Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2021 Issue

Illustrated Natural History from Shapero Rare Books

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Natural History from Shapero Rare Books.

Shapero Rare Books recently issued a catalogue of Natural History. While numerous subjects are covered, the highest concentration is in books about birds and flowers. As you might expect considering this, these are books that double as works of art. Birds and flowers are frequently objects of colorful beauty, which is on display in these titles. They are mostly from the 19th century, a time of great artistic achievement in the field of natural history, with the laborious process of hand-coloring bringing these specimens to life. Here are a few of the books you will find in this catalogue.


We will begin with one of the earliest truly serious bird books. The title is The Ornithology of Francis Willughby... by Willughby and John Ray. This is the English edition, published in 1678, two years after a Latin edition. While not the first bird book, most at the time were focused on such features as singing, imagined human-like attributes, edibility and such. Willughby attempted to classify them instead, based on features such as land or water habitation, anatomical features, especially beaks and feet. At the time, it was believed there were only 500 birds rather than the 10,000 known today, and the authors' intention was to dissect, describe, and classify every known one. Much of their classifications was later adopted by Linnaeus. This was initially Willughby's work, but he died before completing it, with his friend John Ray completing the project. Item 31. Priced at £3,950 (British pounds, or approximately $5,462 in U.S. dollars).

 

The most famous of all British bird books would come two centuries later, The Birds of Great Britain, by John Gould, published in 1873. Gould was the Audubon of Britain, though there were significant differences between the two. Unlike Audubon, Gould published many books about birds from different locales and sometimes focused on specific species, rather than just a magnum opus of the birds of his own land. The other was that Gould was no artist like Audubon. He was the textual expert, but turned to others, including his wife, to provide the drawings. He hired some of the very best, including German Joseph Wolf, who brought his birds to life, rather than just looking like studio reproductions. This book was produced in 25 parts, bound in five volumes, 1862-1873. Gould also hired on most of the talented coloring artists available in London. In the preface, he explained, “Many of the public are quite unaware how the colouring of these large plates is accomplished; and not a few believe that they are produced by some mechanical process or by chromo-lithography. This, however, is not the case; every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought.” Item 14. £75,000 (US $103,685).

 

American Audubon and Englishman Gould are the dominant names in bird books, while the Audubon/Gould of France is seriously overlooked. Francois LeVaillant was publishing spectacularly illustrated bird books long before the others, at the turn of the 19th century. This is one of them, Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets, published in two volumes, 1801-1805. You don't need to speak French to guess that this is a book about parakeets, and you will be hard pressed to find a species more suitable for beautiful illustrations. Speaking of LeVaillant, Shapero says, “Until overtaken by John Gould later in the nineteenth century, he was the most prolific producer of comprehensive bird books, and in sheer quality he was eclipsed only by Audubon.” His illustrator was Jacques Barraband, of whom Shapero says, he “is considered to be the greatest ornithological artist of his time.” Napoleon wrought havoc on Europe during his rule, but one positive was he sought to create exceptional publications to the glory of France. The works he promoted about Egypt, especially its ancient history, as a result of his relatively brief rule of the country are famous for their compilation of detailed information about its history. LeVaillant's Perroquets is another volume promoted by the Emperor, who gave copies to heads of state and great scientists to evidence the achievements of his empire. Offered is a first edition in the preferred folio format. Item 20. £125,000 (US $171,650).

 

Next we go from birds to fruit, but we remain in the French language. Item 4 is Annales de Pomologie Belge et Etrangere par La Commission Royale de Pomologie, by Alexandre Bivort and others, 8 parts in 4 volumes, published 1853-1860. This copy contains 383 of 384 plates, with 274 hand-colored. Among the fruits illustrated are apples, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, and plums. While this was a popular book in its time, copies are hard to come by today. Only three complete copies show up in the auction records over many years. £12,500 (US $17,165).

 

The previous works focus on accuracy of depiction. Now we turn to a different sort of illustration, artistic but not realistic. What else would you expect from the great surrealist, Salvador Dali? The title of this work is Flora Dalinae (Dali flowers), published 1967-1969. Dali was inspired by the prints of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, the great French rose and flower artist, though the latter also focused on realistic presentations. Dali veers off into the fantastic. There is a musical lily which has phonograph records for petals, a begonia with a beating heart and veins instead of branches, a dahlia unicorn. This is copy #38 of 75 on Japon paper with each of the ten etchings signed in pencil by Dali. £37,500 (US $51,500).

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Zang Tumb Tuuum:<br>la révolution futuriste<br>Online Auction<br>30 November – 7 December</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 18:</b> The "Official Edition" of the United States Constitution and the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution, 1787. $15,000,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. I Paroliberi Futuristi. 1914-1915. 8 p. Unique corrected proofs, for an anthology that remained unpublished. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Studenti in Lettere. Università. 1915. Seminal work, featured in 3 historical futurist exhibitions. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Chiaro di luna. Circa 1915. Collage and gouache on paper. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Manicure. Faire les ongles à l'Italie. Circa 1915. A fantastic parody of an advertising poster. €20,000 to €30,000.
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 47. Roosevelt, Theodore. Photograph inscribed to Morris J. Hirsch. May 7th 1918. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 178. Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York: [Printed for the author], 1955. First edition in the first issue binding. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 38. Mather, Cotton. <i>Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England.</i> London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 55. Taylor, Zachary. Autograph letter signed as President-Elect. Baton Rouge: January 15, 1849. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. Picasso, Pablo. <i>Verve</i> Vol. V, Nos. 19-20. Paris: Editions Verve, 1948. Inscribed on the title page by Picasso. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 211. Domergue, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ete a Monte Carlo. Lithographed poster, Lucien Serre & Cie, Paris, circa 1937. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 105. Manuscript Illumination attr. to Neri da Rimini. Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated. [Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 40. McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, James. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs.</i> Philadelphia: Rice, Rutter & Co., 1870. $3,00
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 222. Searle, Ronald. [Pets--a dog, cats and a parrot-- surrounded by books, and inspecting a globe, perhaps planning global domination]. Original drawing, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 inches. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 98. Faden, William; Scull, Nicholas and George Heap. A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, Survey'd by N. Scull and G. Heap. London: William Faden, 12 March 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <i>Der Sturm.</i> 1922. Sold October 2021 for € 13,000.
    Diophantus Alexandrinus, <i>Arithmeticorum libri sex.</i> 1670. Sold October 2021 for € 18,000.
    <i>Cozzani Ettore e altri, l’Eroica. Tutto il pubblicato.</i> Sold October 2021 for € 11,000.
    Newton Isaac, <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> 1714. Sold October 2021 for € 7,500.
    Manetti Saverio, <i>Storia naturale degli uccelli.</i> 1767-1776. Sold April 2021 for € 26,000.
  • <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. Carolina Parrot. Plate 26. Hand-colored aquatint and engraved plate from Audubon's <i>Birds of America.</i> $80,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Francisco Henrique Carls. [Album de Pernambuco e seus Arrabaldes]. Fifty-three chromolithographed plates of landscape, town views and more of the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Captain Thomas Davies, after. Group of 5 engraved topographical scenes of North American waterfalls. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> William R. Morley. Morley's Map of New Mexico. Large lithographed pocket map with original hand-color in outline. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Frederick William Beechey, et al. <i>The Zoology of Captain Beechey's Voyage; Compiled from the Collections and Notes Made by Captain Beechey…</i> $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> ZUDA ROKASHI (Priest Hotan.) Nansenbushu Bankoku Shoka No Zu. Woodblock wall map of the world on 16 sheets joined. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> Latin Book of Hours, Langres around 1490. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>T. Livius, <i>Römische Historien,</i> 1533. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>G. Mendel, <i>Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden,</i> 1865-66. Est: €30,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>A. Verard, Book of Hours, around 1488. Est: €30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>A. Ortelius, <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1601. Est: €80,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br><i>Der Sturm,</i> 1910-1916. Est: €16,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> <i>Cronica van der hilliger Stat Coellen,</i> 1499. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>M. Catesby, <i>Piscium serpentum insectorum,</i> 1777. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>W. Grohmann, <i>Das Werk Ernst Ludwig Kirchners,</i> 1926. Est: €20,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>P. Borgo, <i>Aritmetica mercantile,</i> 1491. Est: €16,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>D. Roberts, <i>Egypt and Nubia,</i> 1846-49. Est: €8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> <i>Estampes,</i> with the suite by P. Picasso, 1950. Est: €15,000

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