Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2018 Issue

Modern and Contemporary Prints, Art and Photobooks from Peter Harrington


Prints, Art and Photobooks.

This month we are looking at a recent catalogue from Peter Harrington of London. However, this is not one of their regular book collections but comes from the Peter Harrington Gallery. The title is Modern and Contemporary Prints, Art and Photobooks. Among the items, there are many that one would strictly think of as works of art, but others, particularly among the photobooks, can be as historic as history texts, except they let the pictures do the talking. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is a catalogue for those who see themselves not simply as book or art collectors, but as collectors of subjects that cross the rigid divides. Here are a few examples.


We begin with one of the more amazing books (and more) you will ever see. It is also the ultimate tribute to Muhammad Ali. The title is GOAT – Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. It was published by Taschen, the high-end publisher from Cologne in 2001. It was created by Jeff Koons with Ali, and contains over 3000 images, including photographs, art and memorabilia. There are probably few in this world who don't know Ali, but if you were born yesterday, he was the great, probably the greatest boxer ever, who became so much more. As the seeming braggart who drew everyone's attention, and ire in his early days, he became a war protester and symbol of rights for black people, and yet with generosity and care for all. He died "the greatest," one of America's most beloved men. Item 1 is the Champs Edition of this book, the best one, printed in a limited run of 1,000 copies. It includes not only the book but a three-piece sculpture by Koons. It consists of two of his inflatables, which inflate to become a car tire and dolphin, along with a stool. The tire rings around the stool, the book rests atop it, the dolphin braced above. It also contains four gelatin prints signed by Ali and photographer Howard L. Bingham. One is displayed on the cover of this catalogue. The book features a pink spine, the color of Ali's first pink Cadillac. It is housed in a clamshell box with an image of one of the most iconic Ali photographs of all by Neil Leifer. From Ali's 1966 fight versus Cleveland Williams, it is taken from directly above the ring, Ali returning to his corner, Williams flat on his back, out cold on the canvas. Item 1. Priced at £10,000 (British pounds, or approximately $13,331 U. S. dollars).


This next photobook is something of an anthropological study as well as a work of photographic art. Rather than a study of some far off tribe by an Englishman, it is a study of the English themselves. The title is The English at Home, and the observer/photographer was Bill Brandt. Brandt was a German native, but his father was English. As the situation deteriorated in Germany in the early 1930s, he made his way to his father's native land. Camera in hand, he wandered around England, countryside and cities, visiting rich and poor, documenting what he found. While a study of a common national people, it is more a study in contrasts in lifestyle. As Raymond Mortimer explains in the book's introduction, "Mr. Brandt shows himself not only to be an artist but an anthropologist. He seems to have wandered about England with the detached curiosity of a man investigating the customs of some remote and unfamiliar tribe." Offered is the first edition from 1936. Item 14. £400 (US $532).


This two-volume set is described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as a "monumental biography of Michelangelo." The title is The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Based on Studies in the Archives of the Buonarroti Family at Florence. Written by John Addington Symonds, this is a first edition from 1893. Michelangelo was so revered in his native Italy that biographies were being written of him even during his lifetime. However, no one prior to Symonds had access to the family archives, Symonds reputation for scholarship convincing authorities to grant him that. This book contains 50 reproductions of his work along with an etched portrait. Symonds also examines the great painter and architect's sonnets and letters, and this is where the work became controversial. Michelangelo lived something of a monk's lifestyle, but the sonnets may display some homoerotic sentiments. As the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes it, "critics rebuked him [Symonds] for unearthing 'scandals' and 'filth'; publication of his discovery in the Buonarroti archives that Michelangelo's poems and letters had been deliberately altered so as to obscure masculine love was deemed mischievous." Before publishing some of his writings centuries earlier, Michelangelo's descendants had changed some masculine pronouns to feminine ones to make the sonnets more socially acceptable. Item 49. £650 (US $865).


Item 32 is Tree and Serpent Worship; or, Illustrations of Mythology and Art in India in the First and Fourth Centuries after Christ from the Sculptures of the Buddhist Topes at Sanchi and Amravati. The author of this 1868 book was James Fergusson. Fegusson was raised in England, but went to British India at the beginning of the 19th century to join his brother in business. They were quite successful merchants, allowing Fergusson to concentrate his time within a few years on his passion, ancient Indian architecture. The subject was virtually unknown at the time, but Fergusson had such an obsessive passion for it he spent years scouring the Indian countryside to learn everything he could. This was despite his being untrained as an architect, a skill he learned on his own sufficiently to design structures himself. This copy bears the bookplate of 19th century artist, particularly with stained glass, and close associate of William Morris in the arts and crafts movement, Edward Burne-Jones. Harrington notes that while Burne-Jones doesn't follow much in the way of Indian styling, he did frequently make use of sepentine themes. £3,750 (US $4,995).


Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. The Gallery's website is found at www.peterharringtongallery.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Koller Auctions: Books & Autographs. March 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Jacques Gamelin. <i>Nouveau recueil d'osteologie et de myologie, dessine d'apres nature...</i> 2 parts in 1 vol., large folio, 82 copper plates. CHF 12,000 to 18,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Melchior Pfintzing. <i>Die geverlicheiten und einsteils geschichten des loblichen streytparen...</i> 118 woodcut engravings, first edition. CHF 30,000 to 50,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Book of hours. Handwritten Latin text on vellum. With 17 large miniatures, Flanders, c.1460. CHF 70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Maria Sibylla Merian. <i> Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium,</i> 72 copper plates, Den Haag, 1726. CHF 60,000 to 90,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Princess Diana, group of 6 ALS to the editor of British Vogue, 1989-92. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing with news after pledging support to King George III against the American rebels, 1776. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Ulysses S. Grant, photograph dated & signed as President, portrait by Brady, 1875. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Alexander Graham Bell, ALS, accepting an invitation to tea during his only trip to Japan, 1898. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Nikola Tesla, signature & date on his monogrammed correspondence card, 1935. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Richard Wagner, ALS, concerning his opera Rienzi, 1869. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, autograph note signed, requesting the address of Yvette Guilbert, 1895. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Claude Monet, ALS, to painter Harry Lachman, complaining that his vision has not improved, 1920s. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Friedrich Hölderlin, autograph manuscript, unsigned, 7 lines quoting Michael Denis's <i>Ossians und Sineds Lieder.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Guestbook for Lüchow's restaurant, over 400 signatures, including W.H. Auden, Grace Kelly & drawings by Charles Addams, NYC, 1950-56. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> George Washington, lottery ticket, signed, 1768. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Vaslav Nijinsky, postcard dated & signed, showing a drawing of him in <i>Schéhérazade,</i> 1916. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Greco (Gioachino). <i>Primo modo del gioco de Partito…</i> Manuscript, France, 1624 or 1625. A collection of partiti, or 'chess problems' by one of the most important figures in the history of chess. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Herodotus. <i>Historiae,</i> translated into Latin by Lorenzo Valla and edited by Antonio Mancinelli. Venice, 1494. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Darwin (Charles). Autograph Letter signed to his cousin Reginald Darwin, Down, Beckenham, Kent, 27th March 1879. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Nicolay (Nicolas de). <i>The Navigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie,</i> first edition in English, Imprinted at London by Thomas Dawson, 1585. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Saint-Exupéry (Antoine de). <i>The Little Prince,</i> number 66 of 525 copies signed by the author, 1943. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Catlin (George, 1796-1872). Tuch-ee, A Celebrated War Chief of the Cherokees, watercolour, [circa 1834]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Genetics.- A collection of c.300 pamphlets on genetics comprising many of the major contributions from the first half of the 20th century. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> India.- Rajasthan.- Kota School (probably late 18th c.). Elephant in a landscape with chains around his feet, brush and black ink with opaque pigments. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Commelin (Caspar). <i>Horti medici Amstelaedamensis plantae rariores et exoticae,</i> first edition, 48 finely hand-coloured engraved plates, Leiden, F.Haringh, 1706. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Plague-water and cookery & medical recipes.- Jackson (Mrs Sarah). Medical and cookery recipes, manuscript in several hands, title and 134pp., 1688-1755. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Vernet (<i>After</i> Joseph, 1714-1789). <i>[Vues des ports de France],</i> sixteen plates (of 18), etchings and engravings by Charles Nicolas Cochin fils and Jacques Philippe Le Bas, [c.1760-1780]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Detmold (Edward Julius, 1883-1957). Parrots and Butterflies, watercolour. £2,500 to £3,500.

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