Antiquarian

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Cuneifrom "Nail"

Royal Inscription to Gudea of Lagash

c2100 BCE

 

This is a cuneiform "nail" from circa 2100 BCE. These were used to dedicate buildings of the time, much like cornerstones were used early in the 20th century. It contains a royal inscription of the ruler Gudea of Lagash. According to the translator of this piece, "these clay nails were deposited in the temple building in hollows in the walls so that when repairs became necessary, the previous builder of the temple would become known and not forgotten."

 

Fum Hoam

Chinese Tales, or, The Wonderful Adventures of Fum-Hoam by Gueulette, Thomas Simon
Translated by Thomas Stackpole
1745 J. Hodges, London.

 

An excellent book in the style of the Arabian Nights tales. Third Edition. xii + 236 pages, 12mo (4 x 6 inches). 8 plates. Nicely bound in half morocco and marbled end papers, and all edges gilt. The first English edition of Gueulette's first compilation appeared as an anonymous translation from the French in 1725. "Oriental fantasies became fashionable in the West after the success of the Arabian Nights, originally translated and published in France as Les Mille et Une Nuit (1704-17) by Antoine Galland (1646-1715). Among the many similar collections assembled in its wake were three compiled by Thomas-Simon Gueulette (1683-1766), which used the same frame device These were particularly influential in the UK and France and for a while Arabian and Oriental stories became the fashion." Clute and Grant (editors), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, page 734.

 

Tyrannick Usurpation

Tyrannick Usurpation of the Rump Parliament and Oliver Cromwell  by Anonymous
1683 Joseph March, NY

 

Full title: "Arbitrary Government Display'd in the Tyrannick Usurpation of the Rump Parliament and Oliver Cromwell being a clear account of their Arbitrary, Cruel and Illegal Proceedings under the Notion of Liberty and Property And A Compendious History of those Times by a Person of Honour." "Printed for Joseph Marsh, Book-seller to his Royal Highness, at the Black Ball in Cornhill." This is an account of the History of England during the reign of Oliver Cromwell to the Restoration of the Monarchy of Charles II. It is written from the perspective of a supporter of the present Monarchy who is attempting to describe the affect that the Cromwellian 'reign' had on Britain in detailed description. There are 4 pages of engravings, showing scenes of 'Oliver seeking God while the King is murthered by his Order', 'Bradshaw the jaylor and ye hangman keeper of the Libertyes of England', 'General Monck marching into London', 'A Free Parliament voted for the King to be sent for, The Commonwealth ruling with a Standing Army'. Nicely rebound in full 'Chieftain Goatskin'. It measures 15cm by 9cm.

 

Libri Di GiosefoLibri Di Geosefo

Libri Di Geosefo (Book of Josephus) by Josephus
1549 Italy

 

My oldest complete book, assuming it is not a later printing. Bound in vellum (original binding?), written in old Italian, it is all Greek to me (sorry.) Luckily it was cheap, but it's pretty cool to have a 450-year old book. Someone numbered each page lightly in pencil. The bookplate of "Frazelli Falzacappa" on the front pastedown is dated 1852, and a pencil signature on the front free endpaper is dated 1907. I have been informed that this is "an Italian translation of (what is commonly called in English) Flavius Joseph's ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS, written around A.D. 90 in Greek." (Thank you William.) This is volume 11.

 

Bizet's CarmenBizet's Carmen

Carmen by Georges Bizet
ND Choudens, France

 

Undated. "Jean Henrotay" stamped in gold on the front cover; perhaps this was the binder or original owner? This copy was purchased from the estate of the late Hilda Koster, contralto of the 1930' & 1940's who sang in numerous Carmen operas over the span of 3 decades. Described by a Parisian conductor as the 'Sarah Bernhardt of Grand Opera', Hilda had an international reputation for her vigorous and colorful portrayal of Bizet's Carmen. Quarto, 363 page, quarter-bound on 3/4 leather.

 

Page updated: 27 May 2001