Catalogues & Lists

Augustus Earle

Pre-dating the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) Augustus Earle's magnificent Sketches Illustrative of the Native Inhabitants and Islands of New Zealand is one of the great early Pacific books and very rare. With its vivid series of exquisitely hand-coloured lithographic views and portraits, it is  by an artist at the height of his powers. 

California Book Fair

Our February catalogue has been prepared for the California Book Fair in Oakland 8-10 February. Highlights include the first appearance of the most influential of all pre-Renaissance views of the world, the Macrobian world map (1483); works relating to Cook's Voyages; the rare "Officer" account of Cook's second voyage; and the French edition of Samwell's Death of Cook. For more details on our exhibition times (or for complimentary tickets) please do email us.

The Baudin Catalogue

We are delighted to bring to your attention an exceptional catalogue of highly important works of art by Nicolas-Martin Petit (1777-1804) and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846). They were offered for sale at auction by Deutscher and Hackett in association with Hordern House: 28 November, 2018 in Melbourne.

The richness of these outstanding works is fully described and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue, researched and compiled by Hordern House. This remarkable collection was until quite recently unknown and unrecorded.

Of significant cultural importance, these portraits and views by the two main artists on Nicolas Baudin's monumental voyage of exploration in Australia over the years 1801 and 1802 will rewrite the history of early Australian voyage art.

Spring 2018

Our second major catalogue of the year marks the 200th anniversary of Louis de Freycinet’s arrival in Western Australia. See item 21 for the wonderful Hydrographical Atlas from this voyage. This was Louis’ second visit, his first was as the cartographer-surveyor for the Baudin expedition, a fine account of which is included (see item 2), as well as the only published portrait of him (see item 18).

Before European landfall, Macrobius posits the existence of a Great South Land with his brilliant mapping of the world (see item 30). Other highlights include a rare Russian edition of the chart by Tupaia, the Tahitian priest and remarkable member of Cook’s Endeavour voyage; a presentation copy of Remy’s important Hawaiian history; a beautiful copy of Josephus’ great history of the Jews from the Library at Chatsworth; as well as foundation works on Colonial Australia and a fine painting of Port Phillip in the gold rush—a small masterpiece.

Flora Australasica

First edition; one of the most attractive of all Australian botanical books and the first with illustrations taken from live specimens rather than dried plants or field sketches -- the species depicted having been grown from seeds in London nurseries.


This month we have featured a landmark in the development of Australian illustrated books: the album of early Colonial views by Joseph Lycett, Governor Macquarie’s convict-artist. 

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