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A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Pacific...

Friday September 17, 2021

This most romantic voyage image from the 1821 French edition of Krusenstern’s Voyage Autour du Monde  has been aptly described as giving a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” vision of the Pacific. This is the first French edition of the account of Krusenstern’s voyage: the beautiful atlas of plates, which appears only in this edition, ‘is very important and is difficult to obtain…’ (Hill). From our latest catalogue now online here.

Imaginary Voyages and Cross-dressing courtiers

Monday August 2, 2021

Our latest catalogue, just published, is the second part of a catalogue of books from a private collection and features Imaginary Voyages.

A fascinating genre--one of the quirkiest examples included is a 17th Century work in which the narrator of the tale tells of his shipwreck and how he had washed up on a floating island where he was privileged to be allowed an intimate glimpse of an hermaphrodite world. Rare, with the wonderful engraved frontispiece...

Books from a Private Collection

Monday July 5, 2021

Just published: the first part of our catalogue of books from a private library.

The collection is one formed by a long-standing collector and friend of Hordern  House over the last four decades. For the first part we are concentrating on early voyage and discovery books from the library, including several voyage collections. View here

The second part of the catalogue, currently in preparation, will offer imaginary voyage books from the same collection.

The best books, and much much more...

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:00 PM

Try their new catalogue! The State Library of New South Wales is a short walk from Hordern House, and a favourite port of call for us. Its holdings -- of books, manuscripts, paintings and all historical materials -- are amazing. The Library incorporates many collections including the Mitchell Library itself (which started it all), the Dixson collection,  Joseph Banks Papers, the Holtermann photographic collection, the brilliant assembly of original First Fleet journals, and many many...

The Art of Discovery and Exploration

Friday June 4, 2021

Art Signifikant, the art-lovers group run by our friends at Michael Reid Gallery, recently arranged for Simon Hewson to film us talking about the art of discovery and exploration . This was one of three such short films produced with the support of the City of Sydney. You can see the video here. 

They said "This film by Simon Hewson provides access to Hordern House founding Director Derek McDonnell for our Art Members program Art Signifikant...

Art Signifikant

Tuesday May 25, 2021 12:00 PM

We recently welcomed members of ART SIGNIFIKANT, a select art program curated by James Dorahy of Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney.

By candlelight, to the backdrop of subtle piano music, members viewed a treasure trove of early books, manuscripts, and paintings. The evening was accompanied by two brief talks given by Derek McDonnell and Anne McCormick. Derek spoke of the major voyages of exploration to Australia and the Pacific in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth...

Incoming

Thursday April 22, 2021

Something there is that loves a crate -- especially when it's been purpose-built to deliver a painting to us that we've been longing to see.

We get a lot of plaudits for the quality of our deliveries outgoing, so it's a pleasure when we can enjoy a particularly good one incoming.

Omai in original condition

Friday March 26, 2021

We're sometimes asked what "original condition" really looks like: it varies widely according to type time and place of publication of course, but here's a particularly striking example. Canon Guillaume Baston's rare 4-volume fantasy about the Tahitian Omai, who came back to England on Cook's second voyage, "Narrations d’Omaï, Insulaire de la Mer du Sud, Ami et Companion de Voyage du Capitaine Cook", was published in Rouen in 1790.  As issued, and before being put...

La Pérouse in the 16th

Wednesday March 24, 2021

Rue La Pérouse, in Paris’s wealthy 16th arrondissement, was so named for the explorer in 1864. At that time Parisian street signs were made from a hard Volvic lava stone, enamelled on the surface in a process developed by the Sèvres factories, only to be replaced by the familiar modern enamelled metal plates in the late 1930s. We recently discovered a pair of the original stone street sign plaques, “Rue La Pérouse” and “16me Arrt.”...

Marquesan artefacts, and the queen's tattooed hand

Wednesday March 10, 2021

Charles Noury (1809-1869), a French naval officer born in Nantes, spent a number of years on service in the Pacific where he was entranced by the Marquesas islands. Years later, in his retirement, he studied and shared his collection of Pacific and especially Marquesan artefacts, and his Album Polynésien, an extremely rare and beautiful illustrated description of these and of observations that he made there, was published in Nantes in 1861. Among the wonderful depictions...