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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

20th C. Japanese Prints: An Exhibition

Yuhan Ito (1882-1951), Castle and Cherry Blossoms.
Henry Sotheran Ltd is excited to announce its upcoming exhibition ‘20th C. Japanese Prints’. The exhibition will feature a range of works including traditional woodblock prints of botanicals and landscapes, original watercolour scrolls, Studio Ghibli storyboards and hand drawn anime (manga) cels.

Shodo Kawarazaki (1889-1973), Orchid.

One artist whose work features predominately in the exhibition is Shodo Kawarazaki (1889-1973). His wonderful botanical woodblock prints range from Lilies to Chrysanthemums and are evocative of the style of flower subjects being produced in Kyoto during this time. These prints were published by Unsodo mostly in the mid 1950's.

Other highlights of the exhibition include the extraordinary prints by Hasui Kawase (1883-1957). This artist was one of the chief printmakers in the shin-hanga ("new prints") movement.

Ichiro Tsuruta (1954-), Beauty with a Mirror.

We are very fortunate to be able to offer for sale a superb collection of watercolours on silk scrolls by artists such as Chikuha Otake (1878-1936) & Shunbi Noguchi (1880-1946) with some available in their original hand painted presentation boxes.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, and all artworks will be available for acquisition.

Hiroyuki Nakano, Red-Shadow: The Masked Ninja.

Exhibition Dates:
10 April – 1 May
Henry Sotheran Print Gallery
2 Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London, W1S 3DP
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 9.30 – 18.00
Saturday 10.00 – 16.00

Saturday, 22 March 2014

From the Libraries of...

Sotheran's have had the privilege of handling many private libraries in its long history including those of Laurence Sterne, Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens. Over the last few years we have also been proud to offer books with interesting provenances, including, most recently, books from the collection of the late Michael Winner. In our latest mini-catalogue we have put together a collection of books from the libraries of the likes of Nicolas Bentley, Alistair Cooke, Duff and Diana Cooper, Fleur Cowles, Marlene Dietrich, Bryan Forbes, Rex Harrison and Margaret Mee.

The Great Illegitimates!!
Original Vortigern playbill
The list caters for a range of budgets. If you are looking for something really special then you could do far worse than this two volume compilation from the Duff Cooper library. Dorothea Jordan (1761 – 1816) was a celebrated Anglo-Irish actress and courtesan, best remembered for her relationship with the future King William IV, with whom she had ten illegitimate children. This is an astonishing collection of material relating to Mrs Jordan. A serious memorial rather than a scrap book the set contains  engravings, playbills, portraits, manuscript leaves, autographs, including an original watercolour drawing of Mrs Jordan almost certainly by Thomas Rowlandson with 3 ALSs by Mrs Jordan. These two volumes also include a playbill for William Ireland's notorious Shakespeare forgery, Vortigern, (one of the great theatrical disasters of the 18th century in which she played a role) and, most importantly, two pages of Ireland's manuscript. To read more about the fascinating life of Mrs Jordan and the provenance of this incredible item please visit our website.

Salvador Dali's Hidden Faces
If £30,000 is a little (or a lot) out of your price range then fear not. This signed limited edition from the library of  the "Renaissance man" Bryan Forbes is Salvador Dali's only novel and at £2000 you won't need to remortgage your house!

Andy Warhol Retrospective
For art-lovers try having a look at the books from the library of the artist and writer, Fleur Cowles, including this catalogue published to accompany the Tate Gallery Andy Warhol retrospective - a bargin at just £50.

If you would like us to send you a copy of our From the Libraries of... list then please contact Daisy at

Monday, 17 March 2014

St Patrick's Day

Anon. If You Ever Go to Ireland. 1940.

Today at Henry Sotheran we are celebrating all things Irish with our eclectic array of Irish themed prints - ranging from whiskey adverts to antique maps.

We have a wide collection of antique prints available here in the Print Department, and alongside our more traditional works we also have an interesting collection of vintage music sheet covers similar to the one pictured here.

Anon. Dublin Illustrated. 1878.

Or if you prefer something less 'vintage' and more 'antique' then take a look at our prints from The Graphic, c.1800.

We also have a wonderful collection of antique maps, such as this map of Ireland from 1750, pictured below.
WALKER. Ireland, c.1750.
Or this detailed city map of Dublin, as published by Letts, Son & Co Ltd., London, 1882.

Plan of the City of Dublin

Anon. William Jameson Ireland's Rare Old Whiskey, c.1935.

This original vintage magazine advertisement c.1935 is a fun example from our collection of original adverts - all showing typical styles and typography of their eras.

Luggage Label. Hotel Imperial Cork.

Other unusual items in the Print Department include a colourful collection of hotel luggage labels dating from the early 20th century. The rather grand label pictured here is a 1940s luggage label from the Hotel Imperial, Cork. 

If you like what you've seen here then it's worth popping into the shop to view the full collection of unique and original prints, books, maps, posters and more! We regularly update our website and Pinterest with new stock so it's worth checking back regularly as there is always something new to see.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Distance Learning in 1915 - Dyke's Auto & Gas Engine Instructor

Dyke's Auto & Gas Engine Instructor
This item, one of many super finds made at the Pasedena Book Fair last month, is remarkable not only for the condition in which we find it, but also as a document of distance learning in the early 20th century - not entirely dissimilar to the Open University which we know today!

A.L. Dyke was a remarkable entrepreneur who founded the United States's first automobile supply business in St. Louis, Missouri in 1899. As well as selling kit cars and automobile accessories, he establised a correspondence course in motor engineering, design and maintenance. Students would subscribe to the course and receive this pack containing four work books, each with questions that had to be answered and returned by post for marking, together with the working models which had been created by G.E. Sherrin in Britain in 1908, Dykes subsequently buying the copyright for the US. On completion of the four work books the student would receive a diploma. There is no diploma with this set, and the fresh condition of the models indicates that student no. 19423 never even began the course. Designed to be used, items such as this rarely survive - so thanks to this particular student for slacking off!

The course is not restricted to automobile engines. There are sections on marine engines, submarines, aircraft and steamers, while volume 4 concentrates on early motorcycles including the Indian and the Harley Davidson.

Original cream publisher's box 31.5 x 27 x 4.5 cm with red printed label to lid, containing four octavo paper-bound manuals and 5 working mechanical models, constructed of brass, tin and steel gears, springs and levers mounted on stiff card, depicting the transmission, differential gears, a four-cycle engine, a carburettor and a magneto; pp. 200 + [6], 201-424 + [2], 425-632 + 32 + 20, 221 + [7], numerous text illustrations; box with repair to hinge, models with signs of use but in full working order, wrapper of Vol I chipped with small loss to front, otherwise very good.

Fifth edition, revised and enlarged. Very rare.

OCLC records one copy.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Jessie Childs Book Launch - God's Traitors

Wednesday 12th March 6 - 8pm
2 Sackville Street

Henry Sotheran Limited are proud to be hosting the launch for Jessie Childs second book, God's Traitors.

If you would like to join us for a glass of wine then please RSVP to Daisy:,  0207 439 6151.

The Catholics of Elizabethan England did not witness a golden age. Their Mass was banned, their priests were outlawed, their faith was criminalised. In an age of assassination and Armada, those Catholics who clung to their faith were increasingly seen as the enemy within. In this superb history, award-winning author Jessie Childs explores the Catholic predicament in Elizabethan England through the eyes of one remarkable family: the Vauxes of Harrowden Hall.
God’s Traitors is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. From clandestine chapels and side-street inns to exile communities and the corridors of power, it exposes the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Gloriana. Above all, it is a timely story of courage and frailty, repression and reaction and the terrible consequences when religion and politics collide.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Celebrating International Women's Day - March 8th 2014

The 8th of March marks the 103rd International Women's Day, a day dedicated to celebrating 'the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.' To mark the occasion Henry Sotheran has selected a few items that illustrate and highlight some of the groundbreaking changes which have occured in the last century. First held in 1911 this year's theme is 'Inspiring Change', well there has certainly been some changes since this book was published! In her book of 1902, What a Woman of Forty Five Ought to Know, Emma F. Angell Drake advises women on how to cope with life during and after the menopause. The author encourages women to strive towards a full existence despite no longer being able to reproduce:

Vir Publishing Company, 1902
Emma F. A. Drake
"The Creator fitted you for child-bearing and when this period has run its allotted course, He reconstructs your physical nature for another line of work. In doing this you pass simply and easily, from the reproductive or child-bearing period into one of sexual inactivity."

Thankfully the role of women in society today has progressed somewhat since 1902!

John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, Ltd. 1923
The right to birth control was a landmark in the history of women' s rights. As the rare dustwrapper states, this is the first manual on contraception and was published three years after Stopes first opened the Mothers' Clinic in Holloway, north London, where midwives and visiting doctors gave mothers birth control advice and taught them how to use the contraceptive cap, of which she was a keen advocate. The publication was also simultaneous with Stopes's court case against Halliday Gibson Sutherland, a Catholic doctor whose book Birth Control had condemned her views as obscene and dangerous. She sued him for libel; though she was ultimately defeated, her courtroom arguments reached a wider public than before and provided the impetus for this book to spread her influence even further (and pay some of her legal bills). This is an important document in the history of birth control, both a product of its time and a predictor of the future.

La Vie Parisienne, 1925
Throughout history, dress has had an important part to play in how we conform, or don’t conform, to society and culture. This original La Vie Parisienne magazine cover from 1925 perfectly depicts a fashionable young woman of the time embracing the new flapper style of the ‘roaring twenties’. With her loose-fitting, uncorseted dress she appears to disregard Victorian ideals of the feminine. Taken to the extreme, this flapper is dramatically wielding her scissors like a weapon, and cutting away at Victorian tradition by trimming her hemline to shorten her skirt to above the knee! 

Faber and Faber. 1957.
Its hard to imagine a more significant breakthrough for women than the right to vote. Roger Fulford's 1957 book (pictured right) won a £5000 prize from the Evening Standard and is a lively history of the fight for women's suffrage in Great Britain. A good read despite frequently referring to the women involved as 'ladies' (well it was the 50s!).

Henry Sotheran are currently preparing a catalogue dedicated to inspirational and influential women throughout history alongside fascinating documents illustrating the ever-changing role that women have played within society. Please click here to request a copy.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Codex Atlanticus of Leonardo Da Vinci.

A primary source not only for research on Leonardo but also for studies of the history of science, art history, and Renaissance culture. The Codex Atlanticus is the largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci's papers ever assembled, demonstrating the scope of the genius of this extraordinary polymath.

12 volumes bound in full leather
Sotherans are proud to offer this superb facsimile of Leonardo's drawings and papers contained within the Codex Atlanticus, each being reproduced actual size and in colour. Published in the years after the restoration of the sheets by conservators at the monastery of Grottaferrata in Lazio. Among a wealth of material there are preliminary studies for the portrait of Isabella d'Este, the Adoration of the Magi and the monuments of Francsco Sforza. In addition there are designs and notes for the construction of a myriad of inventions, including flying machines, hydraulic pumps, siege machines and artillery as well as architectural plans, sketches and designs for churches, cupolas and buildings relating to the general town plan in which Leonardo provided his original solution to the issue of creating an ideal environment for Renaissance man.

On Leonardo's death in France his papers were left to his pupil Francesco Melzi, including those that now are now contianed in the Codex Atlanticus. In 1570 after Melzi's death the papers passed to his heirs and subsequently a number of drawings were dispersed. The sculptor, Pompeo Leoni (1537-1608), retrieved a number of the papers from Melzi's heirs and together with other papers had them mounted on to large sheets and bound into a volume. In the seventeeth-century the volume was sold to the Marquis Galeazzo Arconati, who in 1637 donated it the Ambrosiana Library in Milan.

As Carlo Pedretti notes in the two volume catalogue that accompanies the present item, the Codex Atlanticus is the largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci's papers ever assembled and the material it contains, 'encompasses the entire span of Leonardo's career, a period of over forty years, from about 1478, when he was 26, to his death in 1519. It provides the richest documentation not only for the story of his life, but above all for an assessment of his contributions to art, science, and technology; of his sources of learning, both Classical and Medieval, of his attitudes toward contemporary events, and, finally, of his visions of the future'.

The present catalogue 'provides a much needed key to the understanding of Leonardo's intentions through each of the thousands of sheets and fragments in the codex. Each item is discussed in terms of its content, and its relationship to notes and drawings in other sheets of the codex and other Leonardo notebooks'.

LEONARDO DA VINCI. The Codex Atlanticus of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Firenze, C.E. Giunti-Barbera; New York and London, Johnson Reprint Corporation, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1973-1975.

Large folio (610 x 446 mm) Twelve volumes bound in full brown leather, gilt-lettered spines; a total of 2136 colour facsimile plates, reproducing the original drawings to the recto, and where appropriate, to the verso of each plate, interleaved with a blank sheet, together with a copy of Carlo Pedretti's two volume descriptive catalogue of the papers and drawings contained within the codex, The Codex Atlanticus Of Leonardo Da Vinci. A Catalogue Of Its Newly Restored Sheets, both volumes bound in the original gilt-lettered grey cloth; pp. 256; pp. 317, [3].

Limited edition of 998 numbered sets.
This item was selected from our most recent catalogue, History of Ideas, to view the catalogue online please click here.