Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Travels Featured in Jean-Francois Letenneur Rare Books' New York Fair Catalogue

A5c4f19a-6433-4588-8d03-ea4ce0f064ce

A catalogue for the New York Fair.

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares (rare books) printed a catalogue for the recent 58th New York Antiquarian Book Fair. As one might guess from their name, Letenneur is a French bookseller, located along the northwestern coast of Brittany, specifically, in Saint Briac-sur-Mer. Most of the material they offer is in the French language, with a smattering of other European tongues, English included. Nevertheless, there is much that will be of interest to collectors who focus on America. Letenneur specializes in travels, particularly the ocean-going sort which are primarily older books. This includes naval voyages along with charts, maps and atlases to help you find your way. French travel history is intimately tied to North America, ranging from early explorations of the continent to close allies during America's war of independence. Of course, there are also plenty of books for those whose focus remains in Europe, or on voyages to other parts of the world. Here are a few of these items, most of which are very old.

 

Writing an encyclopedia is a great enough challenge on its own, but how about writing one as a poem? That is what Gautier de Metz, a French priest, managed to accomplish. Of course, there wasn't quite as much knowledge to cover when he wrote it around 1246. Still, Gautier covers a lot of ground, his work being part fact, part fiction, though it is unlikely Gautier knew that dividing line in 1246. It ranges from creation and theology to the nature of the earth, cosmology, physics, all sorts of things, much borrowed from earlier authors (who can be blamed for many of Gautier's errors). He writes about the sky and the ether, how enormous it all is, and meteorological phenomena. Gautier gets particularly off track from reality with monsters in far off parts of the world, but people were still imagining such creatures several centuries later when they had better access to information than Gautier possessed. He does get it right about the earth being round, and is close when he says we don't fall off as we are held to the surface by magnetism. Item 14 is the only known copy of this French edition of Image du Monde, circa 1520-1530. It has a most interesting provenance. It once belonged to Ferdinand Columbus, Christopher's son. His father left him a healthy inheritance, including hundreds of slaves in the New World. Ferdinand compiled an enormous library for his time (even for ours), with over 15,000 books. He left it to a cathedral in Seville, but it was not well-maintained. An inventory in 1684 showed they only retained 5,000 of Columbus' books and that is now down to 2,000. Price on request.

 

Here is another early book related to Columbus. The title is Nova typis transacta navigatio novi orbis Indiae occidentalis... The author was the Benedictine Caspar Plautius, one of about a dozen missionaries from his order who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. Though that occurred in 1493, this first edition (second issue) was not published until 1621. It was meant as something of a Catholic answer to the New World descriptions of the Protestant de Bry. The work combines some good information about plants and dress of the natives with claims as fanciful as those of Gautier. One of the images depicts St. Brendan celebrating mass on the back of a whale, an event we can safely say did not happen. Another has Indians riding a large sea creature. Others display a contempt for the native religions, showing Indians practicing cannibalism, and priests being martyred. It is not hard to see why so much cruelty was practiced on the natives when even the European religious figures viewed them so savagely. Plautius has generously dedicated this book to... himself! Item 24. $18,340.

 

There is nothing like a good friend when you're young, and France was such a friend to the Americans after they declared their independence. Of course, the French had some of their own reasons for this support. Item 1 consists of two unsigned manuscript memos written in 1777. A marginal note says "D'invault," possibly tracing this to Etienne Maynon d'Invault, Controller General for Louis XV. The writer expresses reasons why France should join the war on the American side. These are primarily for France's own economic self-interest, the memo encouraging France to become America's first economic ally before the British reach a peace with them and take over that role. It is likely that these memos were produced for the King or a member of his cabinet. $4,280.

 

Item 38 is a personal photo album documenting a trip to Egypt in 1892 by Count Helie de Durfort. It contains 100 photographs and one panorama. Forty-five of the photographs were taken by the Zangaki Brothers and Antonio Beato, who specialized in selling photos to Egyptian travelers. The other 55 were taken by the Count himself. De Durfort was a captain in the cavalry along with being an amateur photographer. He went to Cairo, traveled up the Nile, and saw many of the notable sights. There are views of such obvious sights as the pyramids, sphinx, cities, and river. Then, there are also pictures of ordinary people, boys washing clothes, girls carrying water, rowers along the Nile, and other scenes such as camels, oxen, streets, and the desert railway. The album has been titled on the cover, Egypt Le Caire Le Nile Fevrier 1892. $6,720.

 

This next book is from the Marquis de Sade, whose name evokes images of the worst sort, but this isn't the de Sade with whom most are familiar. This is not a tame novel, but it isn't like that one either. The title is, Aline et Valcour, ou le Roman Philosophique. Écrit à la Bastille un an avant la Révolution de France. That translates to Aline and Valcour, or the philosophical novel. Written in the Bastille before the revolution in France." De Sade spent much of his life in and out of prison. This novel was written while he was in the Bastille from 1785-1788. He emerged, and was close to having it published when he and his publisher, in the midst of the Reign of Terror, were carted off to prison again. De Sade survived; his publisher was guillotined. Finally, in 1795, the book was published by the original publisher's widow. This story, told through letters, concerns the young lovers of the title, Aline's sympathetic and virtuous mother, and her cruel and materialistic father. The differences are also seen in two kingdoms described, one in Africa, brutal, cannibalistic, and everything else terrible, the other a paradise in the South Pacific ruled by a philosopher-king. Item 95. $14,000.

 

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares may be reached at 33 (0) 299 88 92 44 or librairie@jfletenneurlivresrares.fr. Their website is www.jfletenneurlivresrares.fr.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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>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>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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions