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Swann Galleries

California Internation Book Fair

San Francisco 2020 Antiquarian Book Print & Paper Fair

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

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Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

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Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Book Fair Calendar

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 10, 2019.

Toronto Old Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   November 10, 2019.

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Boston, MA.   November 15–17, 2019.     (more information)

Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show.  Boston, MA.   November 16, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   November 30, 2019.

Northampton Antiquarian Book & Book Arts Fair.  Northhampton, MA.   December 6–7, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  London, England.   December 7, 2019.

Boston Book & Paper Row.  Wilmington, MA.   December 7–8, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 8, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  York, England.   January 11, 2020.

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Francisco, CA.   January 31–February 1, 2020.     (more information)

California International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Pasadena, CA.   February 7–9, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Cambridge, England.   February 21–22, 2020.

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   March 5–8, 2020.

Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair.  New York, NY.   March 7, 2020.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 13–14, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   March 20–21, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Bath, England.   April 4, 2020.

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   April 11, 2020.

D.C. National Rare Book & Ephemera Fair.  Arlington, VA.   April 17–18, 2020.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 24–26, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Oxford, England.   April 25–26, 2020.

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair.  Ann Arbor, MI.   May 17, 2020.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 27, 2020.

PulpFest 2020.  Mars PA.   August 6–9, 2020.

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   September 19, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  London, England.   June 4–5, 2030.

Book Fair Calendar

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 10, 2019.

Toronto Old Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   November 10, 2019.

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Boston, MA.   November 15–17, 2019.     (more information)

Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show.  Boston, MA.   November 16, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   November 30, 2019.

Northampton Antiquarian Book & Book Arts Fair.  Northhampton, MA.   December 6–7, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  London, England.   December 7, 2019.

Boston Book & Paper Row.  Wilmington, MA.   December 7–8, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 8, 2019.

PBFA Book Fair.  York, England.   January 11, 2020.

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Francisco, CA.   January 31–February 1, 2020.     (more information)

California International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Pasadena, CA.   February 7–9, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Cambridge, England.   February 21–22, 2020.

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   March 5–8, 2020.

Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair.  New York, NY.   March 7, 2020.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 13–14, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   March 20–21, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Bath, England.   April 4, 2020.

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   April 11, 2020.

D.C. National Rare Book & Ephemera Fair.  Arlington, VA.   April 17–18, 2020.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 24–26, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  Oxford, England.   April 25–26, 2020.

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair.  Ann Arbor, MI.   May 17, 2020.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 27, 2020.

PulpFest 2020.  Mars PA.   August 6–9, 2020.

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   September 19, 2020.

PBFA Book Fair.  London, England.   June 4–5, 2030.

Rare & Important Travel Posters

Swann Galleries’ Thursday, November 14 sale of Rare & Important Travel Posters marks the house’s twentieth annual sale in the category. A private collection of railway posters forms the cornerstone of the sale; also included are destination and resort advertisements, ocean liners, aviation and rarely seen designs.

The extraordinary private collection of American railway posters—the best the house has offered—includes a visual history from the early years of the New York Central Lines to the Streamliner trains of the 1930s and 40s. Highlights include Leslie Ragan’s Art Deco image of one of the last century’s most famous American trains, The New 20th Century Limited, 1939, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000 and Ragan’s first poster for the New York Central Lines, Chicago / New York Central Lines, 1929, at $5,000 to $7,500.

Other rail line designs of note include a run of sporting posters: Golf by the North Shore Line a circa 1923 gouache maquette by Willard Frederic Elmes ($8,000-12,000); Football / Notre Dame by South Shore Line, 1926, by Otto Brennemann ($7,000-10,000); and Polo / By the North Shore Line, 1923, by Oscar Rabe Hanson ($7,000-10,000).  Also featured is Paul Proehl’s Chicago for the Tourist / Illinois Central, 1925 ($5,000-7,500), and Jon O. Brubaker’s California / America’s Vacation Land / New York Central, 1925 ($10,000-15,000).
 
The sale is led by Hubert Herkomer’s 1939 advertisement for the ocean liner Normandie. The rare—and likely last—poster to be created for the end of the ship’s career is expected to bring $15,000 to $25,000.  Additional ocean-liner posters of note include Montague Birrell Black’s White Star Line / Olympic & Titanic, circa 1910, which shows the Olympic and Titanic passing at sea ($6,000-9,000), and J.F. Butler’s Panama Pacific Line / New York California via Panama Canal and Havana, circa 1928 ($1,000-1,500).

Aviation posters include Boris Artzybasheff’s Bermuda by Clipper / Pan American World Airways, 1947 ($4,000-6,000); Guy Arnoux’s Air France / Amérique du Nord, 1946 ($3,000-4,000); and Weimer Pursell’s American Airlines / To New York, 1956 ($1,500-2,000). A run of charming and cheeky Air India posters from the 1960s rounds out the offering. …more

Booksellers' Gulch (or where the books are)

 ...is (or was) that part of the upper Connecticut River valley bordering Vermont and New Hampshire, where there were booksellers in or near every town or village of any size. For readers, collectors, and members of the trade, this compact area was northern New England's version of Manhattan’s Book Row and a bibliophile’s paradise.  Nowadays “Booksellers Gulch” is a metaphor for where the books are. We hope the rumors of the imminent demise of bookshops have been greatly exaggerated and that bookhunters on the road or simply exploring areas near where they live, will find this guide helpful.  This feature of Book Source Magazine has been neglected in recent years but will be expanded greatly in the weeks and months to come. Booksellers from any part of the planet wanting to set up shop here should call (315) 655-9654 or e-mail for particulars.  Have a look at version 1.0... (in other words, click on this sentence to see the complete list as it exists at the moment).

Freeman's to Offer Rare Historical Portrait of Southern General

Freeman’s November 12 auction of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts will feature, by direct descent in the Pinckney family, an important Portrait of Major General Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) of Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1820, by the artist/ inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse (est. $60,000-100,000).  A lawyer, planter, military leader and politician, Pinckney served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  He was a Governor of South Carolina, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as Minister to Britain, and special envoy to Spain – negotiating the important Treaty of San Lorenzo.  Pinckney is shown in uniform wearing the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati of which he was a founding member and 4th President General.
 
Also coming to auction by direct descent in the Franklin family is a Benjamin Franklin owned chart of the Gulf Stream, Remarques Sur la Navigation de Terre-Neuve à New-York afin d'éviter les Courrants et les bas-fonds au Sud de Nantucket et du Banc de George, circa 1783 (est. $20,000-30,000).  Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790) and his cousin Timothy Folger produced the first chart of the Gulf Stream, published in London in 1768.  Franklin had this chart translated into French and printed in Paris by George-Louis Le Rouge.  This is almost certainly one of a group of Le Rouge's Chart of the Gulf Stream brought to Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin upon completion of his role as minister plenipotentiary to France in 1785.
 
Several important collectors are represented in the sale.  The first, Dr. Luther W. Brady (1925-2018) of Philadelphia, a renowned radiation oncologist, professor, and supporter of the visual and musical arts, was an avid collector of Historical Blue Staffordshire.  A selection of plates, platters, bowls, covered tureen and stand decorated with various Philadelphia views, and the rare ‘Arms of Pennsylvania’ platter, (est. $15,000-25,000 ) are included in the auction.

The sale will also include items from Clement Hungerford Pollen, (1869-1934) an English gentleman who spent many years in the American and Canadian West.  …more

Rembrandt Etchings Featured in Print Auction

Old Master Through Modern Prints at Swann Galleries on Tuesday, October 29 will offer an important selection of prints by Rembrandt van Rijn.  Also on offer are works from European and American virtuosos.
    
Rembrandt etchings from the John Villarino Collection form the cornerstone of the Old Master offering. In 1995 Villarino turned his collecting tastes toward Rembrandt as he recognized the profound influence the Dutch artist had on the works of later artists. Villarino was captivated by a small etching saying, “I saw his eyes, and the look was, ‘I’m going to conquer the world.’” Highlights from the collection include A Beggar Seated on a Bank, 1630, likely an early self-portrait in the guise of a beggar ($20,000-30,000); Sheet of Studies, with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc., circa 1641-42 ($25,000-35,000); and The Rat Catcher, 1632 ($12,000-18,000). Additional etchings by the Dutch master include some of the earliest dated landscapes by the artist: Landscape with a Cottage and Haybarn: Oblong, 1641 ($60,000-90,000)—one of his most sought-after landscape etchings—and Landscape with a Cottage and a Large Tree, 1641 ($40,000-60,000).
    
Other Old Master printmakers include Albrecht Dürer, who leads the sale with a 1504 engraving Adam and Eve at $80,000 to $120,000, and Lucas Cranach with The Judgement of Paris, woodcut, 1508, at $15,000 to $20,000.
    
European prints include Paul Klee’s etchings Der Held mit dem Flügel—Inv. 2, 1905, an early etching (of which only three impressions have been found at auction in the past 30 years) ($70,000-100,000), and Höhe!, 1928 ($60,000-90,000). Career-spanning works from Pablo Picasso are on offer with Taureau ailé conteplé par Quatre Enfants, a 1934 etching from the Vollard Suite, at $25,000 to $35,000, and a 1962 color linoleum cut Portrait de Jacqueline en Carmen (L’Espagnole), at $35,000 to $50,000. Edvard Munch’s lithograph based on the 1895 painting of the same name, Der Tod im Krankenzimmer, 1896, is expected to fetch …more

Early Printed, Travel, Scientific & Medical Books at Swann on October 24

Early Printed, Travel, Scientific & Medical Books come to Swann Galleries on Thursday, October 24, featuring notable works on science, a standout selection of incunabula, and an extensive offering of volumes on innovations in medicine.

The sale is led by a first edition, first issue of Sir Isaac Newton’s Opticks, London, 1704, which summarized the scientist’s discoveries on light and color. The volume is available at $15,000 to $25,000. Further science offerings of note include a 1632 first edition of Galileo Galilei’s dialogue on the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems that established the validity of heliocentricity ($10,000-15,000); a scarce complete set of first editions in 32 parts of Michael Faraday’s Experimental Researches in Electricity, London, 1832-56, which contributed to the modern understanding and industrial use of electricity ($3,000-4,000).

A choice selection of incunabula brings to auction infrequently seen editions of Johannes Jacobus Canis’s guide to the study of civil and canon law, De modo studendi in utroque iure, Padua, 1476 ($6,000-9,000); Albertus Magnus’s comprehensive book on gems De mineralibus, Pavia, 1491 ($3,000-5,000); and Philippus Beroaldus’s philosophical tract on happiness, De felicitate opusculum, Bologna, 1495 ($4,000-6,000).

A large medical section features first editions of Franz Anton Mesmer’s 1779 manifesto of Mesmerism Mémoire sur la Découverte du Magnétisme Animal, Geneva, at $800 to $1,200. The first book on lip reading, Philocophus, London, 1648, by John Bulwer, and an inscribed and signed copy of Harvey Cushing’s Intracranial Tumors, Springfield 1932, his report on intercranial surgery technique that reduced the mortality rate from the procedure, are both estimated at $1,000 to $2,000.  Also of note is René Descartes final work, Les Passiones de l’Ame, Paris, 1649, available at $3,000 to $5,000.
 
Additional highlights include a …more

by Garry Austin
Thank You Note (from summer of 2018)

Dear Ron & Marilee,

I would be remiss if I didn't write and thank you again for your generosity and kindness that came to me with th "C-Town Card".  When Rich Mori dropped if off that Sunday night I was overwhelmed.  I have been blessed to be part of this extraordinary community of booksellers.

The hardest part of all this has been not being able to join in at the gatherings of our clan. I have made it my personal goal to be at many of  next year's fairs.  Special thanks to you Ron and John Huckans for your kind words at the booksellers' dinner – it has been a rough year in our world of bookselling – too many losses – too much sadness – yet what a remarkable group of special people. Take care of each other – I look forward to seeing you sooner (rather) than later!

Garry A (ustin) …more

Results of Swann's Printed & Manuscript Americana Auction

The Thursday, September 26 sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries was an overall success with an 88% sell-through rate, bringing in over $1,000,000.
 
Material relating to slavery & abolition led the sale. The top lot was an important archive of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works in West Virginia: “Because of the massive extent of the institution of slavery, original manuscripts relating to those who were enslaved are not scarce. However, we rarely see a large archive which tells the story of one location and one group of people over time. Most of what does survive is agricultural,” said Rick Stattler, the house’s Book Department Director & Americana Specialist. “The Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works archive is unusual because it documents a large industrial operation which relied on slave labor.  Many dozens of individuals can be traced over the decades through correspondence, lists, and receipts. The plant's numerous connections to Booker T. Washington, who lived near the salt works after abolition, give it even greater historical significance; his stepfather appears several times in the records.” The archive brought $173,000, the top price for an archive in Swann’s history. The lot was immediately followed by the Shugart family papers. Notable for its log listing passengers on the Underground Railroad, it fetched …more

Modern & Contemporary Art at Freeman's

Freeman’s October 29 auction of Modern & Contemporary Art features important examples from a wide range of artistic movements including Minimalism, Pop Art, Color Field Painting, Cubism, Op Art and Abstract Expressionism.  Notable lots include significant and fresh-to-market examples by artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Zao Wou-Ki, Ellsworth Kelly, M.F. Husain, Jules Olitski, Henri Matisse, Patrick Heron, Claes Oldenburg and Jules Pascin, among others.
 
A few of the highlights are Helen Frankenthaler’s Red Hot, 2002 (Lot 52; $120,000-180,000). Rendered in acrylic on paper, Red Hot is an excellent example of the artist’s work in this medium.  Frankenthaler once famously asserted that “paper is painting”, and from 1992-2002 she painted exclusively on paper.  Red Hot was executed during this …more

Freeman's to Auction Collection of Robert J. Morrison

Freeman’s is honored to present Pop prints, multiples, graphics and art reference books from the estate of distinguished collector and philanthropist, Robert J. Morrison. The sale takes place on October 30 at 12:00 pm, and will feature iconic works by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine and many others. High value signed prints will be offered alongside his equally cherished rare exhibition posters, signed invitations, art books and other graphics that Morrison curated and amassed over a lifetime.
 
The core of Morrison’s collection is comprised of graphic works by two of the most important and influential artists of the Pop Art movement – Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.  Top works by Lichtenstein include Sweet Dreams Baby!, 1965 (Lot 26; $60,000-100,000); Crying Girl, 1963 (Lot 6; $30,000-50,000); and Shipboard Girl, 1965 (Lot 32; $30,000-50,000).  Top works by Andy Warhol include Liz, 1964 (Lot 48; $20,000-30,000); Flowers, 1970 (Lot 65; $25,000 – 35,000); and three variations from his Mao series, two estimated at $30,000-50,000 and one at $20,000-30,000 (Lots 51-53).  Other highlights to be offered include Ed Ruscha’s Rodeo, 1969 (Lot 83; $6,000 – 10,000); Wayne Thiebaud’s Black Suckers, 1971 (Lot 45; $15,000-25,000); and Robert Longo’s Rick, 1994 (Lot 76; $10,000-15,000).
 
A celebrated advertising executive, Morrison was awarded more than 200 …more

by Jonathan Smalter
Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair

Book and print media collectors of every sort will find much of interest at the 47th annual Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, Saturday, October 19th. The 2019 event is again hosted at the historic Rochester, N.Y. Main Street Armory. Three dozen dealers from more than a half dozen states, from Minnesota to the Carolinas, will offer a trove of biblio-treasures including rare, collectible and scholarly books as well as prints, maps, photographica and collectible ephemera embracing a broad range of subjects and categories.

The annual Book Fair is an event that helps define Rochester as a vibrant community and as a destination for those enamored of the print medium and the subject matter it contains. Hard-to-find, out-of-print, beautifully printed, and books in artistic, finely executed bindings will all be on display and available for purchase.

The fair has an interesting history. Begun in the early 1970s and held for several years in the reserve reading rooms of the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair is the oldest regional Antiquarian Book Fair in the nation.  The Fair is …more

Latest Catalogue from J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

Some of the highlights from Catalogue 85 (Autograph Musical Manuscripts & Letters of Composers, First & Early Editions of Printed Music, Rare Books on Music Iconography) include: Beethoven. First edition of the full score of the 9th Symphony, with a presentation inscription from Charles Munch to Alfred Cortot (item 4); Brahms. First edition of the full score of the 2nd Symphony (item 14); Dufay, Grenon, & Binchois.  Important early 15th century secular polyphonic manuscript (item 40); Grieg. Autograph cadenza of an unrecorded work (item 48); Hummel. Autograph of possibly the composer’s last work (item 55); Liszt. Rare private printing of Liszt’s Prefaces (item 65); Millico & Burney. Late 18th century manuscript Ariettes by Millico bound with an early manuscript of Burney’s setting of God Save the King (item 78); Moscheles.  Autograph manuscript of an unrecorded work for solo piano (item 79); Petri. Archive of correspondence between Egon Petri and …more

43rd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

One of the oldest and most respected antiquarian book events in the country, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held November 15-17, 2019 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. On exhibit and for sale will be selected offerings from the collections of more than 130 booksellers from the United States and other countries. The event will give visitors the opportunity to see, learn about, and acquire the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, political and historical documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and more.

In recent years, younger collectors have been increasingly interested in selected offerings at more affordable prices. For attendees wanting to start a collection, there will be dealers offering “Discovery” items priced at $100 or less, including children’s books and decorative cloth bindings. The Fair will provide an opportunity for people to learn how to start a collection and speak to dealers who are experts in their fields.

Tickets are $25 for the Friday night’s opening night preview, an opportunity for the public to get a first look and a chance to purchase items that will be for sale at the Fair.  Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday. Special events at the 2019 fair, including a roster of speakers, the Ticknor Society Roundtable, and opportunities for free appraisals, will be announced in …more

by David Fairburn
Richard Booth

The literati have a fascination for the supposedly arcane world of old bookselling, on which Richard capitalised wonderfully. But it’s just a business like any other. In the '70s, ‘Doctor Nothman’ (a suitable pseudonym) had a first edition shop in Covent Garden. The Guardian one day effused that it was open all night, instead of in the day, the first ever, how wonderful.  Two days later the Telegraph joyfully reported that he had fled to Switzerland, leaving the residue and the debts behind.  Surprising that bailiffs read the Guardian.

I first met Richard when he came in his pomp to my Leeds shop, on a buying trip to the North. He’d flown up while his driver brought the Roller, and an accompanying van with two men to take the books back to Hay. He only wanted …more

Doings at the Morgan: Fall 2019

The Morgan Library & Museum has announced their public programming schedule for Fall 2019. Exploring and celebrating the intersection of art, literature, and music, the diverse line-up of programs includes lectures and conversations, gallery talks, film screenings, workshops, family programs, performances, and more.  Highlights include film screenings with Duane Michals on the occasion of Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan, special American Ballet Theatre performances inspired by Verdi: Otello and Falstaff—Highlights from the Ricordi Archive, and a chance to ‘Strike a Pose’ with John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal. Tickets are now on sale for all Fall 2019 programs. For more information, please visit www.themorgan.org.

Lectures & Conversations:

Hogarth: Cruelty and Crime

In this lecture, Meredith Gamer, Assistant Professor of Art History at Columbia University, explores the origins, evolution, and multilayered meanings of William Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751). A tale of neglect and abuse, murder and punishment, the series was—by eighteenth-century standards—one of Hogarth’s “lowest” works.  Paradoxically, however, it is also one of his most ambitious, for it aims to combat …more

Results of Swann's Summer Poster Auction

Swann Galleries’ summer sale of Vintage Posters on Wednesday, August 7 was a lively event with active bidding across all platforms. “Many of the auction's niche collecting categories saw heated competition for trophy pieces, including sections on propaganda, sports and auto racing, as well as beach and summer resort posters,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Vintage Posters Director and house President. The sale saw six record prices and brought a number of posters to market for the first time.

The house’s most extensive selection of automobile posters to date saw competitive bidding from car aficionados. Highlights included a 1970 ad for Porsche prominently featuring actor Steve McQueen, which earned a record $7,000 over a high estimate of $1,200; and Ludwig Hohlwein’s 1914 Mercedes poster in German, which brought $10,000.

Sergio Trujillo Magnenat’s advertisements for the first Bolivarian Games in 1938 proved to be successful in his market debut, with all of the four works on offer finding buyers. His designs promoting track-and-field events—javelin, and discus—earned $4,160 apiece, while the designs for tennis and polo were won for $4,000 and $2,470, respectively.   

War and political propaganda included William Sanger’s 1936 campaign poster for Roosevelt and Lehman, a first at auction for the image and a record for the artist at $7,250.  James Montgomery Flagg was present with his iconic 1917 image featuring Uncle Sam, I Want You for U.S. Army, and his circa 1918 call to join the marines featuring a soldier riding a leopard ($4,940 and $5,500, respectively). Howard Chandler Christy’s Aviation / Fly with the U.S. Marines, 1920, rounded out the selection at $6,750.

The sale was led by Alphonse Mucha’s The Seasons, four decorative panels on silk, 1900, at $14,300. Also by Mucha was Lance Parfum Rodo, 1896, an early work by …more

by John Huckans
In Praise of Follies
(originally published in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue of Book Source Magazine)

The Victorian period, especially in England, was a hotbed for architectural follies. In an article on Victorian follies in the July 2003 issue of The Antiquer, Adele Kenny notes several definitions, including the Oxford English Dictionary’s kindly and understated — “a popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder.” Chambers goes a bit further with “a great useless structure, or one left unfinished, having begun without a reckoning of the cost” and the Oxford Companion to Gardens, in case we still don’t get it, says architectural follies are “characterized by a certain excess in terms of eccentricity, cost or conspicuous inutility.” I think the two words “conspicuous inutility” sum it up best, but say what you will a lot of us love them all the same.

Architectural follies began to appear in England during the 18th century but it wasn’t until the early industrial period of the 19th century that wealthy new owners of landed estates were able to indulge their fantasies on a grand scale. The construction of great stone towers of various shapes and sizes, faux Greek Parthenons, private churches or chapels, obelisks and other monuments to impracticality (often left unfinished so as to suggest ruins from a distant past) in many ways represented a subconscious rebellion against the utilitarianism of the factory age — and were often built by the industrialists themselves.

An inquiry at your …more

Swann Galleries to Offer Books from Melville’s Library

Swann Galleries is poised to offer a rare look at Herman Melville’s personal library in a timely sale announced on the eve of the author’s bicentennial (August 1st).  Two volumes of Greek & Roman classics owned—and heavily annotated—by Melville are set to come across the block in Fine Books & Manuscripts on October 10.

In March of 1849, a year prior to Moby Dick’s publication, Melville purchased a 37-volume set of classics from the publishing company Harper and Brothers. Here, making their market debut, are Euripides, Juvenal and Persius, in the only two known surviving volumes from the set once owned by the author. Melville’s autograph can be found in the volume containing Juvenal and Persius, and all are marked with numerous annotations illuminating which passages were of interest to the author. Also featured throughout are brief observations, most notably his annotation to Samuel Johnson’s The Vanity of Human Wishes, an imitation of the Tenth Satire in Juvenal, which reads: "Prose is uncertain, verse still more so. But the meaning here would seem to be—Virtue, tired with contempt, gives it up, and latches herself for self-support to Pride & Prudence; but fails here; i.e., perishes, probably, on the gallows—of slander, most likely."

Possibly the most interesting revelation from the volumes is that the author brought them shipboard on an 1860 New York to San Francisco trip aboard the Meteor. The names of places often appear in the books Melville traveled with. The present classics are annotated with the initials C.H and C. Horn., marking his time as he rounded Chile’s Cape Horn. From his letters we know that Melville occupied his time during the long trip with the study of poetry, the marginalia found within the volumes provides a more complete understanding of the author and the poetic literature that became the focus of his later works. Expected to bring $40,000 to $60,000, the discovery is the first works from Melville’s library to come to auction in more than a decade.

The full catalogue, which in addition to Autographs will feature 19th & 20th Century Literature and Art, Fine Press & Illustrated Books, will be available in …more

Lewis Evans Map Fetches $125,000 at Swann

“There was strong bidding across the board and it’s hard not to be pleased with the general outcome of the sale,” said Maps & Atlases Specialist, Caleb Kiffer of Swann Galleries June 6 sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural Science & Color Plate Books which saw an 84% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications by Lewis Evans and Petrus Plancius, as well as color plate books by John Fisk Allen and Willian Sharp.
    
The star of the auction was the May 2, 1755 draft of A General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America by Lewis Evans.  The early proof of the historic map that which documented the Colonies into Ohio for the first time sold for $125,000. “Having the opportunity to bring the Lewis Evans 1755 pre-production proof copy to auction has been a highlight of my many years in this business.  It jump-started my heart the moment the consignor presented it to me and continued beating at a fast pace up until the moment it hammered. I'm calling the map an artifact, which it truly is, and having it double the estimate demonstrates its historical significance. I'm very pleased with the outcome and honored to have brought it out into the public realm here at Swann Galleries,” Kiffer said of the offering.  
    
A 1792 Plan of the Town of Baltimore and its Environs by Antoinne Pierre Folie ($21,250) and John Montresor’s large 1775 map of the Hudson River Valley ($8,125) concluded a overall spectacular offering of American cartography.
      
Decorative cartography of note included Petrus Plancius’ 1592-94 map of Southern Africa, which featured fanciful beasts, sea monsters and a scene of giant lobsters devouring a ship ($87,500). Two works by Pieter Verbiest found success: a double-hemispheric world map from 1636 reached $25,000, as well as a 1639 representation of Spain and Portugal sold for $8,450.
    
John Fisk Allen and William Sharp’s Victoria Regia, 1854, which consisted of six chromolithographed plates of the life phases of the Great Water Lily of America, lead the selection of natural history and color plate books at …more

New World Auction Record for Philadelphia Artist Cecilia Beaux

On June 9, Freeman’s held its ever popular, semi-annual American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, a strong sale that boasted an impressive array of works by many well-known artists. The auction was well attended, with a full house (despite very tempting beach weather) and many national and international phone bidders, including prominent private collectors and several institutions. The sale totaled $2.47 million (BP inclusive) with 81% of the lots sold.

Most notably, a stunning, early portrait by artist Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) depicting her life-long friend dressed as the mythological water nymph, Undine (Lot 19) soared above its initial estimate of $60,000-80,000, eventually selling to a New England institution for a record-breaking $454,000. After spirited bidding between numerous phone bidders, private collectors and institutions around the country, Ethel Page as Undine established a new world auction record for the artist. This impressive result reflects the current strong market interest in female artists, and for Beaux herself, who has been hitherto underappreciated. The successful sale of this portrait also reaffirms Freeman’s as the preeminent auction house for handling works made in Philadelphia.  The painting was originally executed on Chestnut Street in 1885, and it seems only natural that …more

New Antiquarian Music Catalogue Published

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions” list. It contains an interesting and diverse assortment of 27 music- and dance-related items spanning the 16th through 20th centuries. Things that caught our attention include the first edition, first issue of Handel’s famous opera Il Radamisto published in London in 1720 and first produced at The Haymarket Theatre on April 27, 1720 with King George I and his entourage in attendance; La Tonotechnie ou l’Art de Noter les Cylindres by Marie Engramelle, published in Paris in 1775, a treatise discussing how to play the musical cylinders, a mechanical musical instrument for which both Mozart and Haydn had composed; an unusually early (1839) unpublished letter written by Richard Wagner to the conductor Heinrich Dorn, his successor at the State Theater in Riga, protesting the manner in which he had been usurped by …more

by John Huckans
Springtime for Snowflakes (A Review)

Michael Rechtenwald is an academic who after setting sail on an academic career as professor of liberal studies at a well-known eastern university, gradually learned he had signed up to crew on what some people might call a ship of fools.  Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage  [London & Nashville: New English Review Press, 2018] is an unusual blend of a memoir of his formative years growing up in a working class home in Pittsburgh; the undergraduate gap-period interlude at the Naropa Institute where he served as an apprentice and teaching assistant to Allen Ginsburg who ran Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in a store-front location on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado during the 1970s; his post-graduate studies at Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon universities; unusual experiences as a professor at NYU; and an appendix comprised of a mix of initially anonymous social media postings that got him into hot water with many of his colleagues.

Rechtenwald's father was an independent contractor who ran his remodeling business from the family home on Waldorf Street on Pittsburgh's north side.  When it came time for high school his father tried to enroll Michael in the exclusive Shadyside Academy, considered the city's best prep school at the time, and the headmaster's discouraging response “... although I believe your son would do well here academically, I'm afraid that he wouldn't fit in... socially...” probably influenced his later decision to pursue Marxist critical theory.  At any rate he …more

Records Set in Recent Americana Sale

Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale in the category to finish over $1,000,000, achieving several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”

Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).
 
“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler–the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000).

Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language at …more

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