The September Preview

Hello! After some short vacation time in August, we will be back in early september with some impressive listings entirely from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Be prepared for some larger listings, of some fascinating and influential historical works.

Week 1

Starting off september, we have several excellent volumes from the library of Michael Morris Oppenheim. The extensive library of the historian was donated to the Bath Public Reference Library, from whence they found their way to us. The highlights of the library include an eighth edition copy of Basil Kennett’s Antiquities of Rome, in excellent condition, with portrait plate and black ruled, red & black title page, 1726.

Frontispiece and Title - Antiquities of Rome, 8th Edition

Front Board - Antiquities of Rome, 8th EditionMap of Ancient Rome - Antiquities of Rome, 8th Edition

Also from the Oppenheim collection, Joseph Addison’s Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, 1736 fifth edition, and the letters of Father Paul, First And Only Edition. Each of these works has been skillfully rebound, retaining original boards, with tasteful new spines and effective repairs to the scarce damage of these volumes.

A separate item of substantial interest is the 1726 first edition of Gulliver’s Travels, By Jonathan Swift, volumes 1 & 2 bound in one. This volume corresponds to Teerink’s AA state, with the important errors uncorrected.

Title Page - Travels to Several Remote Nations, AA First EditionMap - Travels to Several Remote Nations, AA First Edition

Also for the first listing, Rolt’s Dictionary of trade & Commerce, 1756 first folio edition, with Frontispiece.

Frontispiece and Title - A New Dictionary of Trade and Commerce

Week 2

Week two has a marvelous quarto sammelband of the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, From 1632 to 1649, covering the start of the Bishops war and the first two of the English Civil Wars. This collections of published acts is bound in beautiful gilt English calf, with an additional publication of proclamations by King Charles I, a very scarce publication, dated 1629.

Spine and front board - Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1632-1649Title, Acts 1632 - Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1632-1649

Proclamations, 1629 - Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1632-1649Acts 1649 - Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1632-1649

From the famed Library of Henry Yates Thompson, the 1637 Boulderised fifth Edition of William Camden’s Remaines Concerning Britain, in excellent condition.

We have famed seventeenth century puritan William’s Prynne’s account of his and his co-defendants’ trial befor William Laud in A New Discovery of the Prelates Tyranny, 1641 first and only edition.

Title - The Prelates TyrannyPortrait Plate of William Laud

Also the Accompt of the Trial of the Regicides, 1660 First Edition, as compiled by Heneage Finch, Earl of Nottingham. An account of the trial of those responsible for the execution of Charles I, which included the exhumation of Oliver Cromwell.

Imprimatur and Title - Accompt of the Trial of the Regicides

A Discovery – Sterne Explains some Literary Devices


Recently we purchased an early collection of Sterne’s books now offered for auction, including a lovely first edition, second state of A Sentimental Journey, The Sermons of Yorick, and Tristram Shandy. The Tristram Shandy set, while a nice Second and First Edition run, sadly lacked volume two, but had the scarce Second Edition copy of Volume One. this would be the first to bear the Dodsley name as printer, and would have been purchased in March or April 1760, when Sterne was in residence near Dodsley’s shop.

When collating our copy we came across one page, that had been carefully folded over before binding to preserve the contents (see photograph). We recognized the handwriting as possibly Sterne’s. We compared the handwriting with our reference library and on-line sources. They appear identical. The ink also is of the same composition as the ink in the Sterne signatures and with other errata corrections that we have observed in other Sterne sets and in this set. We have included a side by side comparison of a Sterne letter dated 1761 with our copy of Page 126 of Volume One. They appear identical in all aspects.

Pp. 126 & 127 - Tristram Shandy

On Page 126 of Volume One, Sterne writes;  “—-he would sometimes break off in sudden and spirited Epiphonema. or rather Erotesis, raised a third, and sometimes a full fifth , above the key of the discourse,—“

In his own handwriting Sterne explains the literary devices linked to the words he chose to use. (see photographs)

On “Epiphonema” he writes:

“an Exclamator containing some sentence of more than ordinary sense, which (i)s placed at the End of a Discourse”

On “Erotesis” he writes

“An Interrogation” “a figure when by asking questions, the matter is aggravated.”

Handwriting Comparison - Tristram Shandy

A comparison of Sterne’s handwriting from * with that found in our copy.

Later on Page 140 Sterne provides a translation of a passage where he writes “Mr Shandy apprehends it may, par le moyen d’une petite canulle, and sans faire aucun tort au pere.”
Underneath this printed passage he writes in his own handwriting;

“- By means of a Syringe, & without doing an injury to ye Parent—“

Translation Detail, Pp. 140 - Tristram Shandy

The First Edition of Tristram Shandy, privately printed by Sterne, having sold out in a matter of days and having taken London by storm with public figures of taste such as Garrick publicly endorsing the new book; led to Sterne making a deal with the Dodsley’s, with the Second Edition appearing in March 1760. The Third and Fourth Editions would follow later the same year. It was the Second Edition that truly conquered London, and that appeared for sale just as Sterne embraced London High Society.

“the news that the author of Tristram Shandy was really in London ran like a flame through society. With a view to impending social demands , Sterne left Cholmley’s on the eighth of March [1760]; and after looking over Piccadilly and the Haymarket, moved into commodious lodgings at the second house in St Alban’s street, now no more, just off Pall Mall…The new apartments, near Dodsley’s shop and in the very heart of fashion, became the centre of extraordinary scenes. “From, Morning to night,” Sterne wrote to Miss Fourmantelle, “my Lodgings, which by the by, are the genteelest in Town, are full of the greatest Company. I dined these two days with two ladies of the Bedchamber; then with Lord Rockingham, Lord Edgecomb, Lord Winchelsea, Lord Littleton, a Bishop, &c., &c. I assure you, my Kitty, that Tristram is the Fashion.”

Cross, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne, Yale University Press, MDCCCCXXV, Vol 1, Pg. 194

The picture of Sterne entertaining London Society must have included, from time to time, Sterne providing annotations to his volumes for an admirer or critic asking for the meaning of a controversial passage. Witty wordplay is a hallmark of Sterne’s writing, as he bends words this way and that, so we are delighted to present a rare insight into the famed author’s mind.

Of Feminism and the Greenly Library

Portrait of Elizabeth SmithFeminism, as a movement, has engaged several projects to give women agency and secure women’s rights within society, and among the most relevant is the quest to uncover the contributions women have made throughout history. Depending on the era in question, women faced challenges and opportunities of a very different nature from men, their opinions and actions often not being taken seriously. Nonetheless, women have certainly had a substantial influence, in spite of the prominence of “Great Man” history and the emphasis of military actions.

Ancient cultural traditions, many based in Judeo-Christian culture, proscribe specific gender roles that limit opportunities for women, with the expectation of women occupying the private home-space, and men in the public/political realm. Often overlooked are succession laws, particularly the germanic gavelkind laws, which generally excluded women from the inheritance of property (a notable exception being Basque culture in spain, and in the state and empires of Western Africa.) One fascinating event forced major changes to this; the black death. The substantial loss of life throughout europe left many women as the only children left to inherit their father’s fortunes, giving a generation of women substantial amounts of property, which unlike a dowry, was truly theirs. We see other important examples of women gaining more power in the dynastic politics as well. Henry VIII, seeking to preserve the Tudor dynasty, gave both his daughters a place in succession, eventually resulting in the ‘Golden Age’ of Elizabeth I. Of course, women attaining a place of power is not always good, with Mary I’s persecutions and the manipulative nature of the Medici women who were queen regents of France, but the faults we witness are equally possessed by men in power. Ultimately, the point of this progress and increase in the profile of women is to be inclusive of the 50% of the human population that has been hitherto marginalised, and show the evidence of their value humanity as a whole.

Portrait of Mary Wortley MontaguThe Eighteenth century offered some great examples of the increase of women’s public presence. Of course, the War of Austrian Succession saw Europe embroiled in extensive conflict over the Pragmatic Sanction, the subversion of Salic law and ascension of Maria Theresa von Habsburg to the throne of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire. In literary circles, women like Anne Dacier provided some of the most insightful and valued work of the era. It was is this relatively good era for women, that Elizabeth Greenly grew up. Usually known as Eliza, Greenly was said to be ‘a person of so much real merit, & of such superior & general cultivation of mind, that her superiority to the contemporary and surrounding society was too self-evident not to excite astonishment.’ somewhat eccentric (writing sermons in the middle of the night) and an outgoing supporter of Welsh culture, she was well connected to influential literary and political circles. She was an avid patron, and assembled an excellent collection of volumes by the pre-eminent women authors of the time. Greenly left the world a remarkable library of excellent work, continued by her daughter, Elizabeth H. Greenly, who preserved and expanded the library and added the bookplate found in each volume. For modern feminism, the project of uncovering and highlighting the hitherto marginalised works of women is eased greatly by such engaging selections of works, both progressive (indeed sometimes transgressive) and conservative. Those work which Eliza Greenly chose for her shelves may now serve as a window into the lives of the women of her era.

Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid – The Great Mirror of Folly

To understand the Tafereel is a journey into history, greed and consequences. It is a key book on the folly of following speculative financial trends and a lesson that resonates through time. It is also a treasure hunt for any collector fortunate enough to own a copy, as each volume is unique with different combinations of text, engravings and collation of contents.

Mississippi map, Detail - Het Groote Tafreer der DwaasheidFor me, the Tafereel represents a modern day parable. While taking my Executive MBA at Ottawa University (1998 -2000), the module on The Fundamentals of Corporate Finance was taught by a visiting professor, Prof. Dominique Jacquet, of the University of Paris. We covered the fundamentals of free cash flow and value. He taught us how to see the real value of a company based on its fundamentals. In his lectures and discussion he also demonstrated “bubbles” and how the fundamentals can be fatal if ignored for too long. The tulip mania and the Mississippi bubble were covered. He demonstrated that many of the fundamentals in the then current High Tech bubble were flawed.

I had enrolled as a private student in the course (I paid my own way!) unlike 70% of the class, that were “sponsored” (paid for) by the High Tech industry, chief amongst them managers from various levels at Nortel Networks. This was at the height of the High Tech bubble in Ottawa (1999) and the demand from these companies for MBA training led to our group being split in two with classes meeting on alternate days. High Tech ruled with class stock pools (Nortel being a main item) and talk of the next big thing dominating discussions. (And yes I too lost some $5000 on a speculative play on the stock of one of my team mates.) We all know the story. The bubble collapsed taking Ottawa’s largest High Tech employer Nortel Networks and many others within a few short years. Many of my classmates were suddenly unemployed.

We have only owned our copy of the Tafereel for a few short months and are just now starting to learn about it. We have learned that the text of the Tafereel, like the prints, enjoyed an organic growth with each surviving copy representing a snapshot in the bibliographical publishing history of the volume.

We believe that our copy was most likely printed in the 1740’s, Owing to the following factors:

  • The paper that the text is printed on and the plates themselves are all thin and match paper from the 1730’s – 1740’s. Later copies were printed on thicker paper.
  • The text is complete for Parts One – Four, but lacks Part Five completely. As the binding is contemporary Part Five was never bound in.
  • The binding is contemporary, has never been restored and is consistent with the first half of the Eighteenth Century.
  • The title page is in the Second State of four.
  • The prints are of various sizes with the larger “super plates” bound along a central fold, indicative of a copy in between a late and early state.
  • Plates 26 and 29 are cut and pasted onto a folio sheet (middle state) as later copies had the four images printed on a single sheet.
  • The engravings are for the most part strong fresh impression

Finally, we speculate, that the inclusion of the supplemental plates of James III the Old Pretender as well as the map of the Mississippi all point to this copy being prepared for someone in the Court in Exile. Based in Avignon, France from 1715 onward, James III was a big promoter of the Mississippi scheme, among the major French investors in the Mississippi bubble.

We should note that many copies of the Tafereel referenced in our research did not contain the Mississippi map. Rare Book Hub lists two maps at auction in 2008 and 2010. We believe that our copy is of particular interest as the map is a superb impression on wide margined paper. We also invite you to check out the copy available on the Yale University website.

While identical to our copy in many ways we believe it to be a slightly later copy given the strength of the engravings. This of course only scratches the surface on the history of our particular copy and we invite those with greater experience in the Tafereel to view the archived photographs and help increase our understanding of our particular volume.

The Faithful Councellor, or the marrow of the law, in English.

Rare, Important and an Embarrassment.

When we received the first and second editions of Sheppard’s Faithful Councellor (see our Special Reserve listing) we discovered in the back of the Second edition of 1653 a bit of a mystery, namely Part II of the Faithful Councellor (1654). According to ESTC both the 1653 Second edition and the 1654 Part II are only held in a very small number of institutions and that they have rarely, if ever, come up for auction. Given the importance of William Sheppard to law reform in the Commonwealth, why the rarity for Part II and for the second edition of Part I?

With the declaration of the Commonwealth in 1649, there was a movement to make “the law” more available and understanding to the common man. Therefore towards the end of 1650 the Rump Parliament ordered that all legal records and literature be translated into English.

Title Page -The Faithful CouncellorSheppard was excited about this new direction, as it gave him a reason to pursue one of his goals, that of compiling a legal encyclopedia, written in the vernacular. With the Rump’s authority (two years earlier he had dedicated a religious work to the rump) he produced in 1651 The Faithful councellor, or the marrow of the Law in English, published by authority. This 500 page abridgement was intended to show ‘how any action may be warrantably laid in the…law for relief in most cases of wrong done’

In 1651 the popularity of the Commonwealth was declining and Sheppard being a champion of the new order included introductory remarks in the Faithful Councellor that were a celebration of the new political state and the legal profession that would serve it. His dedication to the judges of the new central courts affirmed his optimism in the future of the state ‘that wants nothing but age to make it happy’ and he encouraged the members of the bench to lead the transition towards a settlement in which the commonwealth would be ‘crowned with religion, peace and plenty’. He elaborates upon his faith in the law’s potential to provide correctives to injustices in the progress towards general reform in his message to the reader where he wrote, ‘Most men…speak too much of the maladies and distempers of the times; but give me a man that can…advise and give a remedy.’ He offered the work ‘as friend of the commonwealth’ in the hope that ‘with all faults, the book might still be useful and profitable’. Acts and ordinances as recent as October 1650 were included and it is clear that the manuscript was rushed into print for immediate use without having been properly arranged by the author or provided with clear headings to the printer. Even so the Faithful councellor marked the dawn of a new type of legal literature.

Title Page, Second Part - The Faithful CouncellorThe faithful councellor was written to be used as a reference guide for lawyers, students and potential litigants. The author warned the public against going to law without first engaging a learned lawyer, and that his descriptions were written to help simplify and clarify the law, but that there would be a continuing need for a trained professional to guide litigation through the courts.

A second edition of the Faithful councellor was published in 1653. The reset type for the entire text indicates that the book had clearly been a popular success (and thus the first edition is the most available edition on today’s market). An error in pagination had been corrected, but in all other respects the two editions were identical.

In 1654 an entirely new work by Sheppard was published under the title, The second part of the faithfull councellour: or, the marrow of the law in English. In which is handled more of the useful and necessary heads of the common law. This book was a deep embarrassment to Sheppard who explained to his readers in the introduction that his publishers had disappointed him.

Preface to Part 2 - The Faithful Councellor‘…and finding my former labors have had so good acceptance among you, I was drawn to make these public also. And in order thereunto I delivered my papers (with this promise) that they should first be perused, corrected & methodized by some able man, I not having time nor strength my self to do it, but they are printed, and thus is not fully done as I could have wished.’

The Faithful councellor II was never republished in the same form. Sheppard publicly and in print “trashed” his publishers (and by association the value of Faithful councellor II) suggesting that it was only printed as there was a strongly felt need in the first year of the protectorate to print in English any available descriptions of the law in order to provide a stable legal base to enhance the new government’s appearance of legitimacy. Sheppard, as an established author of legal texts and a new member of the administration, was an obvious contributor to the growing body of legal literature translated into the vernacular. But the author himself recognized that the printing of this book in March 1654 in the form in which it appeared was premature. Two years later the contents were rearranged under alphabetical heads and the entire text of the Faithfull councellor II, was incorporated into the Epitome (1656) along with that of Faithfull councellor I.

We can only imagine the situation of the times, with the author discouraging the purchase of Part II and with his promise to publish a larger corrected compilation shortly, his Epitome (1656), sales of the second edition of Part I and Part II must have struggled. Many copies would certainly have remained unsold and later destroyed, as anticipation of the larger Epitome kept potential buyers sidelined for a few months. Once Epitome was released it made these earlier efforts redundant and a source of embarrassment to both Sheppard and the authorities. The quick production of Epitome two years after Faithful councellor II, driven by Sheppard’s need to correct the faults of these earlier publications, explains the scarcity of both the second edition of Part I and the very great rarity of Part II.

The Faithfull councellor, I and II, while clearly lacking in organizational strength were the most ambitious in scope of all his early legal works. These problems were corrected when the texts were republished, greatly enlarged, under the title Epitome in 1656. With the faithful councellor (1651 and 1654), Sheppard can be credited with having compiled one of the earliest legal encyclopedias. This type of law literature would not achieve its fullest development until the end of the eighteenth century when Comyns and Bacon brought to maturity the form that originated with Sheppard.

Much of the material in this blog is based on Nancy Matthews excellent book, William Sheppard, Cromwell’s Law Reformer, Cambridge 1984.

Thank You for the Feedback!

Woodcut - The Holinshed ChroniclesWell here it is the end of January already, with our first listing behind us. It has been a busy month with the start of our new web site, books arriving for photography and research and all the endless bugs and kinks in starting a new venture. We discovered too late that our new listing uploader for EBay did not schedule auction listings to end 4 minutes apart, so they all ended at the same time. Thanks to everyone who notified us, we have rectified the problem for the next listing. We appreciate the feedback and encourage your comments on how we can further improve things. Thank you to all who
participated in our first auction.

The Long And Winding Road

Welcome to our new website Third Floor Rare Books.

William Allum's ShopFor me, this has been a long personal journey, one which had its roots 110 years ago, in England. In 1896, my Great Grandfather, William Allum, opened an antique book, print and frame shop that, for the next 24 years, would offer those services to the people of Woking, England.

My Grandmother would regale me with stories about living above the shop and always having prints, books and framing jobs scattered throughout. I still retain my Great Grandfather’s frame gilding equipment (complete with three boxes of gold foil) as well as many prints and books that have been passed down to me.