Catalogues & Lists


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.  

Winter 2017

Our July catalogue will be on display at the ANZAAB Melbourne Rare Book Fair. Highlights include a unique Illuminated presentation album from the German citizenry of Sandhurst (now Bendigo) to Count Otto von Bismarck, with fine illustrations of the goldfields by Ludwig Lang; a rare caricature by Ducote prepared in the wake of the British Government trying to attract single ladies to the far-flung Australian Colony; the first Sydney printed hymn-book with a gift inscription by Governor Darling; McCoy's overlooked classic of Australian natural history; and a rare pamphlet on the wreck of the Dunbar. We have also included the first European printing of the works of Confucius; the first English book on China from the library of Charles Boxer and a rare Japanese publication on foreign visits to Japanese ports including a charming woodblock print of a Dutch ship in Nagasaki.

Winter 2017

A selection of 52 items including one of the great voyage rarities: an original Quiros presentation memorial. Dating from 1611 this is one of only 14 different Memorials known to have been printed by Quiros (at his own considerable expense), which mark the earliest printed record of discovery and plans for settlement of a Southern Continent.

Our cover item is from Lieutenant Robert Dale’s famously important and vivid nine-foot wide View of King George’s Sound. Published in 1834, this remarkable panorama was probably intended to excite interest in the fledgling Colony. Included too are First Fleet accounts, rarities of the Gold rush, manuscript items signed by David Collins, Viscount Sidmouth, and Macarthur, a fine example of a naval manuscript signal book and a New South Wales Pocket Almanack published by “Sydney’s Caxton” George Howe, with the ownership inscription of Ralph Mansfield.

As well: voyage accounts by D’Entrecasteaux, D’Apres de Mannevillette, Lutke and Conway Shipley’s beautiful suite of South Pacific views; Bellin’s expanded chart of the Pacific, a rare proof state of a beautiful engraved view after Pellion prepared for the official account of the Freycinet voyage and Arago’s original sketch of a scene in Timor.


Our latest online List: thirteen broadsides and news printings 1780-1886. Highlights include: three relating to George Anson, two celebrating his naval conquests and one, rather less gloriously concerning the control of venereal disease amongst seamen signed by him as Admiral; a rare Sydney-printed poem lauding the generosity of the merchant Quong Tart; a vivid pictorial printing advertising “dioramic lectures” celebrating Australia & America which toured England in 1850, together with a stirringly large broadside protesting Edward Eyre in Jamaica; and one relating to the abortive attempt by George Grey to force his way into the British Parliament.

Voyage Books from two private collections

A selection of voyage material from two significant private collections. It includes Bligh's classic Voyage account, and Barrow's popular Mutiny account, a fine copy of Parkinson's Voyage to the South Seas uncut in original boards,a handsome set of Cook's three voyage accounts with uniform contemporay provenance, Crozet's Voyage to the South Sea--of significance to Australia and New Zealand and the Voyage of La Perouse-- one of the finest narratives of maritime exploration ever published.  

March 2017 Shortlist

Our March short list celebrates the work of James Busby who did so much to bring the cultivation of vines and wine to Australia. He was a foundation figure for the wine industry and of international repute, as the London and New York printings of his first work indicate. Included too are manuscript letters: on the equipping of Freycinet’s Uranie voyage; and an account of the goods carried on the ship Rose at the height of Governor Bligh’s rule. As well, we have a finely bound copy of Speechly’s Treatise on the Culture of the Vine, rare pamphlets by Hall on The State of New South Wales and Mansfield printings of Archdeacon Broughton’s addresses exhorting pious living. No doubt he would have disapproved of the Catholic Bleasdale, the bibulous cleric and subject of the final work in this list. The visual highlights of the list are Quadri’s sumptuous work on Venice with its remarkable hand-coloured views and Raskin’s high art deco Fantaisies Oceanographiques.