Libraries of Discovery

We have always accumulated knowledge; it may be in the form of documents and photos saved to your phone, laptop, Pinterest boards or even my favorite, heaps and piles of Books…

… I refer to the kind with pages, not just the digital volume by Alexandre Dumas currently on my tablet (with over 11k pages, I’m not carting the collection around any other way)…but those with real, tangible, turn-able pages that take up space, that create a living library.

Books stand apart from other forms of media because of their long-reaching history. While paper had been made in Europe since the 12th and 13th centuries; it was a precious commodity; valuable and used for only the most important documents and writings.

(The above image was taken from my online course on Fine Art Valuation) These works were protected and collected in the illustrious archives of Kings, Dignitaries and the Clergy. Even after the printing press was invented books and became ever-so-slightly more abundant, the knowledge they imparted was gleefully guarded by the same group of personages.

This brings me to the book collectors of today, they revere, research and protect these pages; eventually they are prepared to hand them down to a new generation of guardians. We have been consigned the most amazing group of rare books from the 16th – 19th centuries; offered at our January 29th Auction – The Debut of Rare Era. Amazing, because all are rare and several have a clear provenance connecting them to the hands of Kings and shelves of Universities.

William IV King of Great Brittain

William IV King of Great Brittain

We offer a rare volume from the library of William IV, King of Great Britain (William Henry, Prince of Brunswick-Luneburg 3rd son of George III, 1765-1837) which was then set into his son’s shelves, no less than the Earl of Munster, George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence (1794 – 1842). This is a 1798 volume by Thomas Pennant, titled ‘The View of Hindoostan, Western Hindoostan, vol. I’. King William IV and his son, The Earl didn’t agree on much but they must have shared love of knowledge.

Thomas Pennant’s View of Hindoostan from King William IV & the Earl of Munster’s Library

Thomas Pennant’s View of Hindoostan from King William IV & the Earl of Munster’s Library

The 18th century was the Age of Enlightenment and Thomas Pennant, a Welsh Naturalist was a celebrated travel, zoology and excursion writer. This volume detailed, to the best of his knowledge, maps, descriptions of the people, architecture, flora and topography of Western India.

Illustrations of people, flora, fauna, architecture and even a map of India are found in this volume.

Illustrations of people, flora, fauna, architecture and even a map of India are found in this volume.

he blue-blooded provenance is solidified by bookplates of both the future King and his son…

Bookplates from William IV and George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence – Earl of Munster

Bookplates from William IV and George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence – Earl of Munster

… and on the cover page one finds an enigmatic, unsigned letter from 1834- who is it by? Why is it here?

Hand written note within Pennant’s View of Hindoostan. The mystery remains, who wrote this note?

Hand written note within Pennant’s View of Hindoostan. The mystery remains, who wrote this note?

… but wait, there’s more, books from the Libraries of both Cambridge and King’s College which include a three-volume classic ‘The Rise of the Dutch Republic’ by American author Lothrop Motley; making him a sort of Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Library.

Books from Cambridge and King’s College, United Kingdom

Books from Cambridge and King’s College, United Kingdom

One doesn’t have to be royalty to appreciate 19th century accounts of dramatic Arctic explorations; including that of the ill-fated ‘Voyage of the Jeannette: The Ship and Ice Journals of George W. De Long. DeLong came so close to surviving the adventurous Voyage but didn’t quite make it and the surviving crew saved his journals.

Three Books on successful and less-than-successful arctic exploration.

Three Books on successful and less-than-successful arctic exploration.

Elisha Kane published ‘Kane’s Explorations’, his attempt to discover what happened to the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin, he survived the journey but passed soon after delivering his account.

hese volumes, tomes, parcels of exploration and knowledge have been passed from King to Son, from Explorer to Collector and acquiring them provides an experience linking you directly to the past. We invite you to make your own exploration of the catalog, discovering what rarities are hidden there but unmentioned here.

The Auction begins Sunday, January 29th at 2:00pm EST.

Absentee bidding is open now via www.SellandBidwell.com and www.LiveAuctioneers.com