Catalogues & Lists

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.

The Navy List

Our latest themed list encompasses over 200 years of seagoing: from Hoste's classic of naval strategy sumptuously bound for Christian VII of Denmark; through to works on naval architecture, the principles of rigging, nautical astronomy and the chronometer. 

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

New Year

Hordern House would like to welcome you to 2018 with a New Year's selection including: the romantic depiction of Alexander Hood's triumph in the face of death (illustrated above); the first American account of his  mentor James Cook's Voyage round the world; the rare English edition of Frezier'sVoyage along the coasts of Chile and Peru with a postscript by Edmund Halley; a most attractive set of Sir William Jardine's  sought-after Naturalist's Library; and Robert Thornton's exotic take on Victorian flora.


The land Australia: imagined, invented, recounted, mapped, colonised, explored, settled, and celebrated in our final major catalogue for the year. We invite you to discover over 200 years of rare printed, manuscript, cartographic and visual materials relating to the Southern Continent. From Herrera's account of Schouten & Le Maire's voyage in search of Terra Australis to Pelsaert's 1647 Batavia account with its astonishing first views (an unusually complete and correct copy of the very rare first edition); the collected edition of William Dampier's voyages in the Roebuck; through to the great classic accounts of Parkinson, Phillip, White, (with wonderful hand-coloured plates) Collins (in an unrecorded state with extra foldout engravings) and Tench. Souvenirs d'un Aveugle...the artist Jacques Arago's account of the Freycinet voyage is present with the lithographs beautifully hand-coloured.
We have included an important re-discovery - the Baldwin Manuscript (1835) - this substantial journal, never published in any form, provides a remarkable insight into life on board an India-bound vessel. Its author, Captain John Timmins Baldwin recounts a ship meeting mid-ocean (!) where he learns the fate of a friend Captain John Dickenson (convicted of embezzlement in Australia).  Baldwin pens in this wake a long  comic poem which adds importantly to transportation literary narrative (#17). A more contemporary reflection on Transportation is to be seen in A View of the Hulks the earliest issue of this fascinating depiction with vibrant handcolouring. Quite the opposite to these early days, Henry Short's wonderful still life (#50) encapsulates abundance and prosperity in 1860s Melbourne. 

Jacques Arago: the blind artist's narrative

Jacques Etienne Arago (1790-1855) sailed as artist on Louis de Freycinet’s 1817 voyage around the world on the Uranie, and on his return devoted the rest of his life to writing about the voyage, and writing for the theatre. His account of the voyage here featured is very different to the huge official narrative, giving a highly readable and very personal, whimsical and humorous description of events and people. As he noted in the English version (Narrative of a Voyage, 1823) he set out to avoid the conventional forms of the voyage narrative and to ignore the ‘eternal repetition of winds, currents, longitude and lattitude’. By the time this version of his book reached the public, its remarkable author and artist had lost his sight: hence the new title used for the work of Souvenirs d’un aveugle. The lovely handcolouring in this edition means that Arago’s wonderful depictions of the Pacific are given full rein. Here they are present in the rare hand-coloured form. Seldom seen on the market, this should be ranked as one of the rarest and most prized Pacific or Australian colour-plate books.

New Guinea Album

This month we feature a sumptuous publication admired as much for its technical virtuosity as its beauty. It is a piece of photo-reportage unmatched by any other work of this time and place. The photographs all date from the 1884 expedition of the Australian Squadron, when Commodore Erskine proclaimed a British protectorate over the south coast of New Guinea. Although unattributed at the time, all the images were taken by the staff of the New South Wales Government Printing Office. The album is principally intended as a visual record, and bears testament to the importance of the Hood Lagoon in British and Australian ambitions. Through the positioning of images of the official ceremonies alongside topographical views of the surrounding areas, the photographs themselves become a true part of the narrative: and perhaps the first photographic images of the meeting between Imperial forces and Hood Bay chiefs.


Russian Books: a shortlist

A selection of books spanning 90 years of Russian voyages of exploration, from the 1780s ending in 1872 with an rare private letter from the great explorer Lütke to the Russian privy counsellor von Adelung. The official account of the Lütke voyage, one of the rarest and most beautiful of all illustrated Pacific voyage publications is also featured. As well, Choris's magnificent colour plate book of the Pacific, together with accounts of the Krusenstern's circumnavigation, and early visits by Timkovski to China and Golovnin to Japan.