• <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Macbeth: A Tragedy.</i> London, 1673. FIRST SEPARATE AND FIRST QUARTO EDITION. THE CHARLTON HESTON COPY. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>In Our Time.</i> Paris, 1924. FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> VERNE, JULES. <i>A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.</i> New York & London, 1872. FIRST EDITION, RARE AMERICAN ISSUE, with Scribner & Welford cancel title. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> PLATO. <i>Timaeus</i> [AND] <i>Critias</i> [from Ficini's 1484 Opera]. A LANDMARK OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. $80,000 to $120,000.
  • <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> AN EARLY DUTCH POCKET GLOBE ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM BLAEU, AFTER C.1618. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> BLAEU, Johannes (1596-1673). £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> BLAEU, Johannes. <i>Theatrum Statuum Regiae Celsitudinis Sabaudiae Ducis, Pedemontii principis, ... pars prima, exhibens Pedemontium ...</i> Amsterdam, 1682. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> DUDLEY, Sir Robert, self-styled Duke of Northumberland and Earl of Warwick. <i>Arcano del Mare.</i> Florence, 1661. £500,000 to £700,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> The Mainz Psalter: <i>Psalterium Benedictinum cum canticis et hymnis,</i> for Bursfeld use. [Mainz:] Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer, 29 August 1459. £5,000 to £10,000.
  • <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> ALBUM AMICORUM OF SCHELOMITH FLAUM. Autograph album containing drawings, autograph quotations and signatures from over 47 contributors, India, Europe, America, Israel and elsewhere, 1923–50. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> FLEMING, Ian (1908–1964). <i>Live and Let Die.</i> London: Jonathan Cape, 1954. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> HISTORY OF CINEMA. Animal Farm (1954), an animation archive from the Halas and Batchelor studios, [c.1954]. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> LE HAY, Jacques – [Charles de FERRIOL]. <i>Recueil de Cent Estampes representant differentes Nations du Levant...</i> Paris, 1714. [With:] <i>Explication des cents Estampes.</i> Paris, 1715. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> THE LAST JUDGEMENT, historiated initial 'A' on a leaf from an Antiphonal on vellum illuminated by Nikolaus Bertschi [Augsburg, first quarter 16th century]. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> VALTURIUS, Robertus (1413–1484). <i>De re militari.</i> [Verona:] Johannes Nicolai de Verona, 1472. £170,000 to £250,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2019 Issue

Le Gentil de la Barbinais, Too Gentle a Circumnavigator

86213980-216a-4c29-93c6-4fc1723e55e9

Le Gentil de la Barbinais is the alleged first French circumnavigator. He left Cherbourg, France, in 1714, and came back 4 years later with a detailed relation, Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris, 1725). Mostly focusing on China, it is a lively and exciting reading, richly illustrated, and quite sought-after by travel books connoisseurs. Yet, French history doesn’t recount his name but Bougainville’s, a much more prestigious hero. Our author was probably too “gentle”...

 

Too Gentle For Your Own Good 

 

Had I accomplished this beautiful voyage sixty years earlier,” Le Gentil de la Barbinais (not to be mistaken with the physician Le Gentil de la Galaisière) wrote in his book, “the newspapers would have surely mentioned my name—I might even have ended up in LeMercure Galant*, who knows? Some people would have paid to see me at the fair of St-Germain, as a rare animal from faraway lands; unfortunately, everybody goes around the globe nowadays.” Actually, he was the first French to do so, 200 years after Magellan and 60 years before the renown Louis-Antoine de Bougainville! He published the relation of his travel in 1725, Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris), with 18 engravings and maps. It was reprinted two years later (Chez Flahaut, 1727) and then one year later (Chez Briasson, 1728), and was then pirated by Dutch printers, including Pierre Mortier, in Amsterdam (1728, 1729, 1731, 1734, 1746, 1747). Yet, history doesn’t remember his name but the flamboyant Bougainville’s. A mere commercial trip, Le Gentil’s travel was probably not glorious enough, and his personality too common. Our “gentle” (Gentil means nice, in French) writer was “no stuff of which heroes are made”, Francis Bergerac writes in Escales Maritimes (2014): “When he came back to France, he found out that the investors had gone bankrupt and all the merchandise was seized. He didn’t like quarrels, and he followed, as he says, the commandment of the Bible by giving away his coat. This is probably the reason why our proud nation forgot about him”—also because, giving few maritime details, he made his account suspicious to some, especially since many fake travel books—booksellers nowadays call them apocryphal—came out at the time. 

 

A Scarce Edition

 

Le Gentil’s book is expensive— the auction house Pierre Bergé sold a very nice copy of the 1738 edition for $1,400 in 2010—, so I was surprised to find a very affordable copy for sale the other day. In fact, this copy features the allegorical frontispiece by D. Redinger only—no other illustration. Furthermore, this is no first edition, but a 1747 one (Amsterdam, Pierre Mortier), and it comes in 3 in-12 volumes with bindings “à la Bradel”, meaning with contemporary—here, yellowish—boards instead of a more luxurious leather binding. These bindings were originally invented in Germany and imported to France by François-Paul Bradel in the 1770s, probably as a way to circumvent the privilege of binders; it means our copy was bound at least a few decades after it was published. In fact, maybe a little bit later. Indeed, the title tags on the back read “Voyage par Gentil”. The words are fully written, which almost never happens on the tags of the 18th century, and the preposition “par/by” is surprisingly unusual. Was this copy bound at the turn of the 19th century? First editions are usually more expensive than reprints (no copy of the first edition was for sale on the Internet at the time this article was written), especially Dutch reprints, usually of a lesser quality as far as engravings and typography are concerned —our copy is full of misprints like frayer instead of frayeur, page 44, ne pouvaient. Ils point, instead of ne pouvaient-ils point, page 45, etc. Yet, this 1747 edition appears to be scarcer than the first one, as I could not find any copy listed anywhere—idref.fr only lists the 1746 one (Amsterdam, P. Mortier). In fact, upon examining the latter on googlebooks.com, I realized that the two editions are identical, with the same missing spots in the “Y” of VOYAGE (title pages) and the same aforementioned misprints—the year alone was changed from title pages. The 1746 edition features no illustrations either—except for the same frontispiece. The commercial mention “Adorned with several plans, views and perspectives from the principal cities and ports of Peru, Chili, Brazil and China” that appears on the title pages of all editions being absent from both the 1746 and 1747 ones, they seem to be complete as such—apparently, the 1731 edition (Mortier) also came without engravings. Pierre Mortier was known for his cheaper pirate books. C. A. Walckenaer writes (La Fontaine, Paris, 1827): “Some counterfeit editions of La Fontaine’s works were printed without illustrations, sold for a small price; such was the one given by Pierre Mortier, in Amsterdam in 1687.” Anyway, the original engravings—made from the author’s own drawings—are sadly missed since, according the French bookseller Edition-Original, “through the frontispiece (...) and the various maps and plans, the author develops a true visual rhetoric.” Fortunately, the text itself is quite fascinating.

 

Chinese Will Be Chinese

 

Le Gentil’s relation mainly concerns China, but he first goes to Arica, Chili, and Lima, Peru, “populated with traitors, thieves and murderers”, giving interesting details before eventually reaching China. Several years before the authoritative work of Du Halde (Description... de la Chine..., Paris, 1735), Le Gentil gives an intriguing description of a then ill-known country. He learnt a little bit of Chinese but was mainly informed by Father Lauréati, an Italian Jesuit, who had been living there for several years. Le Gentil appears like an ordinary man speaking genuinely his mind: “When you’ve never seen but the top of your little church,” he says, “everything appears wonderful to you!” He notices that the Chinese eat “even dogs”, that they cripple their daughter’s feet, who “can hardly walk”, that “they have no clear idea of a superior spirit, or any word to describe it.

 

Not impressed at their philosophy, he nonetheless refuses to see them as barbarians: “There’s hardly one people with better laws or wiser precepts.” He adds: “Their ways are different from ours, but all usages were born out of man’s caprices. Raised in a certain environment, with certain values, we convince ourselves that our happiness and duty rely on them. We all reason from what we’ve learnt, and what we’ve always seen around us; everything that differs from our usages looks weird to us.” Le Gentil yet considers the Chinese as “definitely inferior to Europeans.” He also gives a precise description of their system, based on Mandarins—Chinese officials. Le Gentil and his associates are taken for a ride for months before being able to buy goods under very disadvantageous conditions. In 1717, they reach the Bourbon Island (La Réunion), passed the Cape of Good Hope, touched Brazil, and then arrived in France. Le Gentil’s circumnavigation took him several years, and at the end of the day, he was ripped off all his money. Despite tremendous cultural gaps and huge distances, the world this man toured in 1714 was quite the same as it is today. Men being treacherous, avaricious, surprising, fascinating, forcing social rules upon themselves, and then spending their lives trying to break them for the sake of personal interest. From 1714 to 2019, from China to France, whether sailing boats or riding planes, men will be men, for the best—and the worst.

 

* Le Mercure Galant, a famous French newspaper.

 

Thibault Ehrengardt

 

Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde par Mr Le Gentil

 

Avec une description de l’Empire de la Chine, beaucoup plus ample & circonstanciée que celles qui ont paru jusqu’à présent; où il est traité des mœurs, religion, politique, éducation & commerce des peuples de cet empire.

 

A Amsterdam, chez Pierre Mortier, 1747. 3 volumes in-12.

1: Frontispice, page de titre, 2pp (épître), 314pp, 5pp (tables).

2: page de titre, 5pp (table), 227 pp.

3: page de titre, 192pp, 1pp (table).

 

 

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Archive of almost 500 Quaker letters written between leading members of the Society of Friends in Ireland between about 1770 and 1830. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Heraldic Grants to the Delaval Family of Northumberland Manuscripts: 9 May 1761. Patent of Stephen Martin Leake. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Unique Manuscript – Miniature Book by Seamus Heaney. Holograph manuscript copy by Heaney of his poem <i>Mad Sweeney’s Praise of Trees</i>. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Yeats, Mangan and John McCall, with an ALS Yeats [W.B.]. <i>The Wanderings of Ossian and other Poems.</i> London, 1889. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Heaney (Seamus). <i>Toome</i>, illustrated by Jane Proctor. National College of Art and Design 1980. Extremely rare Heaney title limited to 15 copies. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Young (Ella). <i>Celtic Wonder Tales,</i> illustrated by Maud Gonne (four colour plates and other decorations). 1910. Signed by Gonne with an original sketch. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> The Yeats Brothers “Jack & William” Yeats (Jack B.) RHA (1839-1922). An attractive small pencil portrait of his son Jack Yeats, aged perhaps 10-12, drawing of a bearded man on rear [with] a second drawing. €1,000 to €1500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> 18th c. Manuscript Volumes on French Peerage Manuscript: “Recueil de tous les actes concernant les Ducs & Pairs de France… Depuis l’an 900 jusqu’en 1660.” €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Churchill (Winston Spencer). <i>The River War, An Historical Account of The Reconquest of the Soudan.</i> 2 vols. roy 8vo L. 1899. First Edn. €800 to €1200.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Important Scientific Association Presentation Copy - Tyndall (John). <i>Heat considered as A Mode of Motion…</i> 1863. €600 to €800.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Receipt Signed by Chippewa Chiefs Document dated 24 May 1845 signed by five “Chippewa chiefs on the River Thames.” €400 to €600.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Bury (Lady Charlotte). <i>The Three Great Sanctuaries of Tuscany, Valombrosa, Camaldoli, Laverna.</i> Lg. oblong folio L. (J. Murray) 1833. First Edn. €250 to €350.
  • <b>Sotheby’s: English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations.<br>Online now through December 10
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> Adam Smith. <i>The Wealth of Nations</i>. First edition, 1776. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> William Shakespeare. <i>Comedies, Histories, Tragedies</i>. 1632, the Second Folio. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> The Saint Albans Chronicle.] <i>Here begynneth a shorte & a breue table on these cronycles.</i> Westminster : Wynkyn de Worde, 1497. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s: English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations.<br>Online now through December 10
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> E.H. Shepherd. “A Very Grand Thing – The Trouble at Owl’s House”. Original ink and watercolour. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> Charles Darwin. <i>On the Origin of Species</i>. First edition, 1859. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> William Blake. <i>Illustrations of the Book of Job.</i> 1825 [but 1826]. £10,000 to £15,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Currier & Ives, <i>The Mississippi in Time of Peace,</i> hand-colored lithograph, 1865. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Hartmann Schedel, <i>Liber Cronicarum...,</i> Nuremberg, 1493. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Claudius Ptolemaeus, <i>Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo,</i> Lyons, 1535. $20,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Thomas Jefferys, <i>The American Atlas,</i> London, 1776-77. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> John Speed, <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> 20 miniature maps, London, 1665. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> <i>Biblia Das ist: Die Gantze Heilige Schrifft Durch D. Martin Luther Verteutscht,</i> illustrated cartographic Bible, Basel, 1665. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Early Hawaiian-language school geography, Lahainaluna Seminary, 1840. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Cornelis de Jode, <i>Africae Vera Forma, et Situs,</i> Antwerp, 1593. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Maria Vincenzo Coronelli, <i>America Settentrionale Colle Nuove Scoperte Sin All Anno,</i> Venice, 1688. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Christoph Volkamer, <i>Nürnbergische Hesperides,</i> Nuremberg, 1708-1714. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Bayer, <i>Uranometria, Omnium Asterismorum Continens Schemata...,</i> 51 celestial charts, c. 1603. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Manuscript map of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship squadron at Edo Bay, with manuscript sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Japan, c. 1853. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies.</i> The second Impression. London, 1632. £120,000 to £180,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832)]. <i>Das Römische Carneval.</i> Berlin and Gotha, 1789. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [SHAKESPEARE, William]. Manuscript part for a contemporary analogue to <i>Henry IV,</i> part I, n.p. [perhaps Oxford or London], n.d. [c.1580s – before c.1620]. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832). <i>Faust. Ein Fragment... Ächte Ausgabe.</i> Leipzig: Georg Joachim Göschen, 1790. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. As it is now Acted at his Highness the Duke of York's Theatre.</i> London, 1683. £60,000 to £90,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832)]. <i>Die Leiden des jungen Werthers.</i> Leipzig: Weygand, 1774. £15,000 to £20,000.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Melville (Herman). <i>White Jacket; or, the World in a Man-of-War,</i> 1st edition, London, 1850. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Bracton (Henry de). <i>De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae,</i> 1st edition, 1569. Ex libris Sir Daniel Dun (c.1545-1617). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Edgar (Thomas). <i>The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights,</i> 1st edition, 1632. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Donne (John). <i>Poems,</i> 3rd edition, 1639. Ex libris Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982). £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Mandeville (Bernard). <i>The Fable of the Bees,</i> 1st edition, 1714. Rare inspiration for the Wealth of Nations. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Honter (Johannes, & others). <i>De Cosmographiae rudimentis,</i> Basel, 1561. Ex libris Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-1574). £5,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Lincoln (Abraham). Military commission signed, Washington, 1864, and related documents. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Faraday (Michael). Iron filings diagram on waxed blue paper, c.1850. £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Felixmüller (Conrad). <i>ABC,</i> 1st edition, Dresden, 1925. One of 10 hand-coloured copies. Ex libris Eduard Rosenbaum (1887-1979). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Kelmscott Press. <i>The Order of Chivalry,</i> 1893. One of 225 copies; presentation copy from Sydney Cockerell. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Anna Livia Plurabelle,</i> 1st edition, New York, 1928. One of 50 special copies on green paper. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Orwell (George). <i>Homage to Catalonia,</i> 1st edition, 1938. £2,500 to £3,300

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