Book Chats on Discoveries.
June 4th 2020
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.
But, our hope is to see these volumes eventually safely housed in a Czech Heritage Collection.
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 Discovered November 2018
...latest update: February 8th 2020.
Now it's no exaggeration to say, this really is exciting.
We have found (above left) an extremely early "Chained Bible". It is a first 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). It was started around 1523 and finally published on the Last Day of January 1548. This example is in a remarkable state of preservation for its immense age. In the image above right, just below the middle purple arrow tag and central, one can see the 1523 printing date in roman numerals for these particular sheets (as the last line in the first paragraph):
(We are in Tudor England, with Henry V111 aged 32, fourteen years on the throne and unhappily married to Catherine of Aragon).
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.
In our case the Bible, still with its original hand forged chain attached, has passed through several owners over the centuries, so our initial thought about a possible Church theft has proved unfounded.
Our 1548 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 extreme rarity is due to the efforts of Mary I of England to restore the (Latin) Vulgate Bible, after she became queen in 1553. In her effort to promote Roman Catholicism she ordered all copies of this book to be destroyed—despite having translated Erasmus' commentary on St. John, for which she is praised in this very book!
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 ten years old in 1547, a year before the first appearance of this edition of the Bible.
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 September 1st 2019.
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 March 2020.
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