Book Chats on Discoveries.
October 5th 2022
Something quite extraordinany has surfaced...a Maths Exercise book from the early 17th Century (above center). In our case measuring 18 x 22 cm and running to some 120 pages. The earliest dated entry is 1647. The majority of pages show a manuscript-written problem at the top and a solution below (see example page image below). Some pages show six panels with a calculation enclosed (above left). In one case a complete page describing "The Bacter Rule of Three" and dated 1661 (image above right). The item originates from the Blackmore family (Lorna Doone), by direct descent and is signed Joseph Blackmore on several pages.
A later example of this type (these are known as Cypher Books) sold at Tennants Auctioneers on March 2022.
Estimated at £1,000 to £2,000, it in fact sold for a remarkable £34,000.
This is reported in considersable detail in issue Number 2488 of The Antiques Trade Gazette, and published on the 17th April 2022.
Copies of this article available on request, with pleasure.
[We are grateful to Professor Sam Howison for help with this description].
We show here a massive, possibly unique, archival collection of annual bound "Metropolitan Police Orders" (see images above) The 63 volume collection begins with the annual Police Reports for 1861, and ends with the volume for 1945. Each volume typically 1000 pages in daily date order each 28 x 20 x 7 cm, and three quarter bound in brown leather (see central image above). Volumes weigh typically 2.8 to 3.2 kg each, so, we estimate the total weight as 190 kg - 200 kg (!). The total shelf run would be 220 inches or 5.6 meters. Provenance; a now retired Metropolitan Police History researcher, many volumes showing copious notes (see central image above). We assume the publisher is HMSO (?). Each volume with a voluminous Index bound in to the front, typically 12 pages.
A valuable "True Crime" research archive covering 84 years. The archive really needs digitizing, but this is quite beyond us.
More information on request with pleasure.
Our Catalogue Ref: # 007413.
See also our ABE Listing: # 006823 "The Police Surgeon".
Over 1900 (one thousand, nine hundred.!) theater programs (and some concert) collected and filed from 1949 to the present, and very neatly arranged in 35 (thirty-five) large A4 ring binders (see images below). West end and National regional. All post war modern (year 1949 and on). This together with a smaller "Reference" A4 ring binder with a 65 page meticulously typed up (sic) cross-referenced record of the complete collection (sample page image center below) The lady who sold these to us commented, in understatement, that her Grandfather, now recently passed away, was "Rather Obsessional" about the Theater.
Normally we get one or two such programs at a time, but this is historic.!
Ideally any purchaser would collect, but we could mail in several parcels, given enough incentive.!
Total weight c 40+ kg with packing. Total Shelf run 3 m.
Our Catalogue Ref: # 007341. £245.00.
Oh My (again)..
An original 4 page issue of The Times Newspaper for Thursday November 7th 1805, this being the first reports to the British people of the Battle of Trafalgar on the prior 21st October 1805. Nelson's Plan of Action can be seen in the central image above.
To the left the front cover of the first reports of the engagement.
The report itself is 45 column inches on page 3, and marked on the Header "Extra-ordinary".
To the right, the top cover Title of a four page contemporary manuscript of "Lord Nelson's Orders", previous to the battle, in facsimile, the original being in The British Library.
Oh my..! A real discovery.An original Graphite & Watercolor by Francis Picabia. 36 x 43 cm.Two prior Auction records identify it as "The Wanderer".
[Francis Picabia, 1879- 1953, was a French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist. After experimenting with Impressionism and Pointillism, Picabia became associated with Cubism. His highly abstract planar compositions were colourful and rich in contrasts. Around 1911 Picabia joined the Puteaux Group, whose members he had met at the studio of Jacques Villon in Puteaux, a commune in the western suburbs of Paris.
There he became friends with artist Marcel Duchamp and close friends with Guillaume Apollinaire. Wiki].Conservatively priced here at £8,450.00.Our Catalogue Ref: # 007293.
It's only rarely one sees volumes by William Buckland. FRS, 1784 - 1856.
He lectured on geology at Oxford, often visited Lyme on his Christmas vacations and was frequently seen hunting for fossils with Lyme's Mary Anning.
He was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster. He was also a geologist and palaeontologist. Buckland wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. His work proved that Kirkdale Cave had been a prehistoric hyena den, for which he was awarded the Copley Medal.
It was praised as an example of how scientific analysis could reconstruct distant events.
He pioneered the use of fossilised faeces in reconstructing ecosystems, coining the term coprolites.
Here we have 2 Volumes in 1st Edn. “Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology”. William Pickering. London. 1837. Vol. 1: 618 pp + 1 pp Corrigenda for Vols. 1 & 11 bound in. Vol. 11. 110 pp.
Sixty-nine plates bound in. Bookplate: Thomas Gurney “Fide et Labore”.
But, there are five stunning, 60 cm long, fold-out plates, two are beautifully hand coloured (we believe by Thomas Webster).
These can be seen in the three images below.
Our Catalogue ref: # 007238. £1,650.00
An original photograph, with a prior album mount, 8.5 x 10.0 cm (see Image). Showing the playwrite with a bevy of Polynesian flower-decked young woman. We suggest Hawaii, as the image shows the women in Lei. During the decade of the 1930's, Shaw traveled widely and frequently. Most of his journeys were with Charlotte; she enjoyed voyages on ocean liners, and he found peace to write during the long spells at sea. Shaw met an enthusiastic welcome in South Africa in 1932, despite his strong remarks about the racial divisions of the country. But, in December 1932 the couple embarked on a round-the-world cruise. In March 1933 they arrived at San Francisco, to begin Shaw's first visit to the US. Our image must have been taken on the Pacific leg of this voyage, possibly April 1933. Shaw would have been 77 at the time, which agrees well with our image. We show an enlarged section in Image 2 attached. We have found no listing of this GBS image.
Our Catalogue ref: # 007155. £65.00.
Oh my. Oh my.
Mirabile dictu! A most remarkable discovery. and possibly unique. A 30 x 48 cm carefully framed pair of combined cuttings (see image below). Both colored photographs. The top one signed in blue ink: "E.P Hillary. May 1953". And then again below; "1953". Then just below Hillary's signature, we see the signature: "Tenzing SHERPA". (see the upper image left. Above Tenzing's head). The image being the famous Royal Geographical one. The lower one "English tea.at Camp 1V"...signed and underlined separately "E .P. Hillary" and then below: "Tenzing 1952" (upper image right). Sherpa Tenzing signatures are particularly rare, and the four contemporaneous signatures here, nothing less than miraculous. We note the actual ascent was Friday May 29th 1953, so the manuscript dates here of 1953 (upper) and 1952 (lower), both precede and then follow the actual ascent. we suspect the top image is the summit, the lower image, showing Hillary & Tenzing relaxing in Camp 1V, and just back from the summit, with Tenzing possibly making an error in the signed year. [Tenzing Norgay GM OSN, born Namgyal Wangdi, and also referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer. He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. Wiki].
Our Catalogue Ref: # 006920. £1,650.00.
We get regular inquiries for books on clocks and watches.This is an interesting field with many fascinating titles.And so it was, that with some suprise, we acquired a French wall hanging time piece from the middle 19th century.It's a Morbier St. Etienne "Wag on Wall" clock with crown wheel escapement (see the center and right images, above), a one meter long folding pendulum, and powered by two extremely heavy iron weights (3.2 kg each).In fact quite unusual.
The embossed scene in the brass surround, and above the ceramic dial (above left), shows a farmer sowing seed and in front of a plough drawn by two oxen....his wife watching in the background.
The curious term "Wag on Wall" refers to a clock with the pendulum and weights exposed, as distinct from these being in a case.
Although working, we plan to have this most unusual timepiece fully restored by Mike Elderton of All In the Balance.
September 30th 2021
One of the delights of Lyme Regis is the knowledge that so many famous people have visited in the past.
And so it was that we came to know that the famous painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903), came to visit in 1895.
Not only that, but he stayed but a few doors from us in Broad St. He painted two now well known paintings “The Village Blacksmith”, and “The Little Rose of Lyme Regis”. This latter was Rosa Beatrice Rendall (1886 – 1958), then aged 9 years, who he spotted passing in the street.
This painting has become rather famous and now resides in The Boston Museum of Fine Art.
A beautiful copy in acrylic has been completed, measuring 20 x 30 inches and painted by the well-known artist Brian Matravers (see image above left).
The face is beautifully realised (see center above). We plan to display the image in our shop window for all to enjoy.
In an added twist, the great great granddaughter of Rose, a Mrs Kerry Bastone, called in to introduce herself in August...!
September 1st 2021
Marion Robert Morrison, 1907 – 1979, known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed “Duke”, was an American actor and filmmaker who became a popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood’s Golden Age, especially in Western and war movies.
His career flourished from the silent era of the 1920s through the American New Wave, as he appeared in a total of 179 film and television productions. He was among the top box office draws for three decades, and he appeared with many other important Hollywood stars of his era. In 1999, the American Film Institute selected Wayne as one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema.
So, it was with some surprise that a 1970 lobby card for the major Wayne film “Chisum” surfaced here in Lyme Regis (above left).
There in the bottom right hand cover is his inked inscription:
“My Best. John Wayne” (see right hand image above, and below enlarged).
Measuring 25 x 20 cms, this is quite a rarity.
The lobby card is mounted and at some stage in the past has been framed.
Although this movie is historically inaccurate in many details, it is loosely based on events and characters from the Lincoln County War of 1878 in New Mexico, which involved such historical figures as John Chisum (1824–1884), Pat Garrett (1850–1908), and Billy the Kid (1859–1881) among others.
SOLD. January 2022.
August 22nd 2021
Scott's Terra Nova Expedition. 1910 - 1913.
Two hitherto unrecorded B & W photographic portraits of Surgeon Commander Murray Levick, both albumen or bromide prints. Undated, but prior to 1919 from Elliot & Fry's Baker Street Studio records. This would place the portraits at age 43 or younger and around the time of the fatefull Scott expedition. Each image is stamped bottom right "Elliot & Fry". The images are completely fox free, but not the two white card mounts. Each portrait measures 10 x 14 cms. [George Murray Levick, 1876 - 1956, was a British Antarctic explorer, Naval Surgeon and founder of the Public Schools Exploring Society. He was given leave of absence to accompany Robert Falcon Scott as surgeon and zoologist on his Terra Nova expedition (1910 - 1913). Levick photographed extensively throughout the expedition. Prevented by pack ice from embarking on the Terra Nova in February 1912, Levick and the other five members of the party (Victor L. A. Campbell, Raymond Priestley, George Abbott, Harry Dickason, and Frank Browning) were forced to overwinter on Inexpressible Island in a cramped ice cave. Wiki].
P.S. In June 2012 first hand accounts of unusual sexual activities among Adelie penguins, observed a century ago by Dr. George Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s polar team, were finally made public..!
Murray Levick died in Budleigh Salterton, near us in Lyme Regis, so these probably originated from the Levick family archive.
(We would like to thank Brian Matravers for research on these discoveries).
£95.00 the pair.
August 1st 2021
Guy Bourdin, 1928 - 1991
Clean watercolour on pen and ink 45 x 56 cm very nicely framed original under glass (see Image 1 above). A gift from the artist to the distinguished British photographer, Roger Mayne. q.v., (1929-2014). Inscribed lower right : "A Monsieur Roger Maine. 18.1.1955. G. Bourdin" (see Image 3 below). Guy Bourdin, 1928 - 1991 (q.v.), was the foremost French fashion photographer of the post-War era and worked most notably for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar from 1955. The Artist would have been 27 at the time this was painted (see Image 4 right). Photographer Roger Mayne also at the beginning of his career and a year younger at 26 (the striking Image below left). It is worth noting that a 60 x 96 cm single photograph by Bourdin for French Vogue, March 1972, realised £50,000 at Christie's London in May 2017. The style is very Picasso (see Image 2, the girl's face). We have only been able to locate two other comparable artworks (non photographic) by this artist. Provenence: Roger Mayne estate. More information on request with pleasure. No shipping surcharges worldwide on this item.
As a bookseller, it is always great fun to handle a book, of which one can find no other copy. This is often because they have been privately printed in very small numbers…e.g., “Fifty copies only", most commonly, for distribution to family and friends. In this case, we came across: “The Governor's House Lahore", by Muhammad Wali Ullah Khan. Published by:Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, Dept of Information Lahore, in 1983. First And Only (above center).
"The Story of the Origin, History and Development of the Governor's House Lahore".
104 pages all original Mint (as new) copy hb in padded black cloth gilt 23 x 15 cms. In Mint (as new) decorated DW.
So, we seem to have something of a rarity, as no other copy located.
We did find that the Author also published however "Lahore and its Important Monuments" in 1961.
Our copy has twenty-six full page colour images in the text (see above image left), and has a Ground Floor Plan bound in to the rear (see above image right).
With red silk tie bound in.
Our Inventory # 006560. £65.00
N. B. January 2021.
We are delighted to report that since writing the article below, this manuscript (together with six associated Diaries), has now reached its rightful home with the direct family descendents of Richard Eve.
Just occasionally, something crosses our desk that elicits a desire to research the back story.
Just what was happening in 1934 that resulted in a young man writing such an extraordinary document?
In this case a 297 page top copy typescript, unpublished but extensively corrected in manuscript, of a novel set in 1934-1935 London theatreland (see image left above) and titled "Gregor Benn". The sheets are typed one side and double spaced to allow annotations and corrections. We have had the typescript bound in luxurious full blue leather gilt (see central image above). Our author, a Richard Eve, was then only aged 27 and must have been travelling with his typewriter, because, as noted on the final page, the typescript was partly written on board the SS Albert Ballin (see image above right). The SS Ballin left Southampton on 22 February 1935 for this voyage, and arrived in New York on 2 March 1935. Our research colleague, Gregor Murbach, has found a printed list of passengers listing him and his sister Cicely among the tourist class travellers. Coincidentally, the German ship's name was changed from the SS Albert Ballin to SS Hansa, later in 1935 (Ballin was a Jewish name). Our author is a young architect, His Obituary, aged 66, was published in "Architectural Association Notes" (no. 36, Jan./Feb. 1974, p.7). From his two later publications*, he specialised in Domestic Heating. So, who is Richard Stewart Eve? It transpires he is the son of well known British physicist Arthur Stewart Eve. CBE. FRS (q.v.). He lectured in Canada and returned to London in 1935 to retire. Richard was born in Montreal on 14 December 1908, he studied at McGill University in the 1920s and later became an architect based in Hertford. The SS Albert Ballin, above right, was an ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line launched in 1923 and named after Albert Ballin, the visionary director of the line who had committed suicide several years earlier. The SS Albert Ballin was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, working the Hamburg-New York City route.
A Disclaimer by Eve, at the front of the novel reads:
"With the exceptions of references to Miss Phyllis Neilson-Terry's performance as Oberon and Mr. Leslie French's as Puck in Mr. Robert Atkins' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, London, all episodes and characters in this book are entirely imaginary".
In a remarkable twist, Richard Eve’s manuscript diary age twenty-one has just surfaced in Australia, thanks to the efforts of our eagle eyed Melbourne-based Sanctuary Book Club colleague Steve Blackey. More on this as our investigations progress. So, a curious and fascinating item deserving further research.
Could he have been romantically linked to Phyllis Neilson-Terry (q.v.) perhaps...and, intriguingly, who was Gregor Benn?
*1. "Esso Guide to House Heating”: London: Esso Petroleum Company, 1960.,
2. "Economics of House Heating”: RIBA Journal, November 1948, p.684-685.
We have recorded at some length on our sister site, the chance discovery of a discarded collection of pre-war 3 x 3 inch B & W glass slides.
What appeared to us in 2005 as abandoned dust covered detritus, eventually yielded a remarkable story of danger and adventure.
This all recorded in www.lost-balkans.com. The story, as it unfolded has yielded a book, and numerous contacts throughout the world.
The archive itself is shown below and we started from one tiny clue...a postage stamp size slip of glued paper reading “Bulg.33/34” was our starting point.
This can just be seen on the far right of the black slide box lid, in the central image below.
It eventually emerged this particular box of slides was from a plant hunting expedition to remote areas of Bulg(aria) in (19)33/(19)34.
The main actors in our story were three alpine Plant hunters: a Dr. Hugh Roubilliac Roger-Smith, the Rev. Henry Paget Thompson, and his wife Maud Thompson. Mainly self motivated, but enjoying some sponsorship from Kew Botanical Gardens, they set out on plant hunting expeditions throughout the interwar years 1928 - 1939, to remote and dangerous mountainous area of the Balkans. But Henry Paget Thompson carried a camera, and it is his record of the expeditions that we had discovered.
Then in 1950, now aged 83 and in retrospect, Dr. Hugh Roubilliac Roger-Smith wrote up his adventures in a biography "Plant Hunting in Europe".
In the book's frontispiece we find the author in the process of recording a plant. It is the only image we have of him.
The photo caption reads: "Dr Hugh Roger-Smith adding once more to his extensive collection of colour photographs".
So, you can imagine our utter astonishment and delight to receive an email on May 24th from Nicholas Burnett in Cambridge, saying that in the early 1990's he located and purchased an archive of 700 early magic lantern slides, mainly colour, and is now actively researching them, due to time given by the current lockdown.
He, in turn, had only two initial clues: an address Belsize Crescent, and one slide marked "Ethel & Dot"...!
Our colleague Gregor Murbach was able to show from the 1911 Census, that this was the address of none other than our Dr. Hugh Roubilliac Roger-Smith.
His wife was Dorothy (Dot), and their domestic help was Ethel, then aged eighteen!
So we have the same man common to the two collections, at two different stages in his life.
One as committed photography enthusiast, 1900 to 1914. One as Alpine plant hunter, 1928 to 1939.
What is particularly exciting is that about 300 are Autochromes, another 300 or so are probably Sanger Shepherd, process taken with a repeating back.
Most of the rest are monochrome (there are also a few Dufay Dioptichrome and Paget).
We show above three of the Sanger Shepherd. In the central image, the movement of the pair of walkers on the beach (one pair red, one pair blue) can just be made out, in the time lapse between the various exposures. The slides were created using red, yellow and blue filters and the results amalgamated to create the final image.
This film company was only active from 1900, so our hero, Roger-Smith was using cutting edge technology.
There are also some Thames color plates and Ives dye inhibition transparencies. Both of these are pretty rare.
There is the possibilty that many of these image locations, mainly in Europe, are the first to be recorded in color.
More to follow, as this remarkable story unfolds.
Alois Jirásek. 1851 - 1930.Jirásek was a distinguished Czech writer, and author of many historical novels and plays.
He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1918, 1919, 1921 and 1930.
Numerous Czech stamps have been issued to commemorate him.
So, it was with some delight that we uncovered a group of three beautifully bound first edition volumes of his plays and stories.
These are "Jan Zizka"., "Jan Hus"., "Gero"., "Lucerna"., and "Pan Johanes".
Loosely inserted, a previously unrecorded original photograph showing a street scene with Jirasek and two colleagues, dated August 12th 1918 (See image above).
The caption on the reverse reads: "Jubilejni Oslava Narodniho Divadla v Praze 16 Kveten 1918 Spisovatel Alois Jirasek". This translates as:
"Jubilee Celebration of The National Theater in Prague on 16th May 1918 for the writer Alois Jirasek".
He is the central figure in this photograph and would have been 67 at the time it was taken. Moreover, in each of the three volumes, each story or play is with a signed dedication to Leopoldu Katzovi (see images below).
This is Leopold Katz (q.v.), later deported and 1942 victim of the Holocaust.
There is much more research to be done here, as all the annotations and commentaries are in Czech (see the three images below).
But, our hope is to see these volumes eventually safely housed in a Czech Heritage Collection.
Our Catalogue: # 005985. £375.00
Sometimes the books people throw away or bring in take one's breath away. And so it was last Autumn.
It looked just like an empty box.
But ah...inside a complete unopened unread O.U.P. set of Dickens.
Bound in 1987 in encrase (crushed) pale blue leather, and still in the publisher's original Shipping Box.
What a treat! What a delight! What a find!
P.S. February 15th. The collection has now been safely delivered to our delighted customer in Sweden.
On January 7th we found a 1909 theatre producer's "Prompt" copy of a West End play.
This contained all the instructions for scene setting (image center above), actor's dispositions & movements (image above right), together with altered text etc.
The Producer was George Alexander (above left, with his book plate), also a very well know actor in his time.
Such documents are of considerable interest to theatre historians and so the play, "Colonel Smith" by A E W Mason, was immediately acquired by The Houghton Theatre Library in Boston.
Most of our sales here in Lyme are 1.50p - 2.50p paperbacks...Blyton, Christie, O'Brian, Orwell, Wodehouse...etc.
Nothing wrong with that, as it remains a continuous source of pleasure to have what people ask for.
Just occasionally though, antiquarian and rarities flood in. This is a more challenging aspect of bookselling...especially if one is away from one's reference books or the internet. Have we paid a fair price becomes important..as shop goodwill is everything.
The test seems to be for the seller to go away with more than they expected. But, on several occasions we have made mistakes and found that we needed to offer the seller more after the purchase.
Above a sample of December discoveries.
Centre: An eight volume 1865 Shakespeare by Charles Knight, including the interesting volume "Doubtful Plays".
To the right, a lovely three volume 1837 "Memorials of Oxford" by James Ingram.
To the left, and more of a curiosity, an obscure two volumes Italian Dictionary compiled by a John Millhouse, and: "Printed by the Hiers of the Author" in 1879.
A Remarkable Collection of Six of the Earliest Books on Archery.
(All from the Same Provenence)
1792. E Hargrove "Anecdotes of Archery". # 005676 (far right, above).
1798. R.O.Mason. "Pro Aris et Focis". # 005690 (far left, above).
1801. T. Roberts. "The English Bowman". # 005707.
1831. Thomas Hastings "The British Archer". # 005673 (center right, above).
1841. G A Hansard. "The Book of Archery". # 005692.
1887. H Ford. "Theory and Practice of Archery". # 004711 (center left, above).
(Available as One Collection. Please Enquire)
A super discovery!
William Salter (1804 – 1875) Artist. An Archive.
1. Comprising an Album, gold blocked with the name “Salter” (see above center).
2. A list of all the figures in the Salter painting “The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House”.
3. A four page manuscript letter addressed to W. Salter Esq. and signed “J.P.R.”. Discussing “The Trial of Socrates” (above Right).
4. A typescript of this letter. N.B. Relates to the Salter painting “The Judgement of Socrates”.
5. A ten page publication by Mr. Salter: “Il Giudizio di Socrate” in Italian, dated 1830. Firenze Tipografia All’Insegna Di Dante (above left).
6. A printed slip “Directions for the Coachman”.
7. A 16 pp booklet offering Proofs and Prints by F G Moon of “The Waterloo Banquet” at 15 guineas each.
The 21 x 25 cms album comprising 46 filled pages and a number of blanks, contains the following:
1. 48 individual contemporary newspaper cuttings relating to W Salter and various paintings of his, including the important work “The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House”. The earliest cutting from The Times is dated May 14th 1837. The last from The Daily Telegraph is dated March 27th 1860.
2. Nineteen sepia tone original photographs of works by W Salter.
3. An original admission ticket with red wax seal “Public Dinner to William Salter, Esq. M.A.F. Dolphin Inn, Honiton. 3rd December 1838 at Four O’Clock. Signed R.B.
4. A page from The Court Journal P 416 announcing the publishing of “Important Engravings of The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House, from a picture by William Salter”. This is contemporaneous with the first appearance of the painting as it states: “Mr Moon…has received from His Grace the Duke of Wellington the Exclusive Privilege of Being Present at the Banquet on Tuesday last, with a View to its Completion”.
We understand this archive was collected and mounted by a member of the Salter family, or possibly by William Salter himself.
First Brought into the Shop October 18th 2014
It was very distressed, damp, with boards detached and some leaves missing. We estimasted £300.00 to £500.00 for Restoration.
After purchase, it was then stored in our basement unexamined until a full restoration commenced in 2019.
We have here (above left) an extremely early "Chained Bible". It is a 1551 second edition copy of the Erasmus Paraphrase Version of the Great Bible, the first Erasmus Paraphrase Bible in English. It comes with all its eight original brass top cover rivets, original leather covered solid wooden boards, and sixteenth century chain riveted to the top board (it has since gone off for professional restoration).
Note added February 2019.
We can now report more on this restoration for you. See below.
A Note on Chained Bibles.
This was an institution of the medieval Church to protect their copies of the Bible from thievery. Before the advent of printing, the rarity of books made them available only to the wealthy. They were often locked away in chests. The Church, wishing to make the Bible available to all the faithful and still to ensure it against loss, chained it to a desk or lectern (see file images below) and near a church window. There, even poor students had its use and it was in popular demand. Bias and ignorance have interpreted this chaining as proof that the Church withheld the Bible from the laity, but not so.
N.B. In our case the Bible, still with its original hand forged chain attached, has passed through at least one private owner (signed and dated 1664 in manuscript) over the centuries, so our initial thoughts about a possible Church theft were dismissed.
Subsequents research however has revealed a much more interesting story.
Our 1551 Bible is now back from our restorer, George Janssen of Chandos Books Colyton (see the top two images above) Three weeks of painstaking work has revealed a real treasure.
The Title Page reads:
"The First Tome or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament".
"Enpriented at London in Flete-street at the sine of the sunne by Edwarde Whitchurche the last day of Januarie. Anno Domini 1548".
The true First Printing of this Edition (ours) can be identified from the fact that it first appeared without pagination, as we can see here (very top right image). How on earth was the binder to collate 650 pages (325 leaves) without pagination? If you look closely at the images above, you will see a single word on the bottom right hand corner of the leaf on the left. This is the first word of the following page and is set there by the typesetter to assist collation.
Erasmus' Paraphrases upon the New Testament was written in Latin and promptly translated into English by the future Mary Tudor among others, and on the initiative of Queen Katherine Parr. It was extremely influential. In 1547, a year before the publication date, Injunctions were issued in the name of the young Edward VI ordering them to be made accessible in every parish in England (see Royal Injunctions below).
There are copies at Bible House England, the British Museum, the Bodleian Library Oxford, University Library Cambridge, Harvard Library, and the New York Public Library.
At least six variants of this edition are known to exist, this because they had to be produced by different presses to satisfy the demand.
Because they were set by different typesetters, there is no uniform placement of the contents.
What is even more extraordinary is that their rarity is due in part to the efforts of Mary I of England to restore the (Latin) Vulgate Bible, after she became queen in 1553.
The Royal Articles of Edward V1 for 1547 survive and make fascinating reading.
We quote the relevant two verbatim below:
Item: "Whether they (the Church Authorities) have provided and laid in some convenient place
in the Church, where they have cure, a Bible of the largest volume in English".
Item: “And they shall provide within three months next after this visitation, one book of the whole Bible, of the largest volume in English. And within one twelve month next after the said visitation, the Paraphrasis of Erasmus also in English upon the Gospels, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said Church that they have cure of, whereas their parishioners may most commodiously resort unto the same, and read the same....and they discourage no man from the reading any part of the Bible”.
These Royal Injunctions can be read in full in W. H. Frere's, 1910: "Visitation Articles & Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation".
Edward V1 was just fourteen years old in 1551, the year this edition of the Bible appeared.
Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was eminence grise behind the throne.
"Because it's there."
New York Times. George Mallory 18th March 1923.(...on being asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest).Last Updated June 17th 2021.
In late September 2017, while collating a copy of John Buchan’s 1923 “The Final Mysteries of Exploration. The Last Secrets” (see below), a folded Christmas Card dropped out. It had been tucked into the final chapter. This particular chapter is headed “Mount Everest” and here Buchan recounts in 42 pages, all efforts to reach the summit up to 1922 (presumably his cut-off date for his publisher, Thomas Nelson & Sons). The card had clearly been used as a book mark, but closer inspection revealed something rather exceptional. It had a printed date of 1924 and inside it was inscribed in manuscript: From “The Mt. Everest Expedition. 1924.” (see above). One has to confess, the real significance of this took a while to sink in. The card, folded once, with one side blank, is shown above top. Up till now, we have been unable to locate any other copy. Now, the third and fateful British Everest Expedition of 1924, was led by Edward Norton, with Mallory as climbing leader. Expedition members George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Comyn "Sandy" Irvine set out from Base Camp on June 7th 1924 and were lost. It was only in 1999 that Mallory’s body was discovered*, one of an estimated 200 climbers whose remains still lie undisturbed high up on the mountain. The handwriting shows a resemblance to that of expedition member J B L Noel, especially in the construction of the contraction "Mt." for "Mountain" and the long upright of the "p". This is shown in an image of an actual message from him and sent by postal runner from Everest during the same expedition (below right).
The surviving expedition participants erected a memorial cairn in honour of the men who had died in the 1920s on Mount Everest. Mallory and Irvine became national heroes. Magdalene College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge, where Mallory had studied, erected a memorial stone in one of its courts - a court renamed for Mallory. The University of Oxford, where Irvine studied, erected a memorial stone in his memory. In St Paul's Cathedral a ceremony took place which was attended by King George V and other dignitaries, as well as the families and friends of the climbers.
* "Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory & Irvine". Jochen Hemmleb. 1999. Mountaineers Books.
* "The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory". P & L Gillman. 2000. Headline Books.
We would be most grateful to hear from anyone who can recognise the handwriting above, or who could throw any further light on these Christmas cards from the 1924 Everest Expedition.
"The Charge of the Light Brigade"Alfred Lord Tennyson. 1809 -1892.
“Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.
Into the valley of death rode the six hundred”
Some of our more attentive readers will have noticed the discovery in late July of volumes originating from the library of Lord Raglan (see Book Chats on Associations). Further research revealed a intriguing addition, and because of the uniqueness of the association, we have made it the subject of this brief update.
The day of the crucial event in the Crimea was the 25th October 1854.
Tennyson published his poem in the Saturday December 9th 1854 issue of The Examiner. He was Poet Laureate at the time, and, according to his grandson Sir Charles Tennyson, he wrote the poem in only a few minutes, after reading an account of the battle in The Times.
Finally, Lord Raglan dies of cholera outside Sevastopol, on June 29 1855, then aged 67.
So, you can imagine our surprise to find we had a copy of the then current edition of Tennyson’s “Poems” from Lord Raglan’s Library at Cefntilla ! Bearing his bookplate, the Cefntilla Library bookplate (shelf mark MR B1), and with the ownership inscription of a "Georgiana Lygon" (see above). This handsome volume is dated 1851 and had been published and then bound in full Morocco leather gilt by Edward Moxon. Interestingly, Edward Moxon was Tennyson's personal friend.
Our initial reaction was that this copy had passed through subsequent ownership, but no, it transpires Georgiana Lygon was none other than Lord Raglan’s daughter-in-Law. Born in 1832, a beauty, she married Lord Raglan’s son Richard Henry Fitzroy Somerset 2nd Lord Raglan of Raglan on 24 Sep 1856 in St. Paul's Cathedral, then aged 24, and just a year after her Father-in-Law’s death. Her engraved portrait, artist unknown, now resides in The National Portrait Gallery. And so we have surely, the closest association copy one could ever imagine, linking Lord Raglan, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Edward Moxon & Georgina Lygon.
Remarkably the altered first drafts of the poem The Charge of The Light Brigade have survived, and are in The Tennyson Research Centre in the dome of Lincoln Central Library, repository of the most significant collection of Alfred Tennyson in the world. They are shown below. The Galley Proof, with Tennyson's corrections, is shown on the far right.
[Note added November 27th 2017. On Page 7 of Christopher Hibbert's book "The Destruction of Lord Raglan" one reads..."Science and mechanics...meant nothing to him...nor did books. In the great mass of his private correspondence, only once does he mention having read one "The Count of Monte Cristo"...I find it is tiresome"].
[This volume came with top board partly detached. Now seamlessly restored by George Janssen, Colyton Bindery. Chandos Books. 01297-553344. See also below.].
Further Reading: "The Destruction of Lord Raglan: A Tragedy of the Crimean War, 1854-55". Christopher Hibbert. Penguin. 1984.
This page last updated June 2021.
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