Britain’s commercial, political and military influence in the Gulf in the early 20th century

[British Residency, Bandar Abbas]. Manuscript daybook. Bandar Abbas, 1905-1929. Bandar Abbas, 1905-1929. Folio ledger book (390 × 240 mm). (4), 276 pp., with numerous blank leaves at rear; pp. 164-165 typescript; letterpress memorandum pasted to pp. 273-275. Most agreements ratified with consular ink-stamps or pasted Consular Service postage stamps. Contemporary sheep dyed red, marbled pastedowns, inner hinges reinforced with cloth. Binding rubbed, inner hinge split between pp. 2-3. Very occasional ink-smudging, nevertheless in excellent condition.

EUR 48,000.00

Manuscript legal record book of the just-founded British consulate at Bandar Abbas: intended for the consulate's internal use only, this handwritten ledger constitutes a historical document of Britain's growing commercial, political and military influence in the Gulf throughout a crucial quarter of a century. - The daybook covers the formative period of the consulate at the key port of Bandar Abbas, from early in the tenure of the influential but ill-fated Captain William Shakespear (1904-09) to the flourishing of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in the late 1920s. It shows how APOC and other British companies successfully cultivated networks of local agents (indeed, the final 50 pages are entirely taken up by contracts concerning oil and its by-products). Together, the records form a highly detailed primary source for the commercial and social life in Bandar Abbas, an increasingly cosmopolitan Gulf hub that has been called "the major entrepôt for the whole of southern Persia" (B. C. Busch, Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1894-1914 [1967], p. 44). They demonstrate the functioning of an important British outpost during an era marked by such convulsions as the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-11, the First World War, and the Persian coup d'etat of 1921, and for the rapid growth of APOC and the ongoing strategic contest between the British and Russian empires. - Mainly written in Persian or English (with a number in Arabic and a few in Sindhi) the records include fair copies of bills of sale, promissory notes, property leases, inheritance agreements, and other contracts. Parties include local merchants, of Persian as well as Arab and Indian origin, and various British companies which played an important role in the expansion of imperial influence in the region. The documents are neatly presented throughout; those in Persian are composed in an especially attractive flowing nasta'liq script. All are briefly described in English, then ratified, signed and stamped by the acting consul. The whole is very well preserved indeed, and forms a highly attractive historical record.

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The only surviving documentation of Mshatta Palace in Jordan

Brünnow, Rudolf Ernst / Domaszewski, Alfred von. Die Provincia Arabia. Strasbourg, Trübner, 1904-1909. Strasbourg, Trübner, 1904-1909. Small folio (320 x 246 mm). 3 vols. XXIV, 532, (2) pp. with heliogravure frontispiece, 548 illustrations, 40 plates and maps in the text, and 2 extra maps on 4 ff. XII, 358, (4) pp. with 315 illustrations and 9 plates. XIV, 403, (1) pp. with 257 illustrations and 4 plates. Publisher's original half vellum and green boards.

EUR 25,000.00

First edition: rare. A remarkably well-illustrated archaeological survey of sites in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, particularly valued for its account of Petra and of the palace of Mshatta in Jordan, a great monument of early Islamic art. With over 1100 half tone illustrations, many full-page, and numerous splendidly produced plates (some folding or double-page, a few coloured). The outstanding feature of the Mshatta palace was the intricately carved decoration on its facade. Today the complete facade, built in the mid-eighth century, exists only in Brünnow's photographs (see vol. II). - Bindings slightly rubbed; upper joints of vol. III slightly split; stamp of the Meadville Theological School library to title page. A good, clean copy.
¶ NYPL Arabia Coll. 166. OCLC 24223621.

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From the collection of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein

Du Fouilloux, Jacques. La venerie [...]. De nouveau reveue, et augmentée,... outre les precedentes impressions. Paris, la Boutique de l'Angelier chez Clause Cramoisy, 1624. Paris, la Boutique de l'Angelier chez Clause Cramoisy, 1624. 4to (226 x 164 mm). 2 parts in one volume. (4), 124, (8) pp. Title printed in red and black with woodcut vignette, 57 woodcut illustrations, 3 full-page, woodcut music, head- and tailpieces, and initials. 19th-c. black morocco by Cuyls, covers and spine blind-tooled with lion motif, gilt turn-ins, red morocco doublures with gilt dentelle borders and gilt monogram "AR" on doublure. "Bona fide sine fraude" book label on red silk flyleaf. All edges red.

EUR 12,500.00

A sumptuously bound copy of this important illustrated classic on falconry. From the collection of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein, a still extant Southern German noble family, with their inkstamp on the title. First published in 1561, this work remained one of the most popular of its kind until the 18th century; it contains a wealth of interesting observations on the habits of animals since confirmed by naturalists. The woodcuts show a hunting party resting, a hunter being paid for shooting a deer, several kinds of antlers, the training and care of hounds, various tools such as spades, shovels, hoes, etc.; a shepherdess with her flock of sheep, and a three-masted ship with hunters and hounds on bord. Numerous hunting tunes are added as woodcut music in the text. The fine full-page woodcut on the reverse of the title page shows the author presenting his work to King Charles IX. - Outer margin of title reinforced on verso (no loss to image); scattered light spotting, lightly browned. Occasional remarginings. Extremities lightly rubbed. A handsome, well-preserved copy.
¶ Souhart 153. Thiébaud, p. 305. Brunet II, 1357. Cf. Schwerdt 153. Jeanson 1216.

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The first complete copy since the Aboussouan sale

Fürer von Haimendorf, Christoph. Itinerarium Aegypti, Arabiae, Palaestinae, Syriae, aliarumque Regionum Orientalium. Nuremberg, Abraham Wagenmann, (1620-)1621. Nuremberg, Abraham Wagenmann, (1620-)1621. Small 4to. With fine engraved portrait of the author after Peter Issel to verso of title, engraved armorial device to verso of dedication f., 6 folding engraved plates, and woodcut printer's device to imprimatur f. at end. Contemporary limp vellum.

EUR 12,500.00

First edition, second issue (with title dated 1621). The first complete copy since the Camille Aboussouan sale in 1993. This second issue has two more plates than the first. "Fürer [...] travelled extensively from 1563-66, first in Italy and then to the Ionian Islands, Egypt and Palestine. The work is concerned with the latter, though Fürer does provide some information on Corfu, Zakynthos, Crete and Cyprus. He is the first to give a description of Vesalius's tomb on Zakynthos" (Blackmer). - "Mons Calvarius" plate trimmed just within border at foot; some (mostly light) waterstaining to lower margins, mostly light marginal foxing.
¶ Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 995. VD 17, 23:247329C. Blackmer 640. Aboussouan 363. Weber II, 191. Ibrahim-Hilmy I, 249. Gay 53. Tobler 70. Graesse II, 643. Brunet II, 1417 ("volume rare et assez recherché").

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A mine of information on the development of the modern Gulf

[Gulf Administration Reports] - Ross, E[dward] C[harles] / Prideaux, W[illiam] F[rancis] (eds.). Report on the Administration of the Persian Gulf... Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for the Year 1875-76 (1876-77; 1877-78; 1878-79; 1879-80; 1880-81; 1881-82). [Series title at head: Selections From the Records of the Government of India, Foreign Department. No. CXXVIII, CXXXVIII, CLII, CLXV, CLIX, CLXXXI, CXC]. Calcutta, Foreign Department Press / Superintendent of Government Printing, 1876-1882. Calcutta, Foreign Department Press / Superintendent of Government Printing, 1876-1882. Large 8vo. 7 volumes bound in two. 1875-76: (2), III, (1), 91, (1) pp.; 1876-77: (2), III, (1), 109, (1) pp.; 1877-78: (2), III, (1), 142 pp. (incl. an oversized folding table); 1878-79: V, (1), 134 pp., with a folding diagram; 1879-80: (2), III, (1), 148 pp., with a folding diagram; 1880-81: (2), III, (1), 215, (1) pp., with a folding diagram and 3 lithogr. genealogical tables of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty, one printed in red and black; 1881-82: (2), 154 pp. (incl. an oversized folding table). Lower-cover cloth pouches contain two folding lithographed diagrams and two folding lithographed maps: "Sketch Map of Fars / Persia" (1876) in two separate, consecutive sheets and "Sketch Map of a Portion of Fars Shewing the Course of the Principal Rivers and Route From Bushire to Lár" (1877-78). Period-style half calf with double giltstamped black spine labels.

EUR 250,000.00

A consecutive set of seven annual "Administration Reports" on the Gulf region which the British Political Residents submitted to the Indian Viceroy and Governor. The bland official title belies the true value of the series, which has been called "a mine of information on the development of the modern Gulf" (Cambridge Archive Editions). Regularly the reports contain political details of the local sheikhdoms, naming their various rulers and commenting on their compliance with the maritime truce they struck earlier with the British (here citing Salim bin Sultan bin Saqr of the Al-Qasimi in Sharjah, Hashar bin Maktoum of the Al Bu Falasah in Dubai, Zaeed bin Khalifah of the Bani Yas in Abu Dhabi, Hameyd bin Abdullah of the Al-Qasimi in Ras al-Khaimah, Ahmed bin Abdullah of the Al Bu Ali in Umm al-Quwain, Rashid bin Hameyd of the Al Bu Ali in Ajman, as well as Sheikh Baty bin Khadim of the Bani Yas in Qatar). There are extensive lists of villages on the sea coast, including a "List of Guttur El-Katr [Qatar] ports and the names of Chiefs and main tribes" (1879-80, p. 8: "Jasim bin Mohamed bin Thani" is shown as chief of "Dohat-el-Bida'a"). New treaties entered into by the "Trucial Chiefs" and the British Government are inserted in full (e.g., a mutual agreement regarding the surrender of fraudulent absconders, signed by all the Gulf sheikhs on 24 June 1879). Differences between local and British points of view are couched in careful tones: "In October 1876 the Shargah Chief disregarded the advice of the British authority in sending troops and munitions of war by sea to the aid of his partizans at Dibba, apparently acting under the impression that the various divisions of the Joasmee tribe possessed the privilege of affording mutual assistance to one another either by land or sea. This question is now under the consideration of Government" (1876-77, p. 2). As British officials appointed to the area in the 19th c. were often scholars of high repute, many of their appended monographs have since become vital sources for historians of the region. They range from Ross's "Memoir on Nejd" (1879-80, p. 36ff.), E. L. Durand's "Description of the Bahrain Islands" (1878-79, p. 15ff.), an account of the "Medical Topography of Muscat" (1876-77, p. 96ff.), and S. B. Miles's sketches of the tribes of Oman (1880-81, p. 19ff., with genealogies) to extensive discussions of the pearl industry, fishing in the Gulf, diseases, and invaluable tabular trade information still sought after by regional planners. - In 1873, in recognition of the increasingly important position occupied by the Gulf in international affairs, the British transferred supervision of their Political Residency at Bushire from the local government of Bombay to the supreme Indian administration - the Government of India at Calcutta. From this date the Resident, along with other British officials both within and outside India, was required to produce regular printed administration reports summarizing political, diplomatic and economic developments in the area. These reports continued to be produced without interruption until Indian independence in 1947, when the conduct of British interests in the Gulf was taken on by the Foreign Office in London. The present early reports were compiled jointly by the Resident at Bushire and the British Agent at Muscat. They all consist of general summaries of events, occasional articles on subjects of special interest and detailed statistics on trade. The reports present not just a continuous picture of the progress of British interests in the area, nor do they confine themselves to the activities of rulers and officials: their importance lies ultimately in their wealth of information on the changing experiences of the people of the Gulf states during a crucial period of the region's history. - Occasional slight edge chipping due to paper; occasional loss of the odd corner (not affecting text). Stamps of the "Secretary of State for India - Library" and the "Government of India, Library - Foreign Office". An outstandingly well-preserved set, almost unobtainable in the original, never seen in the trade.
¶ Macro, p. xii (s.v. "RAPA"). OCLC 231784299. Cf. the 1989 Cambridge Archive Editions reprint.

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Early illustrated edition of the greatest work of Islamic medicine

Avicenna (Ibn Sina). Liber canonis. De medicinis cordialibus. Cantica. De removendis... nocumentis in regimine sanitatis. De syrupo acetoso. Venice, heirs of Lucantonio Giunta, 1562. Venice, heirs of Lucantonio Giunta, 1562. Folio (260 x 370 mm). 2 vols. (6), 590 (but: 592), 20, 76 ff. With woodcut device on title, colophon and index, a nearly full-page woodcut diagram of the ocular anatomy (fol. 406v), two full-page woodcuts with a total of six illustrations showing the practice of osteopathy (fols. 480f.), and 5 small woodcuts of plants and anatomical instruments in the glossary of Andreas Bellunensis. Modern vellum bindings preserving much of the old material for covers, entirely rebacked, on 3 raised bands.

EUR 45,000.00

Rare, early illustrated edition of "the most famous medical text ever written" (Garrison/M. 43). Giunta's was the first edition ever to contain illustrations (six meticulous woodcuts of a physician performing chiropractic treatments, as well as a diagram of the human eye anatomy). Includes Giulio Palamede's general index added in 1557 with a separate title page. - Ibn Sina's "Keta-b al-qanun fi'l-tebb" ("Canon of Medicine"), written in Arabic but widely translated throughout the Middle Ages and the basis of medical training in the West as late as the mid-17th century. Finished in 1025, the Qanun is divided into 5 books, devoted to the basic principles of medicine, the Materia Medica (listing about 800 drugs), pathology, diseases affecting the body as a whole and finally the formulary. - Ibn Sina (c. 980-1037), in the West known by his Latinized name Avicenna, was physician to the ruling caliphs. The influence of his Qanun can hardly be overestimated. Translated into Latin in the 12th century, it became a standard textbook of Galenic medicine, influencing many generations of physicians. "From the early fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth century Avicenna held a high place in Western European medical studies, ranking together with Hippocrates and Galen as an acknowledged authority" (Weisser). "[T]he final codification of all Greco-Arabic medicine. It dominated the medical schools of Europe and Asia for five centuries" (Garrison/M. 43). - Occasional worming and dampstaining throughout, light soiling to a few leaves. Handwritten ownership, dated 1660, on title page (Frater Ferdinandus de Regaddini, gift of the physician Giovanni Battista de Sardi of Cremona); a few annotations by the same hand. Stamps of the Biblioteca degli Israeliti di Mantova.
¶ Edit 16, CNCE 3550. Durling 387f. M. H. Fikri, Heritage Library, Scientific Treasures, p. 57, no. 23. This edition not in Adams or BM-STC Italian. Cf. Norman 1590; PMM 11.

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The famous portrait of the Godolphin Arabian

Quigley, Daniel, Irish painter (active 18th century). The Godolphin Arabian. N. p., 18th century. Oil on canvas. 99.1 x 126.5 cm.

EUR 450,000.00

The Godolphin Arabian was foaled in Yemen in approximately 1724. He was one of three great Eastern stallions imported to England between 1689 and 1730. Together with the Byerley Turk and the Darley Arabian they founded enduring bloodlines from which all modern thoroughbreds in the world descend. - Little is known about the origins of the Godolphin Arabian. He was said to have been given to King Louis XV of France by the Bey of Tunis in 1730. Later, Edward Coke acquired him for his stud at Longford Hall, Derbyshire. Upon Coke's death, the ownership of the Arabian passed to his friend, Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin, where it acquired the name the Godolphin Arabian. He never raced but spent his life at the Earl's stud farm at Gog-Magog, where he died on Christmas day, 1753. The Godolphin Arabian was a prolific stallion and the present painting is extensively inscribed with details of his progeny, among the most successful of which were Lath, Cades, Regulus, Babraham, Dormouse and Bajazet. Many great modern racehorses, such as Sea Biscuit and Man O'War, have descended from the Godolphin Arabian. - The present composition is thought to derive from an original by David Morier (c.1705-70), although the whereabouts of this work is unknown. Morier's painting, engraved by John Faber and published in 1753, became a popular print, on which it is likely that George Stubbs based his portrait of the Arabian circa 1793. Other versions of the present composition, by Quigley, are now in the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket and in the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven. - Signed 'Quigley Pinxt' at lower left and extensively inscribed.
¶ Exhibited: London, Grosvenor Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 1888 (lent by Harlech, according to a label on the reverse). Removed from the collection of Lord Harlech at the family estate Glyn Cywarch in Gwynedd, Wales.

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Complete set of all periodical publications of the Royal Geographical Society

[Royal Geographical Society]. The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. London, John Murray, 1831-1880 [-1881]. London, John Murray, 1831-1880 [-1881]. 56 volumes (vols. I-L in 51 volumes and 5 volumes of indices). Contemporary red/purple half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, spines gilt. (With:) Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society. London: Edward Stanford, 1857-1878. Vols. I-XXII. Contemporary red/purple half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, spines gilt. (And:) Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography. London: Edward Stanford, 1879-1892. Vols. I-XIV. Title to first volume torn and laid down, map and facing p.664 of text damaged. Contemporary red/purple half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, spines gilt. (And:) Supplementary Papers of the Royal Geographical Society. London: John Murray, 1886-1890. Vols. I-IV. Contemporary red/purple half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, spines gilt. (And:) The Geographical Journal including the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society. London: R.G.S., 1893-1948. Vols. I-CXII only (in 109 volumes). Vols. 1-28: contemporary red/purple half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, spines gilt; vols. 29-112: original blue cloth, or contemporary cloth, gilt. Institutional bookplates to some pastedowns; blindstamps to some title-pages; ink stamps to some plates and maps.

EUR 185,000.00

Complete set of all periodical publications of the Royal Geographical Society 1831 through 1948, comprising 203 volumes with thousands of plates and maps, many folding. - Founded in 1830, the Royal Geographical Society spearheaded efforts to accurately map and describe every corner of the known world. As lesser-known regions of the globe such as Africa and the Middle East began to emerge as major centres of global trade in the 19th century, the Society funded thousands of European expeditions to these areas in an effort to promote British commercial and scientific interests. Explorers of the Arabian Peninsula such as Henry St. John Philby (aka "Sheikh Abdullah"), Percy Cox, Theodore Bent, Gertrude Bell, Wilfred Thesiger (aka "Mubarak bin London"), and Bertram Thomas all reported directly to the Royal Geographical Society, and their accounts, often with accompanying maps, contributed enormously to the western interest in the economy and geography of these regions. Macro's "Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula" - the only major attempt to date to itemize the most important publications on the Arab World - draws heavily on the papers published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, especially for 19th century descriptions of the Arabian Gulf and its inhabitants. - Collected here is the entire run of publications issued by the Royal Geographical Society up to the mid-20th century - a full 203 volumes containing thousands of seminal articles, plates, and maps chronicling the modern mapping of the world. Its importance for the Arabian Peninsula is well-reflected in Macro's bibliography. Wilson's 1833 "Memorandum Respecting the Pearl Fisheries in the Persian Gulf", James Wellsted's "Observations on the Coast of Arabia between Rás Mohammed and Jiddah" (1836), and Felix Haig's "Memoirs of the Southeast Coast of Arabia" (1839) are among the earliest reports on those regions. Georg Wallin delivered a valuable report on the Hajj to the Society in 1854 in his "Narrative of a Journey from Cairo to Medina and Mecca"; William Palgrave is today regarded as one of the most important European explorers of the Peninsula, and his "Observations made in Central, Eastern and Southern Arabia, 1862-3" is found in the 1864 volume of the Journal. A lesser-known figure is Lewis Pelly, who in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (1863) delivered a remarkably prescient lecture, "On the Geographical Capabilities of the Persian Gulf as an Area of Trade" - highlighting the future importance of the tribes and territories of the Gulf as global commercial centres, from Kuwait down to the coasts mainly controlled by "Arab pirates". He also contributed "A Visit to the Wahabee Capital, Central Arabia" (1865) - a fascinating, early account of Riyadh. - The 1890s saw a spurt of accounts of the Gulf in the Journal by Theodore Bent including "The Bahrein Islands, in the Persian Gulf" (1890), "Expedition to the Hadhramaut" (1894), and "Exploration of the Frankincense Country, Southern Arabia" (1895). Also of note was an important study of the historical importance of Gulf ports such as Bahrain, discussed in Arthur Stiffe's 1897 article "Ancient Trading Centres of the Persian Gulf". From this point on contributions on the Peninsula become too numerous to list: among them are Frank Clemow's "A Visit to the Rock-Tombs of Medain Salih and the Southern Section of the Hejaz Railway" (1913); Sir Percy Cox's "Overland Journey to Maskat from the Persian Gulf" (1902) and his fascinating account of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, "The Wahabi King" (1928); Gertrude Bell's "A Journey in Northern Arabia" (1914); Lees's "The Physical Geography of Southeastern Arabia" (1928); Holt's "The Future of the North Arabian Desert" (1923); Harry St. John Philby's "Account of Explorations in the Great South Desert of Arabia" (1933); Cheesman's description of the Arabian coastline between Qatar and Bahrain, "From Oqair [Al Uqair] to the ruins of Salwa" (1923); Bertram Thomas's "A Journey into the Rub' al-Khali" (1931) and "The Southeastern Borderlands of the Rub' al-Khali" (1929); Lees's "The Physical Geography of Southeastern Arabia" (1928); and Cochrane's early aerial surveys of Southern Arabia ("Air Reconaissance of the Hadhramaut", 1931). We also find several papers by R. E. Leachman - "the second Lawrence", murdered in Iraq in 1920 - including his "Journey Across Arabia" (1913) and "A Journey through Central Arabia" (1914). Wilfred Thesiger, who drew attention to the borderlands between present day UAE and Oman, contributed "A New Journey in Southern Arabia" (1946); "Journey through the Tihama, the Asir and the Hijaz Mountains" (1948); and "Across the Empty Quarter" (1948) to the Journal, and we also find K. C. Jordan's "adjustments" to Thesiger's map of Southeastern Arabia in Vol. 111 (1948).

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Inscribed by the composer, from Toscanini’s collection

Beethoven, Ludwig van, composer (1770-1827). Fidelio. Eine Grosse Oper in 2 Aufzügen. Vienna, Artaria, [1814]. Vienna, Artaria, [1814]. Oblong folio. Engraved piano score with the text. Untrimmed.

EUR 280,000.00

First printing of the first edition of Beethoven's only opera; of the utmost rarity. Inscribed on the title page, in Beethoven's own hand, to his benefactor Pasqualati (1777-1830), in whose house the composer then lodged: "Seinem werthen Freunde Baron von Pasqualati vom Verfasser" ("To his dear friend Baron Pasqualati, from the author"). No more than three copies of this first edition bearing Beethoven's autograph inscription are known; the present one is described by Kinsky/Halm as follows: "This copy from the collection of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna (cf. no. 893 in the guide-book to the Centenary Exhibition, Vienna 1927) was presented to the conductor Arturo Toscanini by the Austrian Government on 1 November 1934 on the occasion of a performance of Verdi's 'Requiem', directed by him, as a gift of honour (cf. 'Philobiblon' VIII, 6)." - Professionally cleaned with repairs to gutter. Collection stamp of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna on title page and verso of final leaf. Beethoven's autograph inscription pencilled across the blank margin of the title page. - The present dedication copy was not publicly shown since the great 1927 exhibition in honour of the centennial of Beethoven's death; it was latterly considered lost (as are the other two dedication copies of "Fidelio" described in the catalogue of Beethoven's works). We acquired it directly from Toscanini's estate in spring 2016.
¶ Literature (all referencing this copy): Beethoven und die Wiener Kultur seiner Zeit (= Führer durch die Beethoven-Zentenarausstellung der Stadt), Wien 1927, 893. Philobiblon VIII (1935), 6. Kinsky/ Halm, Werkverzeichnis Beethoven, 184.

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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. 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.

EUR 950,000.00

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 practioner. - 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. - Erased circular library stamp in the blank margin of the title page, so far unidentified (relevant correspondence with Daniel Margócsy, University of Cambridge, in charge of the Vesalius census, is available upon request). Occasional waterstaining to margins, the splendid binding a little rubbed and bumped, but altogether a splendidly crisp, wide-margined copy of the first edition. Definitely 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.

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