Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2021 Issue

Chelsea Bindery Bound Books from Peter Harrington


20th anniversary of the Chelsea Bindery.

Peter Harrington has published a catalogue celebrating The Chelsea Bindery 20th Anniversary. The Chelsea Bindery is sort of a relic of the past. It specializes in traditional leather bindings fashioned by skilled bookbinders, as was done before everything was automated. There is much work by hand, centered around equipment once used by the Zaehnsdorf Bindery. Zaehnsdorf was a legendary British bindery in business a century and a half from the early 19th to the late 20th century. Several of the people now operating the equipment trained at the Zaehnsdorf Bindery. They brought with them skills as rare as the equipment itself.


It should be pointed out that the books bound at Chelsea are not just notable for their fine bindings. They are books of importance worthy of their bindings. It is not uncommon today to see books bound with beautiful covers that are otherwise quite ordinary. The focus is on something of physical beauty for display only. The books offered by the Chelsea Bindery would be highly collectible in any binding, Chelsea's aim being to make them as attractive on the outside as they are significant on the inside. Here are a few samples of what they created.


We start with an item that has a striking cover. The title is Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote's classic novella from 1958. This is a first edition, first printing. Better known than the book is the film adaptation, in which Audrey Hepburn played the role of Holly Golightly. The Chelsea Bindery has bound this book in pink morocco, with a silhouette in black morocco onlay on the cover. The silhouette is unmistakable to anyone who has seen the movie. It is that of Hepburn in her Golighly role, wearing a black Givenchy dress and holding her iconic foot-long cigarette holder. Diamond embellishments on her jewelry add luxury and a sparkle. Item 5. Priced at £2,750 (British pounds or approximately $3,670 in U.S. currency).


This next one is also a classic, though not nearly as well known as the previous book. No one ever made a movie of it. How could they? It's a photo book. The photographs were taken by Swiss photographer Robert Frank, but the title is The Americans. Frank came to America in 1955 and spent the next two years roaming around the country. He snapped some 28,000 photos, of which he selected 83 for the book. What he created was a look at America in the 1950s, from the rich to the poor, in candid pictures. His most famous one was taken in New Orleans, a shot of a passing trolley, windows open, passengers looking out. In the front are the white riders, in the back the black ones. It captured segregation in the South just a few weeks before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Frank first published the book in France in 1958, his having found it difficult to interest an American publisher. Item 29 is the U. S. edition from 1959. It was not very well received, reality at times being hard for Americans to accept. The book was able to gather more attention as Frank convinced a noted American writer and traveler himself, Jack Kerouac, to write the introduction. Chelsea has created a dramatic cover for this book as well. The cover is one large American flag. £4,500 (US $6,012).


This is the story of a boy who didn't listen to his parents when they told him to “grow up.” Item 55 is Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, a 1906 limited edition, #381 of 500, signed by illustrator Arthur Rackham. If there's a more famous illustrator than Rackham, his/her name does not come to mind. However, author J. M. Barrie asked Rackham to do more than just illustrate the book. Barrie had introduced the Pan character four years earlier in The Little White Bird. He asked Rackham to create a new book from the chapters in the earlier one related to Peter Pan. This edition was signed by Rackham. The binding uses red morocco with an onlay inset illustration by Rackham, with the caption “The Lady with the Balloons who sits just outside.” £6,000 (US $8,010)


This next book also features a character who could fly, and is also a first. However, he was no young boy. This was the Man of Steel, Superman! Superman was the creation of high school friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Siegel wrote the stories, Shuster provided the illustrations. They created several stories and strips in their early years, with at best marginal success. Then, in 1938, Superman made his debut on Earth in Action Comics, a conglomeration of strips. Superman clicked. The character and the comic were a great success. Four years later, Superman for the first time appeared in book form. Item 43 is The Adventures of Superman, with the busy Jerry Siegel turning over writing duty to George Lawther. Shuster still provided the illustrations. This is a first edition, first printing, in a Chelsea binding. The book is in crimson morocco with a gilt title and two raised bands on the spine. The cover features an image of mild-mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent in his superhero outfit with the familiar SUPERMAN logo. £2,750 (US $3,670).


Ian Fleming is well known for his James Bond novels, but if you are a skilled writer, there is no reason those talents can't be applied to different genres. Certainly, children's stories are very different from spy thrillers. Item 25 is the three volumes, bound in one, of Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, published 1964-1965. They are first edition, first impressions. Fleming used to tell his son bedtime stories. This one was about a family and its magical car. Similar to his Bond novels, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was turned into a very successful film, though it appealed to a different audience. This Chelsea binding features green full morocco with gilt and two raised bands on the spine. In the lower corner of the cover is an onlay color image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. They probably could have used this image on the cover of The Grapes of Wrath as well to depict the Jodes' car. £2,750 (US $3,670).


Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Livres et Manuscrits :<br>de Cervantès à Houellebecq<br>18 – 25 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Jouve, Paul -- François-Louis Schmied -- Rudyard Kipling. <i>Le Livre de la Jungle,</i> 1919.<br>€ 80,000 to € 120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Cervantès Saavedra, Miguel de. <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Bruxelles, 1607.<br>€ 30,000 to € 50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Buren, Daniel - Aimé Césaire. Cahier d'un retour au pays natal. Solstice, 2004. 1/140 ex. Avec 1/20 suites d'œuvres originales.<br>€ 4,000 to € 6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> [Musique] - Gioacchino Traversa. Six sonates à violon seul. [Vers 1770].<br>€ 3,000 to € 5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber, Imitating Norman Rockwell’s “Triple self-portrait,”</i> mixed media, 2002. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Brian Froud, media illustration published in <i>The Land of Froud,</i> 1977. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Haddon Sundblom, <i>All a Girl Needs,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>The Ladies’ Home Journal,</i> 1942. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Adrianne Lobel, <i>My One and Only,</i> 26 scenic concept collages for the Broadway musical, 1983. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Schulz, original four-panel pen and ink <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1971. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b>Jack Davis, mixed media cartoon for <i>Playboy,</i> 1959. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Addams, mixed media cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1937. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> PIETER MORTIER. “Le Neptune Francois ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre Exprés du Roy…” Paris, 1693.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MARC CHAGALL illus. SHAKESPEARE. “The Tempest.” Large folio. Monte-Carlo, 1975. Signed by the artist.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> JOHN SPEED and followers. “A New and Accurate Map of the World.” Hand-colored engraving. London (1626 – 1627 – circa 1650) – 1676.
    <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MATTHÄUS SEUTTER. “The Colossus Series.” Set of 4 prints, contemporary hand-colored engravings, each c. 57x49cm. Augsburg c. 1730
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> (CHARLES LE BRUN). “La Grande Galerie De Versailles, et Les Deux Salons qui L’Accompagnent, peints Par Charles Le Brun premier Peintre de Louis XIV…” Paris, 1752.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> G. BRAUN – F. HOGENBERG. “Danorum Marca.” Contemporary hand-colored engraving, 33x48cm. Cologne, 1588.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> LIFE OF OSLER, PRESENTATION COPY TO NEPHEW NORMAN GWYN. CUSHING, HARVEY. 1869-1939. <i>The Life of Sir William Osler.</i> Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1925. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER TO HALSTED MENTIONING CUSHING AND WELCH. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to William Stewart Halsted on medical matters, 2 pp, January 19, 1919. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> CUSHING PRESENTATION COPY TO LUCIEN PRICE. CUSHING, HARVEY. <i>Intracranial Tumours.</i> Springfield, 1932. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER ON HIS CHILDHOOD. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to Mabel [Brewster] on returning home to Staplehurst. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> SCULTETUS, JOHANNES. 1595-1645. <i>Cheiroplotheke, seu armamentarium chirurgicum XLIII.</i> Ulm: Balthasar Kühnen, 1655. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> VICQ D'AZYR, FELIX. 1748-1794. <i>Traite d'anatomie et de physiologie.</i> Paris: Didot l'aine, 1786. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> TAGAULT, JEAN. C.1499-1546. <i>De chirugica institutione libri quinque....</i> Lyon: Guillaume Rouillé, 1549. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Autograph Logs and Journals from his 1927 Alaska Expedition. $7,000 to $ 9,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Cañon de Chelley, 1904. Oversized orotone, 17 x 22in in original Curtis Studio frame. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). 26 cyanotypes, featuring images of Cheyenne tribes from Volume VI of <i>North American Indian,</i> c.1907, made by Curtis in the field. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). The Vanishing Race, 1904. Oversized orotone, 18 x 24in in original Curtis Studio frame. $20,000 to $30,000.
  • <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [CIVIL WAR] -- [SHERIDAN, Philip Henry]. Personal headquarters flag of Philip Henry Sheridan used when he led the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. Spring - Summer 1862. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY]. Half plate daguerreotype of firefighter Walter Van Erven Dorens. [San Francisco]: n.p., [ca 1854-1856]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [LINCOLNIANA]. Abraham Lincoln banner possibly made for the 1864 presidential campaign. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [REVOLUTIONARY WAR - CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. [HOLTEN, Dr. Samuel]. An archive of letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts, physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD]. CARBUTT, John, photographer. Exceptional collection of 27 stereoviews from the series, "Excursion to the 100th Meridian, October 1866." Chicago, [1866]. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [ALASKAN GOLD RUSH]. William Steele West and family, extensive archive of photographs, diaries, correspondence, and personal items. [Ca 19th - 20th century]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [TAYLOR, Zachary]. Quarter plate daguerreotype featuring the 12th President of the United States. N.p.: n.p., [ca 1845]. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WASHINGTON, George]. Signed Society of the Cincinnati document. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President. [Washington], 29 September 1862. 1 page, 4to, old creases. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th. Jefferson"), as United States President, to Robert Patterson. Washington DC, 2 July 1805. 1 page, 4to, evenly toned, small tear from seal. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY] -- [ALCOTT, Elizabeth Sewall]. Ninth plate ruby ambrotype attributed to Elizabeth Sewall Alcott. N.p., [ca 1856-1857]. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WESTERN AMERICANA]. RUSSELL, Andrew Joseph, photographer. <i>Salt Lake City, From the Top of the Tabernacle.</i> [1869]

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions