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BENHAM, W. Gurney & Frank ADAMS. Arthur and the Boilybird. An A.B.C. story. London, Blackie & Son [1909]. Oblong quarto publisher's colour illustrated boards with cloth spine; colour illustrations throughout by Frank Adams. A hint of wear to corners, a splendid copy. Au$750

A charming and most uncommon dream flying machine alphabet. Gurney wrote a lot of books and Adams illustrated a lot of books but I can't think of any others I'd bother looking for. Few would be harder to find. I don't think it owes much to Little Nemo. For some reason that flying car makes me think it was built by Renault.


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建築と生活 [Kenchiku to Seikatsu]. Osaka, Asahi Shimbunsha 1933 (Showa 8). Quarto (30x23cm) publisher's cloth with colour printed aluminium panel set into the front cover; 228,[14 adverts],2pp, heaps of photo illustrations, some plans, elevations etc. Trivial signs of use, a little browning of text pages, a handsome copy in publisher's plain card box. Au$1850

A smart book with a ridiculously impractical binding - the best kind when they survive - this exploration of architecture and life (a translation of the title) was produced by the behemoth Asahi Shimbun but was never for sale. The binding has the colour printed aluminium panel set between bands of silver 'morocco' with spine and back cover of velvet plush. Where chic stops and tacky begins is hard to measure.
The book is divided into sections by type: public, religious, commercial, industrial, residential, entertainment; a look at the rest of the world and the Osaka Asahi Building - followed by articles by some heavyweights, including Ito Chuta, Bruno Taut, Ishikawa Jun'ichiro and Takeda Goichi.
As an owner's celebration of their new building - a common enough enterprise - I can't think of many that could match this for scope and ambition: 'let's put our building into Japanese and world context and get a bunch of Japan's pre-eminent architects to contribute essays'.
Worldcat finds no copies outside Japan, neither can I.


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WOOD, H.F. [Harry Freeman]. The Englishman of the Rue Cain. London, Chatto & Windus 1889. Octavo publisher's illustrated cloth blocked in black and grey (spine faded and a bit rubbed). Canted but rather good and fresh inside. Au$135

First edition of this murder mystery set in Paris involving a missing heir, cross dressing villains, a cavalcade of detectives and all manner of complications.


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Swenka incunabulum

Dressing competiton. John Mabasa. A Grand Competition Dance will be given by John Mabasa, Secretary of Zoutspansburg, D.C. at the Communal Hall, George Goch Location Friday, 18 November, 1938 ... [Johannesburg?] Atlas Printing Works 1938. Printed broadside 37x25cm; three photo illustrations. Rumpled, with some old folds. A remarkably good survival. Au$275

For some years competitive dressing in Johannesburg was in decline but it is now back under the name swenking with a new generation of passionate swenkas. Unfortunately history seems to be have been lost along the way and I can find nothing more than guesses about when and how it started. It is generally agreed that it began with migrant workers to the mines, maybe in the forties, maybe as far back as the twenties - no-one seems sure. Here we have proof it was well established by the mid thirties.
It must have enraged the average white resident of Joahnnesburg to see these poor black men in crisp suits and spotless shirts. They were not so much aping their superiors as proving they could do it better. And - as made clear on this poster - there was no colour bar, all were welcome. Whatever else this was, it is a very clever gesture of rebellion.


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Iehara Masanori & Shiozu Kanichiro. 学校必用 - 色図問答 [Gakko Hitsuyo - Irozu Mondo]. Kyoto, Shiga Shinbun 1876 (Meiji 9). 21x15cm publisher's wrapper; [2],40,[2]pp on 22 double folded leaves, two colour charts and small colour squares through the text, hand coloured. Without title label; owner's inscription on the back wrapper; used but a rather good copy. Damn good for an old school book. Au$600

Western colour theory introduced to Japanese students. This was, according to one historian and repeated by others, first published in 1873 but I can't find any copy earlier than 1876. I have read that it is a copy of an American book by Marcius Willson but I think there is some confusion. Willson produced wall charts for American schools that were used in Japan and I suspect that in 1873 wall chart no. XIV was introduced. His accompanying writings on color in his 'Manual of Information and Suggestions for Object Lessons' - the work cited - are nothing like this.
In any case he seems to have borrowed Field's chromatics. So it was English colour theory that made its way into Japan first. I'd make a pretty confident bet that this is the first edition.


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Catalogue - Circus wagons. Beggs Wagon Co. Kansas City, Mo. Beggs Wagon Co. Manufacturers of Circus Wagons, Band Wagons, Ticket Wagons, Cages, Calliopes, Racing Chariots ... Kansas City, Mo [c1910]. 14x20cm publisher's illustrated wrapper; 16pp, illustrated throughout. Insignificant signs of use. Signed on the back by J.W. Begg. Au$600

Fabulous and rare. I didn't know there was such a thing as a circus wagon catalogue until I saw this. There was a reprint of this done in the seventies but I can't find another copy of the original anywhere.
Beggs started in the wagon business in 1875, expanded into show business around the time of this catalogue then turned to automobiles which took them into the twenties but no further.


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心の六道 [Kokoro no Rokudo]. n.p. 1911 (Meiji 44). Woodcut 42x57cm. Folded, some repairs to folds. Au$100

I have no clue what this is and how it relates to the Buddhist six roads. Shoji Hamada made a drawing similar in many ways, probably in the thirties, and I have seen another drawing apparently based on Hamada's drawing and that's all I can find. Despite translating some of the captions it remains a mystery to me.


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Kuriki Kojiro. 教訓漫画双六 [Kyokun Manga Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shogaku 1927 (Showa 2). Colour broadside 54x78cm. Some splodges and a small hole, not a bad copy. Au$325

The new years gift from the boy's first grade magazine of the Shogaku stable. A bright sugoroku in which, as I see it, most of the fun is what we are warned against. The title was used for more than one sugoroku.


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Yamada Minoru. 滑稽世界漫遊双六 [Kokkei Sekai Manyu Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen Kurabu 1917 (Taisho 6). Colour broadside 54x79cm. Paper browned and a couple of small holes or tears in folds; pretty good. Au$250

Not the best printed game but this is a such boisterous, rampant, joy-ride around the world by a boy who won't let a small thing like a war stop him that it is too much fun to quibble about such things. And small the war is - not quite to the point of being oblivious to it, our hero does help the French fight off the Bosche - it is no more an obstacle than lions and crocodiles and tigers.
This was the new year gift from the boy's magazine Shonen Kurabu - Boy's Club.


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Exhibition - Tokyo 1922. 平和記念東京博覧会事務報告 [Heiwa Kinen Tokyo Hakurankai Jimu Hokoku]. Tokyo Fucho 1924 (Taisho 13). Two volumes 26x19cm, publisher's embossed wrappers; 681pp, heaps of illustrations: folding colour plans, architectural elevations and plans, photo plates, etc. Minor browning, less than expected from the paper; corners bumped, hinges of the wrapppers with short tears at the ends; a rather good fresh copy. Au$1800

The official report on the 1922 Tokyo Memorial Peace Exposition is the very model of what an official report on an exhibition should be. You could just about rebuild the whole thing from this. The detail extends to measured drawings of light fittings, plans of the garden beds and coloured reproductions of the tickets and advertising.
The 1922 Peace Memorial Exhibition, celebrating the League of Nations and a bright future, was the most lavish national Expo ever held. The pavilions were a mix of stately, ultra modern and funfair fairy tale.


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Secession. A New State. Proposed Separation of Northern New South Wales. A statement ... by the committee appointed at a public meeting held in Grafton, in January, 1915. Grafton, Argus Print [1915]. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 24pp. Used, with some small chips from the wrapper and a vertical fold. Inscribed with complements by J.R. Kelly, presumably a secessonist. Au$125

Attempts by the northerners to get out of what was an unfair relationship between the district above 30 degrees north and the centre of power and spending, too far away down south, date back to the mid 1850s and resurfaced several times. Earlier secessionist attempted to join Queensland; from the time of this pamphlet through the twenties the push was for a new state. Trove finds only the NL copy.


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KELLY, Hugh. The Romance of An Hour, a comedy of two acts, as it is performed, with universal applause, at the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden. London, for Kearsley 1774. Octavo modern plain wrapper; [4,8],44pp with publisher's advert on the last page for four other Kelly plays. A rather good copy. Au$800

First edition of this up to the minute Anglo-Indian farce by the literary hack, virulent anti-American independence critic and ministry mouthpiece. Kelly's biographer, Robert Bataille, was surprised that Kelly announced his authorship so early - the first production was on December 2 and this printed edition was on the street by the 17th - given that an earlier play had been disrupted by rioting Wilkites. I suggest it was hope for riotous publicity that made Kelly put his name on the title. The play got a lot of poor, a few warm reviews and not much attention despite being, as I said, filled with current fads.
The only truly admirable character is the Indian servant who is made, poor thing, to sound to us more like an American Indian in an old cowboy film than any Indian. He says everything but "heap big wampum". The heroine is a charming Anglo Indian aristocrat who has two well bred Englishmen competing for her hand despite her tint and Tahiti is thrown in: the latest chart is introduced and Bataille suggests that Kelly was capitalising with his noble native servant, on Omai, then in England.


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[JEBB, Joshua.] Report of the Surveyor-General of Prisons on the Construction, Ventilation and Details of Pentonville Prison, 1844. London, HMSO 1844. Large octavo modern cloth backed boards; 30pp and 22 folding plans, elevations and views. Spots and signs of use - a couple of closed tears - to the plates, a rather good copy. Au$950

A good account of the planning and construction of Jebb's prison, the model for modern prisons for the rest of the century. Pentonville was planned, built and run as an experimental model; six years later Jebb announced the experiment satisfactorily concluded. The plates range from a large and handsome isometric view of the prison through to details of the cell doors and windows, a hammock, the toilet, the prison's gong ... and a charming large tinted litho view of the main hall.


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MARALDI, Ugo (Detector). Questa e la Bomba Atomica. Rome, Magi-Spinetti, August 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper printed in black and red; 80pp. A nice copy. Au$175

A speedy entry into atom bomb literature by the writer of popular science and speculation. He ends with a chapter on a favourite subject - interplanetary travel - and a postscript on the announcement by 'eminent physicist' Luigi Bulgarini that the ancient Egyptians understood atomic energy and used a death ray to protect the tombs of pharaohs.
Worldcat finds two copies, both in the US. SBN finds three copies in Italy but I can't find it in either national library.


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HYMAN, William A. Magna Carta of Space. Amherst Press, Wisconsin 1966. Largish octavo publisher's cloth; 422pp, numerous photo and line illustrations. Au$50

Copy no. 95 of the 'Original Edition First Printing Limited Edition' of who knows how many copies, warmly inscribed and signed by Hyman to a fellow lawyer in February 1966. The culmination of a decade of passionate and voluble campaigning for legal peace in space. Hyman describes this as an "humanitarian bill of rights for the world" and offers folding facsimiles (in English and Spanish) of the Magna Carta as adopted by the Inter-American Bar Association in 1961 and, with an additional article, again in 1965.
The book itself is a pretty unrestrained polemic that oscilates between cold war terror and Flash Gordon futurism enlivened by some unassuming but effective illustrations. While such things as space 'traffic cops' and traffic lights are mentioned I couldn't find any discussion of rubbish removal.


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KOCH, Alex. [ed]. British Competitions in Architecture. Vol. 1 Part 1 -12. [and Vol 2 Part 13 - 24]. London, Academy Architecture 1905 -1909. Two volumes quarto (publisher's?) cloth; with title and contents leaves for each volume; each part separately paginated; hundreds of plans, elevations, renderings, measured drawings. Some minor signs of use. Au$350

This is half the complete run it seems - the RIBA Library holds volumes 1 to 4 (to 1914), which is the only place I can find more than these first two volumes; few libraries have any volumes at all.
This a serious review of competitions, open and by invitation, and offers a comprehensive view of British public and institutional architecture of the period. One exception is the international competition for the Peace Palace at the Hague. Here Koch has covered the British competitors, including himself.
The competitors' entries are well illustrated, the competition conditions, instructions and reports are given and on occasion Koch has felt obliged to add his own comments on the organisation of particular competitions (such as the Peace Palace). Given the subject and approach it is hard to imagine an audience extending much beyond a few public institutions and the handful of architects equipped to enter such competitions. The scarcity of this periodical is easily explained, what remains a mystery is how it lasted as long as it did.


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上野公園清水堂西郷南州銅像之図 [Uenokoen Shimizu Do Saigo Nanshu Dozo no Zu] Tokyo, Tsunashima Kamekichi 1908 (Meiji 41). Colour woodcut 27x39cm. Rather good. Au$125

An almost sombre day in Ueno Park in comparison with the psychedelic colouring of cheap lithograph views of the time. Still, you can be sure that the photographer at work turned out less exciting views than this. The statue is of Saigo Takamori. Least said about him by me the better.


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日比谷公園鶴の噴水光景 [Hibiyakoen Tsuru no Funsui Kokei]. Tokyo 1918 (Taisho 7) Colour lithograph 39x55cm. Folded, a nice copy. Au$200

There is some warp in time operating around the Hibaya Park fountain where men and women from their grandparents' generation promenade with present day residents and pioneer aviators from the previous decade appear overhead. Only a couple of children seem to notice.


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GOTHEIN, Marie Luise. A History of Garden Art edited by Walter P. Wright. London, Dent 1928. Two volumes quarto publisher's elaborate gilt cloth; hundreds of illustrations, plans &c. A rather good set. Au$150

Original and better printing of the English edition, which also has some additions: Wright on England and Frank A. Waugh on American landscape design.
Gothein's was the first great history of gardens and landscape design, ranging from ancient to modern and encompassing Islam, China and Japan. Like many pioneer historians her intentions are inspirational as much as educational: if "practical artists revert to the formal style, some knowledge and understanding of the chances and changes of thousands of years should be helpful in their work. My wish is that they find not so much a storehouse ... as an abundant harvest for their own creations in the present day".


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BOOTH, Arthur John. The Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions. London, Longman &c 1902. Octavo publisher's cloth; xviii,459pp and publisher's list; frontispiece plan. Quite a good copy. Au$100

"The decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions of Western Asia is worthy of being included among the great achievements of the nineteenth century" (introduction). An excellent history of the discoveries and of the disputes among a group that was a disparate mix of hothouse scholars and romantic adventurers.


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Hikifuda. 橘屋久右衛門 [Tachibanaya Kyuuemon]. Osaka 1905 (Meiji 38). Colour woodcut 26x37cm. A few spots, still a nice copy. Au$150

A particularly well printed and vivid hikifuda - small poster or handbill - with the lucky gods gone to war against Russia. It worked. A calendar for 1906 is provided.


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de ZOETE, Beryl & Walter SPIES. Dance and Drama in Bali. London, Faber 1938. Quarto publisher's cloth; numerous photo illustrations. An unusually good copy of a book that doesn't wear well. Au$75

First edition.


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EDWARDS, Ralph & Margaret JOURDAIN. Georgian Cabinet-Makers. London, Country Life 1946. Quarto publisher's cloth and dustwrapper; xiv,192pp, 174 illustrations. A few spots around the edges, a very good copy. Au$65

Revised edition.


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John Ramage. The Torture Book. n.p. [c1880?]. Oblong folio, 28x39cm, morocco album decorated and titled in gilt (a bit worn at the base of the spine, sometime recased); 29 heavy card leaves, with a handpainted title page; printed forms of which 21 pages have been filled in with ink, pencil and watercolour. Minor signs of use, smudges and browning.
Loosely inserted a two page note by Mrs D. Ibbetson written in 1962 explaining that album was made by her grandfather - London bookbinder John Ramage - and filled in by members of the family. Au$1250

An elaborate hunk of Victorian whimsy that was embraced with enthusiasm and diligence by all that tackled it. I suspect that - even given that every educated gentleman and lady of Britain was handy with a pen and pencil - one didn't touch this album without confidence and plenty of spare time. Mrs Ibbetson wrote that her father could never be persuaded to make an entry.
Each double page opening is ruled out so that contributors could write or draw their favourite motto, quality, hero, writers, food - actually it says 'dish' which is why Ramage drew a plate ... their least favourite quality and persons in history.
Ramage was a binder to the gentry, among the handful of high class London binders of the second half of the 19th century. Talking about the difficulties of book collectors - "no harder people to please" - in The British Bookmaker, Ramage said that if he was asked to trim a book he saved and labelled the shavings so that disputes about over-trimming would not get out of hand. Ramage did the title page and the entry with the blue willow plate.


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JEPSON, Edgar & Maurice LEBLANC. Arsene Lupin. From the play by Maurice Leblanc and Francis de Croisset. London, Mills & Boon 1909. Octavo, very good in publisher's cloth with onlaid illustration (a small flaw to the front edge of the back cover). Au$185

First edition. An early entry into what became the Lupin industry. Leblanc's first tales of the gentleman thief appeared in Paris in 1906 (and in book form in 1907), in 1908 he had his first movie and the first production of the play from which this is adapted.


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A gathering of five Italian pamphlets on Cholera dating from 1849 to 1884: Intorno al Colera-Morbus Prima Istruzione Popolare ... [and] Regolamento Sovranamenve Approvato per Guarentire le Provincie del Regno dalla Diffusione del Colera Asiatico qualore vi penetrasse ... [and] Pratiche per l'Espurgo dei Luoghi e Degli Oggetti che Hanno Servito a Colerosi [and] Nota ed Avertenze Pratiche del Consiglio Superiore di Sanita ... sulla Colera [and] Istruzioni Pratiche del Consiglio Superiore di Sanita sul Colera. Avellino 1849; Avellino 1854; Firenze 1865; Firenze 1865; Rome 1884. Five items octavo and large octavo original plain or printed wrappers. Rather good copies of all. Au$400

Instructions for dealing with cholera through four outbreaks in Italy that each killed by the tens or hundreds of thousands. These should record remarkable developments in the handling and treatment of cholera as the century moved on. In 1854 Italian scientist Filippo Pacini announced his discovery of the cholera bug and was soundly and roundly ignored by everyone. Snow's 1854 discovery of the transmission of cholera though contaminated water should have been noted by the Italian authorities by 1865 and by 1884 Koch's rediscovery of the bug was known and it's infectious nature was known.
The authorities went with the miasma reactionaries of earlier generations. What they did learn was hugely important for governments everywhere: come the 1911 outbreak the whole thing was covered up.


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CAMPBELL, Norman Robert. Physics, the Elements. Cambridge Univ Press 1920. Large octavo, very good in publisher's cloth; 565pp. Au$200

First edition. Despite the title this is not a text book (Campbell himself spells this out in the first sentence of his preface) and has nothing to do with the periodic table. It was later reprinted with a new title: 'Foundations of Science; the philosophy of theory and experiment' which may make the intent of the book more clear.
A long time in the planning and delayed for many reasons, including the war, Campbell finished it without any recourse to his references. He deals with this flaw with equanimity though - complete references would have doubled the size of the book and made it unreadable. The only source that he does acknowledge by name is 'The King's English'; there cannot be too many philosphers or scientists who make such an acknowledgment. Likewise he was pleased not to have written part III at the time that Einstein's theory of relativity was attracting the most condemnation: "doubtless ... I should have made the blunders or worse blunders myself".


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