To the noted geologist Sir Charles Lyell

Ruskin, John, English art critic, watercolourist, and social thinker (1819-1900). 2 autograph letters signed. Leamington Spa and Crossmount [Perthshire], 21 July and 2 Sept. [1847]. Leamington Spa and Crossmount [Perthshire], 21 July and 2 Sept. [1847]. 8vo. 2½ pp. on a bifolium each.

£ 2,650.-

Both to the noted British geologist Sir Charles Lyell. The letters can be dated to 1847, when John Ruskin spent several weeks at Leamington Spa for medical treatment and visited Scotland in the fall. - In response to an invitation: "Your kind letter would have been answered before - if I had not been detained here by [Dr Henry] Jephsons authority - and I am now on parole - nor can I tell when I shall regain my liberty. I did not, consequently, receive your letter until this morning - I have no doubts, however, of being able to wait upon you some day before the end of August - if however I do not recover strength fast enough to be able to fix a time so long before as to be quite sure of not inconveniencing your family, I will not come this season - but shall look forward to some opportunity of a hill ramble with you under more fortunate auspices. Pray return my most sincere thanks to Mr. Lyell for his kind aquiescence in your invitation [...]" (July 21st). - On 2 September he writes with geological observations from Mount Schiehallion, Perthshire: "I only received your kind note the day before yesterday - then being on the point of writing to you to express to you my regret that I had been detained in Leamington beyond the time when I could hope to have the pleasure of waiting on you. Jephson would not let me stir and I have too much respect and feel too much gratitude towards him ever to vex him by disobedience - though I did fancy that I might recover strength quite as fast on the sandstones of Kirriemuir as of Warwickshire. I am here at last but too late for the fine weather - and - as I dreaded - for my much desired expedition to Kirriemuir. - I have been surprised by the look of the rocks under Schehallein [!] here - there is a strip of gneiss about a quarter of a mile wide - I don't know how long - with many ups and downs, weathered as if it had been a torrent bed for a thousand years - while on each side of it the same rock is quite fresh & hard edged - even more so than is usual on exposed surfaces. - I am really disappointed with the things they call hills here - but the crags & heather, and birch woods are very lovely. [...]". - The two letters give important testimony to the friendship of John Ruskin and Sir Charles Lyell as well as to their shared interest in geology. Ruskin's fragile health had led him to Leamington Spa before, when he spent six weeks there in the late summer of 1841. The gratitude towards his physician Henry Jephson that Ruskin underlined in the letter to Lyell can be linked to this earlier episode. Neither in his diaries nor in his autobiography does Ruskin mention the invitation to Kirriemurie, while he includes his stay at Leamington Spa and the subsequent visit to Perthshire. In the autobiography Ruskin dedicates an entire chapter to Crossmount, a hunting lodge at the foot of Mount Schiehallion, where he stayed following the invitation of William Macdonald Farquharson (1822-93). There he enjoyed gardening above all: "The thistle-field at Crossmount was an inheritance of amethystine pleasure to me; and working hours in it are among the few in my life which I remember with entire serenity - as being certain I could have spent them no better" (Ruskin, Praeterita, Oxford 2012, pp. 273-274). Another reflection of Ruskin's time and occupations at the foot of Mount Schiehallion is the charming watercolor study "Rocks and ferns in a wood at Crossmount, Perthshire" held at Abbot Hall Art Gallery. - With traces of former mounting to each letter.


Both of Saadi's major works

Saadi. Bustan and Gulistan. Persia, 18th century. 4to. 116 ff. With 26 illuminated miniatures. Native paper heavily gilt, illuminated in a fine calligraphic hand, with attractive borders. Decorated cloth.

£ 12,500.-

A highly interesting Persian manuscript in Nastaliq style containing the two major works of the celebrated Persian poet (1184-1291). "Gulistan" ("The Rose Garden", 1258) and "Bustan" ("The Fruit Garden", 1257) are both filled with semi-autobiographical stories, philosophical meditations, pieces of practical wisdom, and humorous anecdotes and observations, depicted in 26 miniatures in this manuscript. - Binding rubbed and chafed, spine damaged. Some of the miniatures slightly rubbed.


First European edition of "Gulistan"

Saadi / Ryer, André du (ed. & transl.). Gulistan ou l'empire des roses. [...] Traduit en... François par André du Ryer. Paris, Anthoine de Sommaville, 1634. Paris, Anthoine de Sommaville, 1634. Small 8vo. (8), 166 pp. Contemp. brown full calf with cover borders and edges gilt. Spine gilt. Marbled endpapers.

£ 19,500.-

Rare first European edition of Sa'adi's famous "Gulistan", a work in a similar tradition as the Mirrors for Magistrates. The translator, André du Ryer, was a French orientalist and consul in the Levant, notably in Alexandria and Constantinople. He returned to France in 1630 and became royal interpreter in oriental languages. He also published a Turkish grammar in 1630 and a translation of the Qur'an in 1647. Sa'adi is the most widely known Persian author in the West, and his "Gulistan" (Rose Garden), completed in 1258, was the first Persian literary work to be translated into any European language. This and later translations established Sa'adi's reputation among Western writers and inspired La Fontaine, Diderot, Voltaire, Renan, Herder, and Goethe. The present translation remained incomplete; the first complete version in a western language was the edition of the text with a Latin translation published in Amsterdam in 1651. - Spine professionally repaired in places. Provenance: Gigault de la Favière, 1768 (signature on title); Colegio de Neustra Señora de Guadalupe, Lima (blindstamp to title); Jules Becker (ink stamp on first free endpaper). Last in the library of Swedish antiquarian bookdealer Björn Löwendahl (1941-2013).
¶ Zenker I, p. 60, no. 491. Schwab 1009. Brunet V, 25. Cioranescu XVII, 27953.


HRH King Saud of Saudi Arabia visits Germany: a full photographic account by his German Personal Protection Detail, with a signed portrait of the King

Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia (1902-1969). Photo album of King Saud's 1959 visit to... Germany, entitled "S. M. König Saud von Saudi-Arabien zu Besuch in der BR. Deutschland vom 22.7.-27.8.59", including a signed portrait photograph of King Saud on the first page. Southern Germany, July/August 1959. Southern Germany, July/August 1959. 114 black-and-white photographs, ca 7 x 10 cm each, tipped in to a brown patent leather album of 40 leaves with gilt cover rules and handwritten spine label "Besuch König Saud 1959" (large 4to, ca. 25 x 25 cm). Captioned in German in blue ballpoint throughout, with numerous newspaper clippings and other relevant ephemera.

£ 32,500.-

Unique photograph album comprised exclusively of previously unknown, unpublished material, documenting HRH King Saud's five-week visit to Germany in the summer of 1959. Providing the perspective not of a press photographer but of a participant with privileged access throughout, it was apparently assembled by a member of the German security detail, a special unit of the Federal Government's detective squad which provided necessary local backup to the King's own bodyguards. - King Saud arrived in Freiburg im Breisgau by train from Venice, on the evening of 22 July, accompanied by his brother HRH Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud; his uncle Ahmad bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud; the mayor of Riyadh, Prince Fahd bin Faisal bin Farhan; and four of his sons, as well as an entourage of some 80 persons. In Freiburg he visited his daughter Nour bint Saud, who was being treated at the University Hospital for severe burns sustained the previous year. The album shows King Saud's triumphal entrance at the train station, him granting an audience to Freiburg's mayor Josef Brandel, taking a walk through the city with his five-year-old son HRH Prince Mashhoor at his side, meeting the Saudi envoy to Germany, Jawad Mustafa Zikri, and visiting Lake Titisee, the Feldberg (which the Arabian guests ascend by chairlift) and other places in the Black Forest. The King's hulkingly elegant blue and black Cadillacs with their Swiss plates present a striking contrast to the the miniscule German police cars of the 1950s that protect it. Again and again the King is asked to sign autographs for the cheering Germans; several traditional local bands and choirs honour him with parades and music. - The end of July saw King Saud's departure from Freiburg, travelling onwards through Ettlingen in Baden to Bad Nauheim in Hesse, famous for its salt springs, where he was to take the waters. Here, he we see him greeted by the aged Saudi foreign policy advisor Shaikh Yousuf Yassin, having tea on the spa terrace, and in conversation with his Bonn-based ambassador as well as with local German children. The album commemorates the sojourn not only with numerous clippings from contemporary newspapers feting the famous guest, but also by original menus in German and Arabic that reflect the sumptuous dishes set before the King at "Hilbert's Parkhotel". Another series of photos shows King Saud examining a falcon brought to him by a Munich falconer. We see the royal coffee-makers with their Arabian coffee cans and the omnipresent Arabian guards (with German and Saudi security staff often seated together), but the photos also document King Saud's visit to Theodor Heuss, the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the final months of his decade-long presidentship. Saud spent a night at the Federal Government's guest house on Petersberg near Königswinter; further stations of his tour through Hesse included Königstein and Kronberg im Taunus, Bad Homburg, and Wiesbaden, where the King met with the Minister-President of Hesse, Georg-August Zinn (who had the police band play the Saudi national anthem). The photographs capture not only the King's visits to Bad Nauheim's dentist Dr. Atta (who, the captions reveal, extracted several teeth and prepared jacket crowns), the King's personal physician Dr. Adib, his personal security officer and his private secretary, but also the throngs of German onlookers waiting to catch a glimpse of the ever-patient smiling and waving Saudi royal. - The album concludes with King Saud's departure and his final farewell to the German security staff at the Swiss-German border. While the King would continue his journey to Geneva and later to Cairo, the final photograph shows two German security officers back at the hotel in Freiburg, enjoying their first moment of relaxation in five weeks. The photographer's unique access to the King and his closest personnel throughout his entire tour makes this an outstanding document of King Saud's long visit to Germany at a crucial moment of his reign.


''Shargeh ... ville la plus importante de cette partie de côte''

Service Hydrographique de la Marine. Instructions Nautiques. Océan Indien. Golfe Persique, Mer d'Oman,... et côte ouest de l'Hindoustan. (Instruction No. 309). Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1918. Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1918. 8vo. XXVI, 285, (1) pp., 1 folding table. With 18 supplement vouchers printed on 6 leaves. Printed original boards.

£ 2,500.-

Early 20th century French sailing directions for navigating the Arabian Gulf. Including the coastal waters of the present-day United Arab Emirates, it describes the "grand banc des perles" off the coast, approaches to "Umm al Kaiwain" ("pointe basse et sablonneuse d'une presqu'ile"), "Al Hamriya", "Fort al Ajman" ("petit fort assez élevé, avec plusieurs tours et un mât de pavillon"), "Shargeh" ("ville la plus importante de cette partie de côte"), "Debay" ("ville ed 5000 à 6000 habitants, située un peu dans l'intérieur"), the "Île Sir Beni Yas", "Abu Thabi" ("ville importante, 20,000 hab., résidence d'un Cheik indépendant, [...] côte mal connue") and "Al Bida" ("belle rade, bien abritée par les récifs extérieurs"). - Covers brownstained, otherwise well preserved. A rare work.


Early Egyptian Astronomy in a Deluxe Binding

Seyffarth, Gustav. Beitraege zur Kenntniss der Literatur, Kunst, Mythologie und... Geschichte des alten Aegypten. Erstes Heft: Bemerkungen ueber die Aegyptischen Papyrus auf der Koeniglichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. Leipzig, J. A. Barth, 1826. Leipzig, J. A. Barth, 1826. 4to (225 x 264 mm). X, 42 pp. With 4 lithogr. folding plates. (And:) Beitraege [...] Zweites, Drittes, Viertes, Fünftes Heft. Systema Astronomiae Aegyptiacae Quadripartitum. Ibid., 1833. XXX, 445, (10) pp. (series titles and separate half-title for no. 2). With hand-coloured frontispiece and 10 large folding plates, lithographed throughout. Contemporary polished red morocco, spine, leading edges, inner dentelle and covers richly gilt and blind-tooled in the Romantic style. Glazed green endpapers; all edges goffered and gilt. Bound by the Leipzig master Anton Stumme with his label on the first flyleaf.

£ 12,500.-

A fine morocco volume comprising the first five of Seyffarth’s monographic "Contributions" to Egyptology (apparently all published at the time of binding; two more were to follow by 1840). While the first fascicle contains the earliest catalogue raisonnée of the substantial Berlin collection of papyri, fascicles 2-5 (published with continuous pagination) constitute a bold investigation into early Egyptian astronomy and its all-pervading cosmological cult. This section includes a hand-coloured frontispiece of astronomical animal forms and ten large folding plates, all lithographed, showing important pieces of archeological evidence: the Navicula astronomica (Paris), Zodiacus Tentyriticus (Paris), Zodiacus Taurinensis (Turin), Sarcophagus Sethi (London), Sarcophagus Ramsis (Paris), Monolithus Amosis (Paris), Mensa Isiaca (Rome), and a Papyrus funeralis formerly in the d'Hermand collection. The final part is an astronomical lexicon, a typographical masterpiece that fits more than 1300 lithographed hieroglyphs precisely into their letterpress explanations. - Seyffarth, an opponent of Champollion's, emigrated to the U.S. in 1855. His thousands of transcriptions and sketches are preserved in the Brooklyn Museum as the "Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca Manuscripta". - A luxury copy printed entirely on wove paper and bound in elaborate morocco with finely goffered edges (unusual for a secular binding of the time) by the Leipzig master Anton Wilhelm August Stumme (1804-67), who also worked for Robert Schumann. Minor wear to binding, occasional foxing as typical for wove paper. Coloured frontispiece browned evenly; largely insignificant gutter tears to four folding plates. A crisp, unused copy in a magnificent binding.
¶ Ibrahim-Hilmy II, 229f.


Stalin to his daughter

Stalin (Dzhugashvili), Josef, Russian dictator (1878-1953). Autograph letter signed. No place, 4. III. 1937. No place, 4. III. 1937. 8vo. 1 page. In blue and red crayon.

A humorous correspondence with his daughter Svetlana, giving her the desired permission to invite two classmates for the weekend: "For Secretary Number 1 Mr Stalin / Decree Number 2 / I order you to permit me to invite two boys and a girl from my class this weekend (12/3/37). / Insurgent - Svetlanka Stalina [stamp] / Signed / I submit myself / Secretary to Svetlanka - insurgent / Stalin". Very well preserved document of Stalin's private family life, pervaded by the formulae of party bureaucracy.


The King's Strabo: the Arabian Gulf, and all the country of the tent-dwellers and the Sheikh-governed tribes

Strabo. [Geographia.] Rerum geographicarum libri XVII. Paris, typis Regiis, 1620. Paris, typis Regiis, 1620. Folio (339 x 225 mm). 2 parts in one volume. (12), 843, (112) pp. (4), 282, (8) pp. Title printed in red and black with engraved vignette showing arms of Louis XIII, initials. Double-column text in Greek and Latin. Contemp. citron morocco gilt, boards of gilt fillets enclosing a semé of fleurs-de-lys, alternating with the kings crowned monogram, enclosing arms of Louis XIII (variant of Olivier 2493, fer 1). Spine in 7 compartments, the second with gilt-lettered title, others filled with the same semé. All edges gilt.

£ 35,000.-

Enlarged and corrected second edition ("much more accurate and splendid than the first", says Dibdin) of Strabo’s "Geography", one of the earliest and most important scientific treatises of historical geography. Contains the Greek text beside Xylander's Latin translation, with commentaries by Frédéric Morel and Isaac Casaubon. Together with the works of Ptolemy and Solinus, Strabo's "Geography" constitutes the first attempt at a unified treatise of geographical knowledge. Strabo had visited Egypt and sailed up the Nile in 25 BC. Even in the introductory chapters, the author provides important details on the Arabian Peninsula: "Adjoining the Ethiopians, a needy and nomad race, is Arabia: one part of which is distinguished above all other lands by the title of Felix [i.e., Hedjaz and Nejd-ed-Ared], and the other, though not dignified by that name, is both generally believed and also said to be pre-eminently blessed. Though Homer knew of Arabia Felix, at that time it was by no means wealthy, but a wild country, the inhabitants of which dwelt for the most part in tents. It is only a small district which produces the aromatics from which the whole territory afterwards received its name, owing to the rarity of the commodity amongst us, and the value set upon it. That the Arabians are now flourishing and wealthy is due to their vast and extended trade" (bk. 1, p. 39); "Arabia Felix is bounded by the entire Arabian and Persian Gulfs, together with all the country of the tent-dwellers and the Sheikh-governed tribes. [...] Beside the ocean the country is tolerably fitted for habitation of man, but not so the centre of the country: this for the most part is barren, rugged sand desert. The same applies to the country of the Troglodytic Arabians and the part occupied by the fish-eating tribes" (bk. 2, p. 130f.). Furthermore, books 15 and 16 are devoted entirely to the Orient (bk. 16 is on Arabia in particular), while the final book 17 discusses Egypt and Libya. - The personal copy of Louis XIII, King of France (1601-43), magnificently bound for him with his arms and monogram. Later in the Jesuit College, Paris (inscription on title page); in 1624 awarded to the scholar Robert Roussel, College de Clermont, Jesuit College of Paris, as a prize for eloquence in Greek (inscription on preliminary blank). A faint, unidentified stamp on the title page; stamp of the Bibliothèque Publique of Alençon on J2 and final leaf. - Slight edge defect to upper margin of QQq3, affecting a few letters of the headline. A few marginal abrasions to the binding's edges professionally repaired.
¶ Brunet V, 554. Graesse VII, 604. Schweiger I, 303. Hoffmann III, 454. Dibdin II, 433. Moss II, 620f. Ebert 21809.


''Die ägyptische Helena''

Strauss, Richard, composer (1864-1949). Autograph musical manuscript. No place or date. Oblong folio. 2 pp. In pencil.

£ 20,000.-

A draft for the opera "Die ägyptische Helena" (op. 75), which premiered in 1928 in Dresden, as confirmed by the Richard-Strauss-Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. - Hardly visible centrefold, slightly creased, two small ink blots in the left margin. From the estate of Wolfgang Sawallisch.


Anticipating the European Union

Sully, Maximilien de Béthune, duc de. Mémoires des sages et royalles oeconomies d'estat, domestiques,... politiques et militaires de Henry le Grand, l'Exemplaire des Roys, le Prince des Vertus, des Armes & des Loix, & le Pere en effet de ses peuples François. Amstelredam [= Rouen], "chez Alethinosgraphe de Clearetimelée, & Graphexechon de Pistariste, A l'enseigne des trois Vertus couronnées d'Amaranthe", [1649]. Amstelredam [= Rouen], "chez Alethinosgraphe de Clearetimelée, & Graphexechon de Pistariste, A l'enseigne des trois Vertus couronnées d'Amaranthe", [1649]. Folio (248 x 370 mm). 2 parts in 1 vol. (8), 535 (but: 435) pp. (8), 459 (but: 463) pp. With half-page handcoloured woodcut vignette on both title-pages. Contemporary armorial red morocco, finely gilt and signed by Jean-Édouard Niédrée. All edges gilt, gilt inner dentelle, leading edges gilt.

£ 8,000.-

Splendid deluxe copy of the Rouen-printed reprint of the first two parts of the Duke of Sully's notorious memoirs. Here, he develops his vision of a Europe comprised of fifteen roughly equal-sized European states, under the direction of a "Very Christian Council of Europe", and possessed of a common army. This famous "Grand Design", a utopian plan for a Christian republic, is often cited as one of the first grand schemes anticipating the European Union. This Rouen edition of 1649 was precisely copied after the very scarce editio princeps, printed between 1639 and 1640 by Jacques Bouquet at Château de Sully in fewer than 400 copies. The first two parts cover the years from 1570 to 1605. The editio princeps of part III and IV was published by Augustin Courbé in Paris in 1662. - Finely copy bound by Niédrée for the Baron François-Florentin-Achille de Seillière (1813-73).
¶ Cioranescu 63703. Kress 537. Einaudi 5506. Goldsmiths' 686. L. Avezou, Sully à travers l'histoire (2001), p. 119f. Rahir 649. Leblanc, De Thomas More à Chaptal (1961), 8.


The first recorded visit of a Westerner to Mecca: the first illustrated edition

Varthema, Lodovico di. Die Ritterlich und lobwürdig reiß [...] Sagend von... den landen, Egypto, Syria, von beiden Arabia Persia, India und Ethiopia, von den gestalten, sitten, und dero menschen leben und glauben. Strasbourg, Johann Knobloch, 1516. Strasbourg, Johann Knobloch, 1516. 4to. 226 pp., final blank f. With title woodcut and 47 woodcuts in the text (including 1 full-page illustration). Blindstamped dark blue morocco by Riviere & Son with giltstamped spine title. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers.

£ 180,000.-

The first illustrated edition (in its second issue) of one of the most famous early travel reports and the first western encounter with the Arab world. Of the utmost rarity; not a single copy could be traced on the market for the past sixty years; not a single copy in the USA (cf. OCLC). Lodovico de Varthema’s “Itinerario” describes the first recorded eyewitness account by a westerner of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. All early editions of Varthema’s “Itinerario” are exceedingly rare (even the 2013 Hajj exhibition at the MIA, Doha, only featured the 1654 reprint; cf. below). This - the first illustrated one - is certainly the rarest of them all: international auction records list not a single copy. The 1510 editio princeps was offered for US$ 1 million at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair in April 2011. - Varthema, a gentleman adventurer and soldier from Bologna, left Venice at the end of 1502. In 1503 he reached Alexandria and ascended the Nile to Cairo, continuing to Beirut, Tripoli, Aleppo and Damascus, where, adopting Islam and taking the name of Yunas, he joined a Mameluke escort of a Hajj caravan and began the pilgrimage to Mecca. Varthema was amazed by what he observed: "Truly I never saw so many people collected in one spot as during the twenty days I remained there", he begins, and arriving at the Great Mosque, continues, "it would not be possible to describe the sweetness and the fragrances which are smelt within this temple." Thanks to his knowledge of Arabic and Islam, Varthema was able to appreciate the local culture of the places he visited. Impressed and fascinated, he describes not only rites and rituals, but also social, geographical, and day-to-day details. "I determined, personally, and with my own eyes", he declares in the prefatory dedication, "to ascertain the situation of places, the qualities of peoples [...] of Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Felix, Persia, India, and Ethiopia, remembering well that the testimony of one eye-witness is worth more than ten hear-says." His good fortune did not continue unabated, however: after embarking at Jeddah and sailing to Aden, he was denounced as a Christian spy and imprisoned. He secured his release and proceeded on an extensive tour of southwest Arabia. Stopping in Sanaa and Zebid as well as a number of smaller cities, he describes the people, the markets and trade, the kind of fruits and animals that are plentiful in the vicinity, and any historical or cultural information deemed noteworthy. Returning to Aden, and after a brief stop in Ethiopia, he set sail for India. In addition to visiting Persia, Varthema explored the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel, including a very documented stay at Calicut at the beginning of 1505. He also purports to have made extensive travels around the Malay peninsula and the Moluccas. Returning to Calicut in August 1505, he took employment with the Portuguese at Cochin and, in 1508, made his way back to Europe via the Cape of Good Hope. - First published in 1510, Varthema's account became an immediate bestseller. In addition to his fascinating account of Egypt, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, and the holy Muslim cities, "Varthema brought into European literature an appreciation of the areas east of India [...] which it had previously not received from the sea-travelers and which confirmed by firsthand observations many of the statements made earlier by Marco Polo and the writers of antiquity" (Lach, I. i. 166). "Varthema was a real traveller. His reports on the social and political conditions of the various lands he visited are reliable as being gathered from personal contact with places and peoples. His account of the overland trade is of great value in that we are made to see it before it had begun to give way to the all-seas route. He even heard of a southern continent and of a region of intense cold and very short days, being the first European probably after Marco Polo to bring back the rumor of Terra Australis" (Cox I, 260). - A few contemporary underlinings and marginalie. Some slight browning and staining as usual; stamp of the Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen on the reverse of the title.
¶ VD 16, ZV 15157. BM-STC 66. IA 113.543 (includes copies in BSB Munich and Wolfenbüttel). Benzing (Strasbourg) 100. Schmidt (Knobloch) 132. Ritter (IV) 932 & 2000. Muller 132, 170. Kristeller 383. Paulitschke 296. Ibrahim-Hilmy II, 305. Röhricht 574. Cf. exhibition cat. “Hajj - The Journey Through Art” (Doha, 2013), p. 90 (1655 Dutch ed. only). Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 2239 (other editions only).


The birth of modern anatomy: a coloured copy of the first edition, used by the surgeon of the Duke of Saxony

Vesalius, Andreas. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Basel, (Johannes Oporinus, June 1543). Basel, (Johannes Oporinus, June 1543). Folio (319 x 456 mm). 355 leaves and two folding sheets. Roman and italic types, occasional use of Greek and Hebrew types, printed shoulder notes. Woodcut pictorial title, author portrait, and printer’s device; 7 large, 186 mid-sized, and 22 small woodcut initials; more than 200 woodcut illustrations, including 3 full-page skeletons, 14 full-page muscle men, 5 large diagrams of veins and nerves, 10 mid-sized views of the abdomen, 2 mid-sized views of the thorax, 13 mid-sized views of the skull and brain, and numerous smaller views of bones, organs and anatomical parts. All woodcuts and initials up to page 165 in full contemporary hand colour. Contemporary blindstamped leather over wooden boards with bevelled edges, on five raised double bands, with two clasps.

£ 825,000.-

A truly outstanding copy of one of the greatest and most appealing books in the history of science. Preserved in its original binding with the blindstamped initials of its first owner, the German physician Caspar Neefe (1514-79), and with his handwritten annotations throughout, the present copy is partly coloured by a contemporary artist (including the iconic woodcut used as title page and all anatomical illustrations up to page 165). Caspar Neefe, who later served as personal physician to Duke Albert I of Saxony, acquired the precious volume only a year after its publication and obviously consulted it extensively throughout his career as a medical practitioner. - With the publication of "De humani corporis fabrica" (when he was only twenty-eight) Vesalius revolutionized both the science of anatomy and how it was taught. In his preface he describes his disappointing experiences as a student in Paris and Louvain, stating his intention to reform the teaching of anatomy by giving in this book a complete description of the structure of the human body, thereby drawing attention "to the falsity of Galen’s pronouncements". Vesalius also broke with tradition by performing dissections himself instead of leaving this task to assistants: the striking and dramatic title illustration shows him conducting such a dissection, his hand plunged into a female cadaver (striking in itself, as only the cadavers of executed criminals could be dissected legally and female criminals were rarely executed), surrounded by a seething mass of students. - The "Fabrica" is also revolutionary for "its unprecedented blending of scientific exposition, art and typography" (Norman). The woodcuts by artists of the school of Titian are both iconographically and artistically important. The series of fourteen muscle men show landscapes that, when assembled in reverse order, form a panorama of the Euganean Hills near Padua, a scenery well known to Vesalius while he was at work on the Fabrica. - Of the few copies of the first edition to have come to the market in recent decades, only two were in a contemporary binding. Apart from Vesalius's dedication copy to Emperor Charles V (Christie's New York, 18 March 1998, lot 213: $1,652,500), only a single other partly coloured copy was previously known, a list to which ours must now be added as the third known copy in contemporary colour. - Acquired in 2017; previously in a Tyrolean private medical collection, where the book rested for three generations (erased circular library stamp in the blank lower margin of the title page): an outstanding copy hitherto unknown to scholarship (cf. the recent census published by Dániel Margócsy, University of Cambridge, below; further relevant correpondence with Dr Margócsy is available upon request). Occasional waterstaining to margins, the splendid binding a little rubbed and bumped, but altogether a wonderfully crisp, wide-margined copy of the first edition. Unquestionably the most desirable copy of a milestone in the history of science still in private hands, and likely the most important medical book obtainable for decades to come.
¶ PMM 71. VD 16, V 910. Durling 4577. Cushing VI.A.1. Eimas 281. Norman 2137. Wellcome 6560. Graesse VI.2, 289. Cf. D. Margócsy, M. Somos, S. N. Joffe: "Vesalius' Fabrica: A Report on the Worldwide Census of the 1543 and 1555 Editions", in: Social History of Medicine Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 201–223. For Neefe cf. A. Lesser, Die albertinischen Leibärzte (Petersberg 2015), p. 71-74.


Steamboat Round the Bend

Watt, James, Scottish inventor (1736-1819). Autograph letter signed ("James Watt"). [Birmingham], 29. XII. 1818. [Birmingham], 29. XII. 1818. 8vo. ½ p. on bifolium with integral address panel. Remains of seal. Includes a steel-engraved portrait of Watt.

£ 2,200.-

Unpublished letter to Samuel Tertius Galton (1783-1844), businessman, scientist and father of Sir Francis Galton: "My Dear Sir. Will you do me the favour to dine with Mr [Thomas] Grahame, one of the council of the Forth & Clyde navigation, at my house to morrow. He wants some information about canal management [...]". A few years later, Thomas Grahame would demonstrate the efficiency of the use of steamboats on the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Council, of which he was a member, subsequently lifted the ban on steamers, and Grahame himself hired a small paddle steamboat which he operated successfully on the Canal. - Traces of folds.


Wittgenstein's proof copy

Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Austrian philosopher (1889-1951). Wittgenstein's proof copy of: Ludwig Hänsel, "Newton -... Goethe - Pascal. Die Farbenlehre und das Problem der Mitte" (a treatise on Goethe's "Theory of colours"). [Vienna, 1949]. [Vienna, 1949]. Offprint from: "Chronik des Wiener Goethe-Vereins", vols. LII and LIII. Pages 113-146. Original wrappers (spine defective, cover with multiple creases).

£ 10,000.-

Wittgenstein's proof copy of Hänsel's essay on Goethe's "Farbenlehre" with his autogr. (often scathing) annotations: "If you only would shut up and keep out of it!" (p. 122), "You are not Goethe" (p. 124), "Christian peoples are not Christianity" (p. 145). - Wittgenstein and Hänsel had met in the POW camp at Monte Cassino. Wittgenstein visited Vienna during Easter 1949, and Hänsel gave him the offprint to read. "The friendship between Wittgenstein and Hänsel had then lasted three decades, and during this time Wittgenstein uttered many a brusque word about Hänsel's ideas. To be sure, the aggressive, vicious tone is irritating" (cf. Christian Paul Berger, in: "L. Hänsel - L. Wittgenstein. Eine Freundschaft", Innsbruck [1994], p. 339). - "Hänsel was an uncommonly well-read man; above all, he appreciated Pascal, St. Augustine, Kierkegaard, and Goethe, about whom he wrote numerous essays. He studied modern issues of Christianity and the church, the philosophy of values, epistemology, and basic questions of education. Hänsel was considered a conservative: like Wittgenstein, he favoured 'tradition' in matters of literature, art, music, and 'the modern life' in general. For Wittgenstein, Hänsel embodied both the classical Austrian tradition and the faculty to perform an observant examination of current trends in culture and criticism. Harshly though Wittgenstein chastises Hänsel, his letters repeatedly end with his criticising the failures attributed to his friend even more sharply in himself" (cf. Ilse Somavilla, Der rechte Ton, in: ibid., p. 325). - Numerous pencil marginalia, underlinings, deletions and corrections by Wittgenstein.