In the News

Library of Congress Junior Fellows Display Collection Treasures

July 27, 2016—The Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Interns today presented more than... read more

The FDR Presidential Library to Open "In the Footsteps of John Muir" Exhibit

HYDE PARK, NY -- On Monday, August 1, 2016, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential... read more

Hunting Library of the Counts du Verne at Sotheby's Paris in October

On 5 October 2016, Sotheby’s Paris will have the honour of dispersing a selection... read more

Exceptional Example of Action Comics #1 Could Reach $750K at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS - An unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 - featuring the first appearance... read more

Bernie Wrightson Trove of Original Illustration Art Debuts at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS - A stunning group of original art by illustrator Bernie Wrightson--lead by his... read more

Artists-Signed Folio Leads at Chiswick Auctions

On Wednesday 20th July Chiswick Auctions held a successful sale of Printed Books and... read more

New Book on Upstate New York's Printing History

The engaging, lost story of an influential, 1920s Western New York private press is... read more

Pamplin International Collection of Art and History Releases 2015 Exhibit Catalog

Portland, Ore. (July 2016) - Leading historical preservationist Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. has... 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.