Two panoramas of Sydney

Wednesday November 27, 2019

Our final list of the year includes two very different panoramas of Sydney:

A finely painted panorama of Sydney looking from Vaucluse towards Mosman by George Halsted circa 1857; and a rare very large panoramic photograph of the Sydney Royal Agricultural Show in 1897. 

To view the full list please click here

Our first book delivered by robot

Tuesday August 20, 2019

To mark the official opening of the UTS (University Technology Sydney) Library’s Reading Room, a UTS robot--part of their state-of-the-art new library retrieval system--delivered Attila Brungs (UTS Vice-Chancellor) a rare book from Hordern House, William Dampier’s A Voyage to New Holland and the first to be shelved in the new building.

Read more here

Fine Pacific lithographs and Twenty five manuscripts

Thursday August 15, 2019

This list features one of the finest Pacific illustrated books of the nineteenth century, "Sketches in New Zealand" by Richard Oliver (1811-1889) who commanded the HMS Fly on survey voyages of New Zealand and Pacific waters between 1847 and 1851. This is a beautiful copy of the rare coloured issue, complete in the original illustrated wrappers. To view in full please click here.  

We have also uploaded a selection of twenty five manuscripts relating chiefly to the Pacific voyages of Cook, de Bougainville and Dumont D'Urville, together with documents of early Australian colonial settlement.


To see the full catalogue please click here

The hunt for Darwin's Beagle

Wednesday August 14, 2019


A search is under way for the ship that carried Charles Darwin to South America.

HMS Beagle is best known for her second, voyage in 1831-36, when Darwin gathered evidence that convinced him of the principle of natural selection.

The vessel carried the naturalist Charles Darwin and was sold for scrap in 1870 for £525

Marine archaeologists believe that the remains of the brig-sloop are submerged in a mudbank near Paglesham, Essex.

For more on this story reported in The Times, click on the Website link above.

Juvenilia: a new online list

Friday August 2, 2019

A selection of works for children spanning three centuries, including: voyage accounts, natural history and the first childrens' book to include the kangaroo; games, puzzles and works of fiction including what is considered to be the first novel of Australia Alfred Dudley: or the Australian settlers. 

Hordern House exhibiting in Melbourne

Friday July 12, 2019

Hordern House will be exhibiting at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair 12-14th July at Wilson Hall University of Melbourne. Click the website link above to view our full catalogue. 

Two highlights to be shown include: a recently-discovered, fine pastel portrait of Sir Joseph Banks  by Amelia Susannah Petty; and a fine illuminated presentation address to HRH Prince Albert Victor, on the occasion of the young prince’s visit to the Cook memorial at Kurnell, Sydney in 1881. The elaborate and fine illustrations, drawn and hand-coloured by Helena Scott (1832-1910) depict flora and fauna “indigenous to Botany, New South Wales”. 

Major works from a private Australian collection

Friday June 7, 2019

Offered from a private Australian collector is this choice catalogue which includes a beautifully-bound copy of Lycett's Views in Australia; a handsome set of Cook's three voyage accounts with uniform contemporary provenance; a fine copy of Parkinson, uncut in the original boards; and First Fleet works by Collins, Hunter and Phillip. To view this selection please click here and for a extended suite of views from Lycett please follow the link here.   

Centuries of Rare Chinese Books Now Online at the Library of Congress

Sunday June 2, 2019

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, the Library of Congress has digitized and made available online 1,000 Chinese rare books produced before 1796. The Chinese Rare Book Digital Collection includes the most valuable titles and editions housed in the Library’s Asian Division, some of which date as far back as the 10th century and are the only extant copies in the world.

The collection may be viewed here and to read the full article (from Fine Books & Collections) click here




The Proper Title: issues faced by libraries and the rare book trade on the topic of provenance, theft and forgery.

Wednesday May 29, 2019

The Proper Title: In the wake of more high-profile book thefts, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers is tackling head-on the sometimes thorny issue of provenance-- published on the ILAB website with kind permission of the Antiques Trade Gazette.

Shakespeare's First Folio returns to Britain after 40 years

Thursday May 23, 2019

In the 1970s theatre writer and book collector John Wolfson began accumulating what was to become one of the largest and most rare collections of works on Shakespeare in the world. Housed in New York only the lucky few have been offered the opportunity to see this marvellous collection. That is until a sneak preview of one of its highlights at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe last week.
Chairman of Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair, Pom Harrington, unveiled Wolfson’s Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), one of the most complete examples of the text in the world, which was purchased from Bernard Quaritch in the ‘70s, and described how it will form the centrepiece of a special exhibition at the Fair staged with Firsts London 2019 Charity Partner, Shakespeare’s Globe. The exhibition will be curated by John Wolfson and includes other historic source books from the collection together with stage props from the Globe.




Two recently-discovered works by 18th Century Women Artists

Monday May 20, 2019
Our new catalogue includes two important works by 18th Century women artists:
A previously unrecorded album of 45 watercolours by Sarah Stone of Leverian Museum fame. Besides a couple of single images this beautiful album is the only surviving example of Sarah Stone's work after her marriage. It is therefore one of the most significant finds to come to light in modern times by an artist with such fundamental and highly-researched connections to Cook and the European understanding of the Pacific;
A recently-discovered, fine pastel portrait of Sir Joseph Banks by Amelia Susannah Petty. This remarkably fresh portrait in its original frame shows Sir Joseph Banks at the height of his powers wearing his Order of the Bath sash. Our research has shown that the artist Amelia Petty through her well-connected father James, was a member of the same influential London milieu that included Sir Joseph. 

Private Libraries that inspire

Tuesday April 30, 2019

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal featuring remarkable private libraries--spectacular rooms housing the owners’ collections of books, antiques, art and ephemera representing their unique, life-long passions and interests. Including the Including the the Walker Library of the History of the Human Imagination (pictured left) which automatically “wakes up,” glowing with theatrical lighting, when entered! Click the link above for the full article.

500-year-old library catalogue reveals lost books

Thursday April 11, 2019

The Libro de los Epítomes was a catalogue for Hernando Colón’s 16th-century collection, which he intended to be the biggest in the world. The Guardian reports on the extraordinary discovery in the Arnamagnæan Collection in Copenhagen: a window into a “lost world of 16th-century books”, according to Cambridge academic Dr Edward Wilson-Lee, author of the recent biography of Colón, The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books

 “It’s a discovery of immense importance, not only because it contains so much information about how people read 500 years ago, but also, because it contains summaries of books that no longer exist, lost in every other form than these summaries,” said Wilson-Lee. “The idea that this object which was so central to this extraordinary early 16th-century project and which one always thought of with this great sense of loss, of what could have been if this had been preserved, for it then to just show up in Copenhagen perfectly preserved, at least 350 years after its last mention in Spain …”

Click the link above for the whole amazing story!

Great finds in Bookshops

Friday April 5, 2019

The rewards of bookshop browsing...watercolours by William Blake that were sold by a Glasgow bookshop for £50 each and subsequently dispersed by Sotheby’s for over $6m will be shown in a Tate exhibition this autumn.

Painted in 1805 to illustrate Robert Blair’s poem The Grave, they include the finest of the set, Death of the Strong Wicked Man (1813), which is to be lent by the Louvre in Paris. Altogether eight of the 19 watercolours for the poem will be presented at Tate Britain.

Matthew Flinders found!

Friday January 25, 2019

"Against the odds, and just in time for Australia Day, Matthew Flinders has been found.

The body of the famous British explorer who helped name, and was the first to circumnavigate, Australia was thought lost when the cemetery he was buried in 205 years ago became a public park behind London's Euston station."

[SMH, Nick Miller Europe Correspondent]

For the full fascinating story click website link above. 

French Visions of Australia

Friday December 7, 2018

Hordern House was fortunate to have the opportunity to research and write the catalogue for the important collection of French voyage art recently auctioned by Deutscher and Hackett (Melbourne, 28 November). This in-depth cataloguing added another important dimension to the critically important story of early Australian art.

The 1800-1804 voyage of Nicholas Baudin in the ships Géographe and Naturaliste carried on board an impressive array of artists and savants, none more important than Nicholas-Martin Petit and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur: the catalogue describes the recently discovered and entirely unknown cache of thirteen extraordinary watercolours, gouaches and drawings by these two young artists.

The successful auction sale set an Australian record for a work in watercolour when lot 8, Sauvage de I’lle Van Dieman painted by Nicholas-Martin Petit in 1802 sold for $829,600. At Hordern House we are proud to have been part of the team that brought these outstanding works of art to the attention of collectors and art connoisseurs. To borrow the words of the leading art curator and academic John McPhee, “in fifty years of involvement in Australian art I have not seen another cache its equal appear for sale”.   

The Hordern House catalogue may be viewed by clicking the "Website" link above or please click here

Arago drawing reunited after 199 years

Wednesday November 7, 2018

A rare find by Hordern House, the scholarship of eminent bibliographer David Forbes and the remarkable Manoa Heritage Centre in Hawaii have combined to re-unite two halves of an original Arago panorama for the first time in almost 200 years. The panorama is an exceptional, early and important view of Maui made by the official artist on the Uranie expedition under Louis de Freycinet. An account of this serendipitous repatriation by the Manoa Research Centre established by the late Sam Cooke, a great collector of Pacific voyage material, may be read here.

Banned booksellers week

Tuesday November 6, 2018

Hordern House has joined more than 275 booksellers from 24 different countries are removing their book inventory from the Amazon subsidiary in support of their colleagues in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and South Korea, who are banned from the site effective November 30. Abebooks is the world’s largest online marketplace devoted exclusively to books. Amazon acquired the company ten years ago this month.

In an official statement to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), Udo Göllmann, a senior Abebooks official responsible for rare and collectible books, explained that it is “no longer viable for us to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities.” In a second statement, Abebooks clarified that it recently selected a new credit card processor that does not offer services in a number of European and Asian countries. Inexpicably, Abebooks’ parent company, Amazon, allows booksellers on its site from all of the affected countries.

Jan Schick of Antikvariát Valentinská, one of the largest antiquarian booksellers in Prague, expects to lay off as many as five employees when their Abebooks account is closed at the end of November. For fifteen years, Schick offered books for sale on ZVAB, a bookselling site focused on Germany, Austria, and Eastern European countries. It was acquired by Abebooks and then merged into the larger company.

For the week of November 5 to 11, 2018, booksellers around the world will remove their inventory from Abebooks in a show of support for their colleagues. Booksellers are also asking their customers to take a week’s vacation from Abebooks and patronize independent sites like, which is offering discounted subscription rates to booksellers affected by the Abebooks ban.

Matthew Flinders at Euston station?

Friday October 26, 2018
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
A team of archaeologists in London have begun a one-year mission: to sift through tens of thousands of human remains in the cemetery beside Euston station where Flinders was laid to rest 204 years ago, and somehow pick him out. If they cannot then he will probably be among those reburied in an anonymous grave on the outskirts of the city. Clink link to the article above.

Imaginary Voyages

Thursday March 29, 2018
Our latest themed list spans four centuries of imaginary voyages: whimsical, pedagogical, philosophical, fantastical, satirical: all explorations of Utopia or the world as it will or ought to be. Many offer prescient insight and many are absurd or comedic. Works by Vairasse, the rare "Histoire der Sevarambes" (an imaginary voyage to western Australia), and Foigny's "Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte la Terre Australe" are present, the earliest by the Dominican Tommasso Campanella prophesying (as a few in this list do) a coming Theocracy. Works by two of the great scholars of humanist thought: Thomas More's "Utopia" and Erasmus' "Praise of Folly" appear together in a very attractive French edition.
Please click here to browse the full list. 
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.
Please click here for our full description.

The Navy List

Wednesday February 28, 2018

Our March 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 (including Admiral Carnegie's copy of David Steel's Elements and practice of seamanship), nautical astronomy, the chronometer and nautical medicine; including an early French notice of Captain Cook's findings on diet and scurvy, a finely bound set of Freind's History of Physick (Freind maintained scurvy was unknown to the classical Greeks and Arabians, and was effectively a modern scourge) and a first edition of Rouppe's work on Dutch voyage medicine. Please click here to see the full list. 

We have also featured 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. Please click here for our full description.

February news

Wednesday January 24, 2018

Hordern House will be exhibiting at California in February. Please view our catalogue online here. For more information on the Fairs or for complimentary tickets please email us.

December News

Saturday December 2, 2017

Our latest online catalogue, Antarctic Exploration highlights a selection of manuscript and printed rarities from the 18th & 19th Century, including Cook, Kerguelen and Dumont D'Urville through to those from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration represented by Amundsen and Mawson. The highlights may be viewed here and the full online list here.
We also featured on our home page the rare hand-coloured edition of Jacques Arago's Souvenirs d'un aveugle.  Seldom seen on the market, this should be ranked as one of the rarest and most prized Pacific or Australian colour-plate books.


Thursday October 26, 2017

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. 

The catalogue may viewed as a flipbook here. This is a linked pdf, so please click on any text-page for more information and images or search at

We have also featured a sumptuous publication Expedition of the the Australian Squadron to New Guinea 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. 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. Please click here to view.


Hordern House at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair

Wednesday July 5, 2017

Our July catalogue will be on display at the ANZAAB Melbourne Rare Book Fair, Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne, 7th-9th July. 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 and a rare caricature by Ducote prepared in the wake of the British Government trying to attract single ladies to the far-flung Australian Colony. 

Quiros & Rare Book Monthly review

Monday July 3, 2017

An incisive review of our latest catalogue from Michael Stillman of Rare Book Monthly, particularly of the earliest item: Quiros's Memorial of 1611 and his search for "a great southern continent many believed must exist. Its existence had been imagined going back to the days of Aristotle". Please click Website  above for the full review and download our full catalogue by clicking here.

June 2017 news

Tuesday June 13, 2017

Winter 2017

Our new catalogue is  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.

The catalogue may be downloaded here. This is a linked pdf, so please click on any page for more information and images or search at

In addition, we have uploaded a new themed list on Russian exploration - please click here

Our new premises

Tuesday May 16, 2017

The team at Hordern House is delighted to announce our move to new premises in Surry Hills, Sydney just 5 minutes from the CBD. This exciting new space has allowed us to display our rare books, manuscripts and paintings to full advantage over one purpose-built level. In our move from Potts Point we have uncovered treasures which we look forward to sharing with you. Keep an eye on our Lists and New & Notable website tabs which will be regularly updated.

Hordern House
Level 2, 255 Riley Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010 
[PO Box 588, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300] 
Our email, phone and opening hours have remained the same:
Ph: +61 2 9356 4411
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 9:00-5:00 (or by arrangement)

Two private collections

Friday April 7, 2017

Hordern House is delighted to offer a shortlist of classic Voyage accounts selected from two significant private collections. Over the next year we will be offering themed lists from these wonderful collections. The shortlist may be downloaded here. This is a linked pdf, so please click on any page for more information and images or search at As well, we have uploaded our new online list: Thirteen broadsides 1780 to 1886--please click herePrevious on-line lists may be found by clicking our new "Lists" tab above.

March 2017 news

Friday March 3, 2017
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 and 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. As well, the list includes Quadri's sumptuous work on Venice with its remarkable hand-coloured views and Raskin's high art deco Fantaisies Oceanographiques.

The catalogue may be downloaded here. This is a linked pdf, so please click on any page for more information and images or search at

In addition, we have uploaded a new themed list on the Pacific Northwest - please click here. Previous on-line lists may be found by clicking the "Recent" tab above.

In a few weeks, we look forward to welcoming you to our new premises in Riley Street, Surry Hills, Sydney. Our business hours, web and phone contact details will all remain the same. Specific details will of course follow.

November/December News

Friday November 25, 2016
We have uploaded our final catalogue for the year: Voyage Books which includes foundation French voyage accounts together with a broad offering of material relating to Cook’s three voyages, Flinders' Voyage to Terra Australia with the text volumes inscribed “From the Author”, and three dramatic pictorial works: Webber’s famous depiction of the Death of Cook, a striking mezzotint relating to Louis Antoine Bougainville’s circumnavigation after Francesco Casanova (the painter not the lover!), and a dramatic depiction of the La Perouse voyage in Alaskan waters after Crépin. Also included is an impressive world chart by Purdy & Laurie, an archive relating to the maiden trading circumnavigation of the Avondale, and the rare imaginary voyage pamphlet by F.C. Bindemann.

The catalogue may be downloaded here. This is a linked pdf, so please click on any page for more information and images or search at
In addition, we have uploaded a new themed list on Hawaii-a broad selection including: surreptitious accounts written by sailors aboard Cook’s third voyage; French and Russian expeditions of scientific enquiry; as well as Mission Press books, social history, and ethnography. Please click here for more information. Previous on-line lists may be found here or by following links to individual lists by following our Recent tab above.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to share our exciting news. In April 2017, we will be moving our business from Victoria Street, Potts Point to Riley Street, Surry Hills. Our business hours, web and phone contact details will all remain the same. Specific details will of course follow. Until April it will be “business as usual” from Potts Point.


October News

Thursday October 27, 2016

This month we have uploaded our Special catalogue of 45 items including Solvyns' great colour plate study of Indian manners and costume, Arago's intimate study of a priest of Guam, together with an 18th Century table globe and a fine watercolour of the iconic Black Swan. Also included are Shaw's catalogue of Tapa: a highly unusual example with extra specimens, Samwell's Narrative of the Death of Cook as well as maps by Brion de la Tour, D'Anville and Sir Thomas Mitchell. The catalogue may be viewed by clicking here

We have also uploaded an occasional list whimsically titled "K" for Kangaroo (to view click here) together with our latest on-line list Portuguese travellers (to view click here).

July News

Tuesday July 19, 2016

Hordern House will be exhibiting at the ANZAAB Melbourne Rare Book Fair 22-24th July, the culmination of Rare Book Week. Our July list has been prepared with this in mind and has items of rare Australian interest including the Rev. Johnson’s Address, Carboni’s Eureka Stockade, Fairholme's suite of Australian views highlighting early white settlement on the Darling Downs, and a fine 1861 painting of the First School House at Dandenong; together with early printed books: King James I Workes in a fine binding, La Popelinière's works of speculative geography, Moraleda's wonderful manuscript journal, and Blaeu’s great atlas of China. 

As usual, this list is intended as a preview and more information on each item can be seen on our website at with further extensive information, images and condition reports: simply click on the hyperlink at the foot of each text description in this pdf (or search at

The list can be viewed or downloaded on-line here

Also on-line is our occasional list on Hawaii and our new on-line list Convicts

June News

Tuesday June 14, 2016
We have posted online our June list: a selection including a fine original drawing by Jacques Arago completed on the Freycinet Expedition; a charming 1838 drawing of the General Post Office, Sydney; together with fine printings byHoste, Frezier and Roggeveen; a small group of Utopian works, a maritime oil of the SS Governor Blackall and a land grant signed by Phillip Parker King with a site sketch by George Evans.

As usual, this list is intended as a preview and more information on each item can be seen on our website at with further extensive information, images and condition reports: simply click on the hyperlinke at the foot of each textdescription in this pdf (or search at

The list can be viewed or downloaded on-line here

We have also posted online two new special lists:

May News

Tuesday May 17, 2016

We have posted online our May list: a selection of 25 items ranging in interest from paintings and prints including Clara Allport’s watercolour of Manly and Joseph Smith’s magnificent image of the Waratah; the German edition of Flinders notable for the important map; a fine set of Cook and an early Italian edition of La Perouse with unrecorded plates; together with manuscript letters and an early edition of Thomas More’s Utopia and the scarce anonymous Politician’s Dictionary,of significance to Pacific discovery; as well as a rare Japanese Chronicle of “Foreign Relations” by Karitsu-Gaishi with coloured woodcuts.

As usual, this list is intended as a preview and more information on each item can be seen on our website at with further extensive information, images and condition reports: simply click on the hyperlinked text description in this pdf (or search at

The list can be viewed or downloaded on-line here.

Also on-line is our new occasional list: Portuguese voyagers, a selection showcasing early voyage literature that illuminates the extent of Portuguese travel and exploration in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. this list can be viewed or downloaded here .



Friday April 22, 2016 - Saturday April 23, 2016

Hordern House is  pleased to be exhibiting at ANZAAB's pop-up fair in support of UNESCO's World Book & Copyright Day held each year on 23rd April. Join us from 11:00 am-4:00 pm in the Gallery Room at the State Library of New South Wales. The Library will also be alive with Shakespeare 400 celebrations as the 23rd April marks the 400th annivesary of his life.

April News and our cartography list

Wednesday April 13, 2016

We have posted online our April occasional list: a selection of cartographic material from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. In addition to freestanding maps the list includes printed books that contain their charts as intended, as well as a separate section of historically significant atlases. The list concludes with some scarce books relating to the history of mapmaking, and a handful of recently published reference books.

As usual, this list is intended as a preview and more information on each item can be seen on our website at with further extensive information, images and condition reports: simply click on the hyperlinked text description in this pdf (or search at

The list can be viewed or downloaded on-line here

We are also pleased to announce that Hordern House will be exhibiting at the forthcoming ANZAAB Pop-Up Rare Book Fair on 23rd April at the Gallery Room, State Library of NSW. The first in a series of worldwide Fairs and held in conjunction with ILAB, it celebrates UNESCO's World Book & Copyright Day, an annual day to raise awareness and funds to fight worldwide illiteracy. More information is available on our website here.

March News and our Convict list

Wednesday March 9, 2016

We have posted online our March list: a selection focussed on transportation and the convict era. In addition to the early settlement accounts of Arthur Phillip and Watkin Tench, this catalogue includes a range of more unusual material such as the cover item: a wonderfully detailed satirical Gillray print; a needlework sampler referring to Botany Bay; and a late eighteenth-century chapbook. Of special interest are original documents that give an insight into the fate of convicts including a lengthy manuscript by Alexandre Dumas.  The catalogue encompasses the sedition trials that sent the Scottish Martyrs to Australia in chains; and the widespread social unrest during the first decades of the nineteenth century in Britain.

Also on-line is our recent special list Scandinavia which can be viewed here together with previous lists here


California International Book Fair 12-14 February 2016

Tuesday February 9, 2016

We have posted online versions of the two catalogues we are taking to the Pasadena Bookfair encompassing rare works on exploration from 1558-1889 here and fine illustrated books centred on the Northwest Coast of America here. The descriptions in these pdf catalogues are all clickable links which will take you to fuller descriptions, condition reports, and further images on our website.

The prices in these catalogues are shown in US dollars (our overseas customers may like to note that AUD $100 is currently trading at a generous rate of around USD $71.00). Online prices may not be an exact match to those shown in catalogue, depending on currency fluctuations. The lower rate will apply in all transactions.
Also on our site for the duration of the fair is a temporary short-list of the books in both catalogues, also clickable to full descriptions which can be downloaded or viewed online here 

December news & Nautical Medicine list

Friday December 4, 2015

Our December list includes a diverse selection of books and manuscripts relating to nautical medicine. Most material concerns the problem of scurvy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and some publications arise from the experiences of James Cook at sea. They include Sir John Pringle’s famous Royal Society address of 1776 amongst other lesser known works. The reaction of French surgeons and naval authorities to English advances in the treatment of scurvy is amply represented, see for example the Conseil de Marine manuscript report of 1777 (number 6). Of special interest are the accounts of surgeons aboard convict transports, charged with caring for men and women under often atrocious conditions. Also included are two Acts of Parliament that changed the Australian convict history forever: one makes surgeons mandatory aboard transports while another empowers them to administer punishments at sea (items 16 and 17). The list concludes with a First Fleet classic by Australia’s foremost convict surgeon John White, bearing the early ownership inscription of another physician.

Also browse our latest on-line list  Northern Australia together with previous lists .



November news & the Sydney Rare Book Fair

Wednesday November 4, 2015

Our November list highlights a few treasures relating to some remarkable colonial women: Mary Reibey's copy of the NSW Directory printed by Anne Howe; a fine rare drawing by Ann Piper; a study of Homebushby Louisa Ann Meredith; a manuscript letter by the grand voyager Rose de Freycinet; and a fine copy of Mary Ann Parker's Voyage round the world, containing the first commentary of life in Australia by a woman. In addition we have some fine caricatures of  life in the Antipodes as it was imagined and a wonderful copy of Lycett's Views in Australia. Visit us at the Sydney Rare Bookfair November 5-7th at Customs House. 

October News & Longitude List

Tuesday October 13, 2015
Our October list presents a selection of rare printed and manuscript material relating to the discovery of longitude. Following the disastrous loss of life at the Scilly Isles in 1707, resolving the problem assumed unprecedented importance and the famous reward was instituted by an Act of Parliament in 1714 (see item number 7). Other items of interest include an astronomy textbook from the library of John Harrison with his inscription, and a letter from d'Entrecasteaux's astronomer Paul-Édouard Rossel dismissing the lunar method.
ALSO ON OUR SITE: our new on-line list Inland Exploration  
Other recent on-line lists may also be browsed Gold in Australia and Australian Literature

Our September Catalogue and new on-line lists

Wednesday September 16, 2015
Hordern House is please to announce our September 2015 catalogue which offers a select range of early printed and visual material from broad Pacific interest to First Fleet and early colonial settlement of Australia. The full catalogue can be downloaded or viewed on-line here
A few highlights are the unpublished journal of Pacific coastal exploration by Moraleda Y Montero; a marvellous copy of Barros' 16th century Chronicle of Portuguese exploration; voyage accounts by Cook - an unusually extended set in a fine 19th binding  from the library of Edward Henry, fifth Baron Scott; La Perouse; a fine set of Burney with remarkable association, dedicated to his sister Fanny Burney, the novelist; Mary Ann Parker's remarkable voyage account - the first account of Australia by a woman; together with fine marine paintings by Oswald Brierly with impeccable provenance, Thomas Martyn's Universal Conchologist with extra unpublished leaves, the earliest account of Botany Bay by Watkin Tench, together with glorious plate books by Lycett, John Webber and Quadri's panoramic testament to the wonders of Venice. 
We are also pleased to announe our publication of regular on-line lists. The first two - Australian Literature  and Gold  are viewable here or by selecting the 'Recent' tab in our header.

Inspiration by design: Word and Image from the V&A

Tuesday August 11, 2015 - Sunday September 27, 2015

Don’t miss this stunning free exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales that showcases some of the world’s finest book art, graphics, photography and illustration. From London’s acclaimed Victoria and Albert Museum, Inspiration by Design celebrates 150 years of collecting by the National Art Library. Immerse yourself in the book beautiful, from historic illustrated manuscripts and rare artists’ books to modern graphic design and fashion photography.


Curiosity & Discovery our new catalogue

Friday June 5, 2015

Hordern House is delighted to announce our new catalogue, which takes as its theme the spirit of Enlightenment in terms of exploration and voyages. The great explosion of late eighteenth century voyages is represented by important works by many of the key figures, naturally enough focussing on Cook and La Pérouse, but with forays into all manner of works which reveal the scale of the ambition which underwrote them, whether it be the travels of Banks or Bougainville, Bligh or Baudin.

Enduring Civilisation: Indigenous Australia at the British Museum

Saturday May 23, 2015 - Sunday August 2, 2015

The first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, celebrating the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This culture has continued for over 60,000 years in diverse environments which range from lush rainforest and arid landscapes to inland rivers, islands, seas and urban areas today. Hundreds of different Indigenous groups live across this vast continent, each with their own defined areas, languages and traditions. A magnificent exhibition in conjunction with the National Museum of Australia. Illustration Mask of turtle shell. Mer, Torres Strait, before 1855.

Sailing with Flinders: a new publication by Hordern House

Wednesday December 17, 2014

18 July 2014 will mark 200 years since the publication of A Voyage to Terra Australis, the classic account of the voyage of HMS Investigator written by Matthew Flinders.

To celebrate, Hordern House has published in full an important eyewitness account of the fate of the Flinders expedition originally written in 1806. As is discussed in the introduction and notes, this anonymously published Narrative was almost completely overlooked for more than two centuries, but is now proven to have been written by one of Flinders' officers, Surgeon's Mate Robert Purdie. This discovery is particularly significant as the Narrative is the only major published account to be written by a veteran of the expedition besides Flinders' own Voyage.

Read more about Purdie's Narrative of the Wreck of HMS Porpoise.

Hordern House exhibiting western works on China in Hong Kong

Friday November 21, 2014 4:00 PM - Sunday November 23, 2014 4:00 PM

Hordern House will be showing a selection of rare western books on China at the 2014 China In Print fair which this year will be held for the first time at the new Hong Kong Maritime Museum located at Pier 8 on Victoria Harbour. The web version of our catalogue for the fair is hyperlinked through out to full descriptions and photographs of the works we will have on show, which include a remarkable suite of original watercolours of Hong Kong and Macau in the mid-1840s.

Fair details here

Anne McCormick at the National Library

Thursday May 22, 2014

Booksellers & Librarians in a Changing World

Hordern House recently attended the joint conference by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers and the National Library of Australia, held at the National Library Canberra. Anne McCormick was part of the panel discussion 'People of the Book: Tales from the World of the Antiquarian Bookseller', her expertise and tales, along with other panel members, kept the large crowd that had assembled in the theatre entertained on the first evening of the conference.

The Sydney Punchbowl

Monday April 14, 2014

Just a few examples of the Sydney Punchbowl remain for sale at the start of 2014: production has now been completed in China and the remaining bowls will soon be arriving in Sydney. Please contact us for more details or to reserve one of these last few.

More about the bowl can be seen here: 
Punchbowl information.

We have published Elizabeth Ellis' authoritative book on the Sydney Punchbowl. More information and orders here: 
Elizabeth Ellis' book.