséphine. A collection of essays,… (more)

    First edition, usually attributed to Fanny de Beauharnais, the popular salon host and aunt by marriage to the future Empress Joséphine. A collection of essays, a novella, a dramatic piece and several poems, it derives its name from the contemporary vogue for ‘somnabulism’ or mesmerism, popular in the last quarter of the century in spite of the rationalism of the so-called Enlightenment.

    Apart from the comedy Les Illuminés, an overt satire on mesmerism, the most interesting part is the utopian novella, Relation très-véritable d’une île nouvellement découvert. A young chevalier, a collector of natural history specimens and other curios, take a trip to the Indes in search of the wisdom of the Brahmins. He takes an aerostatic balloon with him and finds himself on a desert island (’L’Île des Cocotoiers’) of which he makes an aerial survey. It is inhabited only by women and girls, whose rank is denoted by the possession, respectively, of hair or feathers. He is willingly captured by some of them, who believe him to be one of their own kind, not knowing the meaning of ‘man’ or ‘woman’. He is taken to their leader, where it becomes apparent that they have no concept of sex or gender, nor concomitantly of happiness or sadness. They each live for many hundreds of years, and their queen is periodally reborn, phoenix-like. Though charmed by the beauty of the islanders, the chevalier soon tires of the monotony of their lives and sails away in his balloon.

    Not in fact posthumous, the entire framing of the book is ironic and satirical, and the author claims it to have been written by a friend in a state of somnambulism under a specially magnetised tree in the Champs Elysées, giving a peculiarly acute insight into the secrets of the hearts of men: ‘Mon plus intime ami, dont je donne ici l’ouvrage,... le hasard le conduisit sous cet arbre merveilleux où il s’assit. Mon ami se trouva dans un état de bonheur dont lui seul pourrait rendre compte...)Il voit, depuis ce moment, tous les corps diaphanes, et pénètre les plus secrètes pensées ; mais je n'en abuse pas de peur d'augmenter le nombre de divorces.... Je pourrais indiquer l'arbre en question; mais tout bien calculé, je crois qu'il ne faut pas que les hommes en général, et les maris en particulier, deviennent trop pénétrans [sic]; peut-être ferait-on bien de demander la permission d'abattre cet arbre.’ (Avertissement) Barbier, IV, p. 525; Cioranescu 10294 (’fausse attribution’).

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  • This is no Caricature. by [HEATH, William]. [HEATH, William]. ~ This is no Caricature. London: John Doyle, Published by Thomas McLean, 26 Haymarket October 1st 1827.
    In 1827 Harriet Mellon, widow of the banker Thomas Coutts married William Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans. The daughter of a family of travelling… (more)

    In 1827 Harriet Mellon, widow of the banker Thomas Coutts married William Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans. The daughter of a family of travelling players, Harriet had become an actress at an early age and was spotted by Coutts while performing in London. As a young woman she was widely celebrated for her beauty, and was painted by George Romney and Sir Thomas Lawrence. She became wealthy (as a senior partner of Coutts bank) and was 23 years older than Beauclerk on their marriage, providing ample scope for unkind commentary and ammunition for the satirists. Nicknamed ‘The Jolly Duchess’ Harriett enjoyed her wealth, was a great collector and generous patron. She wrote to her friend Sir Walter Scott:

    ‘What a strange eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world – first the wife of the best, the most perfect being that ever breathed …and now the wife of a Duke! You must write my life… my true history written by the author of Waverley’. (Scott’s Journal, 30 June 1827).

    After her death, she left an allowance to the Duke but her fortune passed to step-grandaughter Angela Burdett-Coutts, whose philanthropic association with Dickens is well known. BM Satires 15461. 

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  • Les Soirées du Palais Royal; recueil d’aventures galantes et délicates, publié par un invalide du Palais Royal. by [CUISIN, P., attributed to]. [CUISIN, P., attributed to]. ~ Les Soirées du Palais Royal; recueil d’aventures galantes et délicates, publié par un invalide du Palais Royal. Paris: [Madame veuve Jeunehomme, rue Hauteville, no. 20, for] Plancher, 1815.
    First edition, rare, of this collection of racy tales from the Palais Royal, the fabled European capital of libertinism. Framed as a series of initiatory… (more)

    First edition, rare, of this collection of racy tales from the Palais Royal, the fabled European capital of libertinism. Framed as a series of initiatory narratives on the perils of loose women and gambling, Les Soirées actually contains several anecdotes of sociological interest. One involves a bragging libertine husband, who claims his wife would never cuckold him, only for the narrator to seduce her and to contrive a fitting punishment for his boasts. He arranges adjoining private rooms in a favourite Palais Royale restaurant, sending the husband to one with a complicit mistress, while he himself takes the libertine’s wife to another. As the couples make love, an opening between the two rooms allows them to see just enough of their neighbours to further inflame their desire. Only on leaving the chamber does the husband realise that it was his wife he has seen in flagrante in the other room, and with his friend. After an understandable outburst, a philosophical discussion ensues on the equivalence of female and male desire and morality (see Counter, The Amorous Restoration: Love, Sex, and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century France, 2016, p. 137).

    The two plates were evidently printed on the same sheet, appearing as a folding frontispiece in some copies.

    Anonymous, it is attributed to Cuisin, who specialised in Palais Royale titillation and produced many similar works. The printer, the widow Jeunehomme is an interesting figure, one of a handful of female printers in Paris at this point and a Bonapartist who was later imprisoned for political reasons (Dictionnaire des femmes libraires en France, 1470-1870). Worldcat locates copies at Bn (without half-title), BL (with half-title) and Johns Hopkins (also 1815, but ‘Second edition’, perhaps an error, confounding this work with an earlier work with a similar title)

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  • Memoires de Mad[am]e Vanfeld adressés à mad[am]e la marquise de Ronceval by [AUNILLON, Pierre Charles Sabiot, Abbé. L[ouis] Vigée, illustrator]. [AUNILLON, Pierre Charles Sabiot, Abbé. L[ouis] Vigée, illustrator]. ~ Memoires de Mad[am]e Vanfeld adressés à mad[am]e la marquise de Ronceval [France: eighteenth century].
    A contemporary manuscript, probably authorial, of an unpublished novel, aptly described by the French literary euphemism as ‘plus que galant’. By the colourful abbé Aunillon,… (more)

    A contemporary manuscript, probably authorial, of an unpublished novel, aptly described by the French literary euphemism as ‘plus que galant’. By the colourful abbé Aunillon, who was evidently more interested by the intrigues of the salon and the coulisses of the Parisian theatres than the contemplations of the cloister, Memoires de Madame Vanfeld tells the story of the corruption of a young woman and of her subsequent scandalous exploits, almost invariably at the hands of a series of depraved clerics. Told in the words of Madame Vanfeld herself and addressed to a confidant, the marquise de Ronceval, the novel is one of illicit liaisons in convents and country houses, and of stolen moments out of sight of family and convent superiors. It is never precisely explicit but is always entirely transparent. The preface describes it as a roman à clef, with names changed, and a list of the original characters supposedly consigned to the flames. A slightly later editor has made numerous corrections and emendations to this manuscript, including changing most of the names once more. A note at the end in a later hand, suggests that the action has at least some basis in fact, pointing to correspondences between at least one episode and passages in Aunillon’ Mémoires published in 1808.

    Aunillon (1684-1760) was descended from a prominent Anglo-Catholic family (said to have changed their name from O’Neill to Aunillon). A fascinating figure he seems to have turned his back on the church to concentrate on writing for the theatre. He wrote several plays, a fairy tale, at least one other novel and is said to have been a permanent fixture in the Parisian theatres, where he befriended the actresses and became their confidant. He also appears, in 1746, to have acted as a French secret agent in the Rhineland.

    The illustrator Louis Vigée (1715 – 1767) who supplied the four fine illustrations here was a French portraitist, fan painter, artist in pastels and a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc (and a friend of Vernet and Greuze). He is perhaps most notable as the father of the painter Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun. He was also a correspondent of Madame de Graffigny, and a transcript of a letter from her, having read the Memoires is found at the end of the second volume here. The manuscript corresponds with that described in the sale of the library of A.L.S. Bérard, Paris, 7 May 1829, lot 1088, where the manuscript corrections are described as being in Aunillon’s autograph.

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  • Les Sérails de Londres, ou Les Amusements nocturnes. Contenant les scènes qui y sont journellement représentées, les portraits et la description des courtisannes les plus célèbres, et les caractères de ceux qui les fréqentent. Traduit de l’anglais. by (NOCTURNAL REVELS, in French). (NOCTURNAL REVELS, in French). ~ Les Sérails de Londres, ou Les Amusements nocturnes. Contenant les scènes qui y sont journellement représentées, les portraits et la description des courtisannes les plus célèbres, et les caractères de ceux qui les fréqentent. Traduit de l’anglais. Paris: Barba, ‘An IX’, 1801.
    First edition in French of Nocturnal Revels: or, the History of King’s-Place, and other modern Nunneries (1779), a guide to the brothels of London.

    Both… (more)

    First edition in French of Nocturnal Revels: or, the History of King’s-Place, and other modern Nunneries (1779), a guide to the brothels of London.

    Both the English editions and this French edition are very rare. Though jovial and sometimes exaggerated Nocturnal Revels ranks with Fanny Hill and Harris’s List amongst the most important sources for sexual culture in eighteenth-century London. It purported to be the work of ‘A Monk of Saint Francis’, a reference to the notorious Monks of Medmenham (later Dashwood’s Hell-Fire Club) but its real authorship remains unknown. The focus is on the Mayfair street of King’s Place, where women such as Charlotte Hayes founded successful establishments catering to a wealthy and aristocratic clientele, and the narrative contains extended biographies of a range of female sex workers, including Charlotte Hayes herself, Lucy Cooper, Jane Goadby, Lucy Palmer, Kitty Nelson, Nelly Elliot, Madame Dunbery and ‘Negresse Harriot’ (an Afro-Jamaican immigrant). The second volume contains the intriguing story of Julius ‘Othello’ Soubise, the Caribbean-born London man-of-fashion, who attempted to lighten his skin to win the affections of a ‘Miss G-’.

    The English editions had been unillustrated, but each volume of Serails de Londres includes a fine frontispiece with scenes from the fashionable brothel interiors. Cohen-De Ricci 9950; Gay III, 1104-5; cf. Ashbee I (’Index Librorum Prohibitorum’), p. 321. Worldcat records copies at BL, Bn, University of Erfurt and State Library of Victoria only (there is also a copy at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale). It is almost as rare as the English original (of which ESTC lists 4 copies of the first edition and 2 of the second edition).

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  • Nouveaux Contes des fées. Par Madame D * *. by [AULNOY, Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, baronne d’]. [AULNOY, Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, baronne d’]. ~ Nouveaux Contes des fées. Par Madame D * *. La Haye: Meindert Uytwerf, 1700.
    Aulnoy’s fairy tales were first published in 1697-8 as Les Contes des fées by Barbin in Paris (in four volumes) and were followed later in… (more)

    Aulnoy’s fairy tales were first published in 1697-8 as Les Contes des fées by Barbin in Paris (in four volumes) and were followed later in 1698 by four volumes of new tales (also printed in Paris, by Catherine Legras and Nicolas Gosselin) entitled Contes nouveaux ou les Fées à la mode. Copies of these first editions are now almost unobtainable (even in libraries, and they are habitually described as ‘lost’ or ‘untraceable’ — though Volker Schröder of Princeton has recently traced the few known copies and fragments in a series of posts on his blog, Anecdota). Pirated editions bearing a false ‘Trévoux’ imprint appeared a few months later, with unrelated woodcuts from another source, and again surviving in less than a handful of copies.
    These editions were followed by La Haye editions by Uytwerf appearing between 1698 and 1700, of which ours is one and which are only fractionally less rare than the first editions. They were entitled Les Contes de fées (1698) and Nouveaux Contes des fées (1700). Our Nouveaux contes comprises the tales from volume 3 and 4 of the Paris Barbin editions, namely: I. Preface; Don Gabriel Ponce de Leon, nouvelle Espagnolle; Le mouton; Finette cendron; Fortunée; II. Babiolle; Don Fernand de Toledo; Le Nain jaune; Suite de Don Fernand de Toledo; Serpentin vert.
    The fine engraved headpiece illustrations are reproduced from the originals in the Barbin editions, but the engraved frontispieces are from an entirely new plate by Jan van Vianen, showing the striking figure of a female story teller (in the guise of Minerva) surrounded by fashionably-dressed listeners and with scenes from tales played out in the clouds above her head.
    Of the tales gathered here, Le Nain jaune (The Yellow Dwarf) was easily the most enduring, perhaps Aulnoy’s most significant literary legacy — later appearing in numerous European versions both in print and on the stage. A tale of mothers, daughters, suitors and matrimony, Le Nain jaune is the tragic tale of the restless and spoilt princess Toute-belle who rejects her noble suitors and ends up betrayed by her mother and betrothed to the hideous Yellow Dwarf, later dying while attempting to escape her fate. Its afterlife was considerable, in literature and beyond. A French card game is named after it, and it became a popular subject for the stage, especially in England in various adaptations of the Mother Bunch story, and was retold notably by Andrew Laing in The Blue Fairy Book. Worldcat: Kansas and Princeton (the Cotsen copy) only outside Europe, both lacking the first frontispiece and the latter noticeably trimmed.

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  • Point de lendemain, conte. by [DENON, Dominique Vivant]. [DENON, Dominique Vivant]. ~ Point de lendemain, conte. Paris: P. Didot, l’aïné, 1812.
    First edition in book form of one of the great erotic classics of French literature, printed for private circulation and exceptionally rare. Bound in contemporary… (more)

    First edition in book form of one of the great erotic classics of French literature, printed for private circulation and exceptionally rare. Bound in contemporary blue morocco with a rare additional engraved autoportrait by the author (a plate known in a handful of copies and in no other copy of Point de Lendemain).

    One summer night, a married woman initiates an erotic encounter with a young ingénu ― Point de Lendemain is a sophisticated and nuanced story of mutual seduction. ‘In merely thirty or so pages, the erotic conte [tale] Point de lendemain … captures the libertine essence of the French eighteenth century. It is often read, with a fondness not far from nostalgia, as a vignette for a certain idea of libertinage. With Point de lendemain, Denon celebrates the subtle seductions and the intense voluptés of vicomtes and marquises, set in rococo landscapes à la Watteau or in lavish interiors worthy of Du Barry. Point de lendemain is as graceful as a painting by Fragonard …’ (Marine Ganofsky).

    This 1812 text has been reprinted many times, usually with plates making explicit what is so subtly left implicit in the original. In its first incarnation Point de Lendemain appeared in an issue of the Mélanges littéraires ou Journal des dames in 1777 under the initials ‘M.D.G.O.D.R.’ but was revised and republished (anonymously) by Denon in this definitive edition of 1812, the version in which it is known today. It was printed in very small numbers (perhaps just 25) and privately distributed. Copies of this edition are highly prized, both in private and public collections and we find just 4 copies in public collections worldwide: the Bibliothèque nationale copy only is listed in the Catalogue collectif de France, while OCLC/Worldcat lists copies at Yale and the University of California, Berkeley only. There is also a copy in the Bodleian Library. L’Enfer de la Bibliotheque 57; Brunet II, 599; Diesbach-Soultrait 40; Monglond IX, 1167 (the two copies listed, including that of the Reserve, do not contain a plate). No Tomorrow, translation by Lydia Davis, introduction by Peter Brooks (NYRB, 2009). Also see the excellent recent analysis by Marine Ganofsky, Point de Lendemain (Literary Encyclopedia, University of Saint Andrews, online)

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  • Some Fruits of Solitude, in Reflections and Maxims relating to the Conduct of Human Life. The second Edition. by [PENN, William]. [PENN, William]. ~ Some Fruits of Solitude, in Reflections and Maxims relating to the Conduct of Human Life. The second Edition. London: for Thomas Northcott, 1693.
    Second edition (appearing in the same year as the first) of one of the best-loved works of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. After Penn’s departure… (more)

    Second edition (appearing in the same year as the first) of one of the best-loved works of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. After Penn’s departure from Pennsylvania in 1684, he returned to England. At the time of the Glorious Revolution, and James II’s exile he faced charges of high treason and was forced to remain in seclusion for three years. During that time he wrote Some Fruits of Solitude, a collection of maxims on such subjects as marriage, family, friendship, religion, and the temptations of wealth. Licensed on May 24 1693, the aphorisms were published anonymously (to avoid the author’s reimprisonment for disloyalty) and epitomize the simple Quaker truths upon which the Republic would be based, distilling the essence of Penn’s spiritual idealism, combining it with practicality and common sense. Wing P1369; Smith, Descriptive Catalogue of Friends’ Books, II, p. 309.

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  • Stereoskopischer gerichtsärztlicher Atlas. by LESSER, Adolf. LESSER, Adolf. ~ Stereoskopischer gerichtsärztlicher Atlas. Breslau: Schlesische Verlags-Anstalt v. S. Schottlaender, 1903-5.
    First edition of a pioneering work in the field of forensic medicine, the graphic images depict numerous conditions resulting from homicidal and suicidal injuries. The… (more)

    First edition of a pioneering work in the field of forensic medicine, the graphic images depict numerous conditions resulting from homicidal and suicidal injuries. The grisly and powerful photographs show skull and bone fractures, the impact of gunshot wounds, burns, injuries caused by stabbings, the effects of hanging and so on. Each set of 50 plates is accompanied by a booklet providing details of each image and the important features from the legal-medico cases from which the photographs have been obtained. Heidtmann, Bibliographie der Photographie: Deutschsprachige Publikationen, 14062. OCLC locates 4 US copies and no UK copies.

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  • between the Reform and the People. by A New and Political Form of Matrimony A New and Political Form of Matrimony ~ between the Reform and the People. [London]: T. Birt, No. 39 Great St. Andrew-Street Seven Dia[ls], [ 1832].
    A rare imprint of a popular satire on the Reform movement, in the form of a mock marriage service. The sheet is known with a… (more)

    A rare imprint of a popular satire on the Reform movement, in the form of a mock marriage service. The sheet is known with a J.V. Quick, Spitalfields imprint, but LibrarHub records no copy of this Birt imprint.

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  • Flying Machines Today. by ENNIS, William Duane. ENNIS, William Duane. ~ Flying Machines Today. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 'Sold by Crosby Lockwood and Son' [London] stamped to title page 1911.
    First edition, British issue, with Crosby Lockwood and Sons stamp, adverts and variant binding. An important pre-Great War account, extensively illustrated and with a final… (more)

    First edition, British issue, with Crosby Lockwood and Sons stamp, adverts and variant binding. An important pre-Great War account, extensively illustrated and with a final chapter on aerial warfare and its potential

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