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.
Apothecary Bottle in Wooden Case |
- An attractive glass apothecary bottle in a wooden traveling case, both dating to the late Victorian period.
- Glass apothecary bottle with glass stopper in wooden case, unsigned, circa 1890s. 90 mm in height, 20 mm in diameter. Excellent condition.
Apothecary Bottles |
- A set of three handsome late-Victorian or Edwardian glass apothecary bottles with red frosted labels. The labels indicate that these bottles stored nitric acid and hydrochloric acid.
- 3 late-Victorian or Edwardian glass apothecary bottles with red frosted labels. Each bottle approximately half a litre and 175 mm in height. Slight burn damage to labels of two jars. Excellent condition.
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.
Beringer, David | Diptych Sundial and Compass in Fruitwood and Paper
- A very attractive diptych sundial and compass probably produced by the German craftsman David Beringer. Previously sundials of this type had been made in engraved ivory or metal as luxury items, but Beringer was one of the first compass makers to realise that using wood and printed paper would bring the price down and widen the market. His workshop flourished between about 1777 and his death in 1821, and his name became synonymous with portable wooden diptych and cube sundials. Like this example, many of his pieces were made for the international market or for travelers who would need to use the sundial at different latitudes. The gnomen string can be adjusted for latitudes between 40 and 54, and a list on the lid gives the latitudes for 48 cities, including London, Dublin, Prague, Paris, Florence, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Berlin, as well as New York City. This is a very nice, entirely original, and fully functional example of this ephemeral make of sundial.
- Diptych sundial and compass. Unsigned but probably by Beringer, late 18th or very early 19th century. Fruitwood and printed paper, 45 x 70 mm. Paper on the lid just a little dulled and rubbed, interior paper slightly faded, a little rubbing, superficial cracks along the base, a little dust within the compass. Original string gnomen, latches, and compass needle and glass. Very good condition.
Catalogue and Report of Obstetrical and Other Instruments Exhibited at the Conversazione of the Obstetrical Society of London.
First and only edition of this “key reference source for mid-19th century [obstetrical] instruments. Many of these instruments became incorporated into the Museum of the Obstetrical Society of London, the contents of which became the property of the Royal Society of Medicine, who in turn presented it as a loan collection to the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1912... Regrettably this outstanding collection was almost totally destroyed by bombing during the Second World War” (Hibbard, The Obstetrician’s Armamentarium pp vii-ix). WorldCat locates a number of institutional copies, but this book is uncommon in trade.
- ...Held, by permission, at the Royal College of Physicians, March 28th, 1866. With numerous illustrations. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1867. Octavo. Original green pebble grain cloth rebacked with the original spine laid down, title to spine and Obstetrical Society device to upper board gilt, cloth elaborately blocked in blind. Engravings throughout the text. New endpapers, edges of boards and corners worn, some loss of cloth from the head and tail of the original spine, contents fresh. Very good condition.
Georgian Era Halley's Comet Brooch with Almandine Garnets
A lovely, late-18th century almandine garnet brooch celebrating the 1759 passage of Halley’s Comet.
During 1680 astronomer Edmund Halley travelled through France and Italy. While in Paris he observed the appearance of the comet that would come to bear his name. “In Rome he would have met astronomers who had observed the comet in November 1680; they were of the circle of Queen Kristina of Sweden, and he may have met the queen herself, for she had observed an earlier comet with Cassini and had offered a prize for a calculation of the orbit of the comet of 1680. Halley discussed many astronomical subjects in the course of his tour; it is likely that comets were a principal topic, for their orbits were of great contemporary interest. Shortly after his return to England early in 1682, Halley met Newton, probably for the first time, and gave him an account of observations of the comet. Newton later discussed its orbit in considerable detail in book 3 of the Principia” (ODNB).
Halley’s breakthrough was noting the similarities between the comet he witnessed and those that had appeared in 1531 and 1607, and predicting its return in 1758/59. The comet’s much-anticipated reappearance was a popular sensation, and brooches such as this one were fashionable accessories in the years following. The British Museum holds a similar brooch (1978,1002.718).
Gere et al 1984 114.
Britain, late 18th century.
Gold and foil-backed almandine garnet brooch in the form of Halley’s Comet. 2 x 1 cm. Entirely original and in excellent condition.
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.
Mid-Century British Matchbox Charm
A delightful mid-century gold matchbox charm that opens to reveal 7 tiny matches. Hallmarks for London, 1968.
Enamel charm designed as a matchbox, including strike plate, that opens to reveal 7 tiny matches. 9ct gold, hallmarks for London, 1968. A little wear commensurate with use.
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.
Willis, J. H. | The World's Time at a Glance. The Willis Indicator.
A delightful world time calculator produced by J. H. Willis & Company, probably during the 1930s to complement the world time clocks that the firm produced between 1929 and 1935. Operation is simple - the user simply turns the dial in the center to the current time for their location and the rest of the numbers line up to indicate the time at each location. Regions within the British Empire are indicated in red, and the half of the globe in darkness is denoted by the black hemisphere on the dial. The red portion of the dial indicates regions broadcasting evening radio programs.
- London: Frank Pitchford & Co. Ltd. [for J. H. Willis and Company, Norwich, early 1930s]. Card world time time calculator (230 x 200 mm). Card printed in red and black, single wheel attached with metal stud. A little rubbing and some slightly discoloured spots, one corner bumped. Very good 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.