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  • Original Page with a Woodcut of a View of Nineveh (Iraq) from the Liber Chronicarum [Nuremberg Chronicles] – 1493 / 1497

    Original Page with a Woodcut of a View of Nineveh (Iraq) from the Liber Chronicarum [Nuremberg Chronicles] – 1493 / 1497

    A genuine “incunabulum” … i.e., printed before 1501.

    The Nuremberg Chronicle published in 1493 was written and compiled by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) a physician from the German city of Nuremberg. The text was published in Latin and German … this version being in Latin and, is also known as the Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles). Given that moveable type had only been invented some forty years earlier the “Chronicles” were published at the height of early printing activity and, at the time, represented the most heavily illustrated work yet published. In 1497 Schedel again published the work printed by Johann Schonsperger in Augsburg. This example is likely from that edition which turns out to be harder to find than the 1493 edition.

    Page size 28cm by 20cm on thick sturdy paper, strong impression with very black ink. The foxing spots are obvious but exaggerated on the scan … a very good example.

    The engraving is of the city of Nineveh in modern day Iraq. It is a woodcut and was set into the type block before printing. The rather bold colouring is typical when coloured and contemporary. The illustrators employed were Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519), Wilhelm Plydenwurff (1460-1494) and likely, the to become great, Albert Durer (1471-1528) who was apprenticed to Wohlgemut. The image itself is a fantasy and the Nuremberg Chronicles include many views that are used for multiple location … for example this image is also used for Alexandria, and regardless of that, careful study will confirm a more European style of architecture … more like Nuremberg really. Wilson’s book “The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle” is a super reference on this mysterious element.

    Five hundred years plus old incunabulum, Nineveh from the Nuremberg Chronicle.



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  • Sir Samuel Walker Griffith’s – Literal translation of The Inferno of Dante Alighieri. [Printed Draft Signed and Gifted to Governor of Queensland] 1903

    Sir Samuel Walker Griffith’s – Literal translation of The Inferno of Dante Alighieri. [Printed Draft Signed and Gifted to Governor of Queensland] 1903

    A unique item, a printed DRAFT of S.W.G’s mammoth translation of Dante’s Inferno. More so as it is signed by S.W.G. as a gift to the then Queensland Governor Sir Herbert Chermside.

    Printed by Powell & Company, Adelaide Street Brisbane … legal and Government Printers, in 1903. Octavo softcover, probably later basic re-enforcement to spine. 136 pages comprising in its entirety of The Inferno and a Title which is a repeat of the cover. Aged somewhat externally with darkening to the card boards. Internally bright and clean with a few tears to the inner crease of one gathering, nothing troublesome. S.W.G’s minor correction by hand in three spots. The final work, itself very scarce was published in Sydney in 1908.

    Sir Samuel Walker Griffith GCMG QC (1845-1920) politician, Premier of Queensland, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and a principal author of the Constitution of Australia. In 1865 he gained the T.S. Mort Travelling Fellowship and spent most of his time in Italy becoming very much attached to the Italian people and their literature. This the first translation of Dante by an Australian is a remarkable body, scarce, indeed unique in this form.

    The Draft of a little known and important work by a leading light in the history of Australia


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  • [Property Law] – The Complete Court-Keeper: or Land-Steward’s Assistant – Giles Jacob – 1741

    [Property Law] – The Complete Court-Keeper: or Land-Steward’s Assistant – Giles Jacob – 1741

    A fourth edition; with large Additions and Amendments, and the Precedents in English. In the Savoy: Printed by Henry Lintot for Woodward, Browne et al. Thick octavo, 522 pages after preliminaries bound in polished calf, red leather label worn. The odd manuscript note including some land prices for 1749. Good antiquarian patina.

    Giles Jacob (1686-1744) was an early legal writer of note. This was his first work the first edition published in 1713. He wrote numerous legal works all of which were quite popular. He also wrote poetry and plays lampooning Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” with his “the Rape of the Smock” rather low and bawdy. For this and similar reasons he raised the ire of Pope who included him in his ‘the Dunciad” of 1728 … quote “Jacob, the scourge of grammar, mark with awe … Nor less revere him, blunderbuss of law”

    Otherwise the book was held in high regard for its ease of understanding … not common in the period. Set out in five broad sections.

    First, The Nature of Courts Leet and Courts Baron; with a general Introduction to every thing incident to them, according to Law and Custom.

    Secondly, The manners of holding Courts Leet, Courts Barron and Courts of Survey, with the Charge to the Juries; and the Form of Entring those Courts in the Minute-Books and in the Court-Rolls; with Precedents of great Variety of Presentments, Amerciaments, Estreats, Copies of Court-Roll for Life, and in Fee; Grants, Surrenders, Admittances, Licences, Forfeitures, and all other Proceedings of that Nature.

    Thirdly, The Manner of Keeping the Court Barron for trying of Actions; the Nature and Kinds of Actions, and of the Pleadings; and Precedents of Declarations and Pleadings, and of Process from the Precept or Original to the Distress or Execution; with Pleas and Recoveries concerning Copyhold Lands.

    Fourthly, Precedents of Contracts, Conditions, Covenants, Leases for Life, Leases for Years, Assignments, Mortgages, Surrenders of such Leases etc etc

    For those curious, an Amerciament is a punishment at the discretion of the Court and an Estreat is the copy of a Court Record enforcing a fine of forfeiture. Entring is not a misspelling … Entring-Clerks had a role in the legal fraternity of the period.

    Property Law Giles Jacob – 1741


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  • The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication 2 Volumes – Charles Darwin. 1888

    The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication 2 Volumes – Charles Darwin. 1888

    Charles Darwin conceived this book in the early 1850’s. It was to be his ‘Big Book”. However, in June 1858 he received a paper from Borneo by Alfred Russell Wallace relating to Natural selection … the race was on to publish so Darwin took the elements drawn up from his work on the Big Book relating to his views on natural selection and had Origin published to great success in November 1859. This book was published first in 1868 and in the intervening years Darwin published other elements on Descent of Man etc. Regardless of the pilfering for his other works this work still remained his largest work and he later described the difficulty he had in finishing it … a true 4 year and 2 months of labour went into it over the years.

    Second Edition Revised published by Murray, London in 1888, two volumes 473 pages and 495 pages after preliminaries. Illustrated throughout from wood engravings. Original “Murray” green cloth covered bindings, blind embossed front and back, gilt titles etc to spine. An attractive set bar some light foxing and flecking to page edges.

    This work contains the first reference to “pangenesis” in which Darwin proposes that cells contain hereditary material which he referred to as “gemmules” which could be modified by an organism’s environment and passed on to the next generation. Debunked for good by Mendel’s theories … the similarity with DNA is dismissed by all and sundry, but we quite like the idea.

    You may be curious about the focus on domestic creatures and plants … but Darwin was concerned about “Variation” and had been since the Galapagos Islands – there are again references here to the Beagle Voyage. He could see that whilst man had a hand in selecting changes in domesticated breeds … it was the environment that was making the changes not the man. “It is an error to speak of man “tampering with nature” and causing variability. If a man drops a piece of iron into sulphuric acid, it cannot be said strictly that he makes the sulphate of iron, he only allows their elective affinities to come into play. If organic beings had not possessed an inherent tendency to vary, man could have done nothing”. Simple but we like it.

    Incidentally, the principles behind pangenesis had been referred to as early as Hippocrates. Count Buffon had a crack at it as did Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin in his book “Zoomania” published in 1801.

    Darwin’s Big Book – what was left of it – Variation behind or in front of Evolution.


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  • Forty Fathoms Deep – Ion Idriess – Signed Annotated 1937 Edition

    Forty Fathoms Deep – Ion Idriess – Signed Annotated 1937 Edition

    Signed, annotated third edition published February 1937, a month after the first edition.

    A vivid and thrilling edition from Idriess on the pearling industry centred in Broome, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

    Published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney. Octavo, 343 pages, 10 pages advertisements for other Idriess titles. Green cloth covered boards black titles to spine and front cover. Dust jacket designed by Edgar Alfred Holloway This is the orange variant (sometimes yellow or yellow and orange – see authority Feain and Aronry page 42). Map of northern Australia, Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea on front endpaper, rear blank. 19 pages of black and white illustrations.

    Very good condition, very clean inside and a dust jacket with minor nibbles along the top and a part removed top of inside flap.

    Annotated and signed boldly by Idriess on the title page … “Wishing Mrs Noah Van Cleef many happy memories on her trip to Australia. Ion L Idriess Sydney 1937” … a further note March 1, 1937 in Idriess hand bottom left of title.

    Australian pearling essential early edition signed and annotated by author.


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  • The Siege of the South Pole – The Story of Antarctic Exploration – Hugh Robert Mill – First Edition 1905

    The Siege of the South Pole – The Story of Antarctic Exploration – Hugh Robert Mill – First Edition 1905

    A First Edition published 1905 by Alston Rivers, London. This is Hugh Robert Mill’s cornerstone book on the exploration of the Antarctic from Cook to the first Heroic era Expeditions. It provides a well written, balanced and chronological account of events to that date.

    Rare in the original decorated green cloth covered binding. Condition pretty good bar some fading to the spine and a mark to the rear board. Internally really quite bright and crisp. Carries the ownership inscription of J. H. Shackleton Bailey most likely the Rev John Henry Shackleton Bailey who was Chaplain in the Royal Navy at the time.

    In our opinion this is the book relating to pre-1905 antarctic exploration. Starting with the quest to find the Great South Land. The achievements of James Cook. The American Sealers. Bellinghshausen, Weddell, the Enderby Brothers, Dumont D’Urville, Wilkes, James Clark Ross, the Challenger Expedition, Gerlache, Bruce and the Scotia etc.

    Importantly, the large folding map (86cm by 76cm) which is often missing from the book due to its size and interest is present and in very good condition … the best we have seen. Some book robbers remove this map and sell it for more than the price we have on this copy! Naughty.

    Important Antarctic Book that “bookends” the Heroic era very nicely – distinguished relevant author. A must have for Polar/Antarctic serious.


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