In the News

MoAF to Open “America in Circulation: A History of US Currency” Exhibit on April 15

New York, NY—On Wednesday, April 15, the Museum of American Finance will open “America... read more

Rare Milestone in the History of Science Sells for $540,000 at Bonhams

A rare first edition of Robert Boyle's The Sceptical Chymist, a milestone in the... read more

Heritage April Rare Books Auction Spans the Dawn of Printing to Sagan’s Cosmos

NEW YORK—From the dawn of printing to the edges of the universe, Heritage Auctions’... read more

2015 MoCCA Arts Festival Announces Programming Schedule

NEW YORK, NY (March 24, 2015)—The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce a... read more

Nearly 100 Authors on Board for 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival

Almost 100 of the nation’s best writers, poets and illustrators have already committed to... read more

Family Life by Akhil Sharma Wins The Folio Prize 2015

Akhil Sharma is tonight, Monday 23 March, announced as the winner of The Folio... read more

The 2015 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America is pleased to announce the 2015 National Collegiate... read more

Director Ed Wood Archive Sells for $13,000

BOSTON, MA—(March, 2015) Extensive archive of material owned by and related to Hollywood B-movie... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Chronicles of Narnia, Virginia, and Greece

Many Colour’d, Finely Spun

Selections of the Costume of Albania and Greece… by Joseph Cartwright, £39,650 ($63,965) at Sotheby’s London on November 4.

One of the twelve handcolored plates from Cartwright’s folio. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Serving as Paymaster-General to British forces in Corfu in the years 1816-20 was Cartwright’s official role and day job, but he was also a talented artist noted for his marine paintings. His prolonged stay in the Ionian Islands and Greece allowed him plenty of time to get to work with pen and paintbrush.

In 1821, he published Views in the Ionian Islands and, in the following year, this costume plate book, “with explanatory quotations from the poems of Lord Byron and Gally Knight.”

A folio collection of just a dozen colored aquatints by Robert Havell and his son after Cartwright’s originals, it is a work that was missing from even the Blackmer and Atabey libraries, two of the finest libraries on Greece and the Levant ever assembled, and the only other auction record is for a copy sold in the same rooms in 1988 for $6,470.

In the plate reproduced here we see a lady of Corfu, to which are appended two lines from Byron’s Don Juan: “Her dress was many colour’d, finely spun / Her hair had silver only, bound to be her dowry.”

Pulp Fiction

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, £85,250 ($136,517) at Sotheby’s London on October 28.

Bright pictorial jacket of Hammett’s classic detective novel. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Possibly the very first presentation copy that its author inscribed—on January 23, three weeks before the official publication date—this 1930 first of what is now considered one of the most influential detective stories of them all, was one that Hammett gave to Raoul Whitfield, a fellow pulp fiction writer and good friend.

Whitfield and Hammett created a sort of mutual admiration society, but the book is actually inscribed to both Raoul and his second wife, Prudence. The publication of Hammett’s letters in 2001 made it clear that his admiration for the latter extended beyond the literary. Prudence and Hammett were, for a time, lovers.

This was yet another of the high spots from that ‘Library of an English Bibliophile.’

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next: Fine Books Review

Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.