"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
Rat Catching - Smith (Robert) The Universal Dictionary for Taking Alive and Destroying Rats, and all other kinds of Four-Footed and Winged Vermin,
First edition, 6 engraved plates,
B-A note: I selected this book, not just because of the novelty of a Dictonary of Catching Rats, but because the auction it was listed in had 14 auction lots totalling no less than 25 rat- and other vermin-catching books ranging in publication date from 1668 to 2001. It seemed an odd thing to collect. But I suppose there are many strange collections in the world.
Edit: Make that an ironic 15. While not actually about rat-catching, this was listed in the same auction. Hee.
Amsterdam, Theodorus and Cornelis III Danckerts(?), ca. 1706 (dated maps 1694-1706
Danckerts, Allard, Visscher, De Wit, Mortier And Others
A splendid composite atlas in a beautiful and well-balanced colouring, probably from a single professional workshop. Imperial folio (53.5 x 33.5 cm). Modern maroon sheepskin, printed “marbled”-paper sides. Composite atlas, with an engraved title-page, 43 double-page engraved maps and 4 double-page engraved tables, all beautifully coloured in a consistent and balanced manner by a contemporary hand, probably in the workshop of the publisher. With maps by Johannes, Justus, Theodorus and Cornelis III Danckerts, Carel and Abraham Allard, Nicolaas Visscher I & II, Frederik de Wit, Pieter Mortier, Caspar Specht and even Alexis-Hubert Jaillot in Paris.
Zemire en Azor
MARMONTEL, Jean François and Pieter PIJPERS.
Amsterdam, Jan Helders, Abraham Mars, 1783. 8vo. Contemporary half calf, gold-tooled spine with one brown and one green morocco spine-label and fleurons in the remaining compartments, sprinkled-paper sides. With an engraved title-page including a vignette by H.L. Meyling, a letterpress title-page with an emblematic engraved vignette by Reinier Vinkeles.
Splendid copy, luxuriously extra-illustrated 5 years after the original publication, of the first edition of Pijpers’s Dutch adaptation of Marmontel’s 1771 Zémire et Azor, a version of the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. It is signed in brown ink by the author, and on the last page by G. de Visscher (one of the delegates of the Amsterdam theatre) as a warrant of authenticity, with the privilege to the printers Helders and Mars, dated “Amsteldam, den. 6 Augustus, 1783”.
École de cavalerie, contenant la conoissance, l’instruction, et la conservation de cheval.
LA GUERINIERE, Francois Robichon de. Paris, Collombat, 1733.
Folio. Contemporary calf. With 15 engraved plates (3 double-page, some folding), 8 full-page engraved illustrations in the text, 5 engraved vignettes, and several headpieces and initials, all hand-coloured.
The rare first edition of one of the most beautiful books on horses. “Un des plus beaux ouvrages qui aient paru en France sur le cheval” (Mennessier de la Lance). An outstanding collector’s item by virtue of the paper, composition, and the beautiful engravings by Charles Parrocel. The engravings, in charming colour, show horsemen, bridles, saddles, horseshoes, the horse’s skeleton, etc. Different collations provided by various bibliographies are due to the fact that the illustration “Allures naturelles”, here a double plate, is usually divided into two parts.
Compendio del arte de la lengua mexicana.
Horacio Carochi. Bibliotheca Mexicana: Bibliotheca Mexicana, 1759.
This is the second edition of Carochi’s grammar, and as such is the first edited and improved by Paredes; the first edition appeared in 1645 and is a very rare book. The work is widely held to bethe best Nahuatl grammar in the classical tradition; Dra. León-Portilla calls it “Resumen conciso de lo más sobresaliente expuesto por Carochi.” Carochi, an Italian Jesuit missionary, is considered to have been one of the three best scholars of the colonial era to turn his attention to the study of the native languages of Mexico.
Les Présomptions des femmes
Guillaume Coquillart. “Rouen: Abraham Cousturier,” nd [i. e., later 18th century]
Manuscript in french, written in roman hand in brown ink, 27 lines, recto and verso, on vellum. 8 leaves, including title with hand-drawn vignette and border. 152x94 mm, late 18th-century red straight-grain morocco gilt, blue silk doublures and endleaves; contents clean.
Manuscript facsimile attributed to the 18th-century calligrapher F. F. Fyot, copied from an undated edition printed circa 1600. The text is a verse satire on women excerpted from the author’s legal parody Droitz Nouveaulx.
Sammlung Lief- und Ehstlands Insecten
DRÜMPELMANN, Ernst Wilhelm. Livonia, between 1794-1802
Contemporary (matching) silk boards, with small vignette on the front boards and gilt edges; probably from the library of Czar Alexander I of Russia. Manuscript on paper (mostly laid paper with watermark of Jan Kool and wove paper of J. Whatman, nearly all dated 1794). With 2 calligraphic manuscript title-pages on a watercolour cartouche decorated with floral garlands, and over 500 watercolour drawings of insect on 39 leaves (with tissue guards and smaller leaves with names in German and Latin).
Beautifully illustrated manuscript of the entomological fauna of Estonia and Livonia, almost certainly written and drawn by Ernst Wilhelm Drümpelmann (1758-1830), physician in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The present volumes contain all orders of insects, except for the third class of Lepidoptera, included in a separate volume, auctioned by Christies in 2008.
Italy, late 18th century
Contemporary boards covered with marbled paper. With 72 very interesting pendrawings, partly coloured with brown, yellow and reddish washes. 36 ll. A really spectactularly illustrated manuscript describing and illustrating many pyrotechnical moveable and rotating units and machines, and rockets.
After the title-page (‘Arte Pirotecnia’) with the name of a former owner (‘Valentino Vieri (?)) who probably also added some probationes pennae, follows the text of the description of the first 62 coloured drawings, beginning with the ‘Giuoco della Luna e Sole’ (Plays of the moon and the sun), including all sorts of revolving, spouting, exploding and firing units, rockets and other gadgets, and on l. 20r three objects to be illuminated: a vase with an aloe, a tree and a coat of arms with the inscription ‘Dini’.
Antiquitates culinariae, or, Curious tracts relating to the culinary affairs of the old English, with a preliminary discourse, notes, and illustrations
Warner, Richard. London, Printed for R. Blamire, 1791
, lx, 137,  pp. Engraved title-page; tinted aquatint frontispiece; double-page tinted aquatint plate of a Peacock Feast. (4to) 30.2x23.5 cm. (12x9¼”), 19th century quarter morocco & cloth, spine lettered in gilt. First Edition.
A backward glance at the eating habits of medieval England. Contains the rare suppressed plate of the Peacock Feast, which was excised from remaining copies after a plagiarism suit concerning it.
Stenography; or, Short-hand Improved
John Angell [c.1787].
Fourth edition, advertisement leaf at beginning, engraved title with decorative border and 21 plates, lightly soiled and browned, old library label on front pastedown, contemporary calf, a little worn, upper cover detached, 8vo.
The Desperadoes; An Heroick History
Marini (Giovanni Ambrigio) 1733.
8 engraved plates, margins trimmed, slightly browned, new endpapers, modern antique style gilt panelled calf, g.e., 12mo, T. Astley, J. Isted and others.
“A Series of the most surprising Adventures of the Princes Formidaur and Florian, the former being in love with Zelinda, whom he takes to be his own sister, and the latter having married Fidalme, whom he supposed to be his Father’s Daughter by a second Wife, and afterwards kills in Disguise in single Combat. With a Relation of the various amazing Accidents, and Misfortunes, which happen there-on, until the Whole concludes with making them all happy, by a most extraordinary and uncommon Revolution.”
Paradise Lost [&] Paradise Regain’d
John Milton. Birmingham, printed by John Baskerville for J. & R.Tonson, 1758.
Together 2 vol., first Baskerville editions, both lacking initial blanks, first volume with Life of Milton and list of subscribers, faint trace of ink signature on titles, nineteenth century black calf with giltt arms of the Merchant Taylors Company on upper covers, a little rubbed, [Gaskell 4 & 5], 8vo,
Neues Saltzburgisches Koch-Buch (cookbook)
Conrad Hagger. Augsburg, Johann Jacob Lotter, 1718
6 parts in one vol., first edition, engraved frontispiece, 301 full-page engraved plates printed recto and verso, lacking plates 9/10 and with plates 204 and 286 not printed, some loss to margin of plates 11-16, contemporary blindstamped morocco, original straps and metal catches [cf. Vicaire, p.437, second edition], small 4to.
Rare First Edition of a very extensive cookery book illustrated with plates depicting ornamental and decorative serving dishes. Conrad Hagger was the chef to the Fürstbishop of Johann Ernst zu Salzburg.
Rough translation from Salzburg University Library (more images also available at the link):
In 1718 Conrad Haggers has appeared “New Saltzburg cook-book” by Johann Jakob Lotter in Augsburg, a work for the use of high and princely courts make, monasteries and manor houses. More than 2,500 meals are described, illustrated with 318 engravings, which are mainly of essays pies and tarts. As a curiosity at this point only the recipe for “to cook ostrich” is mentioned: Hagger recommends to roast him whole and to refine it with a filling of sausage meat, bacon, butter, herbs and spices. Hagger insists he did get to see a bunch only once at the Salzburg court.
François Marie Arouet de Voltaire. [Cohen-de Ricci p.1026], 8vo, Paris, la Veuve Duchesne, Saillant, Desaint, Panckoucke & Nyon, Imprimerie Barbou, [1769-70].
Engraved frontispiece and title incorporating medallion portrait of Voltaire, 10 engraved plates and 10 vignettes as chapter headings, all by De Longueil after Eisen, a few spots and small stain to one plate and final leaf of vol.1, otherwise a very good copy in fine contemporary red morocco, boards with triple gilt rule border, spines gilt in compartments with five raised bands, g.e., very slightly rubbed at edges, spines a little darkened,
An Intire New and Beautiful Edition of Aesop’s Fables, with Instructive Morals adapted to the Capacities of Children.
NEAR-MINIATURE EDITION NOT IN ESTC AESOP.53 half-page woodcut illustrations. , ii-xii, , 44; 64 pages, including woodcut frontispiece (A-D in 8s; ²A-²D in 8s). 2 volumes in one. 16mo, 97x59 mm, early 19th-century black calf, gilt-tooled spine with red morocco lettering piece; frontispiece mounted, slight gnawing along fore edge of opening leaves without text loss, lower outer corner of last 4 leaves restored affecting a few letters. Contemporary child’s crude ownership inscription (“Thomas Marriot his Book”) on blank final preliminary page. London: R. Baldwin, 1757