Thursday, June 23, 2016

Antiquarian Book News

Bloomsbury Book, Ephemera & Postcard Fair
The Bloomsbury Book, Ephemera & Postcard Fair takes place this coming Sunday 26th June, at the Royal National Hotel, London WC1H 0DG. This month we have more than 55 dealers displaying a whole plethora of material, from a few pounds upwards. Whether seeking that rare book, elusive piece of ephemera or postcard we have plenty to keep you hunting for hours!

We are open from 9.30 until 3pm, so you can come all day or combine your visit with a day out in the capital. All details are on our
website, including the latest Exhibitor List. For any late availability phone Kim: 01707 872140.
Soon to be sold
Fashion mogul Pierre Bergé has announced that he will put the second part of his famous library – one of the most valuable in private hands – up for auction in November. The French philanthropist, who co-founded the Yves saint Laurent fashion empire with the late designer, raised €11.7m (£9.2m) from the sale of the first part of his collection last year.

He now intends to put 380 works that include some of the cream of 19th-century European literature under the hammer. They include the manuscripts of the Marquis de Sade’s last novel, The Secret History of Isabella of Bavaria, and Gustave Flaubert’s Over Strand and Field.

Although the full catalogue of the Paris sales will not be released until September, it will also include signed books exchanged between Balzac, Hugo, Stendhal and Baudelaire. English-language, German and Russian classics will also feature, with rare editions by Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Wilde, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Kleist and Goethe.

The proceeds of the auction – to be held on 8-9 November and run by Sotheby’s in Paris – will go to a foundation Bergé set up with Saint Laurent that helps support Aids research.
Christie's Classic Week: London
Following the success of Christie's inaugural Classic Week in New York during April, Christie's London will host Classic Week from 5 to 13 July. These cross-category auctions span the Decorative Arts, Antiquities, Old Master & British Paintings, Prints and Drawings, Books and Manuscripts and The Exceptional Sale. The week will be led by Rubens's masterpiece Lot and his Daughters (circa 1613-14), an outstanding example of his early maturity and one of the most important paintings by the artist to have remained in private hands, which will be sold as part of the Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale on 7 July. Classic Week presents an array of unique works of art, exceptional objects and furniture as well as scientific and philosophical documents throughout the week's sales, all across varying price points. The works will be on view and open to the public from 3 July at Christie's King Street and South Kensington.

Valuable Books & Manuscripts: 13 July
The Christie's Books department will hold two auctions as part of Classic Week, the first will be a single owner sale, comprising 100 of the most important books from the collection of Giancarlo Beltrame. A man of great culture and an inspired businessman, Beltrame's world-renowned scientific library includes some of the most important texts on astronomy, geography, mathematics, technology and medicine. Highlights include Narratio Prima by Georg Joachim Rheticus (estimate: £1.2 – 1.8 million), the first edition of the first printed account of Copernicus's revolutionary theory that the Earth rotated around the Sun (estimate: £100,000 – 150,000), and Sidereus Nuncius by Galileo Galilei (estimate: £200,000 – 300,000) universally recognised as the foundation of modern astronomy, and the first account of astronomical discoveries made with the telescope. The sale also includes philosophical works, esoteric texts and humanist literature.

The second, our various-owner sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts, offers highpoints of written culture from the last 1,000 years. The top lot is a complete autograph music manuscript by Johann Sebastian Bach: only ten complete manuscripts survive in private hands (estimate: £1.5 – 2.5 million). Leading the section of printed books is Besler's Hortus Eystettensis (Nuremberg, 1613) (estimate: £800,000 – £1,200,000), the most celebrated Florilegium (Flower Book) ever published. Also offered is an intriguing 16th century Swiss prayer book containing perhaps the earliest painted depiction of the Turin Shroud (£80,000 – 120,000), personal artefacts including Einstein's leather jacket (estimate: £40,000 – £60,000), and the Irish Proclamation of Independence of 1916 (estimate: £150,000 – £220,000), its political resonance particularly pronounced in its centennial year.
American novelist, Dan Brown, has donated €300,000 to a little-known Dutch library of hermetic books and manuscripts where he researched many of his worldwide bestsellers – including The Lost Symbol and Inferno – to help digitise its priceless collection.

Brown has been a low-key visitor over the years to the Ritman Library, also known as the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, in the centre of Amsterdam, which houses a remarkable collection of texts on mysticism dating back to the 15th century.

In a message posted on YouTube, the author describes the library as “one of the greatest repositories on Earth” of works related to the Renaissance hermetic and magical tradition, as well as the Jewish Kabala, Sufism, and seventeenth-century Rosicrucianism.

It was “a great honour”, he said, to be able to contribute to the digitisation project, which means 4,600 of the library’s treasures that were printed prior to 1900, and some even dating to before 1800, will be digitised and available to the public online by spring 2017.

In total, the library has a collection of some 25,000 books covering “5,000 years of Western spirituality”, including rare volumes by the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who laid the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment.
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