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  • ... Ecoûte beaucoup, parle peu...
    Maximes du sage. by (PRINTING ON VELLUM). (PRINTING ON VELLUM). ~ Maximes du sage. [France, c. 1700].
    A large and striking broadside printed on vellum by an unknown press, presumably in France around the year 1700. The text is of 20 ‘maximes… (more)

    A large and striking broadside printed on vellum by an unknown press, presumably in France around the year 1700. The text is of 20 ‘maximes du sage’, wise and stoic counsels for the government of the mind, spirit and body. The typography is competent but occasionally irregular, reflecting the difficulty of handling such a large sheet of vellum in the press, but also suggesting the possibility of a private press. The floral borders are stylised, with decorative swags and ribbons at the head, but with recognisable lilies, rose, carnations and iris on either side, and blue chine bowl with tulips, fritillaries and other flowers at the foot.

    No other example of the broadside has been located, though the text is almost identical to that of a fine manuscript on vellum probably made at the behest of Louis XIV (1638-1715) for the philosophical education of his son Louis, the Grand Dauphin (1661-1711) (sold at Sotheby’s Paris, 6 July 2017, collection of Mme Djahanguir Riahi, lot 28). A quotation of a fragment of the text appears in the Clef du cabinet des princes de l'Europe, 21, October 1714, p. 237, appearing also as advice to princes, but we have not found any other printed version of the complete text.

    ‘Adore le Createur de l’Univers, & l’aïme de toute ton Ame: Honore ceux qui t’ont mis au monde; obeïs aux loix; revere les Puissances: Faits à autruy comme tu voudrois qu’on te fît à ton mesme. Sois humain, civil & bien faisant à tous les hommes. Aïme tes proches, aïme tes amis; mais plus que tour aime ta Patrie, & procure le bien public. Respecte les gens de bien, fuy les méchans, & ne hante que ceux à qui tu veux ressembler, Reconnois les biensfairs, n’attire pas les injures, Connois-toy toy-mesme, mesure tes desseins à tes forces, ta dépense à ton bien, & l’un & l’autre à la raison. Exerce moderement ton corps, applique fortement ton esprit: Ecoûte beaucoup, parle peu, regle tes pensées & pese tes paroles. Abhorre le menteur & le mensonage, mais souviens-toy que toutes vertitez ne sont pas toûjours bonnes à dire, Pardonne beucoup aux autres, rien à toy, & sois plûtost ennemy de tes vices. Que censeur de ceux d’autruy, Songe que le repentir suit de pres la faute, & que le premier fruit des bonnes actions est la plaisir qu’il y a de les faire. Ne prens jamais de mauvaises voyes pour arriver a une bonne fin. Tiens les flateurs pour tes plus grands ennemis, pour tes meilleurs amis ceux qui te voyent plutost à cause de toy qu’à cause d’eux-mesmes. Prens conseil, mais forme tes resolutions toy-mesme. Sois ferme non pas opiniâtre, & si tu as à changer d’avis, que ce soit par raison, non par legereté. Desire ce que t’est propre, supporte ce qui t’arrive. Sois le maître non pas l’esclave de tes passions, qu’elles servent à t’avancer, non pas à t’égarer. Modere tes desirs, tu augmenteras tes biens, il est assés riche qui est content, & il est content qui est sage’.

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  • A Desert - Imitation of modern Fashion! by [HEATH, William]. [HEATH, William]. ~ A Desert - Imitation of modern Fashion! London: Thomas McLean, 26 Haymarket, [c.1825-30].
    A wonderful satire on contemporary women’s fashion. The 1820s had seen considerable change in women’s fashions, with neoclassical straight lines and sparse adornments giving way… (more)

    A wonderful satire on contemporary women’s fashion. The 1820s had seen considerable change in women’s fashions, with neoclassical straight lines and sparse adornments giving way to a more exhuberant and romantic style with more emphasis on curvaceous shapes, cheekily satirised here with wine glass and fruit. BM Satires 15611.

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  • [Invitations]. by BAL DES QUATZ’ARTS. BAL DES QUATZ’ARTS. ~ [Invitations]. [Paris], 1895-1966.
    53 invitation cards to the notorious Parisian annual costume ball. The ball was inaugurated in 1892, and apart from the war years, ran until 1966,… (more)

    53 invitation cards to the notorious Parisian annual costume ball. The ball was inaugurated in 1892, and apart from the war years, ran until 1966, with attendance restricted to students and alumni of the École, both men and women, as well as a few ‘artistic personalities’ who had contributed to the preparation of the ball. They were held in several major venues scattered throughout Paris over the years, with most taking place at the Moulin Rouge, the Salle Wagram, and the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles. Although in its early years the ball was simply an elaborate party, from 1900 each ball had a specific historic theme, often derived from an ancient text or inspired by an ‘exotic’ foreign culture, around which various contests were arranged. With the addition of a theme the balls became more elaborate often turning into debaucherous, romping affairs with guests soon discarding the period costumes that they were required to wear to gain entrance. The nudity, dancing and merrymaking often continued into the following day, the ball usually ending, with a shout of ‘Vive les Quat’z’ Arts!’, around seven o’clock in the morning, followed by a procession through the Latin Quarter, the Louvre, and a march over the Pont du Carrousel to the Théâtre de l’Odéon, where the partygoers would disband.

    Not surprisingly The Bal des Quat’z’Arts quickly became one of the premier events of the summer season. The invitations were elaborately designed to match the spectacle of the events, and correspondingly were often thematically orientalist, exotic, or primitive, with overtly erotic and sexual imagery. They are a tour de force of the evolution of artistic style, showing the progress from Art Nouveau to modernist primitivism, up through psychedelic design, though in retrospect they exhibit a troubling degree of predatory sexism and cultural appropriation. The ball is famously depicted in a series of photographs by Brassaï of 1930 and numerous other photographic records exist of the ball, allowing a comparison of the themes of the printed invitations and the costumes worn on the night.

    There were different invitations for men, women and committee members, and most included a tear-off coupon, which often survivive. This group contains examples from the following years, all complete with their coupons except where specified: 1895 (by Caran d’Ache); 1901 (without coupon) 1902 (without coupon); 1904 (m, without coupon); 1906 (?f); 1908 (f without coupon); 1909 (f); 1912 (f); 1913 (f, without coupon); 1914 (poster, folded once); 1920 (f); 1922 (m); 1923 (f); 1924 (f); 1927 (f, without coupon); 1928 (f); 1928 (m, without coupon); 1929 (m); 1929 (comité, without coupon); 1929 (f); 1930 (comité, without coupon); 1931 (m without coupon); 1931 (f without coupon); 1932 (m, without coupon); 1933 (m, without coupon); 1934 (m); 1939 (f?); 1946 (m); 1947 (m 2); 1948 (m) 1948 (f, without coupon); 1949 (m) 1949 (f); 1950 (m) 1950 (f); 1951 (m) 1951 (f) 1951 (additional); 1952 (m) 1952 (f ) 1952 (additional); 1953 (m) 1953 (f); 1954 (m?); 1955 (m) 1955 (f); 1956 (m) 1956 (f); 1958 (m) 1958 (?); 1959 (m); 1964 (m); 1966 (m?), plus one unidentified year.

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  • L’estat d’un homme vivement penetré du regret des ses pechés et de douleur d’avoir offence Dieu. by [HUBY, Vincent]. [HUBY, Vincent]. ~ L’estat d’un homme vivement penetré du regret des ses pechés et de douleur d’avoir offence Dieu. Paris: P[ierre] Gallays, [n.d., c. 1682-1685].
    An exceptional (and exceptionally rare) seventeenth-century devotional image depicting the battle in the heart between good and evil. This is an emblem of repentance in… (more)

    An exceptional (and exceptionally rare) seventeenth-century devotional image depicting the battle in the heart between good and evil. This is an emblem of repentance in which the male subject looks down in tears upon an enlarged heart, in which the dove of the holy spirit is surrounded by tongues of fire and tears and personifications of the vices are driven outwards: a peacock (pride), ram (luxury), pig (gluttony), tortoise (sloth), leopard (anger), snake (envy) and a toad (avarice). An angel presides at the top left bearing a bible and crucifix, while the devil flees to turns his back and flees to the bottom right. It is one of twelve illustrations on the States of Man (or, Tableaux énigmatiques ou d'Images morales) conceived by the Jesuit Vincent Huby (1608-1693) for use in religious retreats and published in Paris in 1682 by Pierre Gallays.

    These large printed placards were used specifically for instruction at week-long Jesuit retreats for lay-people. They were exhibited singly or in pairs, while an instructor explained the significance of the emblem. ‘The arguments dealt with the phases of the spiritual life—and its dangers—based on concrete examples taken from everyday life. The order of presentations varied with the director of Exercises. Those relating to the good and paradise were often presented early in the week; sin, attrition, contrition, penitence, a good death, and paradise, while warnings against slackening, relapse, a bad death and hell were addressed towards the week’s end’. (Silvia Mostaccio. ‘Shaping the Spiritual Exercises: the Maisons des retraites in Brittany during the Seventeenth Century as a Gendered Pastoral Tool.’ Journal of Jesuit Studies 2, 2015659-684).

    According to Huby’s account of his excercises, ‘Using these placards is extremely helpful... they make the verities we want to make known more sensible and the impression is that much stronger and more easily made than if they only heard it. Everyone is quite gratified, the savants as well as the ignorant’ (La Retraite de Vennes ou la façon dont la retraite des hommes se fait dans Vennes, sous la conduite des pères jésuites, et les grands biens que Dieu opère par elle. 1678, trans. Mostaccio).

    Huby’s spiritual method was specifically developed for the Jesuit’s missionary activity in Brittany (La Retraite was published first in Vannes) but the engraved placards were printed in Paris by Gallays, notable for other popular prints and almanacs (the engraver’s name is not recorded). Though the complete set of twelve plates is known from Huby’s instructions, no complete extant set has been located and the Bibliothèque nationale holds only a single print. This example is number 3 (numbered at foot). Huby also devised a series specifically for women (also exceptionally rare); his method became popular and his manual reprinted several times, while the imagery of the placards found its way into numerous books of emblems and later devotional paintings. cf. Images du Grand Siècle: l’estampe française au temps de Louis XIV (1660-1715), Bibliothèque nationale, 2015, 77 (single image ‘L'estat d un homme dans le quel le Diable estant rentré victorieux’)

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  • Physiologie de l’étudiant … Vignettes de MM. Trimolet et Maurisset. by HUART, Louis. HUART, Louis. ~ Physiologie de l’étudiant … Vignettes de MM. Trimolet et Maurisset. Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne … [1841].
    A satire on contemporary student life, addressing the traditional pursuits of the young denizens of the rue Saint Jacques — drinking, smoking, gaming, dancing and… (more)

    A satire on contemporary student life, addressing the traditional pursuits of the young denizens of the rue Saint Jacques — drinking, smoking, gaming, dancing and womanizing.

    This is one of the many such little Physiologies 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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  • Recueil des dessins d’ornements d’architecture de la manufacture de Joseph Beunat, à Sarrebourg, et à Paris, rue Napoléon, No. 11, contenant tout ce qui a rapport à la decoration des appartements, tells que panneaux, dessus de portes, dessus de glaces, frises, pilastres, montants, rosaces, entablements, moulures, écoinsons, modillons, &. &. by BEUNAT, Joseph. BEUNAT, Joseph. ~ Recueil des dessins d’ornements d’architecture de la manufacture de Joseph Beunat, à Sarrebourg, et à Paris, rue Napoléon, No. 11, contenant tout ce qui a rapport à la decoration des appartements, tells que panneaux, dessus de portes, dessus de glaces, frises, pilastres, montants, rosaces, entablements, moulures, écoinsons, modillons, &. &. [Paris, c. 1823].
    First edition. A major catalogue of over 700 Empire-style neoclassical plaster ornaments for exteriors and interiors, plus some schemes for entire rooms. Beunat had evidently… (more)

    First edition. A major catalogue of over 700 Empire-style neoclassical plaster ornaments for exteriors and interiors, plus some schemes for entire rooms. Beunat had evidently learned the art of plaster moulding in England before patenting his method in France and establishing his factory at Sarrebourg (Moselle) in 1805.

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  • Remarks on Porcelain intended as a Companion to Mrs Wilson’s China Room. by (CERAMICS). DODDS, G[eorge, the reverend]. (CERAMICS). DODDS, G[eorge, the reverend]. ~ Remarks on Porcelain intended as a Companion to Mrs Wilson’s China Room. Gainsborough [Lincs], [July 9 1828].
    An illustrated companion to the private china collection of Mrs Sophia Wilson of Ledstone (Yorks), beginning a history of ceramics from its beginning to the… (more)

    An illustrated companion to the private china collection of Mrs Sophia Wilson of Ledstone (Yorks), beginning a history of ceramics from its beginning to the date of composition, including the origins of porcelain in China, and recent developments in Europe by Wedgwood and the factories of Sèvres, Dresden and Berlin. There is also an interesting account of the process of contemporary British transfer decoration, illustrated with an original transfer paper:

    ‘When the paper comes from the printing press, it is, of course, found to be stamped with the intended pattern. It is then delivered, while wet with the colour, to a girl, who cuts off the supefluous paper with a pair of scissors, and passes it to another girl, who immediately applies it to a piece of biscuit ware, and then delivers it to a third who fixes it more firmly by rubbing it very hard with a piece of flannel tightly rolled’ [and so on].

    The lithographs are evidently original (and probably not published elsewhere) and the manuscript may have been destined for private publication in lithograph, since we know that Dodds prepared a similar collection guide for Mrs Wilson’s collection of fossils Companion to the Minerals and Fossils, Contained in the Ledstone Museum (1827), privately printed. It is also known that the Wilsons had moved by 1834 to another part of Yorkshire, living at Oxton Hall near Tadcaster from 1841.

    Sophia Wilson was evidently a major collector. The last few pages of the manuscript contain a description of her china rooms: with a vast Chinese ceiling lamp, two Sèvres urns (the gift of George IV), ‘a group representing a bower formed of espaliers and flowers in which is a negro with a flower basket, the gift of the Marchioness of Hertford’, together with other gifts from the Earl of Strathmore, the Countess of Darlington, Countess Fitzwilliam and the Countess of Lonsdale (and several others).

    The author, George Dodds, was curate of Rochdale (Lancs), then Gainsborough (Lincs). He was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge and became chaplain to the Marquis of Queensberry.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Le Corbeau. Poème. by POE, Edgar Allan. Charles BAUDELAIRE, translator. P[ierre]. B. Spalaïkovitch, illustrator. POE, Edgar Allan. Charles BAUDELAIRE, translator. P[ierre]. B. Spalaïkovitch, illustrator. ~ Le Corbeau. Poème. Nice: Art Press International, 1978.
    One of 99 copies (this being one of 89 on vélin de Rives) signed by the artist. A superb illustrated Raven by an artist. (more)

    One of 99 copies (this being one of 89 on vélin de Rives) signed by the artist. A superb illustrated Raven by an artist.

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  • Via Crucis ende VII Weeén van Maria. by SPEYBROUCK, Jos. [Jozef]. SPEYBROUCK, Jos. [Jozef]. ~ Via Crucis ende VII Weeén van Maria. Thielt: Lannoo, 1928.
    First edition, presentation copy, one of 500 copies of this striking modernist Stations of the Cross (and Seven Joys of the Virgin). Speybrouck (1891-1956) was… (more)

    First edition, presentation copy, one of 500 copies of this striking modernist Stations of the Cross (and Seven Joys of the Virgin). Speybrouck (1891-1956) was steeped in the religious and artistic culture of the Low Counties and from 1923 to 1940 worked closely with the Benedictine Order at the Abbaye-de-St.-Andre near Bruges

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  • Mad is Rose. by DUBOIS, Lou. DUBOIS, Lou. ~ Mad is Rose. Paris: Venus d’ailleurs, 2014.
    First edition, one of 4 special copies with artist’s ‘interventions’ in the form of collage enhancements: false moustaches, a vintage cabinet card and other collage… (more)

    First edition, one of 4 special copies with artist’s ‘interventions’ in the form of collage enhancements: false moustaches, a vintage cabinet card and other collage cuttings. This copy inscribed to fabled book scout and guitarist, Martin Stone. Total edition 500. Lou Dubois is a contemporary surrealist.

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