Online Catalogue #25

This effort is shorter than usual, but it contains some stellar items, and we can also use the opportunity of making contact with you to announce some of our projects for the coming months (in particular, our major auction in Melbourne on 5 and 6 April – see below).

First, the catalogue. It contains an extraordinary letter from Camille Saint-Saëns; written in 1882, it is a bitter denunciation of the failure of a journal to promote French music (and at the same time be modern). Other unique items include an album of photographs from Donald Campbell’s abortive 1963 attempt on the World Land Speed Record at Lake Eyre, with a letter from Campbell; a collection of twelve signed photographs of international musicians and singers from the 1920s-30s, presented to an Adelaide impresario; an original large ink drawing by David Hockney; and an archive of material relating to the Australian Limited Editions Society’s 1939 publication, The Life and Times of Captain John Piper by M. Barnard Eldershaw, including the 17 pieces of original artwork by Adrian Feint.

Printed items include the complete set of Butler’s Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War of 1914-1918 (1938-43), with all volumes inscribed and signed by the author; Bardon’s Papunya Tula. Art of the Western Desert (1991) inscribed and signed by the author, with two letters from him; and Austin’s The Mines of South Australia (1863), the cloth-bound edition with the map, unknown to Ferguson, and rare to this day. Our featured item, illustrated above, the 'Starvation Debenture' handbill, political propaganda from the June 1932 election in NSW, was apparently printed by the hundreds of thousands, but don’t hold your breath for another one to surface …

Online Catalogue #24

Just when you thought it was safe! However, there are only 92 items to browse, so you can relax in a few minutes ...

Signed items are in abundance: signed portrait photographs of Florence Booth (Mrs General Bramwell Booth) and Lord Stonehaven (Australia's eighth Governor-General); postcards with interesting content from Seamus Heaney and Henry Moore; signed copies of Skertchly's The Story of the Noble Opal (1908), Walsh's Bradshaw Art of the Kimberley (2000), Garry Shead's Australia Suite (one of only 100 copies, each with an original signed etching), Barry Humphries' Treasury of Australian Kitsch (signed, with a self-caricature); and 36 First Day Covers signed by significant RAF personalities from WW2.

Important maps include a large Crimean War map by Major Thomas Jervis (1854), and the rare New Counties ... Atlas of South Australia by Frank Carroll (1876). Our selection of trade catalogues will enable you to become instant experts in everything from tugboats and dredgers, to religious vestments and accoutrements, the fine arts of butchery and surgery (separate catalogues!), painting for architects (with 154 colour samples), and dying yarns and printing fabrics (with over 620 original samples).

Harcus's South Australia (1876) with the unheard-of dustwrapper; books on the bookplates of Adrian Feint (1928 and 1934); and McEwin's The South Australian Vigneron and Gardeners' Manual (1871) are some of the other genuine and desirable rarities on offer.

Online Catalogue #23

Our latest list features two very large-format vintage Frank Hurley photographs, both carbon prints from his 1915 Fine Art Society Exhibition: the superb 'Panorama of Bergs in the Davis Sea', from Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-14, and 'Haunt of the Wild Duck', from Hurley's trip to the Northern Territory in April-July 1914. Another key polar item is the first edition of Shackleton's South (1919), from the personal collection of one of the ill-fated Ross Shore Party.

Other rarities include an album of over 100 bookplates by George Perrottet (many signed); the deluxe edition of the Alsop sisters' Some Childrens' [sic] Songs (1910); Bodyline umpire George Hele's copy of Sir David Sergeant's Australia: Its Cricket Bat, Its Kangaroo, Its Farming, Fruit and Flowers (inscribed by the author, who faced the first ball bowled in the first match between Victoria and NSW in 1856); two sets of Bean's Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 (one of them a complete set of first editions); half-a-dozen items 'not in Trove'; significant photograph albums; numerous books with interesting provenance ... you get the drift ... and with only 102 items to choose from, you haven't got time to lose!

Online Catalogue #22

Our latest list features the first Australian gardening book by a woman, The Flower Garden in Australia (Melbourne, 1893); the deluxe large-paper edition of Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic (1909, one of only 300 sets), signed by 16 members of the expedition; Federation material from the collection of Sir John Downer; classic texts of inland exploration (mainly the deluxe issues of the Friends of the State Library of South Australia facsimiles); two photograph albums compiled for the architects Woods, Bagot, Laybourne-Smith & Irwin (Adelaide, 1930s); as well as good selections of natural history, cricket, photography and more.

Happy browsing!

Picture Book 6

Impressive in both their very large format and impeccable provenance are two vintage photographs by Frank Hurley of Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, from the personal collection of Sir Douglas Mawson himself.

Also on offer are Sir John William Downer's copies of the elaborate commemorative rolls from both the 1891 and 1897 Federation Conventions, signed by all the delegates (a Who's Who of Australian political history). Downer was one of only sixteen delegates to attend both conventions.

A fine selection of the acclaimed colour-plate books of George French Angas is available, including South Australia Illustrated (1847), The Kafirs Illustrated (1849), and Description of the Barossa Range (1849).

Other impressive illustrated books include limited editions signed by Edmund Dulac, Thomas Mackenzie, Arthur Rackham, Charles Robinson, and W. Heath Robinson. An eclectic range of manuscripts, photographs and maps rounds out the catalogue.

To view these items (and much else!) visit us at Stand 19 at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair, at Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne, 22-24 July 2016. For more details go to

Online Catalogue #21

Our latest catalogue contains a collection of rare First AIF unit histories (a number of them signed),from the personal collection of Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Paterson (CO of the 39th Battalion AIF and the author of its history); 1920s trade catalogues of home furnishings; ephemeral publications in Pacific languages; and rare Australian imprints.

Singular items include Boitard's L'Art de composer et décorer les Jardins (1834, with 132 plates); a huge oil painting of SY Aurora of Antarctic fame; Rosa Praed's The Grey River, signed by the author, and with 12 signed etchings by Mortimer Menpes; and the very rare first impression of David Lindsay's seminal science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus (1920).

Vintage photography is also well represented, ranging from Loyau's superlative photographically-illustrated Gawler Handbook (1880) to pioneering aviation, from Sir Winston Churchill in Bradford (1942) to a large signed portrait photograph of Test cricketer George Giffen (1890s).

Happy browsing!

Online Catalogue #20

The preparations for our forthcoming two-part auction on April 10 have monopolized our time and energy for most of this new year, at the expense of some of our routine activities. So the current catalogue is as much to let you know we haven't forgotten you as anything else!

The Local (about the pubs of London) contains 15 delightful colour lithographs by Edward Ardizzone. Explorations of a different kind are Cook's final voyage (1784, three volumes, alas no atlas!); Bligh (first French edition of A Voyage to the South Sea, 1792); James Ross in the Antarctic (1847); Lindsay's Elder Expedition journal (1893); a signed certificate from the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1928-30; and a complete run of The South Australian Register for 1858, with much original content by Babbage, Gregory, Stuart and Warburton.

Autograph items include letters from Lord Baden-Powell and Alexander Humboldt; cards and an original lithograph signed by Oscar Kokoschka; and books signed by George Fife Angas, Mary Grant Bruce, Russell Drysdale, and Donald Friend.

There's Australia's first fly-fishing book, Joseland's Angling in Australia (1921); the very rare original volumes of Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia (1925 and 1927); and signed vintage photographs of the Flinders Ranges by Frederick Joyner (1920s) ... you get the idea!

Online Catalogue #19

Our latest effort contains numerous nineteenth century publications covering exploration and travel, medicine, and Australiana (including rare almanacks, and several unrecorded items).

Vintage photography is also well represented, ranging from an 1850s half-plate daguerreotype; cartes de visite of Maoris, unusual occupations and medical problems; rare 1898 stereographs of WA; to large-format publicity shots of Marlene Dietrich.

Other areas of interest include private press and children's books, signed books and letters, and trade catalogues.

Happy browsing!