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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Upcoming catalogues: a sneak preview.

We have several catalogues currently in the production stages at Sotheran's. Far & Wide, our latest travel catalogue, is expected to return from the printers this week, shortly to be followed by Women of Influence - a fascinating collection of books by, or related to, inspirational women in literature, art, and the social arena. Further catalogues from the Fine Prints and Architecture departments are scheduled for the coming months.

Starting with Travel, we have decided to bring together a few highlights in the blogosphere - showcasing some of the most exciting stock to feature in the upcoming catalogues and giving our readers a first glance at what's to come.

Travel: Far & Wide

The first geological map of the Indian subcontinent

GREENOUGH, George Bellas. General Sketch of the Physical and Geological Features of British India.
London, lithographed by A. Petermann for Edward Stanford, 1855
Greenough's geological map of India, the first to cover the whole of the subcontinent in its entirety, is perhaps one of the most visually striking items to appear in the catalogue. Despite never visiting India himself, Greenough managed to produce this highly detailed map through correspondence with fellow geologists and military figures, using their observations in the field alongside information from his own library. The East India Company began to build the first railways in India in 1850, and, five years later, Greenough's map met the vital demand for accurate geological information - key to aiding the engineers working on the railway and to determining the mineral wealth of the continent.

Russia goes Chinese

BICHURIN, Iakinf. Kitai, ego zhiteli, nravy, obichai, prosveshchenie.
St. Petersburg, printer of the Imperial Academy of Sciences,1840.
Also of great cultural significance is this Russian curio, a very rare first edition of China, her People, Character, Customs, Erudition, by the Russian monk and sinologist, Nikita Yakovlevich [Iakinf] Bichurin. This book is a landmark in the establishment of cultural exchange between China and Russia, offering a deep insight into Chinese belief systems and the language. It includes chapters on statistics, education, everyday life and ceremonies, government and administration, publishing, and foreign attempts to get a foothold in Chinese politics and trade.

A wedding present for Stanley

STANLEY, Henry Morton. Commemorative gardening tools, presented to Stanley.
From the curious to the curiouser, these commemorative gardening tools form part a collection of unique objects from the estate of the African explorer, Henry Morton Stanley. The miniature spade and fork were custom made to a unique design and presented to Stanley as a wedding gift. The inscription reads 'Presented to Mr. H.M. Stanley from the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen as a memento of His Planting a Tree at Haddo House June 16th 1890 and With Best Wishes for his happiness and that of his bride from July 12th 1890 and ever after'.

And finally, one stunning, if not disturbing, Stanley item arrived here after the catalogue had gone to the printers...

Commemorative wall panel, presented to Stanley.
If you would like to receive a copy of Far & Wide, which includes an early road map of India and more unique objects from Stanley's estate, then please click here.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Architectural Books & Prints

With the 14th International Venice Architecture Biennale currently in full swing, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to highlight our collection of architectural books and prints.

The South front of Chatsworth.

In the print department we have a wonderful stock of prints from Colin Campbell’s major work ‘Vitruvius Britannicus’. Published in three volumes between 1715 and 1725 at the peak of the Palladian style in the Georgian period, the work is essentially a folio of design containing 100 engravings of contemporary classical buildings by prominent architects of the era including Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren. Palladianism is the name for the English architectural design movement based on the writings and buildings of the Italian Renaissance architect Palladio. First brought to England by the architect Inigo Jones after his travels within Italy during the early seventeenth century, the Palladian style reached its height at the beginning of the Georgian period (1714 - 1830). The designs in ‘Vitruvius Britannicus’ had enormous influence in England during the period, and the clean, symmetrical lines and classical style of the prints still have great appeal today.

The Plan of St Paul's Cathedral, London.

Lindsey-House in Lincoln Inn Fields, London.
Henry Sotheran is one of London's leading specialists in architectural books, with an extensive stock of rare and out of print books on the history and development of architecture from classic times to present. With so much to choose from, we have a kept a distinctly Venetian theme: Andrea Palladio's Quattro Libri.

I Quattro Libri Dell'Architettura
I Quattro Libri Dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture) was first published in 1570, illustrated with fantastic woodcuts after the author's own drawings. Nearly two-hundred years and several reprints and translations later, the British Consul in Venice, Joseph Smith, got together with the printer G. B. Pasquali to issue a fine facsimile. The famous "counterfeit edition", which we are offering for sale, is universally recognised as an accurate facsimile of the 1570 edition, and for it's fine copper-plate reproductions of Palladio's woodcuts. 

Smith's "counterfeit edition"

Joseph Smith was famed as an art collector, patron, and connoisseur, whose impressive library was an attraction for many during the British Grand Tour. Together with Pasquali, he published many lavishly printed limited editions of the great books in his library and his collection of drawings now make up a substantial portion of the Royal Collection at Windsor.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Geographical Fun this weekend at the London Map Fair - June 7th & 8th 2014

Geographical Fun. First edition.
The fair season is now in full swing with the biggest map fair in Europe being held at the Royal Geographical Society this weekend. The London Map Fair brings together the world's leading dealers in antiquarian maps and boasts stock priced to suit all budgets (from £10 to £100,000). Free to attend, the fair is a great opportunity for any seasoned or budding map enthusiast to meet with the foremost experts in the trade and brush up on their cartographic knowledge.

Ashley Baynton-Williams will be giving talks on map collecting for beginners throughout the weekend and Frank Jacobs will also be giving a lecture this Saturday at 2:30pm entitled "The Future of Map Collecting in the Digital Age".  Please click here for more details.

Although we will not be exhibiting at the fair, Sotheran's is always looking for new and interesting additions to our antique map collection. Perhaps our most exciting acquisition of late is William Harvey's Geographical Fun (pictured above).

The atlas consists of twelve maps of European countries, each with a unique national stereotype created by the author based on the outline and shape of the country. Each image is accompanied by a short verse describing the authors creation.  

Written under the under the pseudonym 'Aleph' the author described his intention in creating the atlas in his introduction: "It is believed that illustrations of Geography may be rendered educational, and prove of service to young Scholars who commonly think Globes and Maps but wearisome aids to knowledge. If these geographical puzzles excite the mirth of children, the amusement of the moment may lead to the profitable curiosity of youthful students and embue the mind with a healthful taste for foreign lands."

The resulting fanciful caricatures include England in the form of Queen Victoria; Scotland as a gallant Piper struggling through the bogs; Wales in the form of Owen Glendowr; Ireland as a Peasant, happy in her baby's smile; France as an Empress of cooks, fashions, and the dance; Spain and Portugal joined in lasting amity; Italy as a revolutionary figure complete with liberty cap; Prussia in the personages of Friedrich Wilhelm and Prime Minister Bismarck; Holland and Belgium as female figures who represent a land . . . and perfect art made grand; Denmark as a female figure with ice skates; and Russia as the classic bear. 

This atlas is hard to find complete as the individual maps are often split and sold individually. As the maps and text had become detached from the binding we have had the twelve maps uniformly mounted and presented in a custom-made box, preserving the original binding and text leaves within.

More maps here and on Pinterest.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Did somebody say "Wine"? - London Wine Week 2014

Codorniu Spanish Champagne Advertising Fan

As if we needed any further incentive, boozing is positively encouraged this June with the advent of the London Wine Week. Tours and tastings are being held across the city alongside pop-up events and masterclasses including the opportunity to make your own wine! Everyone seems to be celebrating all things oenological - the Olympia Exhibition Centre has kicked out the booksellers to make way for the wine dealers (ever thought you picked the wrong trade?) and bars across the city are offering rare opportunities to taste by the glass what would normally only be available by the (expensive) bottle.

Forever the opportunists, we have hand picked a selection of items from our stock to tempt any specialist or budding wine enthusiast and paired them with some of the most interesting events occurring across the city.

Original French 1950s wine poster
The first port of call (excuse the pun) is to grab a wristband for £10. This is valid for the whole week (2nd to the 8th of  June) and will get you discounted drinks in any of over 100 associated London bars. Once you have your wristband you can check the map and plan your personalised wine tour of the city!

Monday 2nd June (also running Friday): Fast Fizz. The Riedel Hub at Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW. 1-1:30pm. £10

If you are too busy to commit to a week of flitting from bar to bar (and lets face it, we all are) you can still make the most of the festival by taking advantage of the half hour speed tasting event. Focusing on British fizz, the event runs from 1pm - 1.30pm so is easily manageable during your lunch break. 


Paired with Champagne and Sparkling Wine by Fiona Beckett.


Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Tuesday 3rd June: An Evening With Octavian: How to Start a Fine Wine Collection.
Hedonism Wines 3-7 Davies st, W1K 3LD. 6:30-1:30pm. £38

A seminar for those who would like to build their own wine collection but are not quite sure how to get started.  


Brush up on your wine skills with The Official Guide to Wine Snobbery by Leonard S. Bernstein.


The Official Guide to Wine Snobbery

Wednesday 4th June: Wine and Dine on the Park! Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, W2 2TY. 6.30pm - 9.30pm. Free!

A free event hosted by Lancaster London’s chief wine buyer. The wines have been paired with the menu and there will be ample opportunity to try before you buy!  


Coupled with A Wine & Food Bedside Book.


A Wine and Food Bedside Book


Thursday 5th June: Wine Cocktail Master Class hosted by Harvey Nichols and a Grape Night In. Season at the Fifth Floor Restaurant Harvey Nichols, 109 - 125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ. 6:30pm. £30

Includes a welcome drink, red, white and rosé wine tasting and an interactive lesson in wine cocktail making!  


Expand your knowledge with Exclusive Cocktails from the Recipes of Usher's Hotel.

Exclusive Cocktails

Friday 6th June: A Barrel of Laughs: Wine Tasting and Comedy Night. Vinopolis 1 Bank End, London, SE1 9BU. 8:45pm - 11pm. £35

Includes seven tokens to spend on your choice of wine, spirits or champagne to enjoy with comedy from Carl Donnelly, Sarah Kendall and Mark Dolan. 


Ronald Searle's Illustrated Winespeak compliments this event perfectly.


The Illustrated Winespeak


Saturday 7th June: The Port Experience. Churchill’s Port House 26 Greek Street, W1D 5DE. 4pm -5pm.  £20

A tutored tasting between three different styles of port. 


Paired with Croft. A Journey of Confidence by Oliver Knox.


Dinner menu for the Tercentenary of The House of Croft


Sunday 8th June: Three Wine Men London Summer Tasting. Kia Oval, Kennington, London SE11 5SS. 12pm - 4pm. £25

Learn more about wine with the TV and radio personalities Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin. Their events bring together wine and food retailers and producers to show you just how much fun your taste buds can have in a day. Optional extra masterclasses. 


Read about The Man Who Made Wine by J.M. Scott.


The Man Who Made Wine


Happy wine-tasting and wine-reading!


To see the full programme of events please click here.


For more wine books you can browse our website or check us out on Pinterest.