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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.
Barthez, Paul-Joseph | Nouvelle Méchanique des Mouvements de l'Homme et des Animaux
First edition of this important work in the history of neurophysiology by the French physician Paul-Joseph Barthez (1734-1806), who “demonstrated through very intricate anatomical analysis that the simple hydraulic explanations offered by the iatrochemists (particularly Borelli) would never explain the delicate balance and control of muscles that are needed for such motions as walking and swimming” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography I, p. 479). An attractive copy in contemporary mottled calf.
Carcassonne: Pierre Polere, 1798.
Quarto (258 x 195 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label, triple gilt fillets, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Small abrasion where an signature has been removed from the verso of the front free endpaper, a few tiny spots to the title and occasionally to the contents. Mild rubbing and scuffing of the binding. An excellent, unsophisticated copy.
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.
[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.
[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.
Moore, Harold | Metals and Alloys
First edition of this uncommon mid-century children’s book, stylishly illustrated throughout with diagrams depicting atoms and molecules, the microscopic structure of metals and alloys, and industrial processes.
“The Nuffield Foundation Science Teaching Project operated via sections based at the Project's headquarters at Chelsea College, London, developing content and methods of presentation for teaching science subjects at various levels. The Publications Department produced materials for these projects in physical science, physics, chemistry and biology at different levels. Many were published jointly by Longman and Penguin, with Penguin handling most of the production and design and Longman handling distribution, sales and some editing” (King’s College London archives catalogue, reference GB0100 KCLCA CNU/PBN).
...Chemistry Background Books. London & Harmondsworth, Middlesex: for the Nuffield Foundation by Longman/Penguin Books, 1968.
Sextodecimo. Original limp, plastic coated wrappers printed in grey, black and red. Illustrated throughout. Wrappers a little rubbed and faintly toned, contents fresh. An excellent copy.
Bewick, Thomas | A History of British Birds
The seventh edition of one of the finest illustrated ornithology books ever published, the first field guide affordable to the middle class. This being the final edition to include new wood engravings, including Bewick’s last bird engraving, the Cream Coloured Plover. An attractive set, the contents fresh.
“In early May 1825, near Helpston in Northampstonshire, the poet John Clare saw a small brown bird that he could not identify. Did anyone, he asked his friend Joseph Henderson, have a copy of Bewick’s Birds? All lovers of birds in these years looked to Bewick. He spoke directly to a man like Clare, a former farm worker and lime burner who knew every inch of the fields around his home, and to Henderson, head gardener at the nearby hall. Bewick was in his seventies by then, but he came from the same world as them, growing up on a small-holding in the Tyne Valley... He was a fine naturalist himself, and his work combined keen, detailed observation with a new approach showing animals and birds in their natural settings, as part of the whole great interrelated web of nature. ‘Nature’ and God fused together in Bewick’s vision, as a rolling force that infused every aspect of life, from the habits of an ant to the vastness of the universe, ‘this sublime, this amazing, this mighty work of Suns and Worlds innumerable’. He felt its darkness as well as its beauty and his work touched the dawning Romantic age: Wordsworth was among the first to sing his praises and Charlotte Brontë placed his prints of icy seas in the hands of her young heroine, Jane Eyre” (Uglow, Nature’s Engraver, pp. xvii-xviii).
Newcastle: for R. E. Bewick, sold by him, Longman and Co., 1832.
2 volumes, octavo (211 x 129 mm). Mid-19th century calf, spines elaborately gilt in compartments with floral tools, brown morocco labels, double gilt fillets, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers and edges. Wood engravings throughout. Bindings a little rubbed with a few small scuffs and abrasions, including a one and a half cm abrasion affecting a title label on volume I, light spotting to the title of volume II but otherwise the contents are clean and fresh. Very good condition.
Société Excelsior | Préservatifs pour Dames
A nice copy of this rare French contraceptives catalogue, first issued around 1907 and decorated in the Art Nouveau style.
At the time this catalogue was published family planning was being championed by French syndicalists as a response to capitalist exploitation, an idea that influenced both Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger. However, Sanger’s insistence that she was forced to travel to Paris to get information on contraceptives was a clever bit of self-mythologising; despite the passage of the Comstock Act in 1873, resources were available in the United States. It’s therefore interesting to note that the catalogue’s title page advertises “Pessaires Américains”, showing that the exoticising of contraception travelled in both directions across the Atlantic.
Among the articles advertised here are diaphragms (only recently invented), sponges, douches and enemas, belts for sanitary napkins, lubricant (”pommade virginale”), antiseptic creams and artificial breasts, as well as novelties such as chastity belts and intimate perfume. Included are numerous engravings depicting the products, as well as two diagrams of the female reproductive system.
This catalogue is rare; there are no auction records and WorldCat locates no copies with this specific title. Institutionally, there is only one other contraceptives catalogue by the same publisher, at the Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Santé, Paris.
...Préservatifs de tous modèles. Insufflateurs de Poudre Anticonceptionnelle. Pessaires Américains. Éponges préservatives. Appareils d’hygiène féminine. Produits et Objets intimes nouveaux. Paris: Société Excelsior, c. 1907.
Duodecimo. 64 page catalogue, original blue wrappers printed in red and black. Orange decorative border to each page, engravings throughout. Wrappers a little rubbed and creased, small white spot to the upper wrapper and a darker spot to the lower, light wear at the spine ends, contents toned and with occasional light spots. Very good condition.
Watson, Hewett Cottrell | Topographical Botany
First edition, presentation set inscribed by the author on each title, “Mary Edmonds from the Author, H. C. W. 1873” and “Mary Edmonds from the Author, June 24th 1874”.
Inspired by the work of Alexander von Humboldt, Hewett Cottrell Watson (1804-1881) became Victorian Britain’s leading phytogeographer, and his research contributed to Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. “Watson's major botanical endeavour was producing several versions of a work first entitled Outlines of the Geographical Distribution of British Plants (1832); it reached its most extensive form as Cybele Britannica, or, British Plants, and their Geographical Relations (4 vols., 1847–59). Volume four contains his most detailed phytogeographical conclusions. After publishing several supplements, he summarized his data in Topographical Botany: being Local and Personal Records towards shewing the Distribution of British Plants (2 vols., 1873–4). He was working on a second edition of it when he died; it was completed by John G. Baker and William W. Newbould (1883)” (ODNB). Watson was also responsible for the foundation of botanical exchange clubs and the publication of the London Catalogue of British Plants, which amassed the contributions of thousands of amateur and professional botanists across Britain.
...Being Local and Personal Records Towards Shewing the Distribution of British Plants Traced Through the 112 Counties and Vice-Counties of England and Scotland. Thames Ditton: for private distribution, 1873 & 74.
2 volumes, octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt, yellow coated endpapers. Map. Corners and edges bumped, dampstains to both lower boards, small area of dampstain to edge of upper board of volume II, occasional light spotting to contents and edges of text block of volume II. A very good set.
Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd. | Design Handbook Volume I General [&] A.300B Supplement
Due to this item's weight, extra shipping costs will apply.
A rare copy of the Hawker Siddeley Design Handbook, published in 1969 in preparation for work on the revolutionary Airbus A300, the world’s first wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner, together with a copy of the 300-page Supplement specifically for that aircraft. As explained by Director and Chief Engineer J. P. Smith in the introduction, this handbook was distributed to “Design Engineering staff at Hatfield and Chester” as well as “all HSA design departments to enable those concerned to study the content in preparation for its use with new projects. The A 300B and the HS 144 [possibly an early version of the British Aerospace 146 short-haul airliner] will be the first projects to which the new Handbook will apply at Hatfield and Chester” while current handbooks would “remain in use for Trident, HS 125, Comet, and other earlier projects”.
The Handbook itself includes every annual amendment issued up to 1978, and the separate A300B Supplement also includes the twelve amendments up to 1970. Handbooks of this type are rare on the market, and we can locate no copies in institutional collections or at auction. As the introduction states, they were considered company property, to be returned “when not required or should an individual be leaving the service of the Company”. Their size and unwieldy format also made it less likely that copies would be preserved in such nice condition. With design handbooks of this type it was standard procedure for outdated sections to be destroyed and replaced with each amendment, and it appears that this was done here, as a number of different issues are represented throughout (as indicated in the footer of each page).
The Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Company was founded in 1935 by the combination of Armstrong Siddeley and Hawker Aircraft, then the two largest British aircraft manufacturing firms. Hawker Siddeley was one of the most important manufacturing firms of the Second World War, producing the famed Hawker Hurricanes. Following the war they moved into a variety of military and civilian markets, including guided missile, nuclear propulsion, electrical engineering, railway, and space technologies. Along with the Airbus A300, their most well-known post-war products were the HS Harrier, the first vertical take-off and landing jet aircraft, and the world’s first commercial jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet.
...Copy No. 232. [Kingston upon Thames]: Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd., 1969-78.
Handbook approximately 600 pages. Originally issued unbound with holes for a ring binder, this copy bound by the original owner with turquoise ribbon. The separate A300 Supplement being approximately 328 pages and bound with a metal clip. Some double page chart in both volumes. A little spotting to the top leaf and edges of text block of the handbook, some small marks and scuffs to the outer leaes of the Supplement. Excellent condition.
Air Ministry | Signal Book for Use in Air Navigation
First edition, an uncommon aircraft signal book published at the beginning of the Second World War in February 1940, this copy with three pages of manuscript notes on Morse procedures loosely inserted.
The introduction states that this signal book was “drawn up in handy form for crews” and was “intended to facilitate communications between aircraft and other aircraft, aeronautical stations, ships or coast signalling stations using the International Code of Signals”. It is “divided into three parts: the first describes the signals prescribed by the International Air Convention of 1919 and a certain number of additional signals; the second part contains instructions for the use of signals in messages; and the third part is a Code of abbreviations extracted from the International Code of Signals”. The illustrations include national flags as displayed by ships and aircraft; aircraft navigation lights and airport signalling; distress signals; signals to be used next to grounded planes (”I require petrol”, “I require medical attendance”, “friendly natives”, “All is well. I can carry out repairs and take-off without assistance”). The final section lists single, double, and triple-letter morse signals (“I sighted a disabled vessel in [position indicated] apparently without radio”, “prepare for a cyclone”, “a balloon which has broken its cable is adrift”, “I have on board mail for you”).
...Drawn Up in Conformity with the Air Convention of 1919 and the International Code of Signals. Published for the information and guidance of all concerned. By command of the Air Council. Air Publication 1795. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, February, 1940.
Octavo. Original blue-grey boards, blue cloth backstrip, titles to upper board in black, text tabbed by chapter. Contemporary three-page manuscript detailing the Morse procedure for sending ship and receiving ship loosely inserted. Illustrations and charts throughout the text, many in basic colours. Binding rubbed with some marks, spots, and partial toning, corners worn, spotting to early leaves and edges of text block. Very good condition.
Wyatt, [Matthew Coates] | A Representation of the Meteor seen at Paddington...
A dramatic and uncommon mezzotint depicting the spectacular meteor seen in London on February 11th, 1850, by the prominent court artist Matthew Coates Wyatt (1777-1862). One other copy of this print appears in recent auction records, sold at Galerie Bassenge in 2016, and institutional copies are held at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, Museum Bojmans in Rotterdam, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the British Museum, which has George Cruikshank’s copy, presented to him by the artist.
“In 1850 a huge meteor appeared over England and was visible in London. It was captured dramatically by Matthew Coates Wyatt over Paddington in a mezzotint that suggests, due to the explosion and sparks of its head, that it was a bolide... Other accounts and representations from various locations were reported in the Illustrated London News... as well as in other periodicals. James Glaisher, the assistant to the Astronomer Royal, published an appeal for additional reports in the same issue, and consequently so many accounts were sent in that Glaisher had them published in the Philosophical Magazine” (Olson & Pasachoff, Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries in British Art and Science, pp. 213-214).
“By good luck, the painter and sculptor Matthew Cotes Wyatt happened to witness the meteor over Paddington; sensing a market, he published this velvety mezzotint of the view two months later... The technique had largely gone out of fashion by 1850, but the rich darks and brilliant lights that it allows were a perfect choice for this dramatic nighttime scene” (Museum of Fine Arts Boston).
Wyatt was the youngest son of the architect James Wyatt and a favourite in the court of George III. “His designs represented a dramatic and full-blooded union of neo-classicism and baroque revival. He was more a theatrical designer than a sculptor in the conventional sense” (ODNB). Wyatt was responsible for a number of significant commissions, including the ceiling of the concert room at Hanover Square; the Nelson monument in the Exchange Flags at Liverpool; Princess Charlotte’s marble cenotaph in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor; the bronze equestrian statue of George III that stands in Pall Mall East; and extensive decorative work at Belvoir Castle, home of the Duke of Rutland.
...About 12 Minutes before 11 O'Clock, on the Evening of the 11th of February 1850. Mr. Wyatt having retained that splendid object in view from its appearance until it passed away in brilliant corruscations, made a drawing of it whilst its impression upon him remained undiminished, and he shortly afterwards Engraved this Plate, in order that a faithfully graphical exhibition of its appearance might be more generally diffused. London: Lloyd Bros. & Leggatt, Hayward & Leggatt, May 1, 1850.
Mezzotint (print 280 x 425 mm, sheet 320 x 445 mm). Professionally conserved and cleaned. Mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. Pencilled note ‘Astronomy” to the sheet. Some minor creases affecting the image, paper lightly toned. Very good condition.
Hibbert, Samuel | History of the Extinct Volcanos of the Basin of Neuwied
First and only edition of this rare work on the effect of volcanic activity on the development of the Rhine Valley, in the original cloth. WorldCat locates only three copies, at Berlin, Göttingen, and the University of Manchester. Only two have appeared at auction in the last decade, this copy at at Forum Auctions in 2017 and one in library cloth at Dominic Winter in 2013.
Author Samuel Hibbert Ware (1782-1848) was an antiquarian and geologist who spent most of his life in Edinburgh, where he was a member of numerous learned societies and was friendly with notables such as Sir Walter Scott. “In 1817 Hibbert visited Shetland, where he discovered 'chromate of iron' and undertook a geological survey of the country. For this discovery the Society of Arts awarded him in 1820 the Iris gold medal. In Shetland he also discovered what he described as 'native hydrate of magnesia'. In 1822 he published his Description of the Shetland Islands, in which he described the local geology and antiquities. Hibbert contributed various papers to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, of which he was secretary from 1823 to 1827, with responsibility for obtaining contributions for meetings and preparing them for publication. He remained an active member of the society, editing volumes and helping run the museum, under what were sometimes difficult conditions.... In 1824, at the request of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Hibbert delivered at Manchester a course of lectures on geology, and in 1827 a further course for the Manchester Royal Institution... He and his family also spent two or three years abroad, chiefly visiting the volcanic districts of France, Italy, and northern Germany, and he published a History of the Extinct Volcanoes of the Basin of Neuwied on the Lower Rhine (1832) on his return to Edinburgh” (ODNB).
A History of the Extinct Volcanos was well received in the scientific community. A near contemporary, Edward Hull, described it as a work of “remarkable merit, if we consider the time at which it was written. For not only does it give a clear and detailed account of the volcanic phenomena of the Eifel and the Lower Rhine, but it anticipates the principles upon which modern writers account for the formation of river valleys and other physical features; and in working out the physical history of the Rhine Valley below Mainz, and its connection with the extinct volcanos which are found on both banks of that river, he has taken very much the same line of reasoning which was some years afterwards adopted by Sir A. Ramsay when dealing with the same subject. It does not appear that the latter writer was aware of Dr. Hibbert’s treatise” (Hull, Volcanos Past and Present, p. 7).
...on the Lower Rhine. With Maps, Views, and Other Illustrations. Edinburgh & London: W. and D. Lang; Treuttel and Wurtz ad Richter, 1832.
Octavo. Original brown silk morieé, printed paper label to spine. 2 hand-coloured maps, one being the double page folding frontispiece, 6 lithographed plates of which 3 are double page, 18 illustrations within the text. Table and directions to the binder at rear. Publisher’s advert on the front pastedown, covered by a late-19th century Munden family bookplate. Splits at the head of the spine, some small worn spots at the extremities, joints cracked, some light offsetting affecting the maps, some of the plates darkened, light spotting to the edges of the text block. Edges untrimmed. Very good condition.
Bowman, Martie | Calendar for 1936 depicting pilot Martie Bowman in her WACO INF biplane.
A remarkable piece of early aviation ephemera, this calendar was produced as a Christmas greeting by the early female aviator Marguerite (Martie) Bowman (1901-1985) and her husband Leslie, also a pilot. It depicts Bowman flying in her WACO INF biplane, registration number NC625Y, in formation with two others, and includes portraits of Bowman, her husband, and their daughter Larnie Bowman Allen. We have learned from one of the Bowmans’ grandchildren that Larnie joined the family profession, becoming a wing-walker at eight and soloing at twelve.
The Bowmans established an aviation business together and, during the 1920s, 30s and 40s, Martie Bowman ferried planes from factories and regularly participated in air races. She competed in the 1930 Women’s Dixie Air Derby from Washington D. C. to Chicago, and won the Women’s International Air Derby of 1934 and the two-day women’s championship Shell Trophy Cup at Long Beach, California. In her biography of fellow pilot Phoebie Omlie, Janann Sherman recounts that during the Dixie Derby Bowman selflessly assisted Omlie, who had an injury, by waking up each hour during the night to apply medicated drops to her eyes (Sherman, Walking on Air, p. 65).
The Bowman’s papers are held at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and as of 2001 two of Martie Bowman’s planes were still registered as flight-worthy with the FAA.
[Olympia, WA], 1935.
Silver gelatin composite photograph (250 x 200 mm) with small tear-off monthly calendar for 1936. Inscribed “Merry Christmas, The Bowmans”. A few minor nicks and spots at the edges. Excellent, unused condition.
Nansen, Fridtjof | Farthest North
Second English language edition, the first to appear in the famous gilt-blocked publisher’s cloth. A lovely set, the cloth bright and fresh.
Born in Christiana (Oslo) in 1861, Fridtjof Nansen trained as a scientist. He earned a PhD in zoology, made important contributions to neurological anatomy, and worked as a natural history curator in Bergen and Oslo. He was also a champion cross-country skier, and combined his scientific interests with a thirst for adventure by becoming the first person to cross the unexplored interior of Greenland, using a novel method - skis. Next he planned an even more ambitious trip to the Arctic, again applying radical new ideas to the challenge. He began with the scientific hypothesis that an ocean current carried polar ice from east to west, and decided that the best way to reach the pole was to intentionally trap his ship in the pack ice near Siberia, live in it for a year or two as it made its way toward the pole, and then set off with skis and dogs for the final leg. Instead of trying to bend the Arctic to his will, he would “take note of the forces of nature and try to work with them and not against them” (Huntford, p. 180).
Nansen’s plans were technologically ingenious. The strength of polar ice could crumple a normal ship, so he devised a revolutionary new type, one with “sloping sides and rounded bilges, completely smooth, rather like an egg cut in half. In this way the ice could not get a grip, and instead of being crushed by the floes she would rise safely under pressure” (Huntford p. 183). He tinkered obsessively with his sledges and skis to adapt them for arctic conditions; designed lighter, more flexible clothing; and was the first polar explorer to adopt the Primus stove. He arranged a wide variety of fresh and preserved food to provide nutritional balance for the crew, and had many items laboratory tested before ordering them. Scurvy had stalked every previous polar voyage, and while Nansen’s theory about its cause was incorrect, the varied diet meant that this was the first polar expedition in which no one was affected. In fact, it was the first such expedition in which every crewman made it back safely - many, including Nansen, having gained weight rather than lost it despite spending nearly three years in the arctic. The Voyage was also one of significant scientific discovery, with the Fram “serving as an oceanographic-meteorological-biological laboratory” that obtained enough data to fill six volumes of scientific observations published on the ship’s return (Nobel Peace Prize biography).
Though Nansen did not reach the north pole, he achieved what was then the farthest north (86°13.6′N), around 314 km beyond the previous record. He “returned to international acclaim not only for the voyage itself but for its results, proof of a deep Arctic Ocean, free of any land masses or islands, and extensive data on magnetism, zoology, and oceanography. His account of the journey, Farthest North, was a worldwide bestseller and prepared him for an effective life of diplomacy” (Books on Ice).
...Being the record of a voyage of exploration of the ship Fram 1893-96 and of a fifteen months’ sleigh journey by Dr. Nansen and Lieut. Johansen with an appendix by Otto Sverdrup Captain of the Fram. About one hundred and twenty full page and numerous text illustrations and coloured plate in facsimile from Nansen’s own sketches. Portrait and maps.
London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1898.
2 volumes, octavo. Publisher’s green cloth elaborately blocked in gilt, silver, and red with depictions of the Fram on the covers, red speckled edges. Frontispiece to each volume, colour plate and colour folding map to volume I, 212 illustrations from photographs and drawings. Subtle repairs to the joints of volume I, professional tissue repairs to some minor closed tears at the inner margin and a couple of the folds of the map, cloth lightly rubbed at the extremities but overall fresh and bright. Very good condition.
The American Products Company | Zanol. The Better Way to Buy. Catalog No. 20
A beautiful, 78 page chromolithographic catalogue for the American Products Company’s Zanol line of cosmetics, food products, and home goods, including 16 pages in full colour. A superb example of Art Deco marketing design.
The American Products Company was founded in 1907 by three brothers, Albert, Edgar and Clarence Mihalovitch (Albert later changed his surname to Mills), of Cincinnati, who hoped to capture the growing Midwestern consumer market (see “Cosmetics by the American products Company”, Collecting Vintage Compacts blog, January 2012). This catalogue promotes “Shopping in Your Own Home the Zanol Way”, and explains that “the Zanol plan affords you the opportunity of buying the finest products possible to produce, direct from the maker, delivered right to your home, absolutely fresh, unconditionally guaranteed... The complete Zanol line comprises more than 350 products... all of them made from the choicest ingredients in our sanitary, daylight Pure Food Kitchens and Laboratories, under the direction of skilled chemists, chefs, and dieticians”.
Advertised here are a wide array of consumables, with a focus on powders and syrups that could be shipped easily and would appeal to an emerging middle class who were time and money-conscious. For the kitchen there are food flavourings and colours, and numerous instant mixes for soft drinks, jams and jellies, icing, cakes, pies, and puddings. Among them are Ezemade pumpkin pie filling (”it is now possible to serve delicious pumpkin pie throughout the year”); Flakykrust instant pie crust; Mapelade instant maple syrup (”now you can afford delicious maple syrup whenever you want it”); and even Ezemade ice cream powder (”just add to a quart of milk and freeze”). The broad selection of home goods include medications and hygiene products, house cleaning and repair supplies, hot water bottles, paints, insecticide, and even a set of salt and pepper shakers. Perhaps the most appealing section is the beauty line, comprising soaps and toothpaste (”don’t envy pretty teeth - have them”); face and body powders; a variety of lotions including almond, lemon and witch hazel, cucumber and benzoine, and “dermaline of roses” (”keep the alluring charms of radiant youth”); shampoos, pomade, and hair tonics; cosmetics including powder compacts and tubes of lipstick; and perfumes, primarily their three main lines, La Bara (named after the silent film “vamp” Theda Bara, best known for playing Cleopatra), Fleur d’Orient, and Dream Girl. There are also a number of gift sets packaging perfumes, soaps and cosmetics, including a shaving kit for men, sets for new mothers, and an attractive La Barra manicure kit.
Edition A. Cincinnati, OH: The American Products Company, May, 1925.
Perfect bound (355 x 280 mm). Original brown wrappers printed in blue and cream, brown cloth backstrip. 78 pages, of which 16 are in full colour and the rest being uncoloured lithographs on single-colour backgrounds. With the original order form loosely inserted. Light rubbing at the extremities, small chips at the ends of the spine. A fresh copy in excellent condition.
Gould, Stephen Jay | Ontogeny and Phylogeny
First edition, first printing of the author’s first book.
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century. His theory of “punctuated equilibria” radically revised the idea that evolution is a slow and constant accumulation of changes, pointing out that instead it often occurs in rapid bursts of speciation followed by periods of stasis. He was a prominent defender of the teaching of evolution in schools, and a leading critic of the field of sociobiology, which he saw as providing a pseudoscientific basis for discrimination. But he was best known as a popular science writer, penning numerous books and a series of 300 essays for a general audience.
Gould's first book, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, was written at the suggestion of Ernst Mayr as a way to become comfortable with long-form writing before tackling The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, his magnum opus on punctuated equilibria. It explores the relationship between embryonic development and evolution, and includes analyses of disproven theories, such as Haeckel’s hypotheses that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Of all Gould’s books, Ontogeny and Phylogeny is “the one with the most impact... to say that this work is a hallmark in this area of evolutionary theory would be an understatement. it proved the catalyst for much of the future work in the field, and to a large degree was the inspiration for the modern field of ‘evolutionary developmental biology’. Gould’s hope was to show that the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny is fundamental to evolution, and at its heart is a simple premise—that variations in the timing and rate of development provide the raw material upon which natural selection can operate” (MacNamara, “Heterochrony, Disparity and Macroevolution”, Paleobiology 31(2), 2005, pp. 17-26).
Cambridge, MA & London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977.
Octavo. Original brown cloth, titles to spine in silver, green endpapers. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and illustrations throughout the text. Small, faint ink stamp to the half title. Cloth lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy in the jacket with some dampstain and cockling affecting the upper and lower panels.
Tůma, Jan & Frant Ouřada | Atomová Energie.
Third edition, revised. A very nice example of this rare Soviet-era Czechoslovakian book on nuclear power. Published in 1957, it may have been produced in anticipation of the country’s first nuclear power plant, a Soviet-funded KS 150 heavy water reactor at Jaslovské Bohunice in western Slovakia, which would run on unenriched uranium mined locally. Agreed in 1956, construction unexpectedly took 16 years and the plant was activated in 1972 but decommissioned in 1979 after an accident.
The guide begins with chapters on the atom, the discovery of atomic energy, and the history of nuclear reactors, followed by sections titled “From Heavy Water to the Reactor of Tomorrow” and “Atomic Reactors Serve Peace”. The chapters that follow describe different types of reactor (graphite, “uranium and heavy water”, “common water”, and “fast” reactors) and safety precautions. The text is heavily illustrated with evocative diagrams and photos that are loosely inserted and numbered to correspond to the printed descriptions. They include images of reactor employees at work as well as buildings, technology (including one shot of the interior of a reactor core), and equipment such as radiation-proof suits and Geiger counters. Many of the diagrams show cut-away views of reactors, as well as energy and work flows. One of the most interesting illustrations is an elaborate montage depicting what the Brussels Atomium (then under construction) might look like when it was completed. Also included is “The first photograph of atoms”, an image of rhenium atoms taken by Dr. Erwin Müller of Pennsylvania State, who was the first scientist to directly observe individual atoms, using the field ion microscope he invented. Much of the text is in two languages, Czech and a very similar one that is probably Slovak. The content is simple and straightforward, and the introduction advertises the book as suitable for schools and libraries. WorldCat locates no institutional copies of any edition of this book, though it lists other texts on nuclear energy by Jan Tůma, including a different one for schools. A fantastic and uncommon relic of the atomic age.
...áklady technikého využiti. Třeti Přepracované Vydání. Obrazová Galerie Názorných Pomůcek ve Fotografii. Sbírka: Lidová Univ-rsita v Obrazech. Soubor č 39. Prague: Výtvar - Obrazová Služba Názorných Pomůcek, .
Perfect bound. 83 leaves of mimeographed typescript. Stiff card wrappers printed in black, blue cotton string ties. Complete with 25 photographs and 22 diagrams (of which 3 are folding), all loosely inserted adjacent to their accompanying text. Some spots and marks to the wrappers, mimeographed leaves faintly toned but the other contents in fresh condition. An excellent copy.
Rockstroh, Heinrich | Das Mikroskop
First and only edition of this charming and early book on microscopy for young people, including advice on how to use microscopes and how to collect and prepare specimens. A nice copy in the publisher’s boards and featuring 5 hand-coloured engravings depicting plant, insect, and mineral specimens, as well as uncoloured plates illustrating how light behaves and microscopes work. Uncommon, particularly in the original binding. WorldCat locates just nine institutional copies, and only three others appear in auction records.
...oder Anweisung zur näheren Kenntniss und zum Gebrauche desselben, behufs einer belehrenden und nützlichen Beschäftigung in den Stunden der Musse; nebst angabe, wie die interessanten mikroskopischen objekte aus den drei naturreichen aufzufinden...
Berlin: Wilhelm Schüppel, 1835.
Duodecimo. Original blue boards printed in black. Hand-coloured frontispiece and 11 engraved plates of which 5 are hand-coloured. Manuscript library ticket to the head of the spine, small pencilled note to the upper board, contemporary manuscript notes in German to both pastedowns, ownership signature and library ink stamp to the title. Boards rubbed and spotted, hinges cracked and repaired, corners bumped, some spotting and offsetting to contents. Very good condition.