Our current catalogue contains a number of rarities from a collection we helped build some forty years ago – ouch! That small yelp is for a couple of reasons – where did all those years go? – and another fine collection is being dismantled. But there is more than a degree of satisfaction to be had from what we have coined the ‘pre-deceased estate sale’. Admittedly, it is a different form of satisfaction to that of acquisition and custody, but there is a lot to be said for overseeing the orderly dispersal of a significant aspect of one’s personal life in a considered and professional manner (to say nothing of the capital gains!).
Accordingly, for your delectation, we have eight rare works on Australian cycling and motoring, by the likes of Birtles, Dutton, Murif and Pearson. This does not include five titles by Michael Terry, which we mention in the company of other inland explorers and expeditions: Cadell, the Calvert Expedition, the Horn Expedition, Lindsay, and Winnecke (including a signed book).
Literature is well-represented, with sixteen Brindabella Press-related publications, half a dozen Angry Penguin items, a signed Arthur Rackham (Undine), and the very rare Edwardian illustrated Australian children’s book, Some Childrens' [sic] Songs by Marion Alsop & Dorothy McCrae.
There are rare and important vintage photographs by Frank Hurley, John Kauffmann, and May Moore, to go with, as usual, our unusual miscellany of items that are either unique, quirky, ephemeral or merely worth reading. We wish you profitable browsing!
Our latest catalogue contains a series of letters and a manuscript list of early career highlights by Dame Nellie Melba; a group of scores and an impressive portrait photograph, all with fulsome signed inscriptions from Percy Grainger; an 1862 carte de visite of Das Torrens-Fest in the Barossa Valley, feting Robert Torrens and the Real Property Act; vintage photographs by Frank Hurley (exhibition prints from his ground-breaking 1915 exhibition); an 1880s watercolour by George Frederick Gregory Jr, with the classical Italianate Largs Pier Hotel featured prominently; a collection of over 80 Australian bookplates; items associated with an 1802 Port Phillip Settlement pioneer … and of course there are books galore!
Cook’s Voyage to the Pacific Ocean (1784, four volumes, complete with the atlas); Phillip (1790, the preferred second edition); Hunter (1793); Taplin’s Folklore … and Languages of the South Australian Aborigines (signed by Dr John Harris Browne, surgeon on Sturt's Central Australian expedition of 1844-45); Willshire’s Aborigines of Central Australia (Port Augusta, 1888); Elliot’s Review of the Primates (1912, three volumes) … among many others!
Exploration on land, sea and ice is just one strength of our current list. Oxley, Mitchell, Parkinson, Mawson (a signed book) and Shackleton (an autograph letter signed) find themselves in the company of some serious military history. Limb's History of the 10th Battalion has impeccable provenance: a signed presentation inscription from the first Commanding Officer, Price Weir, to the second, Beevor.
Other rarities include desirable ephemera - such as Light Horse Regiment reunion menus, or the souvenir ticket from the first train trip across the Sydney Harbour Bridge - and some vernacular photography at its best (Maori cartes de visite, a striking portrait of an Aboriginal lad, an Afghan or Indian butcher in the Adelaide Hills). At the very least, it makes entertaining reading!
The featured item introducing our latest catalogue - a larger-than-lifesize portrait of Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875), exquisitely hand-painted by the 'Artist Photographer' Townsend Duryea - is singular on many levels, not least by being quintessentially parochial, yet assuredly world-class.
The rest of the offering tends to fall somewhere between these two extremes, but common threads are rarity and desirability.
Reader's tip for busy people: if you are not interested in facsimile editions of Australian unit histories, skip the first fifteen items!
Another year, another Picture Book – long may it continue!
There’s probably no better way to introduce an illustrated work than to start with exquisite examples of some genuine rarities by that master picture-book-maker himself, Samuel Thomas Gill. We have his Diggers & Diggings of Victoria as they were in 1852, and the four parts illustrated by him of Diggers & Diggings of Victoria as they are in 1855.
We could say much more, but why spoil the fun for you?
Read on, and you will find a fascinating range of signed modern literature, manuscripts, photographs, maps and atlases, and, last but not least, even some rare books!
To view these items (and much else) visit us at Stand 16 at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair, at Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne, this coming weekend, 7-9 July 2018. For more details go to www.rarebookfair.com
Our latest list features an impressive portrait of a young Aboriginal woman, Clara, photographed by Charles Scott at Allendale Station, near Oodnadatta, in 1903-04. There are another dozen or more photographic items (including cartes-de-visite, stereophotographs, albums and photographically-illustrated books), many of them genuine rarities. From antiquarian travel, and Australian unit histories and military ephemera, to signed modern literature and a broad miscellany in between ... enough already, it's over to you now!
Our latest list features many rarities, including an extensive album of photographs relating to Australian mining and aviation in the 1930s; the first newspaper published in South Australia (3 June 1837); important association and signed copies, including A.B. Facey's A Fortunate Life (published only nine months before the author's death) and T.G.H. Strehlow's Songs of Central Australia; a collection of autograph letters from Arthur Gask (which we will euphemistically describe as colourful); a broad selection of unusual ephemeral printings, including trade catalogues and many Australian pamphlets, and much more!
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 …