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  • The Book of Kells and The Art of Illumination

    The Book of Kells and The Art of Illumination

    In the year 2000 Ireland’s greatest treasure the illuminated medieval manuscript the Gospel of St mark from the Book of Kells visited the National Gallery of Australia. We cannot imagine the insurance costs for this item beyond the wealth of any man.

    Written painstakingly by Irish Monks and lost for many years before found “under a sod”.

    Large format, perfect bound soft cover, 80 pages, heavily illustrated as you would expect.

    The Book of Kells impossible not to stir some emotion.


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  • Encyclopedia of Exploration 1850 to 1940 – The Oceans, Islands and Polar Regions.

    Encyclopedia of Exploration 1850 to 1940 – The Oceans, Islands and Polar Regions.

    An as new copy of this great work by the unique Raymond Howgego, published by the equally unique Hordern House in 2006. Part of a greater series of works likely not yet complete … but the modern era will be a challenge despite Everest etc. This one stands on its own partly because of the Polar emphasis …

    A comprehensive [understatement] reference guide to the history and literature of exploration, travel and colonisation in the oceans, the islands, New Zealand, and the polar regions from 1850 to the early decades of the twentieth century.

    Large quarto, x, 724 pages, containing 521 major articles, referencing 3000 odd individuals, in over 700,000 words all cross referenced to primary and secondary sources … indexes of persons, ship, bibliography 14,000 works) etc.

    The format is interesting, perhaps a little challenging … Entries begin with leaders of expeditions and if there is more than one expedition these are dealt with as separate chronological entries i.e., Scott, Amundsen, Charcot etc. Major members then follow the principal … so Frank Wild for example follows Shackleton. Separate entries summarise activity by location e.g., New Guinea, New Zealand, St Helena etc.

    Raymond Howgego was teacher of physics before he gave that up to become a full-time traveller and travel writer. Possibly put down more words than any other living person. Seemingly can handle almost all European languages and Arabic and probably a few others. He still has an interest in amateur radio and fixing electronic items … we withhold his call sign, but you can find it if you try.

    As new Howgego on the Island etc and the Polar Regions.


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  • The Lake Regions of Africa – John Giddie – 1883

    The Lake Regions of Africa – John Giddie – 1883

    Published by Nelson, Edinburgh in 1883 described as a record of modern discovery. So a book that build on the first hand account of all of the great African explorers to date.

    Octavo, 275 pages, with 32 illustrations, some light foxing, mark to rear cover otherwise a pretty good copy, with the delightful black and gilt illustrated front board and spine.

    The contents separated into three principal sections covering exploration of the Nile, Congo and Zambesi rivers. Nicely done.

    Nice book provides timeframe and perspective to 19thC African exploration.


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  • Antarctica – Key Reference to Antarctic Literature – Renard – 1994

    Antarctica – Key Reference to Antarctic Literature – Renard – 1994

    The mammoth and quality Antarctica sale of Gaston Renard, through Leonard Joel in 1994 made the associated catalogue a principal reference for Antarctic narratives. Catalogued by Julien Renard who acknowledges the substantial assistance of Mileva Ilic and of his wife Pam and of Thelma Finn.

    The descriptions are full and where unique because of ownership, annotation etc they make for interesting reading in themselves. For those that collect and use Spence etc this is an essential addition and will be often off the shelf as scarce items raise their heads.

    Quarto, soft covers, 244 pages cataloguing 1,744 items followed by a useful “Reference List” and preceded by a useful bibliophilic “Explanatory Note”. Carries master collector Rodney Davidson’s bookplate … a little wave to front cover perhaps as a result.

    Renard first place of reference anything Antarctic of worth.


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  • The Hard Way [the Writing and Publication of Power Without Glory] – Frank Hardy.

    The Hard Way [the Writing and Publication of Power Without Glory] – Frank Hardy.

    This is the re-issue published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1976.

    Octavo, 255 pages, original brown cloth covered boards, illustrations from relevant photographs. A near fine copy in a very good dust jacket which features a painting by fellow communist and artistic activist Noel Counihan.

    This is Frank Hardy’s account of the writing and publishing of his classic novel the Power Without Glory. It was published original in 1961 by which time he had had nearly ten years to reflect on the goings on … including some time in the Courts.

    Frank Hardy and the tale of the making of Power Without Glory


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  • Private Presses and Their Books – Will Ransom

    Private Presses and Their Books – Will Ransom

    A fine copy of the reissue of this special book first printed in 1929.

    Published by James Cummins Bookseller, New York in 1992. Octavo, 493 pages. Original orange cloth covered binding with gilt title, no dust jacket as issued.The book contains some delightful illustrations of woodcut image and “Press Marks” and examples of the unique fonts used in the printing process.

    A thorough piece of work by Ransom who was expert in the private press movement in America and England. Starts very early with Caxton etc. Includes Kelmscott, Doves, Village, Ashedene, Merrymount, Brice Rodgers, Nonesuch etc.

    A book lovers delight to read … not at all dry ..

    James Cummins was established in 1978 and is at 699 Madison Avenue. A really super bookstore which has a number of specialities including not surprisingly Private Press. You must take time to go there when in the Big Apple.

    Super reference on the Private Press movement rejuvenated.


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