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  • Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, Who Liv’d Five and Forty Years Undiscovered at Paris; Giving an Impartial Account to the Divan of Constantinople of the Most Remarkable Transactions in Europe – Complete in Eight Volumes.  Giovanni Paolo Marana – 1748

    Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, Who Liv’d Five and Forty Years Undiscovered at Paris; Giving an Impartial Account to the Divan of Constantinople of the Most Remarkable Transactions in Europe – Complete in Eight Volumes. Giovanni Paolo Marana – 1748

    A very nice set of this almost legendary work, complete and unusually in their original bindings. Fictional letters claiming to have been written by an Ottoman spy named “Mahmut the Arabian” embedded in the French Court of Louis XIV.

    Published in London by Wilde, Ballard and others in 1748. Eight volumes (Over 600 letters in all), duodecimo, engraved frontispiece to Vol I, full contemporary calf, spines gilt, some joints a bit cracked but holding. A twelfth edition of a great publishing success of the 18thC which would go on for a further fifty years.

    Contemporary bookplate of Robert Midgley dated 1748 so the first owner. And the modern book label of Edward John Kenny the Latinist of Peterhouse College, Cambridge University, visiting at Harvard etc.

    A journal of gossip and anecdotes on politics and events and shenanigans going on in France at the time.

    Written in Italian by Giovanni Paola Marana (1642-1693) a Genoese refugee in the Court of the said Louis XIV. He completed the first volume of 102 letters, and had it translated to French and published in Paris in 1684-1686. Other volumes were published as they were completed over time. English translations by William Bradshaw became available in 1687. Later volumes issued first in English in London leading some to believe they were not by Marana. However, the consistency in style and use of words really points to Marana as being the author of the full set, not doubt with the help of translators and editors of the day.

    Well liked by Daniel Defoe who wrote an aptly named “Continuation of Turkish Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy in Paris” … a sort of 18thC sequel.

    Incidentally, the last owner Professor Kenny used to gauge his candidates by seeing how nice they were to his cat Fufu … it became known as the Fufu test … that’s Latin for you.

    The Turkish Spy – A Classic By Marana


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  • The Theory of Relativity. An Introductory Sketch based on Einstein’s Original Writings including a Biographical Note – Henry L Brose – 1920

    Softcover, printed wrappers. Octavo, 32 pages with 3 diagrams in text, sewn as issued, slightly soiled and edge nibbles, still a good copy of the second edition of this important work in English concerning Einstein’s ground breaking Theory of Relativity. Published by Basil Blackwell, Oxford.

    Published February 1920 the first printing being in December 1919, with alterations as set out in the Preface.

    Einstein’s theories, .. special and general, were published in Berlin between 1914 and 1916. This work by Brose was published before the full translations of Einstein’s work which first appeared in 1920. Brose completed the full translation for Methuen, London a work now worth many thousands of dollars.

    Henry Herman Leopold Adolph Brose (1890-1965) was an Australian physicist. He was born in Adelaide went to Prince Alfred College and then the University in Mathematics .. Rhodes Scholar to Christ Church, Oxford. He went to Hamburg in 1914 to visit relatives and was interned for the duration of WWI. It was during that time that he became in the developing Theory of Relativity. War over and back at Oxford he completed his Degree in 1919 and translated Einstein’s work the year after. He later obtained his Doctorate on the motion of electrons in oxygen under Townsend. All top end stuff.

    Brose had direct contact with Einstein, later in 1930 Einstein visited University establishments in England and Brose acted as his translator.

    Early English language papers on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity by noted Australian Physicist at Oxford.


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  • Relics for the Curious – Two Volumes – 1824

    First Edition set near impossible to find. Printed by Samuel Burton Leadenhall Street, London in 1824.

    Two small volumes, 184 pages, 168 pages, frontispiece to both. Bound in contemporary olive half calf, spines gilt with double red leather labels. Lightly rubbed a pretty clean and bright set.

    A collection of most peculiar anecdotes. The Literary Magnet of the time praised the contents and demonstrated their approbation of them by making copious extracts available in their rag.

    Classifies as anecdotes, clerical, professional and miscellaneous and compounded by “singular customs” and “extracts from remarkable wills”.

    Very unusual books for the well read and broadly based historian … facts contained in here designed to liven any dull dinner party … “Did you know that …”

    Relics … well anecdotes really of some strange historical happenings.


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  • Medal Commemorating Admiral Vernon’s Capture of Porto Bello [Panama] – 1739 [Struck 1740]

    Medal Commemorating Admiral Vernon’s Capture of Porto Bello [Panama] – 1739 [Struck 1740]

    Half length figure of Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757), full face with baton in the left hand, right hand on hip, curved tree to left, fort with steeple to right. Inscribed above “A VIEW OF FORT CHAGRE”, below a sailing ship. No line enclosing legend “VICE AD: RL. OF THE BLEW, & COM : ER. IN. CHIEF. OF ALL HIS MAI: SHIPS IN THE WEST INDIES”. Exergue: “THE. HON: EDWARD VERNON. ESQ”.

    Reverse a view of the Port; six ships, placed tow and four, the later in a curved line. Four small vessels inside. No line enclosing legend “PORTO BELLO. TAKEN. BY ADMIRAL VERNON. WITH SIX MEN OF WAR ONLY. NOV.22. ANNO DOM. 1739”

    Design attributed to one of the greatest medal makers of the 18th Century, Pinchbeck but unsigned as usual. 40mm diameter some wear, as can be seen, priced to condition and, an opportunity to obtain this scarce type.

    For those impressed but also confused by the elaborate art work and extensive description … there is a whole world out there of collectors of Admiral Vernon medals, and the detailed description matters to identify the precise medal, there were quite a few types. He was pretty much admired for his success at capturing Porto Bello on 2nd December 1739 and he possibly became the most medal(ised) person in history.

    The event was an early conflict in what became known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear. In 1738 Captain Robert Jenkins appeared before the House of Commons with his amputated ear which had been severed by the Spanish in the West Indies. This added to other stories of bad behaviour by the Spanish led to war. Veron, then Vice Admiral was in charge of the Jamaica Station. Vernon preferred small well armed fleets and his attack with only six vessels was seemed foolhardy by others .. he succeeded and had a mountain named after him and the most fashionable street in London was named after the battle.

    Vernon takes Porto Bello and get one back for Jenkins’ Ear …


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  • Snapshot from the North Pacific [British Columbia] – Rev Ridley – Edited Alice Janvrin

    Snapshot from the North Pacific [British Columbia] – Rev Ridley – Edited Alice Janvrin

    Scarce. Published by the Missionary Society, London in 1904. Octavo, viii, 192 pages, illustrated throughout.

    Essentially a travel account of Northern British Columbia from 1880 onwards by Rev Ridley who had the task of “converting” heathens indigenous and otherwise. When not doing that he travelled extensively by sea and land. His account if very interesting and the descriptions of the people he met along on the way priceless. Illustrations from early photo graph or sketches therefrom very good … we particularly like the Medicine Man and the Two Chiefs.

    Over time he covers from the ease of Vancouver Island … the Skeena River; Massett; Metlakatia in the very north; meets the Kwaguti; visits Alert Bay; Aiyansh and Kitkatia. He sails to Dolphin island to meet to the Kilkatla or Gitxaala Nation … the first native people to take up arms .. encouraged by passing English. We like these people … Gitxaala translates to “People of the Open Sea” .. there are not many of them but they are proud people … we understand that they have currently suspended Treaty negotiations with the Canadian Government … we hope it works out for them.

    Rev William Ridley religious but informed …


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  • A Levantine Log-book – J. A. Hart – First Edition 1906 [Fine Example]

    A Levantine Log-book – J. A. Hart – First Edition 1906 [Fine Example]

    First edition of this interesting travel account published by Longmans Green, New York in 1906.

    Gifted by J M Gray on March 13, 1906 in fine writing on paste down … almost exactly one month before the great San Francisco earthquake.

    Octavo, 404 pages with 50 plates from photographs. Nice embossed decoration to front covers. Top edge gilt. A fine copy … really super good.

    Jerome Alfred Hart (1854-1937) was from California and was a noted traveller and author who also acted as Editor of the San Francisco Argonaut.

    Here he travels in the Levante to Turkey, Palestine [of the day] and Egypt as well as fitting in Malta and Naples where he visits Pompeii. A sound narrative with some good detail and well chosen illustrations.

    Hart writes about the Levante as it was …


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