Catalogues & Lists

Melbourne 2018

The highlight of our July exhibit at the at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair 6-8th July will be Mr Cust's "Sandridge Railway Jetty and Pier" . A small masterpiece: "Mr." Cust, an elusive artist whose first name is so far unknown, demonstrates with meticulous strokes an ability to conjure a sensation of intimacy and tranquility on the smallest scale. His work is reminiscent in this respect of some of the paintings of S.T. Gill; like Gill he combines a strong understanding of light and colour with a high degree of natural, artistic talent. This sensitively rendered painting is on academy board, to which Cust has painstakingly applied layer after layer of oil paint. For more detail click here

Our Book Fair catalogue includes an important and atmospheric drawing prepared for the account of the Dumont D'Urville expedition showing the Astrolabe and Zelee in pack ice; a rare early proof version of a famous engraving from the Freycinet voyage showing Dirk Hartog Island off Western Australia (with manuscript corrections by Louis de Freycinet); A Concise History, a very rare and sympathetic early account of the Australian Aborigines with four frontispiece portraits after Le Petit; an account of the monotremes by Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire with a beautifully observed fold-out engraving of wombats; an illuminated presentation address from the German Association of Bendigo to Bismarck; and a surprising Caldwell Brothers wine label featuring a kangaroo.

Simeon Album

A interesting 1860s keepsake album with historic watercolours including views of Glenelg and the Darling River. Belonging to Helene Simeon, the album has contributions by her husband-to-be John Chadwick Woore, then Commissioner of Lands in New South Wales. The pioneering names of Gooch and Finniss are included in a list of visitors and the contributions by Helene, her friends and family reveal the concerns of a young Colonial woman about to leave coastal Glenelg for life in remote New South Wales.

NSW Album

Our featured item is a unique and magnificent (and at 18.5 kgs remarkably substantial) specially prepared photographic album in a superb and complex binding by the Government Bindery. The album showcases the virtues of New South Wales, and was presented by George Houston Reid as Premier of New South Wales to the Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1897. 

Anniversary catalogue

We have now been working for a year from our new Hordern House headquarters, and with our first major printed catalogue of the year have taken a moment to reflect on our antiquarian journey begun in 1985.

Moving into this intimate warehouse space in Sydney’s Surry Hills was a bold move for our company that had for thirty-two years been run from a traditional colonial house in Victoria St., Potts Point. In so doing, we were able to introduce ways of working that better matched the vibrant, innovative changes that mark today’s fine art culture. Whilst we work with the historically important past, our move to Surry Hills encapsulates 21st-century business philosophy.

Continuing, as we do, to specialise in rare and important original materials relating to Australia and the Pacific over the period of European discovery, exploration and settlement, this catalogue embraces material from the earliest European conception of a southern land to the voyages of Cook, Flinders, La Perouse and Freycinet. Cook’s contribution is traced in a matched pair of beautiful library globes (item 7). Australia as an emerging geo-political centre is marked with the inclusion of a pair of remarkable paintings (see item 36) of Sir George Seymour and his ship Collingwood

Read a review of our catalogue in Rare Book Monthly  here

Zoological Illustrations

Our featured item is William Swainson’s Zoological Illustrations—a particularly attractive set of both the first and second series of this beautiful work of natural history. The importance of this work to Australian and Pacific natural history cannot be overestimated: several plates feature Australian specimens figured for the first time, while many of the illustrations are derived from the collections of important figures such as Sir Joseph Banks, Elizabeth Bligh, Allan Cunningham and John Byron.

Icones Piscium

Our featured item is a slim work of great beauty, John Richardson’s Icones Piscium: the first separately published work on Australian fishes, the plates after drawings by James Barker Emery, the first Lieutenant on the Beagle voyage during her survey of the Australian coast 1837-1841.

Greenland Inuit

A very finely painted depiction of a traditional Greenlandic Inuit hunter after harp seals in his distinctive hunting kayak. The unsigned watercolour is of considerable quality and style, and depicts an Inuit pursuit with a level of detail whose accuracy modern historical sources now confirm.

California 2018

Our February catalogue has been prepared for upcoming exhibitions in California.The list encompasses treasures relating to Cook's Voyages: the first American edition of Hawkesworth; the two surreptitious accounts by Marra and Magra; a highly unusual copy of Parkinson with the plates in duplicate; Webber's Views of the South Seas; and a great rarity--the French edition of Samwell's Death of Cook--no copy has appeared on the open market in 50 years. As befits a West Coast catalogue we have listed the first two works on wine & vines by James Busby in their colonial Sydney printings. The greatest voyage of the intellect: Charles Darwin's account of the voyage of the Beagle is included together with our featured item--John Hayter's striking group portrait of the three Fuegians who accompanied Darwin. 

Darwin's Fuegians

John Hayter's striking portrait of the three Yahgans ("Fuegians") who accompanied Charles Darwin on the Beagle voyage is featured above. (The full account of the Beagle voyage may also be viewed here) Darwin's experience with the Yahgans both on the voyage and in their homeland can be singled out as formative in his development of ideas for both the Origin and for The Descent of Man