coming eventsComing Events

September 8

PBA Galleries

September 9-11

Brooklyn Book Fair

September 24

Bonhams

September 23

Skinner

September 29

Swann

Find More Events in the FB&C Calendar

In the News

Nate D. Sanders Auctions Offers 50 First Editions This Week

LOS ANGELES, September 26, 2016—A set of over 50 rarely available first edition books... read more

16th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival a Year of Firsts

Another fun-filled, action-packed Library of Congress National Book Festival is underway at the Walter... read more

Nelson-Atkins "Surveillance" Exhibition Explores Sneaky Side of Photography

Kansas City, MO, September 2016--Surveillance cameras in the 21st century are practically everywhere-on street... read more

World's Largest Rare Book Fair Celebrates 50th Anniversary 

OAKLAND, CA - The 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, recognized as one of... read more

Extremely Rare Abraham Lincoln Photograph at Sotheby’s NY

New York, 19 September 2016--Sotheby's is privileged to present an extremely rare and important... read more

Al Capone Letter Details His Day-to-Day Life at Alcatraz 

BOSTON, MA - (September 21, 16) An exceptionally rare Al Capone letter that reveals... read more

Historical Mathematical Texts and Navigational Works at Swann Galleries

New York— On Tuesday, October 18, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Early... read more

"It's Alive!" Exhibition at Minnesota Center for Book Arts

From works inspired by campy B movies to those addressing contemporary psychological fear, It’s... 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.