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Hassard, Annie | Floral Decorations for the Dwelling House
First edition, and a lovely copy, of this delightful work on flower arrangements and indoor plants that was highly praised by contemporaries.
By 1875, botanical pursuits such as flower and fern collecting, pressing, and arranging had been a major hobby for British women for at least a generation. Floral Decorations for the Dwelling House expanded on the work of earlier authors, such as A. E. Maling (Flowers for Ornament and Decoration, 1875), by adding advice on living plants in addition to cut flowers. It “offers a very detailed account, both practically and artistically oriented, of the best plants and best pieces of equipment to use for a wide variety of indoor plant and flower decorations, from bouquets to dining tables, window displays, hanging baskets and Christmas decorations, as well as giving advice on how best to arrange them” (Sparke, Nature Inside, p. 48).
The book was praised in the January 1876 issue of The Floral World and Garden Guide as “a systematic treatise on the subject. The truth is, the gifted author of this stands alone and far in advance of all competitors, whether as an exhibitor or a judge of exhibitions, whether in the preparation of a bouquet for a princess or the decoration of a grand saloon for an important public ceremony”. In that year an American edition was published by Macmillan, in which additional emphasis was placed on living plants in decorative schemes (Sparke).
...A Practical Guide to the Home Arrangement of Plants and Flowers. With Numerous Illustrations. London: Macmillan & Co., 1875. Octavo. Original green cloth elaborately blocked in gilt and black with floral designs on the spine and upper board, brown coated endpapers. Burn & Co. binder’s ticket to the rear pastedown. 9 steel engraved plates, steel engravings throughout the text. Single leaf of ads at rear. Blind stamp of the W. H. Smith lending library to the front free endpaper. Cloth only very lightly rubbed at the extremities with a few small marks, a few light spots to the title. An excellent copy.
Sowerby, George B. | Popular History of the Aquarium of Marine and Fresh-Water Animals and Plants.
First edition, an unusually lovely copy of this charming book with hand-coloured plates depicting a variety of aquatic animals and plants.
George Brettingham Sowerby (1812-1884) was the grandson of the naturalist and botanical artist James Sowerby, and assisted his father (also George Brettingham) in the elder’s publishing and conchological businesses. The youngest Sowerby was “renowned for the illustrations he produced for the works of other specialists. A volume of drawings, Palaeontology of the Vicinity of Cheltenham (c.1844), showing fossils in the collection of Charles Fowler, suggests that he ought to be regarded as the most artistically talented of the Sowerbys. Crosse in a review (Crosse, 260) commented that he was a mediocre naturalist, a shocking Latinist, but an excellent draughtsman and concluded 'Faites des planches, faites des planches … mais pour l'amour de Dieu ne décriver point de coquille!' ('Make plates, make plates, … but for the love of God don't describe any shells!')” (ODNB).
The Popular History of the Aquarium came about when the publisher Lovell Reeve persuaded Sowerby to write an account for general audiences, “but not having the necessary knowledge he was criticized for incorporating material published by other authors and labelled as 'one of the greatest proficients in the art of “scissors and paste”' (Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 20, 1857, 139)” (ODNB).
London: Lovell Reeve, 1857.
Octavo. Original green cloth elaborately blocked in gilt and blind with a design of a turtle to the upper board, Westley’s & Co. binder’s ticket to the rear pastedown. Frontispiece and 19 plates, all of which are hand-coloured lithographs. 5 leaves of ads at rear. Cloth just a little rubbed at the tips, a little spotting to the early leaves, including the frontispiece, contents faintly toned in the margins. An excellent copy.
Bonnycastle, John | A student’s manuscript of mathematical problems from A Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry.
An elegant, substantial early-19th century manuscript containing practical mathematical and astronomical problems likely produced by a student of navigation.The majority of the text is from John Bonnycastle's A Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, originally published in 1806. Bonnycastle was a respected mathematics teacher who tutored the children of the aristocracy and taught at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. A man of “considerable classical and general literary culture”, he was a great friend of Fuseli and also of Leigh Hunt, who included Bonnycastle in his book Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries.
“Bonnycastle was a prolific and successful writer of textbooks. Of his chief works, The Scholar's Guide to Arithmetic first appeared in 1780 and ran to an eighteenth edition in 1851… His Introduction to Astronomy (1786), intended as a popular introduction to astronomy rather than as an elementary treatise, was one of the best-selling books on the subject for many years… Besides elementary mathematical books, Bonnycastle was in early life a frequent contributor to the London Magazine. He also wrote the introduction to a translation (by T. O. Churchill) of Bossut's Histoire des mathématiques (1803) and a ‘chronological table of the most eminent mathematicians from the earliest times’ for the end of the book” (ODNB).
This manuscript, titled “Bonnycastle’s Trigonometry”, contains the practical portions of the text, including rules for solving different types of trigonometric problems (“cases”) and practice problems. The practice problems have been completed in full, including large, precise geometrical diagrams made with ruler and compass. Page numbers are given and the problems are dated, the first section having been completed on September 24th, 1813 with additions every few days until the final dated entry on March 31, 1814. The final, undated portion, about a quarter of the manuscript, comprises “Miscellaneous Astronomical Problems” from Andrew Mackay’s The Theory and Practice of Finding the Longitude at Sea or Land (first published in 1793, the second edition in 1801), an important work for which its author “received the thanks of the boards of longitude of England and France” (ODNB).
This manuscript’s focus on mathematical rules and practice problems (at the expense of the more theoretical, text-heavy portions), together with the fact that it was updated regularly between September and March, indicates that it was produced by an advanced student working through the book as part of a regular course of study. The script is elegant, clear, and controlled throughout, and pencilled guide rules indicate that the student took great pains to ensure the manuscript was attractive and readable, suggesting that it was evaluated as part of coursework rather than used as a notebook for producing rough calculations (indeed, some rough calculations are included on sheets of scrap paper loosely inserted). Mathematics of this type, focused on spherical trigonometry, astronomy, and navigational problems, would have been of interest primarily to mariners, and it seems reasonable to conclude that the student was attending a naval or military institution, or was perhaps under private tutelage with a naval career in mind. A beautiful example of a student’s efforts at practical mathematics for navigation at a time when Britain was the major power on the seas.
- ...as well as Andrew MacKay’s The Theory and Practice of Finding the Longitude at Sea or Land. 170 page manuscript. Contemporary half speckled sheep, marbled sides. Several contemporary sheets of manuscript with mathematical notations loosely inserted. Corners repaired, a little wear and some discolouration to boards, endpapers tanned, contents with the occasional light spot but overall quite clean. Very good condition.
Babcock & Wilcox Co. | Dampf. Dessen Erzeugung und Verwendung nebst katalog der Fabrikate
“Steam, Its Production and Use, together with a Catalogue of Manufactures”. A very attractive 1893 German language catalogue of the pioneering power firm Babcock & Wilcox, the first edition of which was published in 1875.
This 180-page catalogue is heavily illustrated with both photos and engravings. In addition to specifications for the firm’s boiler models, it includes a detailed overview of steam power and the operations of different types of boilers, as well as information about the company and a complete list of the boilers they have already installed. Loosely inserted is a single leaf advert for the Babcock & Wilcox boiler “with Colonial Furnace, suitable for burning green bagasse”, and three charming, pictorial advertising flyers for equipment produced by the Bopp & Reuther firm of Mannheim, Germany.
Babcock & Wilcox was founded as a manufacturer of industrial steam boilers in Providence, Rhode Island in 1867, and has remained a leader in power generation to the present day. Among their many achievements have been: the supply of a boiler for Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory in 1878; the powering of America’s first electricity-producing central generating station in Philadelphis in 1881; supplying the equipment for Edison’s Pearl Street Station in New York City, the worlds first public electrical utility, which opened in 1882 (Edison would later write that Babcock & Wilcox manufactured “the best boiler God has permitted man yet to make”); the supply of boilers to power US and British naval vessels in the 1890s; the production of electricity for New York’s first subway; the construction of the water pipe system at the Hoover Dam; and the supply of weapons components for the Manhattan Project and equipment for the world’s first nuclear-powered sub, the USS Nautilus.
...der Babcock & Wilcox Co. 30 Cortlandt Street, New York und von Babcock & Wilcox, Limited 114 Newgare Street, London. New York & London: Babcock & Wilcox, March, 1893.
Tall quarto. Original brown cloth blocked in gilt and blind, all edges red, floral patterned endpapers. Lithographic half title. Engravings and illustrations from photos throughout. Ownership ink stamp of Edmund Prechtel to front pastedown and title, ownership signature of the same to the front blank. Cloth a little rubbed and spotted with some scattered loss of size, small tear at the base of the spine panel, contents faintly toned. Excellent condition.
Michael Birk | [Art Nouveau chromolithographic pharmacy catalogue] Katalog No. 4.
A superb, unused Art Nouveau chromolithographic catalogue issued by the German pharmaceutical and medical supply firm Michael Birk, probably in the 1890s.
This remarkable, 320 page catalogue catalogue contains 15 double-sided plates of elaborate chromolithographic, metallic, and embossed designs for product labels, as well as another 290 pages advertising an incredible array of other products. The chromolithographic labels could be ordered in bulk to be used on bottles and jars filled in person by the pharmacist, and some could be personalised with the shop’s name and address. The catalogue was evidently designed for international distribution, as the examples are shown in a variety of languages, including Arabic. Some of the products include lemon and orange syrup, ginger ale, Egyptian nerve tonic, quinine, toothpaste, cod liver oil, antiseptics, a wide variety of alcoholic beverages including wine, port, rum and rum punch, champagne, and gin, and cosmetics products such as eau de cologne, agua de florida and scented waters. Most of the labels are very elaborate, with colourful designs echoing the origins or contents of the products, some with an exotic or Orientalist flavour, and others using historical imagery. Some are plainer, giving only the product name or a number. Nine pages of labels incorporate fine metallic and die-cut and embossed cameo-like decoration - of note are the two pages of delicate perfume bottle labels.
The remainder of the catalogue details a variety of products, all depicted in large and well-executed engravings. They include bottles, pots, boxes, tubes and dispensers, including decorative bottles and perfume atomisers, and display units. For the use of the pharmacist are moulds, rollers, mortars and pestles, scales, laboratory glassware, bunsen burners, alembics, and ovens. And there are sections for medical dressings and devices, generators of therapeutic electricity, and all types of surgical and dental tools, including large items such as chairs, tables and boilers. A superb catalogue encompassing all of late-19th century pharmacy and medicine.
Tuttlingen, Germany: Michael Birk, [c. 1890s].
Quarto. Original limp cloth wrappers blocked in gilt, grey, black, and white, blue endpapers, blue top-stain. 15 double-sided leaves of chromolithographic, metallic-printed, and embossed decoration, of which 6 are folding, engravings throughout the other 290 pages. Minor bumps at the corners. A superb, fresh copy in unused condition with many of the leaves unopened and still delicately adhering to each other at the edges.
Buckland, Frank T. | Fish Hatching
First edition. A lovely, fresh copy of this important early work on raising young salmon by the Victorian Era's leading authority on pisciculture.
The naturalist Francis Trevelyan Buckland (1826-1880) began his career as a military surgeon in London, where he "eagerly embraced every opportunity of examining curious specimens of natural history, and abnormal growths, describing his observations in his Curiosities of Natural History, begun in 1858". In 1856 he joined the staff of the Field newspaper, and in 1865 he founded his own journal, Land and Water, an ‘independent channel for diffusing knowledge of practical natural history, and fish and oyster culture’.
Buckland "applied himself to the many economic questions affecting the artificial supply of salmon, the length of the close season, the condition of different salmon rivers, and similar investigations, gradually becoming the highest authority on pisciculture. In February 1867... he was appointed inspector of salmon fisheries. No more congenial post could have been offered to him, and from then on he devoted all his energies not merely to the duties of his office, but to the study of every point connected with the history of the salmon, and endeavoured in every way to improve the condition of British fisheries and those employed in them. This involved frequent visits to the rivers and coasts of the country, when he was always a welcome guest among people of all classes" (ODNB).
This volume was originally presented as a lecture at the Royal Institution in April, 1863. Buckland wrote in the preface that it was "a record of the observations which I have made during my experiments in Fish Hatching carried out during the winter months". He also thanked "Professor Faraday for his kind attention" as well as "Professor Tyndall, who was good enough to exhibit the young fish alive under the electric lamp, thereby adding so much to the general interest which I was most pleased to hear was caused among those present on the night of the Lecture".
In May 1865 Buckland was appointed scientific referee to the South Kensington Museum (now the Science Museum), where he established a large collection related to pisciculture which formed the basis of the International Fisheries Exhibition of 1883 and was on display until the latter half of the 20th century. "In his lifetime Buckland was regarded as one of the most whimsical of naturalists and, with all its stories of his doings and escapades, his biography was published in popular fiction as a ‘good romance'" (ODNB).
- London: Tinsley Brothers, 1863. Octavo. Original green pebble-grain cloth, titles to spine gilt, boards blocked in blind. Frontispiece. Contemporary ownership signature to front pastedown. Just a little rubbing at the extremities, minor spotting to edges of textblock. A fresh and attractive copy in excellent condition.
(Zallinger, Rudolph) Ostrom, John H. & Theodore Delevoryas | A Guide to the Rudolph Zallinger Mural The Age of Reptiles
Reissue of this illustrated visitor’s guide to the magisterial Age of Reptiles mural in the Great Hall of Yale’s Peabody Museum, written by John Ostrom, one of the most important palaeontologists of the 20th century. Originally published in 1966 in the same pamphlet form. A beautiful copy in unusually nice condition.
“The Age of Reptiles mural is an artistic masterpiece and was, for its time, perhaps the most scientifically accurate representation of the Mesozoic world ever created” (Black, “Creating the Age of Reptiles”, Smithsonian Magazine, January 3, 2012). The 110-foot-long, 16-foot-high mural was completed between 1943 and 1947 by art student Rudolph Zallinger (1919-1995), who had previously been employed at the museum painting seaweed specimens. Museum director Albert Parr had initially envisioned the space broken into panels illustrating individual species, but Zallinger developed the idea for a “sweep through time” from the Devonian period to the Cretaceous, “more than three million years of earth history” (introduction to the present).
“With the format established, Zallinger was rapidly schooled in vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany and anatomy by the museum’s experts. The animals had to be scientifically accurate, their environments appropriately stocked with plants from the right era, and the whole fossil cast had to fit together in an aesthetically pleasing style. Accuracy was of extreme importance, but so was making the painting visually appealing to visitors... The artist also faced the technical decision of how to execute the mural. Zallinger decided on a fresco secco, a classic method in which pigments are combined with egg and water and are painted on dried plaster that is moistened at the time of application. As Zallinger composed each successive rendition of the mural, the space he was going to paint on was prepared and covered in plaster. What is remarkable is how early Zallinger arrived at what became the final layout for his Mesozoic panorama. While the fine details of the plants and animals changed with each ever-more-detailed version, their general shapes and poses were established by the time Zallinger created a 1943 ‘cartoon’ version of the mural on rag paper” (Black).
The mural is one of the largest paintings in the world, and earned its creator a Pulitzer Fellowship in Art in 1949. It was highly influential in both paleontological art and in popular culture during the mid-century. A number of guides to the mural have been published over the years, including this one by John H. Ostrom (1928 - 2005). Ostrom was a Yale professor, director of the Peabody Museum, and “the most influential palaeontologist of the second half of the 20th century” (Dodson & Gingerich, “John H. Ostrom”, American Journal of Science, volume 306, number 1, January 2006). He discovered that dinosaurs had the metabolisms and agility of mammals and birds, and that they were closely related to modern birds, leading to the “dinosaur renaissance” of the second half of the century.
...in the Peabody Museum, Yale University. Discovery Supplement Number 1. New Haven, CT: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 1966.
38-page pamphlet, wire-stitched. Original green wrappers printed in black. Folding plate depicting the mural and “Earth Clock”. Pencilled number to the edge of the upper wrapper. A fine copy.
Morgan, Ann Haven | Field Book of Animals in Winter
First edition, first printing and a lovely copy in the dust jacket. The Field Book of Animals in Winter is much less common than Morgan’s book on ponds and streams, and is rarely found in such nice condition.
As a child, Ann Haven Morgan (1882-1966) developed a love of nature by exploring the areas around her home in Connecticut. She earned her bachelor’s degree and doctorate at Cornell, the latter under James G. Needham at the Limnological Laboratory.
Returning to Cornell, “she advanced steadily up the academic ladder, becoming a full professor in 1918. During the summer she conducted research and taught courses on echinoderms at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole... Although limnology (the study of inland waters) was her special subject – on which she wrote a useful book, Field Book of Ponds and Streams (1930) – Morgan was also interested in many other facets of zoology, particularly hibernating animals. Her Field Book of Animals in Winter (1939) reflected this interest. In 1949 the Encyclopaedia Britannica made it into an educational film” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science p. 913).
Among her other scientific interests were conservation and ecology and educational reform. Morgan was a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Entomological Society, American Society of Naturalists, American Society of Zoologists, and the New York Herpetological Society. She was prominent enough to be one of only three women included in the 1933 edition of American Men of Science.
...With 283 Illustrations, Including 4 Full-Colour Plates. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1939.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine gilt, all edges dyed red. With the dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece and 14 plates of which 11 are double-sided, including 2 double-sided colour illustrations. Numerous illustrations within the text. Yellow pencil sometimes used to highlight passages, primarily in the early chapters. A few tiny bumps at the edges of the cloth. An excellent, fresh copy in a very attractive example of the dust jacket that is lightly rubbed with some small nicks and chips, a little creasing at the edges, and mild toning of the spine panel.
Aikin, John | The Calendar of Nature
Third edition of this charming little book on the changing of the seasons from month to month by the “physician and man of letters” John Aiken (1747-1822) (Hahn, The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature).
Aiken charming combines practical knowledge of nature and gardening with literary references. For April he writes: “This month gives the most perfect image of Spring; for its vicissitudes of warm gleams of sunshine, and gentle showers, have the most wonderful effects in hastening that universal springing of the vegetable tribes, from whence the season derives its appellation. April generally begins with raw unpleasant weather, the influence of the equinoctial storms still in some degree prevailing, Its opening is thus described in a poem of Mr. Warton’s: ‘Mindful of disaster past, And thinking of the northern blast, The fleety storm returning still, The morning hoar; the evening chill; Reluctant comes the timid Spring...’ Early in the month, that welcome guest and harbinger of Summer, the swallow, returns. The kind first seen, is the chimney, or house, swallow, known by its long forked tail, and red breast. At first, here and there, only one appears, glancing quick by us, as if scarcely able to endure the cold. ‘The swallow for a moment seen, Skims in haste the village green’.”
A very nice copy in an attractive contemporary tree calf binding. With the ownership inscription and notes of a woman, Eliza Davenport, who obtained this copy in 1810. Davenport’s short pencilled notes at the rear of the volume relate to a handful of observations of flowering plants and other phenomena.
...Designed for the Instruction and Entertainment of Young Persons. The Third Edition. London: Joseph Johnson, 1787.
Duodecimo (155 x 95mm). Contemporary tree calf, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers. 1810 ownership inscription to the verso of the front free endpaper, pencilled notes of a similar date to the verso of the rear blank. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, the corner of B6 torn, not affecting the text, light spotting to the contents. Very good condition.
Horner, John [Jack] R. & James Gorman | Digging Dinosaurs
First edition, first printing. A lovely copy of this important memoir of excavating Egg Mountain in Montana, one of the most productive fossil beds on earth and the location of both the first dinosaur embryos and the first nests of baby dinosaurs to be discovered.
John “Jack” Horner (1946 – ) is one of the most recognisable of contemporary palaeontologists. The recipient of numerous awards, including a McArthur Fellowship, for his work on dinosaur reproduction, development, and physiology, he was also a staple of 1980s and 90s documentaries and served as a technical advisor for the Jurassic Park films, whose main character, Dr. Alan Grant, he partially inspired. Horner has come under scrutiny in recent years for having a romantic relationship with an undergraduate volunteer in his laboratory, resulting in his early retirement.
In 1977 Marion Brandvold, the owner of a mineral shop in Bynum, Montana, discovered fossils of juvenile dinosaurs and asked Horner to identify them when he happened to stop at the shop during a scouting trip the following year. At the time, only a handful of juvenile dinosaurs were known, and their absence in the geological record was a major problem for palaeontology. Realising their significance, Horner immediately contacted his employers at Princeton (remarkably, he was then working as a preparator of other researcher’s finds, and had not yet run a dig of his own) for permission to remain in Montana and begin excavating the site. Within a few days Horner, his colleague Bob Makela, and the Brandvolds had uncovered whole nests containing young duck-billed dinosaurs – a world first. The juveniles were clearly being cared for by their parents for an extended period, much like birds, and this discovery was the first evidence of complex reproductive behaviour in dinosaurs. The site also revealed the first egg clutches in the Western hemisphere and the first dinosaur embryos found anywhere. Excavations have since revealed that the site was home to thousands of Cretaceous-period dinosaurs, with evidence of more than 15,000 individuals, making it the largest group of dinosaur skeletons on Earth and evidence that some species exhibited social and possibly migratory behaviours (”Digging for Dino Eggs with Famed Paleontologist Jack Horner”, Wired, October 28, 2011).
Published in 1988, Digging Dinosaurs was written for a popular audience and covers the first six years of excavations, including the major discoveries of nests and embryos, and includes a foreword by Sir David Attenborough as well as numerous illustrations.
...Illustrated by Donna Braginetz and Kris Ellingsen. New York: Workman Publishing, 1988.
Octavo. Original black boards, black cloth backstrip, titles to spine gilt, red endpapers. With the dust jacket. 4 double-sided plates from colour photographs, black and white illustrations throughout the text. Spine rolled. An excellent copy in the fresh dust jacket.
Vos, George H. | Birds and Their Nests and Eggs
A handsomely bound copy of a later impression, originally published in 1907. This lovely little book is "an attempt to describe by camera and pen the recent rambles of two friends, during the months of May and June, in search of birds and their nests for the purpose of photographing them in and near London". It includes a large number of photographs of British birds (usually stuffed specimens) as well as their nests, eggs, and habitats.
- Found in and Near Great Towns. Illustrated by reproduction of photographs of each bird, its nest and eggs, made by the author from Nature, and of incidental scenes. Second edition, revised. London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1910. Octavo (174 x 117 mm). Contemporary tree calf prize binding, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, red morocco label, gilt floral roll to boards, gilt crest of the Terra Nova School to the upper board, marbled endpapers and edges. Prize bookplate. Frontispiece and illustrations throughout from photographs. Very lightly rubbed at extremities, spine a little faded. Excellent condition.
Augusta, Joseph, Greta Hort, & Zdeněk Burian | Prehistoric Animals
First English language edition, first impression of this vibrantly illustrated work, originally published in Prague under the title Tiere der Urzeit in the same year. Rare in the dust jacket in such nice condition.
Between the 1930s and 1960s “the foremost painter of dinosaur restorations was Zdeněk Burian (1905-1981). His canvasses were used to illustrate a number of popular books on prehistoric life by Joseph Augusta, and in the late 1950s and 1960s these were translated into English and widely circulated. So the Burian illustrations offered an alternative to those of Zallinger [responsible for the Peabody Museum mural], or of the late Charles Knight. But there was not much of a difference. Apatosaurus and Diplodocus stand quietly by their respective swamps, accompanied by partially submerged relatives. A T. rex besets a pair of Trachodon, but none of the three lifts a leg off the ground, or even seems to be moving at all” (Ashworth, Paper Dinosaurs 48). Though his dinosaurs are no longer considered anatomically accurate, Burian was highly respected in his time and his paintings were widely reproduced and copied, often without acknowledgement. In 2017 the first dinosaur discovered in the Czech Republic was named in his and Augusta’s honour, Burianosaurus augustai.
The author of the text, Joseph Augusta (1903-1968) was a palaeontologist at Charles University in Prague between 1933 and 1968, and is best known for his role as a science populariser. He published around twenty books on science for the general public and served as an advisor to the hit 1955 film Journey to the Beginning of Time (Cesta do Pravěku), which combined human actors with stop-motion special effects.
The translator of the book, Greta Hort (1903-1967), was born in Copenhagen, the daughter of Vilhelm Hjort, astronomer royal. She earned her PhD at Newnham College, Cambridge and then became a research fellow at Girton College, publishing on mysticism and religious thought. In 1938 Hort was appointed principal of University Women's College (later University College) at the University of Melbourne. She was later made chair of English literature at Aarhus University, Denmark (Australian Dictionary of Biography).
...Illustrated under the direction of the author by Zdeněk Burian. Translated by Dr. Greta Hort. London: Spring Books, .
Folio. Original buff, heavy-grain cloth, titles to spine and Stegosaurus design to upper board in brown. With the dust jacket. 60 lithographic plates of which 31 are in colour. Lower corner of the binding knocked, which has also slightly creased the corner of the text block and the jacket, spine rolled. A very good copy in the bright jacket that is lightly rubbed at the extremities with a few nicks and short closed splits.
War Office | Women's War Work
SOLD First and only edition of this uncommon and evocatively-illustrated publication on women’s contributions on the British home front during the First World War. This copy from the War Office Library, with its ink stamp on the title and upper cover.
Very quickly after the outbreak of the war it became clear that the mobilisation of the male workforce would create shortages of munitions, equipment, and food, and that large numbers of women would need to move into jobs from which they were previously restricted. Despite the hesitance of some officials, factory managers, and trade unions, “reports were conducted early on as to the suitability of women to meet the demands of such work. As early as 1915 the Ministry of Munitions Supply Committee made recommendations on the employment and remuneration of women on munitions work. This helped contribute to agreed suitable conditions by which a woman could be employed, and the War Office published several guides as to the employment of women” (”The Munitionettes and the Work of Women in the First World War”, National Records of Scotland).
Women’s War Work was one of these publications, appearing in 1916 and providing a very detailed list of roles in which women had been “successfully in the temporary replacement of men”, not only in munitions, but also the production of everyday goods such as chemicals and fertiliser, soap, candles, clothing and textiles, food and drink, and paper goods, including printing and book binding. The lists are accompanied by contact details of officials who can assist in the recruitment of women, and by an exceptional 72 large photographs of women at work. One woman is pictured modelling artificial teeth in wax for dentistry; brewery employees roll barrels and clean out vats; wagon washers pose with buckets and brushes in the middle of their messy shift; a smiling woman “stokes the furnaces of a large factory in South London”; an agricultural worker with the Women’s Volunteer Reserve sharpens the blade of a sickle, pianos are tuned, and women are photographed serving as butchers, bakers, window washers, porters, drivers, and posties. Numerous roles within heavy industry are photographed, from the manufacture of ammunition to the production of glass, radiators, tanned leather, and motorcycles. This is a fantastic record of women as home front workers, with most of the images so far having seen little to no reproduction in popular culture.
...In Maintaining the Industries & Export Trade of the United Kingdom. Information Officially Compiled for the Use of Recruiting Officers, Military Representatives and Tribunals. Issued by the War Office, September 1916. London: Printed under the Authority of His Majesty’s Stationery Office by the Chiswick Press, 1916.
Tall quarto. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 20 leaves of glossy paper with integral page numbering, 3 pages of which are text-only and one blank, the rest comprising 72 black and white photographs. War office Library ink stamps to the upper wrapper and title, small blue ink mark to the upper wrapper partially bracketing “War office” in the imprint, spot from sticker removal affecting the tail of the spine and edges of the wrappers. Loss from the spine, which has been strengthened with adhesive at some point in the past. A little light creasing and rubbing at the other edges of the wrappers. Contents clean. A very good copy.
[Seaweed] | An exceptional Victorian seaweed album
A sumptuous, mid-19th century seaweed album, unusually finely bound and containing eighty specimens.
Most seaweed albums we have handled have been simply bound in skiver or paper-covered blank books. This example, however, is in green morocco with elaborate gold tooling and attractive, gilt patterned endpapers. The specimens are among the most beautiful we have seen, delicate, artfully arranged, and retaining their colour and texture, and they represent an unusually varied selection of species. Each one is individually mounted on white card, and hand-labelled with its scientific name and the location where it was collected. Most were found in Cumbria, at Roa and Piel Islands off the Furness Peninsula, as well as the mainland beaches of Roose, Baycliff, Aldingham, Bardsea, Saltcoats, Rampside, Flimby, and Maryport. Also represented are nearby Ayrshire in southwest Scotland, as well as more exotic locales: the Isle of Mann, Gibralter, Tangier, and one location given only as “Mediterranean”.
Seaweed collecting was, together with other types of natural history collecting and scrapbooking, a popular occupation for young women during the Victorian era. Inspired in part by the Romantic Movement's reverence for nature, it was considered a wholesome way for women to engage with the outdoors, and it also functioned as a social accomplishment indicating one's suitability for marriage and family life.
Nature was at the centre of the Victorian domestic imagination, and "one reason for the appearance of various representations of the natural world in the parlour. was a continuing apprehension of the world as beautiful - or at least a continuing prestige attached to those who were sensible of that beauty" (Logan, The Victorian Parlour, p. 142). Nature was inextricably tied to religious and moral edification, with amateur collectors "drawn to the study of the natural world as a culturally approved form of recreation. seen as aesthetically pleasing, educational and morally beneficial, since [nature] lifted the mind to a new appreciation of God" (Logan, p. 144).
"Queen Victoria as a young girl made a seaweed album; later in the century, materials for such an album could be purchased at seaside shops like that of Mary Wyatt in Torquay, who specialized in natural souvenirs" (Logan, p. 124). "In the late 19th Century, the books Sea Mosses: A Collector's Guide and An Introduction to the Study of Marine Algae by A. B. Hervey outlined how to properly press and mount various types of algae. The tools needed are a pair of pliers, scissors, a stick with a needle in the end, at least two 'wash bowls,' botanist's 'drying paper,' or some kind of blotting paper, cotton cloth, and finally cards to mount the specimens on. Pliers and scissors are used to handle the specimens and cut away any extraneous, 'superfluous' branches, and the needle is used like a pencil so that the plant can be moved around with relative ease to show the finer details. The drying and pressing process consists of layering the mounting papers with various types of blotting cloth and additional paper topped with weights; in this case the weights suggested by Hervey are 50 lbs. worth of rocks found by the seashore. Most seaweed in this case will adhere to the mounting board via gelatinous materials emitted from the plant itself" (Harvard University, Mary A. Robinson online exhibition).
United Kingdom, mid-19th century.
Tall quarto (288 x 227 mm). Contemporary green morocco rebacked with the original spine laid down, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, elaborate gilt rules and rolls to boards, cornerpieces, gilt turn-ins and patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. 24 leaves of green paper with 80 specimens mounted on white paper inserts of various sizes, each labelled with scientific name and location in manuscript, tissue guards. Rebacked as noted above, small repairs to corners, binding rubbed and scuffed, occasional light spots and toning of contents, one specimen lacking. Very good condition.
[Avon] California Perfume Company | Art Deco chromolithographic perfume & cosmetics catalogue for 1926
An early edition of this sumptuous chromolithographic beauty catalogue originally introduced at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition by the California Perfume Company. The firm was founded in 1886 by door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell and would later become Avon. This catalogue includes 31 plates depicting perfumes and air fresheners, soaps, shampoo, skin creams, shaving kits, toothpaste, gift sets, food flavourings and colours, laundry powder, detergent, and household cleaning supplies. Of particular note are the attractive Art Deco packaging designs, a key aspect of the company’s success.
These catalogues were expensive to produce but extremely successful at promoting the company’s products. Between 1915 and 1917 they were bound with screw-back posts so that pages could be added and removed, but after 1924 the use of screw-back posts was discontinued, so that salesmen were required to buy new catalogues. Price lists were originally issued separately, but this was discontinued in 1919, and this catalogue includes product details and prices interleaved on a lighter paper stock.
New York: California Perfume Company, .
Oblong folio. Original limp black cloth with fold-over lower cover, bound with metal rivets, title and floral design to upper cover gilt. Chromolithographic title and 31 plates depicting beauty products, each chromolithographic leaf with a numbered cloth thumb-tab, interleaved with informational pages on lighter paper stock. With a pink order form dated October, 1926 loosely inserted. Cloth a little rubbed with light wear at the extremities, the gilt title significantly oxidised and rubbed, spotting, discolouration and some short splits to the title, some spotting to contents not generally affecting the illustrations, lacking the final cloth thumb-tab. Very good condition.
[Partridge, Margaret] Haslett, Caroline | The Electrical Handbook for Women
First edition, first impression, in the uncommon dust jacket.
The Electrical Handbook for Women was “the cornerstone publication” of the Electrical Association for Women, which was founded in 1924 by engineer Caroline Haslett and other members of the Women’s Engineering Society, “in part to encourage the use of electricity in the home” (ODNB). The contents are well-illustrated and include sections on the general principles underlying electrical technology, legal and regulatory issues, and the technical details of domestic electricity applications such as lighting, heating, cooking, and laundry.
Though edited by Haslett, the book’s main author was electrical engineer Margaret Partridge (1891-1967), who began her career as a munitions worker during the First World War and then founded her own firm, M. Partridge & Co., Domestic Engineers. “The new company focused on providing lighting and electric power for farm and country houses... In 1922 she put on an exhibition of electric models and machines in Exeter, including a range of labour-saving devices aimed at women in the home. It was predicted that her exhibition would ‘stir up the women of Exeter to demand the installation of electricity’ (The Woman Engineer, vol. 1 no. 17 )... Her first rural electrification scheme was in Bampton, a contract gained in 1925 with the support of the electrical engineer Dr John Purves. She canvassed for shareholders among WES members, including Lady Parsons and Lady Shelley-Rolls, and the scheme was completed in 1926. She wrote to her friend Caroline Haslett from the power station, ‘My dear – for sheer exciting experience give me a town to light’ (Partridge to Caroline Haslett, n.d., Inst. ET UK0108 NAEST 092/4.9.68).” (ODNB).
...Edited for The Electrical Association for Women. Foreword by Sir John Snell. London: Hodder & Stoughton, Limited, 1934.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine and EWA roundel to upper board in silver. With the dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece and 19 plates of which 15 are double-sided, folding map, numerous diagrams and illustrations within the text. Spine slightly rolled, a few small spots to the edges of the text block, and very occasionally to the contents. A very good copy in the rubbed jacket with a closed tear affecting the title and a 1-inch chip in the upper panel, as well as a similarly-sized chip at the bottom of the lower panel not affecting the jacket blurb, and a few other smaller chips at the corners and edges.
Waterston, David & Edward Burnet | The Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy. New Edition.
- The complete Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy, the first publication of stereoscopic images for the study of anatomy. A new edition, probably the second, published sometime in the decade after the first edition of 1905-1906. Together with a contemporary stereoscopic viewer.
Stereoscopy takes advantage of humans’ binocular vision – two eyes spaced slightly apart to create depth perception – to create the illusion of three-dimensionality from two-dimensional photographs taken at slightly different angles. The earliest stereoscopes were invented during the 1830s by Sir Charles Wheatstone, and during the 1850s simpler and more economical models were developed, most notably the one designed by Oliver Wendell Holmes. This device contained two prismatic lenses in the eyepiece, which was connected to an adjustable wood or metal card holder. The accessibility of the Holmes stereoscope made stereoscopy a popular medium for both parlour entertainment and education.
The first publication of stereoscopic images for the study of anatomy was by the Scottish physician Daniel John Cunningham (1850-1909), whose Stereoscopic Studies of Anatomy Published under Authority of the University of Edinburgh appeared in 1905 and had as one of its co-authors David Waterston (Rubio, “Stereoscopy in Surgical Neuroanatomy: Past, Present, and Future”, Operative Neurosurgery, Vol. 18, Issue 2, February 2020). Cunningham died in 1909, and Waterston went on to republish the atlas as The Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy. In 1919 he prepared a greatly expanded edition comprising 324 photographs in ten volumes. The present example is undated but, given the above timeline, was probably published sometime in the years between 1909 and 1918. It comes with a contemporary, and fully-functional, Holmes-style viewer which works with the cards but is not original to the set.
Together with a contemporary stereoscope. Edinburgh: [T. C. & E. C. Jack], [c. 1909-1918].
250 printed cards, each with a stereoscopic photographic print pasted at the bottom. Housed in 5 cloth cases with printed title and contents labels. Wood, metal and glass stereoscopic viewer, manufactured in Britain circa 1900-1920. Stereoscopic cards slightly curved from upright storage, occasional dampstain or spotting to the card portions. Some wear at the edges of the boxes, darkening and some loss affecting the paper labels. A very good set.
Steptoe, Patrick & Robert Edwards | A Matter of Life
First edition, first impression of this account of the development of in-vitro fertilisation by the two scientists responsible for the breakthrough. Inscribed from author Patrick Steptoe to media presenter Bob Holness (1928-2012) on the front free endpaper, “With the compliments of Patrick Steptoe, March 1980”. Though Holness’s name does not appear in this copy, it was purchased as part of his library. Before fronting the gameshow Blockbusters Holness had an extensive career in radio, most notably as co-host of LBC’s AM Programme between 1975 and 1985, and many of his guests, like Steptoe, inscribed copies of their books for him. Copies of A Matter of Life signed or inscribed are particularly uncommon, especially in such lovely condition.
At an early stage in his medical career, Patrick Steptoe (1913-1988) developed, “a special interest in female infertility. Diagnostic techniques, particularly in relation to pelvic pathology and endocrinology, were rudimentary, but laparoscopy and culdoscopy were being introduced at centres in Europe and North America. Steptoe visited these centres and established lasting friendships and collaboration with Raoul Palmer in Paris and Hans Frangenheim in Germany. He became the first gynaecologist to develop laparoscopy in Britain, lectured at the first international symposium in gynaecological laparoscopy in Palermo in 1964, and published the first English book on the subject, Laparoscopy in Gynaecology, in 1967. He described not only the potential for accurate diagnosis in relation to problems of infertility, pelvic infection and pain, ectopic pregnancy, and endometriosis, but also explored the therapeutic aspects of surgical laparoscopy. Within a decade this led to the incorporation of laparoscopy into everyday gynaecological practice.
It was at a meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1968 that Robert Edwards first approached Steptoe. A young geneticist and embryologist, Edwards had already done outstanding work on in vitro fertilization in mice, other mammals, and human beings. The collaboration between the two men lasted for twenty years until Steptoe's death. It resulted in the delivery on 25 July 1978 of Louise Brown, the first ‘test-tube’ baby born after laparoscopic oocyte recovery, in vitro fertilization, and transfer of the eight-cell embryo into the mother's uterus. Steptoe and Edwards reported the bare facts in a dramatic letter to The Lancet (12 August 1978) and gave a full account of their work at a historic scientific meeting at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on 26 January 1979.
Following Steptoe's retirement from the National Health Service in 1978, he and Edwards founded the Bourn Hall Clinic, near Cambridge, in 1980. Edwards was the first scientific director and Steptoe, as medical director, continued seeing patients until his death, while at the same time training juniors, lecturing worldwide, and collaborating in more than fifty scientific papers” (ODNB).
...The Story of a Medical Breakthrough. London: Hutchinson, 1980.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. 8 pages of plates from black and white photographs. A fine copy in the jacket.
War Manpower Commission | Women in the War—We Can't Win Without Them
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An original Second World War poster promoting women in the wartime workforce, produced in 1942 by the War Manpower Commission. At the time, “Women in the War” was one of the most widely distributed images of a woman labouring in war production, unlike the “We Can Do It” poster, which was produced only for Westinghouse plants during a few weeks in 1943 and did not become iconic until the 1980s.
“Among the many agencies President Roosevelt had created during the war was the War Manpower Commission, formed in April 1942 to oversee war labor issues in the military, industrial, and civilian sectors. And in June 1942, the Office of War Information was formed to manage the flows of news and propaganda about the war to the public. By 1943, when the labor shortage was most acute, the two agencies worked together in concerted campaigns, targeting employers to hire women and women to become ‘production soldiers’” (Yellin, Our Mothers’ War, p. 44). Women labouring in factories, even in the service of the war effort, was controversial, with only 30 percent of husbands giving unqualified support to the idea of their wives performing such jobs. “Despite the tide of public opinion against working wives, War Manpower Commission director Paul McNutt had a strategy for quelling opposition: ‘The money appeal will continue strong,’ he said in 1943, but we’ll concentrate on patriotism’. Sure enough, all across the country, the public was bombarded with spirited print and radio ads, magazine articles, and posters with slogans like ‘Do the Job He Left Behind’ or ‘Women in the War—We Can’t Win Without Them’ depicting noble, pretty but serious, female war workers on the job... The campaigns glamorized war work, always showing that women could maintain their femininity and still be useful” (Yellin, pp. 45-46).
Examples of this important poster are held at numerous institutions, including the Library of Congress, Imperial War Museum, MOMA, and the Pritzker Military Museum. Copies in such beautiful, unused condition are uncommon in commerce.
Washington D.C.: US Govt. Printing Office, 1942.
Colour poster (28 x 40 in). Professionally mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. Original creases from folding, else bright and fresh. Excellent condition. Professionally mounted, glazed and framed using archival materials.
Mead Cycle Company | Crusader Bicycles advertising booklet
An attractive, early 20th-century advertising booklet for Crusader Bicycles by the Mead Cycle Company of Chicago. It includes two wonderful chromolithographs, including a double page spread depicting the Advance Model Crusader de Luxe for $19.85 and the Crusader Coaster-Brake Special for $17.80. The upper cover advertises their policies, including free shipping, a free 30 day trial, and five year guarantee, and there are also ads for a variety of accessories. “What more do you want in a wheel? What greater assurance could you ask in buying a bicycle? We are putting our priceless reputation behind these two latest Crusader Models and behind the unqualified statement that when you buy one you are making the best bicycle selection and the wisest bicycle investment that anyone could possibly make”. Mead was one of Chicago’s first bicycle manufacturers, beginning operations in 1889 and selling nationally through mail order catalogues such as this one.
Chicago: the Hollister Press for the Mead Cycle Company, [early 20th-century].
12 page advertising booklet, stapled self-wraps. Colour and two-tone chromolithographs. 2 horizontal creases from folding, some spotting and dulling to the cover. Very good condition.
Max Rigo Selling Company | International Aviation Meet. Grant Park Chicago. Panoramic Post Card.
A striking, oversized panoramic postcard photomontage depicting one of the most important aviation events prior to the First World War, the August 1911 International Aviation Meet at Grant Park in Chicago.
The Chicago meet was the largest airshow held up to that time, only eight years after the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers. Over the course of nine days thirty-three amateur and professional aviators competed for cash prizes totalling just over $100,000, watched by an estimated 300,000 spectators. Lincoln Beachey, the world’s premiere stunt pilot, set a world altitude record of 11,642 feet and two pilots, William R. Badger and St. Croix Johnstone, died in crashes.
This postcard is a fantastical composite image depicting the airshow, incorporating photographs of the lakefront buildings, Grant Park, railway tracks, and crowd shots, and all merging into painted backdrops and “crowds”. Fourteen planes are visible in the sky, and while most are painted, a few may have originally have been photographs. Another three are depicted on the ground or taking off, surrounded by people. This copy of the card was posted by “Laurie” of 1859 Sedgwick St, which is adjacent to Lincoln Park on the north side of town, and the recipient was “Miss Florence Ort” of Defiance Ohio. Laurie has additionally annotated the image, labelling for her friend Michigan Avenue, the famous Blackstone Hotel, opened just two years previously, the Auditorium theatre, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago, IL: Max Rigo, 1911.
Folding panoramic postcard (290 x 195 mm). Professionally mounted, glazed, and framed using archival materials. Composite photographic image depicting the Chicago lakefront and early planes. The sender’s and receiver’s details filled out in black ink, and four landmarks noted on the image in the same hand. Marks from stamp, some toning and spotting of the verso, creasing and wear, particularly near the original folds (which are fragile) and at the corners and slightly affecting the image, small tape repair to one corner on the verso. Very good condition.
Bigelow, Frank H. | Balloon Ascensions
- A substantial, 196-page manuscript of measurements obtained during meterological balloon flights in South America, Europe, Africa, and the United States between 1906 and 1911 (the title gives a date range of 1911-1913, but there do not seem to be any entries after 1911).
The compiler of this manuscript, meteorologist and astronomer Frank H. Bigelow (1851-1924), grew up in Concord, Massachusetts and was educated at the Episcopal Theological School in nearby Cambridge. During the 1870s and 80s he served two stints as assistant astronomer at the Argentine National Observatory at Cordoba, where many of these measurements were made, and also worked as a professor of mathematics at Racine College, as assistant in the National Almanac Office in Washington D. C., and as a professor of meteorology at the National Weather Bureau.
Neatly written on graph paper, each entry in this manuscript is laid out as a grid with the columns headed by elevations. The rows are labelled with a variety of mathematical formula that often relate to each other as they descend the page, “T₁ - T₀” followed by “log T₁ - T₀”, or “T” followed by “log T” then “Log T₁ - T₀” and “Log (Log T₁ - T₀)”. There are also rows where work is presumably checked (check) and various rows are added together (summ). Unfortunately, we cannot locate a guide to the symbols used here, making it difficult to determine exactly what Bigelow was studying. Prose notes occasionally appear, however, and seem to indicate that his measurements were connected with heat and possibly solar activity. “Since z increases upwards the (-) sign indicates loss of heat energy from level to level outwards... The evidence is strongly against the theory that absorption is proportional to the density or path length...” “The assumed (E₁ - E₀) solar near surface seems to require special modification because the p values are impossible...”.
As well as meteorology, Bigelow studied the solar corona, aurora, and terrestrial magnetism, and it may be in pursuit of these subjects that the present ascensions were made. It is also unclear whether Bigelow or a colleague actually went up in the balloons, or whether they were uncrewed weather balloons which had first been used in the late 1890s by the French meteorologist Léon Teisserenc de Bort. We suspect the former, as results are given for multiple elevations during each flight. Unusually, within the manuscript the flights are bound entirely out of date order, and it’s unclear whether this was an accident or a way to highlight or connect certain results. This manuscript would benefit from attention by an informed cataloguer or scholar, in connection with similar materials....Cordoba - Argentina 1911 - 1913. Europe and United States. 1906-1911.
Folio (352 x 215 mm), single leaves oversewn in sections onto sawn-in cords. 196 page manuscript in black and red ink and pencil, rectos only. Leaves numbered in blue crayon. Contemporary quarter black skiver, black pebble-grain cloth, titles to spine gilt, marbled endpapers, graph paper leaves. Spine professionally relined and reattached to text block by Bainbridge Conservation, binding rubbed and worn, particularly along the spine, endpapers and blanks tanned, contents a little toned, a few contemporary ink blotches. Very good condition.
Emiliani, Cesare | Ancient Temperatures
- Offprint of an early popular article on ancient climate by one of the founders of the field, Cesare Emiliani (1922-1995).
During the late 1950s Emiliani studied the tests (shells) of marine amoebas called foraminifera that are found in samples taken from the floors of the deep oceans. He realised that the oxygen isotope composition of the tests was influenced by atmospheric conditions at the time they were alive and that the deep-sea cores could be used to chart climate going back millions of years. This work laid the foundations for modern analysis of past climates. It also established that the ice ages were a cyclic phenomena; contributed to our understanding ocean floor spreading and plate tectonics; and provided influential support for the hypothesis of Milutin Milanković that climate changes in the deep past had been driven by long-term alterations in the Earth’s orbit and geology. Emiliani remained a leading figure in the study of Earth’s climate history through the 1990s, and was awarded both the Vega Medal and the Alexander Aggasiz Medal.
...Reprinted from Scientific American, February 1958. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1958.
12 page pamphlet, stapled. Illustrations throughout. Very faintly toned at the extreme edges of the spine and wrappers. A superb copy.
Smyth, Charles Piazzi | The Great Comet of 1843 as seen at the Cape of Good Hope...
A rare and evocative lithograph of the Great Comet of 1843 as seen from the Cape of Good Hope, observed and, most unusually, also lithographed by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900). Copies of this print are exceptionally scarce, with none recorded in COPAC, WorldCat, or auction records. Given that the paper was never published, it seems unlikely that more than a handful were produced.
Smyth was born to well-connected British parents in Naples, his father being a naval officer and respected amateur astronomer, and his mother the daughter of the British Consul to the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Smyth’s godfather was the famous Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, from whom he received his middle name. Thanks to his father’s connections, at age sixteen Smyth was made assistant to Thomas Maclear, HM Astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope. “He spent ten years in southern Africa working in positional astronomy and in arduous geodetic surveys of the province. Encouraged by John Herschel, he experimented in early photography and in 1843 succeeded in producing the oldest known calotypes of people and scenes in southern Africa” (ODNB).
During Smyth’s time in the Cape a remarkable comet appeared in the skies. “The Great March Comet of 1843 was so bright that it was seen in the daytime sky by many people on every continent”, though its brightest and largest appearance was in the southern hemisphere (Stoyan, Atlas of Great Comets). Its tail, measuring up to 70° (more than 350 million kilometers in length), still holds the record for length, and John Herschel described it in 1849 as “by far the most remarkable comet of the century” (Stoyan).
Smyth was a talented amateur artist who frequently painted and sketched, both in connection with his astronomical work and as an observer of the people and landscapes around him. “The naturalistic representations and watercolours by Chales Piazzi Smyth, who was working at the Cape of Good Hope when the comet appeared, are the most impressive reproductions of this apparition of a comet” (Stoyan). Smyth was particularly interested in printing techniques and their applications to scientific illustration. His first major published work was a paper submitted to the Royal Astronomical Society on this subject, in which he “reviews critically the illustrations in several recent publications and discourses with apparent authority on the processes of engraving, aquatintintg and mezzotinting. He suggests modifications that might be used to yield more subtle effects” (Warner, Charles Pizaai Smyth: Astronomer-Artist, His Cape Years, p. 113).
Smyth’s proficiency with lithography and copperplate engraving allowed him to print the illustrations for his own papers, a practice that was (and indeed, still is) unusual (Warner, p. 113). In 1846 he was appointed Astronomer Royal at Edinburgh, “the hub of the printing and illustration industry... in these circumstances he did not need to acquire a press, but bought or hired stones on which he could draw his pictures and then send the stones to the nearest printer. Piazzi was engaged in lithographing of his sketches ‘The Zodiacal Light as Seen at the Cape of Good Hope’ and ‘The Great Comet of 1843’ —to be used in his published accounts— when [his friend from South Africa, the artist] Charles Bell arrived in 1847”. At first, Piazzi sent his stones to the printer W. Walton, who was probably responsible for this print, but later Bell purchased a press which he and Piazzi shared (Warner, pp. 114-115).
Both The Great Comet and The Zodiacal Light were meant to illustrate Smyth’s unpublished paper “Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light”, which was completed on March 25th, 1848, received by the Royal Society on the 13th of April, and withdrawn on the 2nd of November. The manuscript and the original painting are still at the Royal Society and have been digitised (references AP/30/18 and AP/30/18/5), and two oil paintings of the comet by Smyth are held at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich (object ID BHC4148 and BHC4147). This copy of the lithograph is especially intriguing because of the pencilled annotation where Smith’s printed initials should be: “CPS del[iniavit] & lit”, indicating that he made the lithograph himself. Though the writing is dissimilar to Smyth’s formal hand, the likeliest explanation is that it was inserted by himself or someone close to him.
...in the Evening of March 3rd. [Edinburgh], June 1848.
Lithograph (print 115 x 182 mm; sheet 277 x 384 mm). Conservation mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. Professionally cleaned using archival methods but with some faint spots remaining, short closed tear at the right edge archivally repaired. Excellent condition.
[Fioravanti, Leonardo] Falloppio, Gabriele | Secreti Diversi & Miracolosi
A rare early edition, likely the fifth in the original Italian, of a significant book of secrets first published in 1563 and attributed to the anatomist Gabriele Falloppio (1523-1562), though probably written by the iconoclastic physician Leonardo Fioravanti (1517- c. 1588). The first five editions were all printed in Venice, with the book given its lasting form by the editor of the 1565 second edition, Borgaruccio Borgarucci. Copies of the first five editions are well-represented institutionally but rare on the market, and only two other copies have appeared at auction in recent decades.
Books of secrets, compilations of natural and technical knowledge, were a popular medieval and early modern genre with roots stretching back to the Hellenistic period. As William Eamon, one of the foremost scholars of the subject, writes in Science in the Secrets of Nature, “Underlying these works was the assumption that nature was a repository of occult forces that might be manipulated, not by the magus’s cunning, but merely by the use of correct techniques. The utilitarian character of the books of secrets gave concrete substance to this claim. Unlike the recondite treatises on the philosophical foundations of magic, which barely touched base with the real world, the books of secrets were grounded upon a down-to-earth, experimental outlook: they did not affirm underlying principles but taught ‘how to.’ Hence they seemed to hold forth a real and accessible promise of power... What they revealed were recipes, formulas, and ‘experiments’ associated with one of the crafts or with medicine: for example, instructions for making quenching waters to harden iron and steel, recipes for mixing dyes and pigments, ‘empirical’ remedies, cooking recipes, and practical alchemical formulas such as a jeweler or tinsmith might use... By the eighteenth century such ‘secrets’ were techniques and nothing more. In the sixteenth century, however, the term was still densely packed with its ancient and medieval connotations: the association with esoteric wisdom, the domain of occult or forbidden knowledge, the artisan’s cunning... and the political power that attended knowledge of secrets” (Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, pp. 4-5). This particular volume explores a wide range of secrets, the first chapter covering medicine, the second wines and spirits, and the third alchemical and metallurgical recipes, including producing gold and silver from lead; working with precious metals, iron, and copper; producing cosmetics (”red for women’s faces”); and also includes more unusual recipes such as how to carve letters into marble without iron and how to make an inextinguishable candle.
Books of secrets were often spuriously attributed to famous doctors, philosophers, and occult figures as a marketing strategy. When Secreti Diversi et Miracolosi was first published in 1563 its Venetian printer Marco di Maria explained that the compilation had “fallen into his hands” after the great anatomist’s death, and that the contents were the results of Falloppio’s own successful experiments. However, Eamon cautiously attributes the text to Leonardo Fioravanti. “Indeed, the work praises the Bolognese surgeon so effusively that it reads like an extended advertisement for Fioravanti’s books” (Eamon, pp. 166-167). Fioravanti’s “marvellous” ability to cure syphilis, his treatments for wounds and leprosy, and his most recent books are all promoted. In 1563 Fioravanti was still a young man establishing himself, hence the need for promotion. But he eventually became well-known, an outspoken critic of contemporary medicine and “one of the wonders of the age” whose “skill as a surgeon and unorthodox medical practices made him the focus of a cultlike following” (Eamon p. 168).
Bibliography: USTC 828720, Welcome I, 2161; Thorndike VI, p. 218
...Racolti dal Falopia, & Approbati da altri Medici di Gran Fama. Novamente Ristampati, et à Commun Beneficio di Ciascuno, Distinti in Tre Libri... Venice: Alessandro Gardane [for Giacomo Leoncini], 1578.
Small octavo (145 x 90 mm). Early-18th century vellum, paper covered spine with manuscript library label, blind fillets, red speckled edges. Publisher Giacomo Leoncini’s woodcut device to title page and the verso of the final leaf, 5 woodcut initials. Some contemporary or near-contemporary pen marks and short notes in the margins, many partially trimmed, more significant 12-line manuscript note to the recto of the final leaf, and pen trials, a partially illegible name, and a child’s doodles to the verso of the same leaf. Vellum peeling a little from a corner of the upper board, some marks and spots to the vellum, minor area of insect damage to pastedowns and early and late leaves only slightly affecting the text, ink stain to K2 and adjacent leaves. Very good condition.