Objects & Instruments
19th-Century Chinese Pharmacy Sign
An attractive mid-19th century Chinese pharmacy sign advertising deer musk and turtle-based medications. The wooden sign is carved and lacquered in red and black, and features the original, decorative iron handle.
China, [circa 1850].
Carved wooden hanging sign (67 x 16 cm). Lacquered and with the original decorative iron handle. Some wear, particularly at the ends and sides, and peeling of the lacquer across the face, some rusting of the iron handle which is still strong.
Audios | Early-20th century telescoping ear trumpet in faux tortiseshell
An elegant telescoping ear trumpet produced by the French firm Audios, which specialised in hearing aids during the first half of the 20th century. Like many of their models, this example is made of celluloid designed to mimic tortoiseshell, though it appears from online records that this delicate telescoping model is much less common than the company’s standard makes. This particular ear trumpet is in superb condition, particularly considering the delicate nature of its mouth and the telescoping sections. A superb example of early-20th century audiological design.
France: Audios Marque Deposée, c. 1920s-1930s.
Articulated ear trumpet in tortoiseshell patterned celluloid. The diameter of the mouth is 70mm, the length when closed is 140mm, and the length when fully extended is 300 mm. Audios Marque Deposée ear logo in blind. Superb condition, with just a little minor wear commensurate with use.
Bion, Nicolas | Traité de la Construction et des Principaux Usages des Instruments de Mathématique.
Fourth edition of this important and copiously illustrated work on mathematical instruments, originally published in 1709. An attractive, unsophisticated copy, the contents quite fresh.
Nicolas Bion was one of France’s leading instrument makers. “Through his astronomical instruments he sought to join theory to practice, for which he was accorded the title Engineer to the King” (Kenney, Catalogue of the Rare Astronomical Books in the San Diego State University Library, 17).
...Avec les Figures Nécessaires pour l’Intelligence de ce Traité... Quatriéme Édition. Paris: Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1752.
Quarto. Contemporary mottled calf, spine elaborately gilt in compartments with floral tools, brown morocco label, marbled endpapers and edges. Engraved portrait and allegorical frontispieces and 37 plates of which 2 are folding, elaborate head and tailpieces and decorative initials, royal device to title. 19th-century library ticket and 20th-century bookseller’s ticket of Malcolm Gardner to the front pastedown. Upper hinge cracked, lower hinge starting, some scuffs to the boards, including a small worn spot on the upper board, front free endpaper a little loose, small area of dampstain affecting the top corner of the first half of the contents, short closed tear to final leaf of contents.
Late Georgian Hairwork Memorial Brooch
During the first half of the 19th century, hairwork was a popular way to both mourn the dead and to commemorate friendships and family connections with the living. A largely female workforce specialised in preparing hair for brooches, pendants, and bracelets. In some cases hair from two or more individuals was braided together, in others the hair was arranged decoratively or used to create elaborate sentimental images. This is a particularly nice example of the art, mounted in 14-18k gold and dating from the first decades of the 19th century. The hair clipping has been fanned and curled into an elegant wave shape with a tiny seed pearl “clasp” at the base, and the reverse is monogrammed “AB”.
Britain, early 19th century.
Rectangular brooch in gold with scrolling foliate surround, the woven hair and seed pearl panel glazed, engraved monogram “AB” to the reverse. 2.5 x 1.5 cm. All original. Localised scratches to the reverse, minor wear commensurate with age. Very good condition.
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.
Salter | Letter Scale
- An attractive 1960s Salter scale for weighing letters and calculating correct postage. The letter was attached by the clip at the bottom, which pulled on a spring to move the pointer and indicate the number of ounces. Postage rates are listed on the back.
- Salter, 1960s. 110 x 25 mm. Spring letter scale in excellent working condition with some mild toning to the price list on the rear.
Schmid, Bastian | Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere: Die Zauneidechse. Lacerta agilis.
Uncommon, early-20th century anatomical relief of the European lizard species Lacerta agilis (the sand lizard). The publisher’s archive copy, in excellent condition in the original box.
This relief was one of a series produced for schools, Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere (Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates), designed by the German behavioural scientist and educational writer Bastian Schmid (1870-1944) for the major educational publisher J. F. Schreiber. The printed paper label on the back gives the names of the lizards’ body parts and also introduces the diagram, “In the lizard, the anatomical character of the reptiles is expressed in a clear manner. Therefore, a representative of this group, namely our well-known sand lizard, is presented as the fourth type in this series Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates...”.
[Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates: Sand Lizard. Lacerta agilis.]. Munich: J. F. Schreiber, Early 20th-century.
Painted anatomical relief display in wooden frame (240 x 302 mm). Printed paper label to the rear. Housed in the original box with the stamp of the publisher’s archive and two handwritten labels - one giving the name of the display and the other reading “F22”. Also with the original tissue-covered cotton insert to protect the relief. Some minor spots and scuffs to the frame. Slight damage to the paper backing of the frame not affecting the its integrity. Some wear to the box. Excellent condition.
Schmid, Bastian | Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere: Rana esculenta. Wasserfrosch
Uncommon, early-20th century anatomical relief of the European frog species Rana esculenta (the common European water frog, or green frog). The publisher’s archive copy, in excellent condition in the original box.
This relief was one of a series produced for schools, Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere (Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates), designed by the German behavioural scientist and educational writer Bastian Schmid (1870-1944) for the major educational publisher J. F. Schreiber. The printed paper label on the back gives the names of the frogs’ body parts and also introduces the diagram, “This relief is the second in the series Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates and, like the Fish, is intended to be useful both for theoretical instruction and for biological exercises in higher schools. To the left a female, on the right a male animal, both natural size with the brain and spinal cord enlarged. In the female we see the entire intestines, the respiratory system, the heart with its anterior chambers, the aortic arch...”
[Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates: Rana esculenta. Water Frog.]. Munich: J. F. Schreiber, Early 20th-century.
Painted anatomical relief display in wooden frame (240 x 302 mm). Printed paper label to the rear. Housed in the original box with the stamp of the publisher’s archive and two handwritten labels - one giving the name of the display and the other reading “F21”. Also with the original tissue-covered cotton insert to protect the relief. A few very minor scratches and spots to the frame. There is some wear to the box and the tissue covering for the cotton padding is torn. Excellent condition.
[Art Nouveau] | Art Nouveau Floral Desk Seal
A lovely Art Nouveau desk seal in carved boxwood depicting a bouquet of flowers.
Carved boxwood desk seal, circa 1900. 850 x 350mm. No monogram or device to the base. A couple of very minor nicks in the wood, slight wear at the base. Excellent condition.