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The Devil’s Steeplechase The Celebrated Steeple-chase between His Satanic Majesty and the King of Terrors

The Devil versus Death over hill and dale! A highly original illustrated manuscript, with vivid watercolor illustrations, forming the major part of a sketchbook. N.d., 1830s probably — the race is dated as 1830. Oblong 8vo, 18.5 by 27 cm. 29 leaves in album. More pertinently, 9 full page watercolors devoted to the primary story contained within this album, the story we have entitled "The Devil’s Steeplechase", each with a narrative on the facing page. The text installments are paginated. Three other watercolors of mere mortals riding, two of these in a steeplechase or a foxhunt. In addition, there are two other pages with watercolors, one of which is a finished painting, the other, sketchier, and 11 pages with pen and ink drawings, in varying states of finish, plus three pages heavy with text (two of which we also have counted as having illustrations. We note further we are counting the endpapers which are covered with pen and ink drawing.) The other illustrations, including a page of mostly silhouettes, are on military or equestrian themes mostly. Also in the manuscript is a four page rendering of "The Tragedy" from "The Ingoldsby Legends", which recounts the story of Catherine of Cleves. As "The Ingoldsby Legends" was published first in 1837, that serves as a marker of the earliest date for some of the sketchbook, but it doesn’t rule out that some of the sketchbook was done earlier. So while this sketchbook has something of the appearance and character of a commonplace sketchbook, the dominance of one narrative, and the overall cohesiveness of the illustrations including those that are of a looser, sketchier nature, elevates this from the more pedestrian specimens of the genre. We think, also, without making grandiose claims as to the calibre of the illustrator’s skill level, we would assert that no one would dismiss these illustrations as generic or common. Given how clever the illustrations and the story line accompanying the steeplechase are, it is unfortunate we do not have the name of the author/illustrator. We doubt it is a coincidence that the date of the Devil/Death steeplechase is but four days after the first English National Steeplechase, which was run in Bedfordshire and was the precursor of the Grand National race at Aintree. It is not, therefore, a giant leap to view this imaginary race as a sharp satire on the day’s real-life racing scene. In the story here, a morbid variant of the turtle and the hare fable, the Devil gets off to an auspicious start, and then might seem to have the race clinched when Death falls into a water ditch. But as the Devil relaxes, Death recovers, catches up, and then with the final fence by a Churchyard, the Devil isn’t able to jump it, "whether from his horse not having a jump left, or from Satan himself not liking the smell of consecrated ground". Death leaps into the cemetery "as easily as if he were driving through his own park gates" and celebrates his victory by throwing his head (which is a skull) in the air and catching it several times. Condition: Rebacked in red calf matching remnants of older leather. Edges rubbed. Moderate scuffing of boards. Corners bumped, not terribly. Two leaves conspicuously cut out — no clue as to what was excised. One leaf with closed tear, not affecting illustration. One loose leaf. Half calf. Marbled boards. Modern black cloth clamshell box.
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3 ????? ? 4 ????????. [Strife. A Social Drama in 3 Acts and 4 Illustrations]

Galsworthy, John. Translator: ?. ?????????? [L. Pokrovskoy]. Set designs: ???. ??. ???????? [Vasily Denisov] A scarce translation of a Galsworthy play about an union strike into Russian shortly after the Revolution. Folio. 34.5 by 26 cm. 76 pp. Four color mounted plates of Denisov’s set designs. John Galsworthy, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932, is today remembered primarily for his novels and most particularly, the trilogy, "The Forsyte Saga", and other novels centering on the Forsyte family. Yet for much of his lifetime he was more celebrated for his plays, and "Strife", his third play, was his most successful. Given that many of his novels deal with the Upper Middle Class, there might be a mistaken impression that Galsworthy was fusty and hidebound, whereas his writings, including these very novels, tackled social inequities and other injustices with a strong progressive sensibility. Knowing that one can see that "Strife" was not an anomaly in Galsworthy’s output, and further, one can understand the newly empowered Communist regime giving its nod to this play. The National Theatre voted this play one of thge 100 most influential of the 20th Century! Only copy we could locate in the West, via OCLC First Search, at the Library of Congress, as of November, 2018. Condition: rebacked with tape band. Pulp papers heavily age toned, as typical of Russian publications of this period. Some pages with dog ears. Rear cover with small corner chip, and foxing of this card-thick leaf.
Sketchbook] Fashion Diary for Vanity Fair. Nov. '96

Sketchbook] Fashion Diary for Vanity Fair. Nov. ’96

Knight, Hilary 4to. 28 by 21 cm. About 80 pages with substantial illustrated content, all original sketches, of varying degrees of finish, with the media being pencil or pen-and-ink, with occasional watercolor fill-ins. While some of the drawings are very obviously dashed off to retain some visual notion for later application, there are some drawings that do read as quite finished, or fully satisfying visually, whatever Knight’s state of mind about them at the time. And most of the illustrations are about fashion week, the models, the designers, the fashionistas, the Society clientele, and the other inhabitants of the fashion world. The pleasure to be derived from the sketchbook is how so magnficently Knight captures the milieu. He is less concerned with the fashions themselves than the players at the event and the theatricality of the whole thing. Here we see so many with dangling cigarettes, big sunglasses, studied nonchalant expressions while devouring everyone else in their gaze, the men — not just the designers or industry people such as John Fairchild but the ones whose presence is more enigmatic. The paradox of the serious and frivolous that coexist in fashion Knight gets. Knight’s extensive background doing theatrical illustration and design is put to very good use. And as true of his most famous children’s book illustrations for the Eloise series, he creates indelible imagery with extraordinary economy — no scribble on the page is wasted, one might say. And of course, anyone fascinated by fashion, celebrity or New York Society will feast on the recording of the rich and famous captured here. Fashion shows covered include Caroline Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, Todd Oldham, etc. Portrayed are Hugh Grant, Liz Hurley, Kerstie Alley, Woody Allen, Donatella Versace, Dawn Mello, John Simon, Reinaldo Herrera, Elizabeth Tilberis, Bianca Jagger, Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, Hamish Bowles, Demi Moore, John Epperson (Lypsyinka), Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, etc. WIth a printed name card ("Hilary Knight") taped on both the front and rear cover. This card has a silhouette illustration of a young Knight, Eloise and her pet cat and turtle, and inked in red is a title ("Fashion Diary for Vanity Fair" on the front, simply "Vanity Fair", on the back.) With, on FFEP blank, is a Knight bookplate, also with a silhouette illustration showing him as an artist, along with a few animals. Also some improvised tabs made by Knight. Note that the sketchbook starts from both sides, but with the vast majority of drawings beginning on one of the sides, which we regard as the front; the other side has a mix, with some drawings of decor that may not all relate to fashion week, although some of them do, if peripherally. Condition: light wear.
Manuscript] In the Back-Yard and the Cellar

Manuscript] In the Back-Yard and the Cellar

Bull, Johan (1893-1945) Mock-up manuscript for an unpublished children’s book manuscript. N.d., circa 1930. Oblong, 25 by 38 cm. 15 pages of illustrated text following the manuscript cover. In addition, there are three matted illustrations of the semi-abstract animal motives found on the front cover. It is unknown with any certainty why this immensely charming, and very professional, manuscript was never published. It is our conjecture that the manuscript was submitted early in the Depression when publishers were cutting back on the children’s book list, and especially color illustrated books, both because of the economic straits they were suffering like virtually every industry in the American economy, and more specifically, perhaps, changes in the marketplace for children’s books, with some shift of buying from families to public libraries, with a subsequent drop in overall sales as a result. Nonetheless, this manuscript was intended by Bull to be published, as on the back cover there is a label indicated that the manuscript had been submitted by Fred A. Wish, Inc., presumably Bull’s literary agent. The book is a small collection of nonsense verses about animals around a house — cats, dogs, mice, chickens, ducks. Each of the poems runs one to two pages, and is accompanied by one to five illustrations, with the text and illustrations pasted onto the heavy card stock leaves. Condition: card leaves are detached from spine band. A few minor edge chips to cards.
Ye Great Smelling Committee

Ye Great Smelling Committee

Scarce humorous electioneering folding booklet. Not on OCLC First Search. Closed, 13 by 8.5 cm. Fully open, 59 by 25 cm, with 14 panels, the seven on the top with caricature drawings, the seven on the bottom entirely text, five of which are dominated by comical verse. The caricatures are vivid, and amusing even if their intended import might at first come across as somewhat obscure, since even knowing something about the particulars alluded to, there is something oblique about the manner of derision. The publication related to General Nathaniel P. Banks (1816-1894) in his Congressional race of 1866 in the then sixth district of Massachusetts. The Republican candidate had been a Governor of Massachusetts and an Union General during the Civil War. This Congressional race marked Banks’ return to civilian life immediately after the war. As a moderate Republican he was strenuously opposed by the Radical Wing of the party but ended up winning the seat, which he then occupied until 1873. In Congress he ended up aligning with the Radicals on a multitude of issues. So back to the booklet, the "Smelling Committee" in the title refers to the critics of Banks, and it is they who are the target of ridicule. These Smellers are attacked for their dredging up then a few arguably ill-advised remarks Banks had made years earlier when delivering an address in Portland, Maine that suggested he might not have quite the ardent unswerving commitment to preserving the Union at all costs. So in the cartoons the Smellers are depicted as relentless in their search for dirt on Banks, with one of them having a nose like Pinocchio (which was more than a decade away from being first published). In the final cell, Banks anoints one of his pursuers with a duncecap which has written on its side, "Slander". Beneath the cartoons is text fashioned loosely as a two scene play written in cheesy light verse. Condition: yellow wraps somewhat soiled. Small corner chip. One closed tear by fold when one opens the contents. One edge chip.
Scènes de la Vie de Bohème

Scènes de la Vie de Bohème

Mürger, Henry. Illustrations by Charles Leandre. Color engraving by Eugene Decisy A gorgeous Art Nouveau full crushed morocco custom binding by Chez Meunier, and one of 25 copies, "exemplaires reserve" on thick paper, this copy printed for the publisher Romagnol,as printed below the limitation page, of a total issue of 300 copies. 4to. 26.5 by 22.5 cm. xii, 414 pp. Each of the illustrations is rendered in two states — one as a color plate, as the leaf appeared before text was added, and then as an illustration surrounded by text. One of the illustrations, a full-page portrait of Mimi, is given in five states, each representing a step in the printing process — as each color is added or overlaid. The binding by Meunier, dated 1925, is the piece-de-resistance, with its floral vine inlay border design, using red, green and brown leather in contrast with the reddish brown leather that is the primary material of the binding. The same basic floral vine motive, with necessary dimensional adjustments, is repeated in the spine compartments between raised bands. The endpapers are also special, with a black lace material laid over scarlet colored silk. Blue marbled paper backs the flip side of the endpaper and its facing leaf as well. Slipcase with morocco fringe matching the binding, and marbled paper covering the rest of its surface. Bound in are the original wraps as well as the original prospectus, including its wraps and which also includes a copy of the color plate portrait of Mimi. The novel itself needs little exposition, as its story remains very familiar thanks to the Puccini opera based upon it. At the time this prestige edition was issued, interest in the Murger novel had received a major lift from the Puccini opera, which had premiered just five or six years earlier, yet had already entered the standard repertory, not to mention a Leoncavallo version that has long since receded from popular awareness. Condition: two inch closed tear of thick FEP repaired expertlly. Slipcase with moderate shelfwear.
Manuscript] Fer Ter Dom Ter

Manuscript] Fer Ter Dom Ter

Unusual manuscript with exquisite miniature writing and decoration. N.p., but surely Italian. N.d., 18th century probably. 12mo (in size). 12.5 by 8 cm. Unpaginated, 20 pp. Written in red, green and black inks. Three decorative letter devices, ornamental ribboning of the title on every page, a few other decorative touches (feathering framing sections, etc.) and written in a calligraphic, or neat calligraphic, cursive script of truly diminutive proportions. Most letters are 1 mm in height, with taller letters (f, l, etc.) spanning 3 mm at most. Predominantly written in Italian, with a smattering of Latin interspersed. The manuscript recounts and discusses the wicked Hebrew king Abimelech, a character in the Book of Judges, chapters 8 and 9. (There are other Abimelechs in the Bible, and the name itself means "King".) This Abimelech, a son of Gideon and his concubine, murdered 70 of his half-brothers to inherit the throne of the City of Shechem. One one surviving brother flees for his safety. Abimelech dies in battle at the point that he was close to prevailing completely, when a townswoman drops a millstone on him from a tower. Realizing his wound was mortal, he asks one of his soldiers to run a sword through him so it can not be said that he was killed by a woman. In the manuscript’s short preface, an extended, convoluted metaphor about elephants and dogs leads into the tale of Abimelech. The latter part of the manuscript is a sort of spiritual guide based on the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Condition: closed tear along page folds (spine). Small hole in one front letter device (minor text loss in page behind) caused by iron-based black ink. Some light soiling. Overall fragility.
Buffalo Bill. Der Held des Wilden Westens.

Buffalo Bill. Der Held des Wilden Westens.

The first 25 installments of the earliest of German pulp fiction magazines, this one based on the American popular culture icon, William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, who was probably as popular in Germany and Europe as he was in the states, and who famously toured Germany with his Western show, which included crack shot Annie Oakley. 4to. 26.5 by 21 cm. Each installment has color chromo cover on thin glossy paper, followed by 32 pages with a story about the legend. Scarce. Only copies found on OCLC are at Yale and Maryland. Condition: The publisher Alwin Eichler (1859-1912) lived for a substantial period in the United States. Beginning in 1883 he ran the American affiliate of Verlags H. G. Muenchmayer, which was responsible for bringing out English translations of Karl May. He moved back to Germany, where he first ran a musical publisher in Berlin before, in 1903, establishing his own publishing company in Dresden. His Buffalo Bill is quite possibly the first pulp magazine in Germany, and unquestionably, it was an early one. His dime novels — for such do these represent — cost 20 pfennig, and his press run was typically 80,000. Binding has some looseness of the text block. Cloth of spine with fraying, edgewear to boards, and overall, a plain, unexciting binding. This being a pulp magazine, the leaves are heavily age toned. A few short closed tears on these leaves. Most importantly, all pages are present, with no loss. Hardcover. Cloth spine. Marbled paper pasted onto boards.
Andenken Franzensbad

Andenken Franzensbad

Leporello with twelve panels, each with an oval hand-colored lithographic cameo view of a building or landmark, mostly exterior, in Franzensbad, a renowned Bohemian spa, or one of the nearby spa towns including Eger. These spas are located in what is now the Czech Republic, and at the time this leporello was issued, was a part of Austria. While their natural springs were known as far back as the 14th century, they became fashionable resorts in the early 19th century, attracting the Emperor, wealthy Russians, Goethe, Beethoven and many other notables such as Theodor Herzl. N.d., circa 1840. Measuring 10.5 by 7.5 when closed. Each of the oval cameos is 5 cm at its greatest height, 7 cm across at its widest. Depicted are the Salzquelle, the Egerer Badshaus (Eger bathhouse), the cafe in the park, a pleasure pavillion called the Neuquelle (new sources), the Siechenhaus, Loimanns Badehaus, the Franzensbad Kirche, the Salz und Wiesenquelle, the Franzensquelle, the Kaiserstrasse, the Louisenquelle, and a panaroma of Franzensbad. Most of the structures are classical in style, a few, grand in scale and ambition. All the illustrations are populated with well-dressed people, all tiny in the illustrations, to give a sense of Biedermeier scale and of the spirit and refinement of the place. Scarce — no copies found on OCLC First Search or KVK. Condition: tape repair at fold of original paper cover. Foxing throughout the borders or margins. The illustrations themselves are exceptional bright and vivid.
Reductions des Panneaux & Decors

Reductions des Panneaux & Decors

Zuber & Cie. Scarce catalogue or salesman’s album, of company which produced magnificent "panoramique" painterly wallpapers. N.d., early 20th century, probably 1920s or 30s. Oblong folio, 32 by 44.5 cm. Unpaginated. 29 leaves, each with either mounted plates, evenly divided between color and black and white, depicting the designs, or mounted plates also showing the designs in furnished interiors. Usually there are multiple renderings of the particular design, each representing a different part of the design, since these were wallpapers made in panels, each of which represented only a small part of the design, and so these were not repeating patterned wallpapers. Designs here include "Paysage Italien", "Paysage les Lointains", "Les Courses de Chevaux", "Decor Chinois", "La Foret des Ardennes", "Isola Bella", "Scenes Japonaises", "Le Panier Fleuri", "Eldorado", "Jardin Chinois", "Les Chasses", "Les Vues de Sicile", "Le Bresil", "Les Cotes de Villefranche", "Vues de Suisse", "Les Vues de l’Amerique du Nord", "L’Hindoustan", "La Guerre de l’Independance Amerique". Most of these different designs are separated by tabs. Zuber is a company that goes back to the 1797 and is still in business as a manufacturer of fine wallpapers. Scarce, with no copies located on OCLC First Search nor in the catalogues of several libraries which collect this kind of material. We call this a trade catalogue, but it was probably more a tool used in-house by salesmen, given the tabbing and other characteristics. Condition: some of the mounted pieces are loose, and we think it is likely that some plates originally in the book have vanished. Still, an unusual wallpaper sales vehicle for an especially important, singular and prestigious decor line.
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Nippon

Goro Kumada, editor. Ken Domon, Masao Horino, Ihei Kimura, Wanatabe Yoshio and other members of the Nihon Kobo The Japanese photobook equivalent of a Leni Riefenstahl movie! Deemed "arguably the high point of both the Japanese propaganda and the modernist photo book" by Parr and Badger in "The Photobook: A History". Oblong folio, 27 by 30 cm. 64 pp., or 32 double-page back-to-back photomontages configured as an accordion fold-out, and a deliberate attempt to adapt the traditional Japanese pillow book to a more modern usage. Text (captions) in English, French and German. The photographers involved were also staff photographers of the Japanese photo magazine, "Nippon". The black and white photos have an extraordinary dynamism and three dimensionality achieved by the artful juxtapositions, and there is a cumulative power to the whole enterprise. Just as the photos themselves are able to convey movement, the message of the whole is that Japan itself was on the march forward into a new dawn! And virtually every aspect of Japanese life is presented — economic, religious, cultural, architectural, artisanal, rural, urban, etc. Only two of the montages relate to the military — one, the army, one the navy — and this is in sharp contrast to similar publications emanating from Germany and Italy at the time. Japan had, by then, actually embarked on its program of foreign aggression and conquest, whereas for the other Fascist regimes that still lay in the future. The scarce book was probably never for sale, but rather was given as a gift to foreign dignitaries. Scarce, with the only known institutional copies at the British Museum, the Library of Congress. Two folds professionally and discreetly repaired, with very minor loss (a very thin sliver) along those joints. A quarter sized infill to where there was a corner chip to the silver Japanese paper pastedown on the front cover. The front blue blank or endpaper does not have a title label pastedown which has been seen in other copies, but it is obvious that there never was such a label pasted into this copy. Leporello. Hardcover boards, paper pastedown.