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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

History of Ideas Catalogue

BEER, Wilhelm and Johann Heinrich MÄDLER.
Mappa Selenographica. Berlin: S. Schropp and Comp. 1834.
Our latest catalogue the History of Ideas is now available to view online. Please click here for the first chance to order from the list! The catalogue covers a diverse range of subjects including science, engineering, mathematics and the arts. Arguably one of the most interesting items in the catalogue is Mappa Selenographica, the first edition of the first exact map of the moon.

103 x 103cm, four linen-backed quadrants mounted in twelve folding panels in custom-made blue cloth boards; lithograph map at a scale of 38 inches to the lunar diameter; splits in linen backing along centre folds, not affecting map, spine worn, very good. Provenance: with rare prospectus in French with library inkstamp of Royal Institution of Great Britain to top of front page, with another inkstamp to the rear of one panel of the map itself.

First edition. Rare. This was the first exact map of the moon and remained the standard for many decades, until Schmidt's more detailed map of 1878. Beer and Mädler's observations were made using the former's 9.5cm refractor at his private observatory in Berlin and represent an important step forward in the interpretation of the moon. They established the modern practice of of designating secondary craters by assigning to them a letter associated with a nearby "parent" crater, and of labeling them on the map by placing the letter on the side facing the parent. The method of issuing the map in four numbered quadrants was also followed by many subsequent lunar cartographers. The map is printed with the south of the moon at the top, which was common practice at the time. The map was followed by a book, Der Mond (1837), which contained the pair's precise measurements and formed the basis of later maps by several other cartographers. It is difficult to overstate the significance of this map in the history of lunar research, and this copy has the added importance of having been held at one the world's greatest scientific institutions.

Honeyman 267; DSB I, p.568f: "(...) their chef d'oeuvre (...) the best map of the moon produced in the first half of the nineteenth century (...)."

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Old Curiosity Shop

A late 19th-century Russian enamelled coronation beaker
In addition to the vast range of fine books and prints on sale in the shop and gallery we also stock a selection of rare and unusual objects such as china, furniture and busts. Have a look at out Pinterest page to see some of the curiosities on offer!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Dry January? The finish line is in sight!

Just ten days to go for all those who have vowed to stay off the booze this month, with the shop currently stacked to the rafters with food and wine books we can barely think about anything else! Today's highlights are in keeping with the oenological theme that appears to have taken over. These beautiful and informative plates from Diderot & D'Alembert's Encyclopédie offer a fascinating insight into alcohol production during the 18th century.

Diderot on Grape Cultivation, Presses and Cider Presses

DIDEROT, Denis. Agriculture, Cultutre de la Vigne,Pressoirs, Pressoir à Cidre (Grape Cultivation, Presses, and the Cider Press)
Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Plates vol. I Paris (1762)

These seven plates begin with a demonstration of the planting requirements and correct pruning techniques for a vineyard. Several different types of press, large and small, follow, including two pages dedicated to the cider press. Accompanying the plates are several articles from the text body of the Encyclopédie, one of which, contributed by Diderot himself, deals with the various processes involved in the production of cider. 

Diderot on Brewers

DIDEROT, Denis. Brasserie (Brewery).
Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Plates vol. 2 Paris (1763)

These plates display the ovens, vats and equipment of an eighteenth-century brewhouse, including a horse-powered mill. Diderot's paper on La Brasserie, accompanying these plates, describes the workings of the building and the processes carried out therein. Other articles which follow are Aile, Bierre, Houblon, Malt, Tarasun, Touraille, the kiln in which the hops are dried, and Levure or yeast.

Monday, 20 January 2014


Henry Sotheran Ltd are now on Pinterest - click on the link below to follow us and start pinning! Our Pinterest boards highlight a diverse selection of our most visually exciting stock, such as this fantastic prop from the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
4to. An original studio prop made for, and used in, Warner Brothers film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"; original beautifully printed pictorial card covers, stapled to spine, lavishly embossed in metallic foil, incorporating, across upper and lower covers, a pair of "Spectrespecs" with inset red and blue cellophane windows and perforations, designed to be popped out and worn, with inner covers printed in detail with Classified Advertisements; pp. [12], internally finely screen-printed in colours with a gathering of 6 different pages of wittily captioned articles and illustrations, duplicated once, with repeating text in Latin; a fine and magical item.

Sole edition. A "hero" prop which was used on set by the cast, notably by the character of Luna Xenophilius Lovegood on the train journey to Hogwarts. In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Luna rescues Harry from Draco Malfoy's compartment on the Hogwarts' Express using her Spectrespecs, which allow her to see wrackspurts around Harry's head when he is hidden beneath his invisibility cloak. Spectrespecs were distributed free with this special copy of The Quibbler. According to Luna the glasses were designed to make wrackspurts, which are "invisible creatures that float into one's ears, causing them to go fuzzy", visible to the wizarding eye.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Almost as good as the real thing...
Although nothing is quite like spending the afternoon browsing in our shop in Sackville Street, thanks to the wonders of the internet you can do the next best thing. Take the Virtual Tour to get a glimpse of working life at Sotherans, you can view each department individualy and follow the links on the left to go back to our website.

We add new stock to the Sotherans website daily, so it is always worth browsing if you are unable to visit us in person. Finally, if you are searching for a specific subject or item, you can contact us and we will do our best to source these for you.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Happy New Year

Henry Sotherans are ringing in the New Year by taking another step forward into the digital age and are now live in the blogosphere! Follow us for the latest news on exhibitions and events, acquisition highlights, and whatever else we deem appropriate.
REICHARDT, Jasia. Cybernetic Serendipity the computer and the arts.
Studio International, 1968.
January is proving to be busy - our latest catalogue History of Ideas is out at the end of the month. Covering topics as diverse as the use of computers in the arts (above) to the fifth edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (the last edition to be published within his lifetime) (below) the catalogue includes a fascinating range of items dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries.

In other news we are busy cataloguing our latest acquisition - a collection of important food and wine books from the library of the writer, businessman, and a leading member of The Food and Wine Society, Hugo Dunn-Meynell. The boxes are certainly keeping everyone busy - highlights to follow as we uncover them!

JOHNSON, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language