Unlike Principia mathematica, Newton published this work first in English (1704), with the scholarly Latin translation by his assistant Samuel Clarke appearing in 1706 — the version in which Newton’s theories of light and colour were disseminated on the European Continent. This copy belonged to the French collector Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (1702-44) and bears his gilt arms and name scroll on upper and lower covers.
Bonnier de la Mosson amassed one of the great cabinets of curiosities of the eighteenth century, installing it with at his hôtel particulier, the hôtel de Lude, at 58 rue Saint-Dominique. The collection comprised chemistry, physics and natural history as well as medals, pictures and books. The richly appointed display cabinets were celebrated in their day and the collection was immortalised in several detailed engravings and in paintings by Jacques de Lajoüe. At the collector’s untimely death at the age of 42 he was deeply in debt and the collection, including the library, was dispersed at auction in 1745. Parts of the collection were acquired by Buffon, who installed several of the original cabinets at the Jardin du roi (which later became Musée national d’histoire naturelle).
This book was lot 702 in De la Mosson’s sale (Catalogue des livres de M. Bonnier de La Mosson... dont la vente commencera lundi 26 avril 1745, Paris, Jacques Barrois, 1745). The catalogue listed two other Newtons: a French Opticks (Amsterdam, 1720, lot 703) and a Principia (lot 659)..see full details
One of à petit nombre sur vergé blanc de Hollande. A translation of Milton’s sonnets L’Allegro, Il Penseroso and Lycidas, by Henry a French poet and translator, with an introduction by the English poet and author Gosse who lectured in English literature at Cambridge..see full details
A fine calligraphic manuscript bound in fishskin, an excerpt from the first book of the Compleat Angler: Walton’s ever-prescient paean to the element of water: ‘The water is the eldest daughter of the Creation, the element upon which the Spirit of God did first move, the element which God commanded to bring forth living creatures abundantly; and without which, those that inhabit the land, even all creatures that have breath in their nostrils, must suddenly return to putrefaction.more...
It is the work of artist and educator Thomas Swindlehurst for the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society for the Florence exhibition of 1952. Swindlehurst (1900-1965) studied calligraphy and lettering at the Royal College of Art under Edward Johnston, 1924-1927. He taught at Cheltenham College of Art and Leeds School of Art from ca. 1931-1959. (’Tom Swindlehurst remembered’. The Scribe, no. 35, winter 1985). Several of his manuscripts are preserved in the National Art Library at V&A).see full details
In early March 1606 the Jesuit Garnett was charged with complicity in the Gunpowder Plot and tortured.more...
His trial in the Guildhall began on 28 March, where he was found guilty and was executed on 3 May 1606. Garnett had trained at Rome, but returned to England in 1586 as part of the network of Catholic priests ministering privately and secretly to the faithful, for a short time he also supervised a secret printing press. Whether he was in any way complicit with Fawkes and his co-cospiritors is highly questionable, but he was victim to the frenzied search for possible associates after the plot was uncovered.
This is account of his trial and execution in French; an exceptionally rare continental imprint. An edition bearing the date 1606 (with 45 pages) is also recorded (Sommervogel XI, col. 1705, n° 17) but are known in a handful of copies across the two editions..see full details
First edition of this defence of Wilde by his loyal friend, composer and pianist, Dalhousie Young.more...
‘Published after Oscar Wilde's trial, during which Wilde's works were used as evidence of his ‘immorality'’ Apologia pro Oscar Wilde sets out to defend Wilde and his writing. Dalhousie Young argues that a work of fiction is not automatically a work of autobiography; fiction does reveal an author's inner secrets or true character. Powerfully, Young furthermore publicly questions whether it is right that sexual acts between two consenting adults of the same sex should be outlawed (see p. 38), or looked upon as a ‘sin’’ (British Library).
This is the second of two issues of the first edition, distinguished by its darker wrapper..see full details
First edition in French of The Castilian, an historical novel in English (Colburn, 1829), by a notable Spanish historical novelist, very much in the vein of Scott.more...
Though most of his novels were in Spanish, Trueba y Cosío had been educated partly in England, and this attempt in English attracted favourable reviews. The translation is by Defauconpret, best known for his translations of Scott..see full details
A very curious near-miniature album project, made c.more...
1800, probably in England, presenting 20 woodcuts cut from a mid sixteenth-century mythological dictionary Johannes Herold’s Heydenweldt probably Basle, 1554). They include: Jupiter, Mars, Janus, Mercury, Apollo, Neptune, Bacchus, Venus, Vesta and Diana. The tiny woodcuts seem have been neatly cut from the large folio pages of the Hedenweldt and carefully bound, back to back..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
A notorious pamphlet by the famous transvestite spy, issued during one of the most colourful and tangled episodes of Anglo-French diplomacy.more...
This ‘seconde’ edition issued at the expense of the corps des Militaire François in D’Eon’s defence. The first edition (also 1767) bore a Londres imprint and survives in only a handful of copies; our Amsterdam edition is even rarer with no copies located in Worldcat.
Following a successful military career d’Eon served Louis XV in English diplomacy and espionage from 1762, gathering defence intelligence for a projected French invasion. Living lavishly in London he became something of an embarrassment to his government who stopped his pension and sought to recall him to France. He became embroiled in a bitter row with his compatriot Claude Louis François Régnier de Guerchy (1715–1767), who he saw as an interloper on his diplomatic patch. ‘From October 1763 the dispute took a spectacular turn as d’Eon published allegations that Guerchy had tried to poison him. In March 1764, he went further still and published a selection of his diplomatic papers, which heaped ridicule on Guerchy and his allies in France’ (Burrows, A King’s Ransom). The dispute was a profound embarrassment to the French, not least because d’Eon successfully brought the matter to the English courts and because it drew attention to the chevalier’s increasingly complex personal life. It was in the wake of this affair that the chevalier went into hiding in Byfleet (Surrey), spending a years disguised as a woman and going by the name of Madame Duval. This transvestite experiment became a pattern and the remainder of his career was lived partly as a woman and he became a celebrated figure in London society.
This pamphlet, a superb piece of propaganda issued on d’Eon’s behalf appeared after the comte de Guerchy’s death in 1767 and reproduces the last letter sent to him by d’Eon recounting the facts of the poisoning case together with extensive translations from English legal records of the law case as it worked its way, very publicly, through the courts. .see full details
First edition, unique copy extra-illustrated with the 41 preliminary pencil drawings by Bosschère.more...
An inscription to the half title reads: ‘This copy of “Gulliver’s Travels” containing Mr Jean de Bosschère’s original pencil-drawings for the illustrations, has been specially made for Mrs Leon M. Lion. Jan. 1921’. Leon Marks Lion was a prolific early film actor and later theatrical manager.
Belgian-born in 1878, de Bosschère’s early illustrations were very much in the symbolist/occult style of Beardsley. After fleeing to London on the eve of war, de Bosschère was to become one of the important illustrators of the early century, and became associated with Huxley, Lawrence, Pound and Eliot, among other literary figures. .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
An attractive manuscript illustrative of provincial musical knowledge and fashions at the beginning of the nineteenth century.more...
Compiled by Lillias and Sophia Stuart, presumably sisters, the album contains setting for keyboard and voices, the latter rather charmingly often for two singers. The owners have copied here a variety of material, from church music to opera extracts, including works by Byrd, William Jackson (‘Jackson of Exeter’), Pergolesi, Cimarosa, Rauzzini, Dussek, Crescentini, Guglielmi, Andreozzi, Naderman, Mellish, Asioli, Blangini, Winter and Haydn (‘She never told her love’).
Birchall, named on blank etched title-page was a publisher and music and musical instrument seller, who traded from 133 New Bond Street from 1789 to 1819. Presumably one could also buy books such as this, ruled with staves and with a decorative blank title, for one’s own use..see full details
A manuscript private library catalogue listing some 2000 titles, including a surprising number of English works, and with detailed shelf locations.more...
Undated and unlocated, the catalogue appears to have been begun in 1836 with successive entries on additional sheets added until c. 1850, each sheet indicating the location of the books on shelves in what appears to have been a large house. The location of the library is unstated, though several maps and administrative publications from the southern departement of Aveyron may prove a clue.
The most remarkable feature of the catalogue is the large number of works in English, including many novels, providing an index of contemporary reading tastes to be measured and assessed. The expected English works of Shakespeare, Milton, Gibbon, Fielding, Pope, Richardson and Smollett are matched in number by the quantity of more recent novels by Austen (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), Marryat, Bulwer, Dickens (Oliver Twist, Barnaby Rudge, Master Humphrey’s Clock and Pickwick Papers), Disraeli, Scott, Irving and Cooper, almost all of which seem to have been in their English originals rather than in translation. Aside from Austen, female anglophone authors include: Frances Trollope, Piozzi, Inchbald, Roche, Burney, Radcliffe, Montagu, Lefanu, Bennett and Palmer.
These works of fiction occupy shelves in the first two ‘corps’ of the library, where others contain typical sections of non fiction, including geography, philosophy, history and classics. In these sections two, among the large runs of Rousseau and Voltaire we find anglophone authors such as Adam Smith, Hugh Blair and Malthus. The pattern is repeated among the various collections of periodicals and folios of prints (the latter contain at least 20 sheets of unspecified English caricatures).
This is clearly a library for reading rather than a bibliophilic collection, and almost none of the books would have been considered rare or antiquarian. In almost every case the format, number of volumes and location are given, though almost none of the editions are dated. .see full details
An unusual New Years’ gift from an unnamed compiler ‘for my dearly beloved Isabella Sophia Ochando de la Vanda.more...
January one, 1830’; a manuscript compilation of verse and pious texts by hymnodist Edmeston, Shepherd, Southey (’The Victory’), Millman, Bowring, Burden, Emmerson, and Carlyle’s ‘Hymn before public worship translated from the Arabic’. Most of the texts are in English but a couple, by the Mechitarian cleric Nerses Clajense, are in Spanish and French respectively.
An extensive manuscript containing biographies of overseas residents and visitors to England, from the medieval period to the 1770s: it includes kings and queens, members of the nobility, clergymen, politicians, artists, musicians and criminals.more...
Evidently compiled over time (the second smaller volume may be the earlier) the collection is derived from various print and manuscript sources, which are often named. The smaller volume is apparently drawn from state and diplomatic papers and letters, while the larger is derived from a large range of printed works (Rapin, Frehenus, Moréri, Hawkins’s History of Music, several antiquarian cathedral and county histories, the Annual Register and various journals, including the Newgate Calendar).
The biographical entries, extending from just a few lines to some of several full pages include: Henri Estienne, Bernouilli, Helen and Judith (celebrated Hungarian conjoined twins exhibited in London in 1708), Erasmus, Rousseau, Lassus, Boerhaave, Geminiani, an African prince who appeared at the Theatre Royal in 1759, singer Signora Faustina, Handel, Theodore Gardelle (painter, enameller and murderer), Paolo Rolli, John Tradescant (a curious inclusion, as a traveller rather than an immigrant), the chevalier D’Eon (transvestite and spy), Peter the Wild Boy, Simon Pingano (forger), Bartholomew Rocque (agriculturalist), Emin Joseph Emin (army officer in the East India Company and Armenian nationalist), Domenico Angelo (fencing master), Joseph of Arimathea, Miles Coverdale, Leonard the Indian, a group of Cherokee Indians visiting London in 1730 and ‘Chitqua’ (Tan-Che-Qua, Chinese artist who worked in London 1769-72). In each volume, an alphabetical index has been added at the beginning, probably at the time of binding, on tabbed pages of paper watermarked 1804, but the major part of each volume appears to have been written earlier. Many pages are marked with a single vertical line and there are occasional entries ‘entered’, suggesting the text was reproduced somewhere else, or intended to be, but we are not aware of a printed equivalent.
Phillipps MS 13746, purchased 1849 from the Duke of Buckingham sale (Stowe 2120), where it was joined with another volume of historical portraits..see full details