Antiquarian Book Auction Preview

Published 6th May 2022

By Tracey Still View profile

STUBBE, Henry - The Indian Nectar, or A Discourse Concerning Chocolata (BK26/330) offered in our Books, Maps and Prints Auction starting on 24th May 2022 entirely online.

STUBBE, Henry - The Indian Nectar, or A Discourse Concerning Chocolata (BK26/330) offered in our Books, Maps and Prints Auction starting on 24th May 2022 entirely online.

The May 2022 Antiquarian Book Auction includes the second tranche of books from the Coleridge Library at Chanter mainly by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's nephew, Sir John Taylor Coleridge (1790-1876), who was a judge on the King's bench, later a member of the Privy Council. He published a highly regarded edition of Blackstones Commentaries, 1825 (BK26/79) of which a heavily annotated presentation copy is included in this sale (£500-£750).

The 'first' sale at the end of last year included books from this Library and saw a number of record prices achieved. In this the present sale, a third edition of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1796) Volume One (BK26/217), is expected to create much interest. Now seen as a highly influential text in the woman's rights movement, only volume one was published in her lifetime as she died before an intended second volume was published. It is estimated at £1,000-£1,500.

In the art section is offered a beautifully illustrated copy of a rather scarce Christopher Dresser: Modern Ornamentation being a series of Original Designs. For the Patterns of Textile Fabrics, for the Ornamentation of Manufactures in Wood, Metal, Pottery, &c also for the Decoration of Walls & Ceilings and other flat surfaces (BK26/2) (£200-£350). Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) was a highly innovative designer and design theorist, a pivotal figure in the Aesthetic Movement. During a four month visit to Japan, he became extensively influenced by Japanese art.

There is an excellent offering of illustrated books, including by Edmund Dulac, W Heath Robinson, and over 14 lots illustrated by Arthur Rackham, the pick of which is a limited edition of Rip Van Winkle, 1905 (BK26/33) bound in full vellum it is one of only 250 copies signed by Rackham. Also, a fine Essex House Press edition of the Poems of William Shakespeare (BK26/119) (£500-£600), limited to 450 copies.

There is a splendid eleven volume set of the Yellow Book an Illustrated Quarterly (1894-1897) (BK26/54) (£1,000-£1,500), contributors include WB Yeats, Richard Le Gallienne, Arthur Symons, Aubrey Beardsley, Walter Sickert, HG Wells, etc. attractively rebound in half yellow morocco retaining the original cover and spine to the rear of each volume. Bound by Bayntun of Bath, this periodical seems to capture the spirit of that era of the 'eighteen nineties.'

Early printed books are well represented as usual. A rare folio Geneva/Breeches Bible (1578) (BK26/68), near intact, with three maps, is estimated at £2,000-£3,500. Another rare work is sadly not in such good condition, but 57 of the 60 plates of fantastic war machines, etc, are still present, including one believed to be the first depiction of a fire fighting engine. This is James Besson's A Theatre of Instruments and Machines ... printed at Lyon in 1578 (BK26/67).

There are two works by Eusebius. One is The Ancient Ecclesiastical Histories of the First Six Hundred Yeares After Christ (BK26/120a) folio, dated 1636 (£650-£800). More importantly is the edition priceps of 1544 (BK26/120), published in Paris by Estienne. (Robert Estienne was the King's printer.) This was the first time any book had been printed using the typeface Garamond, still a popular typeface to this day. The estimate is £2,000-£3,000. Also of note is a particularly choice copy of Ovid's Fastorum Libri VI (1533) (BK26/171) (£1,000-£1,500). Neatly rebound, it has the Aldine anchor device on the title and final leaf.

A rare item is Henry Stubbe's The Indian Nectar, or a Discourse Concerning Chocolata. The Nature of the Cacao-Nut (BK26/330) (£2,000-£3,000) and the other Ingredients of that Composition, is examined, and states according to the Judgement and Experience of the Indians and Spanish writers, who lived in the Indies, and others; with sundry additional observations made in England, the ways of compounding and preparing chocolate are enquired into; its effects, as it is alimental and veneral quality, as well as medicinal (especially in hypochondriacal melancholy) are fully debated. Together with a spagyrical analysis of the cacao-nut, performed by that excellent chymist, Monsieur le Febure, chymist to His Majesty. Published in 1662, this is the earliest printed book on chocolate in the English language. From the Signet Library with their device in gilt on the upper cover, it is not found in Oxford or Bitting.

During the 17th century, prompted by a series of naval engagements with the Dutch, the English issued orders to establish a means of communication by way of signals. In the sale is Jonathan Greenwood, The Sailing and Fighting Instructions or Signals as they are Observed in the Royal Navy of Great Britain (BK26/131) £1,000-£1,500). This is believed to be the earliest printed signal book in the English language. It contains an engraved portrait frontispiece and 59 engraved plates, showing 144 samples of signals. A rare item, not surprisingly, in a used condition.

There are several lots of Churchilliana in the sale, including The Second World War (BK26/91) (£200-£300), 6 vols, 1948-54, finely rebound in the most attractive half crimson morocco; Churchill Speeches – Into Battle, and The Unrelenting Struggle (BK26/222a) (£500-£600), both signed 'Winston S Churchill'. The Story of the Malakand Field Force (BK26/225) (£80-£120), finely bound by Bayntun-Riviere, 1899 Colonial Library Edition. The first 4 volumes of The Second World War (BK26/255a) (£2,000-£3,000), being signed copies by Winston Churchill to Lady Addison, who was the wife of a Labour politician (see Lot BK26/91).

In the manuscript section, a contemporary Peninsula War Journal by one Charles Holman stands out with much potential for further research. "Journal of Campaigns in the Peninsula, from 1st November 1811 to 3 January 1815 Also inscribed Salamanca, 16 June, 1812." (BK26/235) (£500-£1,000) nearly 200 closely written but quite legible pages, contemporary limp vellum. The author was an Ensign in the 52nd foot. Quoting from the Journal to give a flavour of the manuscript, "August 15, 1813 received an order from the Brigadier Major to attend a General Court Marshall of which the General Marshall was presiding on Robert Harmesworth of the 36th Reg. While Attempting to give himself up to the enemy ... the Enemy had moved off in great force to the relief of Saint Sebastian."

Our book sales reflect a growing interest in the specialist subject of early photography. This sale has early examples by Carlo Naya, Edouard Balbus, PH Emerson, Carlo Ponti, Sebah, and William Henry Fox Talbot. There are also several nice albums, including one by William D Young, which contains 48 fine wholeplate photographs of Mombasa (BK26/411) (£400-£500). Another is of World travel, which includes 60 hand–tinted Japanese photographs c1880s (BK26/355) (£200-£300). Others are of Sudan, South America, Ireland, Hong Kong, Mesopotamia, and the SS Carpathian in the Mediterranean. There are also stereo cards, and cabinet and carte de vista cards.

Towards the end of the sale are a most unusual collection of seventeen murder and execution broadsides (lots 376 to 392). Sold individually, most are illustrated with a large crude woodcut. A typical example, "A Most Horrible Murder, Committed by John Holloway upon the body of his wife, by cutting off her head, legs and arms. One of the most appalling and inhuman murders in the annals of crime has been recently committed in the vicinity of Brighton." (BK26/379) (£200-£350) [Size: 380x250mm; Woodcut; Printer J Catnach].

Other lots of interest include:-

There is also 178 Caricatures and Political Cartoons (lots 417-423); 19th century literature, including Charles Dickens; antique maps, bindings, classics, Paderni, etc, etc.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Antiquarian Book Auctions

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