Hikifuda. 丸山蚕館 [Maruyama Kaikokan]. Osaka 1904 [Meiji 37]. 26x38cm colour woodcut. Old folds, still rather good. sold

This is something you don't see very often: a speeding Japanese girl having fun. That expression is the well bred girl's version of a broad grin. The pair in the background look bewildered. This hikifuda advertises silk rather than bicycles but they do go together well.
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed,
so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.


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Manga. 漫画はり繪ブック [Manga Hari-e Bukku]. Tokyo, Shojo Kurabu 1933 (Showa 8). 19x27cm publisher's colour illustrated wrapper; 12pp printed in yellow on black paper and six loose sheets of colour pop-out figures to be stuck in. A still unused copy. sold

Mickey and Betty co-star with other manga favourites in this cute toy book. Some pages are to be decorated with the pre-cut colour figures on the loose sheets, some pages show how to draw and some are just for fun. And all are for needle pictures.
Took me a while but I figured out Betty is spelling Manga Hari-e Book with Mickey's tail.


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Textiles. A gathering of 15 original designs for textile designs. n.p. [1930s]. 15 sheets in gouche and inks; all about 40cm in one direction and ranging from 20 to 32cm in the other. One with a short clean tear. Notes on the back of three, numbers on two. Au$650

Pretty lurid, huh? As the thirties pressed on and the avant garde was in disgrace - communist and anarchist scum that they were - textile design became less adventurous in form but brighter, so much brighter, and woodcut pattern books from Kyoto with designs like this proliferated. These flower designs are so highly finished I'm convinced they were made for a pattern book - probably spring or summer; autumn and winter were more restrained. Working drawing are usually much more ... well, working.


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[Catalogue - Cast-Iron Hollow Ware]. E. Pugh & Co., Wednesbury. [Illustrated Price List of Cast-Iron Hollow-Ware - E. Pugh & Co.]. The company, before 1891. Octavo publisher's green cloth; [vi]pp, and 71 leaves printed on one side (numbered to 88 with some gaps in the numbering but complete as issued), numerous illustrations throughout. Mounted onto the title is a 64 page revised price list to amend all catalogues issued before January 1891. A note about their enamelling is dated 1884. Au$300

Enamelled and tinned ware: pots, pans, kettles, sifters, coffee mills, spittoons (plain and Turkish), and stable ware.


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Catalogue - Pharmaceuticals. McKesson & Robbins, New York. Prices Current of Drugs and Druggists' Articles, chemical and pharmaceutical preparations, proprietry medicines & perfumery, sponges, corks, dyes, paints, etc., etc., etc. New York 1879. Octavo publisher's flush cut limp cloth, front titled in gilt; 224pp, numerous wood engraved illustrations. One section excepted, printed on pink paper. A rather good copy. Au$375

As well as the goods listed in the title this offers scales, glassware, brushes, surgical instruments and English toothbrushes, and still more.


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Poisonous women

Suzuki Kinjiro. Meig. Dokufuden - 新編明治毒婦伝 [Shinpen Meiji Dokufuden]. Tokyo, Kinsendo 1887 [Meiji 20]. 18x13cm publisher's cloth backed illustrated boards (edges worn); one single page and several double page illustrations. Inner front hinge separated, inner back hinge cracked; missing the front endpaper and the first two leaves (illustrations) are creased; two leaves sprung. A read copy I'm sorry to say, but for one of these flimsy board books made to be read to pieces, still acceptable. Au$150

Second edition? But how many were there? First published in December 1886 this copy is dated November 1887 but is a different book from the copy of the same date illustrated by the NDL. Starting at the front: the cover has been redrawn, the contents are a different printing with different pagination, in a different order and the illustrations are not all the same. The pagination is a nightmare; it starts, stops, jumps forward and back and nowhere meets the NDL November 1887 copy until we get to the last page.
One the prizes of the dokufu craze of the early Meiji. Dofuku - poisonous women - are nothing new of course but the happy conjunction at the advent of mass circulation newspapers of a beautifully timed series of murders by unvirtuous young women set the sensation mongers and their readers all of a fever. Newspaper to book, lurid print to kabuki and back again, dokufu were all the rage for a couple of decades. Along the way crime fiction was born and, in a way, modern Japanese literature.
This went to press too soon for Hanai Oume - 1887's murderess of choice - but I don't doubt her case sparked this new edition; she was sentenced in November. Takahashi Oden, Yoarashi Okinu, Torioi Omatsu, Gonsai Otatsu, Ibaraki Otaki and Raijin Oshin provide plenty to go on with.
Worldcat finds no copies of any but a modern reprint outside the NDL and it was some consolation to see that this copy is a lot better than one reproduced online by the NDL.


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DANE, John Colin. Champion. NY, Dillingham 1907. Octavo, very good in publisher's red cloth with mounted colour illustration; eight plates. Au$125

First American edition - the English is contemporaneous - of an anthropomorphic racing thriller with plenty of dark deeds and a moustachioed, possibly even half-Spanish, villain. The narrator, Champion, is a revolutionary new racing car.


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Barely yellow peril

KEELER, Harry Stephen. Cheung, Detective. London, Ward Lock 1938. Octavo publisher's cloth and mildly frayed dustwrapper. A few spots around the edges, pretty good. Au$300

First edition, the American - dated the next year - was called Y. Cheung, Business Detective. Cheung - well educated, young and thoroughly American - is noteworthy for not being too overt a caricature - unlike the black landlady Mrs Tubbs - and he does get the girl who is half white at the end. No, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny but it was a big step up from Charlie Chan and Mr Moto.


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Fujiwara Ritsuta. 空界征服双六 [Sorakai Seifuku Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen 1918 (Taisho 7). Colour broadside 79x55cm. A nice copy. Au$600

A delight - the rigours of flying school explained with the careful attention to truth and detail of a Heath Robinson. This was the new year gift from the magazine Shonen.


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Blackbirding. Polynesian Immigration. (Despatches relative to alleged abuses, etc ...). Sydney, Govt Printer 1869. Foolscap folio modern plain wrapper; drop title, 24pp. Au$200

For the most part this details the murders on the blackbirding ship 'Young Australian' with some information on the seizure of the 'Daphne' by Palmer in the Rosario in Fiji. The captain and supercargo of the 'Young Australian' were sentenced to death and released after a couple of years in prison. Palmer was forced to pay reparations to the owner of the Daphne.


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Japanese textiles. A collection of 483 hand painted textile designs. n.p. mid 20th century? 75 heavy handmade paper folios, approx 41x31cm (folded), each with between five and eight designs under cut out embossed mounts facing each other with a tissue guard between. Mounted manuscript labels for each design. Kept in a wooden box, 45x33x15cm, with a manuscript title label (so far undeciphered). Au$2500

A near unimaginable amount of work has gone into this. It would have been a lot easier to mount actual textile samples but someone decided to hand paint each in scrupulous detail including texture. And this is no amateur work, I've never seen better. Paper has been carefully chosen for each type of weave and dramatic textures have been built up much like ceramic glazes. The only thing I've seen that matches the quality, care and sheer labour that went into this is the 1933 portfolio of textile designs Senshoku Zuan by Takizawa Kuniyuki. The only thing that is inferior is the box. It is, I'm sorry to say, plywood and I wonder whether it's a later addition.
Was it for a pattern book of historical designs? These were popular in the thirties, produced by master woodcut printers like Unsodo or Uchida in Kyoto. If you wanted the finest work in printing Kyoto was where you went. In the 70s and 80s there was a resurgence in luxurious design books but more often with photography than original prints.


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Kawaraban. Ansei treaties. Three kawaraban relating to the Ansei treaties signed between Japan and the United States, Britain, Russia and Holland in 1858. I. Gifts given by the Japanese. II. Gifts given to Japan. III. A Dutch translator. n.p. [1858 - Ansei 5]. Three woodcut prints each about 23x29cm. A small hole in the upper centre of the third. Rather good. sold

These illicit illustrated news sheets - kawaraban - for the streets were produced by the million for a couple of hundred years so of course few survive. They were produced for anything more interesting than the drop of a hat and the arrival of the Black Ships, the American squadron commanded by Perry, in 1853 and 54 eclipsed any and all tiresome earthquakes, fires, plagues, famines, murders and scandals. For most Japanese this was the same as a squadron of alien space ships arriving on earth now.
These three are about the outcome of Perry's bullying: the five nation's treaties as other western countries scrambled to sign up Japan. To the left of the translator are vocabulary lists of American, English and Russian equivalents of Japanese words which, I'm told, are all nonsense.
I have noticed in prints like this where the artist and cutter never saw their subject that they made a better fist of the Russian alphabet.
English, French, German or Dutch is usually a suggestive scribble but Russian is unmistakeable.


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Hikifuda. Shoes. 履物鼻緒商 ... 大村一正 [Hakimono Hanao-sho .... Omura Kazumasa]. n.p. [190-?]. 26x38cm colour woodcut. Au$200

I guess that if a strapping sumo wrestler chooses to wear your shoes you know they must be sturdy. I don't know who the pint-size deity dancing on hs arm is and neither do I know who he - the wrestler - is. I suspect that this is a celebrity portrait rather than a generic figure and I bet someone out there can identify both of them.
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce. That doesn't apply here.

I really want that seat.


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Hikifuda. 高橋屋 ... 太郎丸 ... [Takahashiya ... Taromaru ...]. n.p. [c1910?]. 26x38cm colour woodcut. Margins browned. Au$125

I don't know what Takahashiya sold, I'm sorry, but I can tell you that Taromaru is in Toyama and that this patriotic hikifuda celebrates the royal family who in turn celebrate Japan taking to the air. That's the crown prince or soon to be emperor Taisho and his family, presumably his oldest child, Hirohito.
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.


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Hikifuda. 後藤商會 [Goto Shokai]. n.p. [c1900] 26x38cm colour woodcut. Small knick from a top corner; a nice copy. Au$135

Bustling modern Japan is celebrated in this advertisement for the Japanese and western liquor merchants Goto Shokai. I presume it's the trademarks of the brands they handle that are displayed.
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.


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REID, R. Every Man His Own Detective! Calcutta, Newman 1887. Octavo publisher's cloth; frontispiece portrait, iv,253pp. Minimal signs of use, a nice copy. sold

There are books that stick in my turbid memory, that I vaguely regret selling, so I've been looking for a second copy of this for almost thirty years*. Late Superintendent Reid of the Calcutta Detective Department stayed with me for his final bitter defence of his system of detection. Comparing himself to Isaac Newton, Sir William Armstrong and George Stephenson who were, like himself, greeted with, "Psha!" and "Bosh!" for their claims, he sadly notes that it is possible to be too clever and original.
The four parts of the book are more or less the four pillars of his system: physiognomy, observation, the art of investigation, and tales of his own cases which I guess takes the place of experience for the student.
This copy has the bookplate of Robert Pinkerton of Paisley but I'm not so convinced this is the detective, unless he had a house called Paisley. Paisley, in Scotland, swarmed for centuries with Pinkertons and every generation had a Robert, a William and an Allan.
Worldcat has four entries for the book but finds only two locations.

* Of course I'm immediately offering this for sale. Life is not sweet without regret.


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PEIRCE, Benjamin. Ideality and the Physical Sciences. Boston, Little Brown 1881. Octavo publisher's cloth; 211pp, portrait. With Joseph Gleason's bookplate; so, a small number on the back of the title and label removed from rear endpaper; still a rather good copy. Au$50

Six lectures delivered in 1879 and just about Peirce's last work. Three he prepared for publication but the others he preferred to keep until he'd "worked out more fully the form of the meteoric theory .. and its relation to the nebular theory." (preface). His son has prepared them for publication and added an appendix.


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Hikifuda. Hiranoya Sakichi, Osaka. 諸国蒸気船出帆 ... 蒸気金毘羅出船所 ... 御定宿平野屋佐吉 [Shokoku Jokisen Shuppan ... Joku Konpira Shussenjo ... Gojoyado Hiranoya Sakichi]. Osaka, Hiranoya Sakichi [c1860-70?]. Woodcut with red touches 32x11cm; printed on both sides. Old folds, very decent. Au$150

The Sakaisuji hotel Hiranoya was a major stop in Osaka and starting point for tourists heading off across and around the Inland Sea, particularly the Konpira - god of merchant seamen - pilgrimage to Kotohira. All made possible by the latest technology as shown with this dashing paddle steamer flying the Hiranoya flag.
Hiranoya Sakichi was presumably a part of the main Hiranoya family, a dynasty of Osaka money lenders and merchants which established a Sakaisuji branch in 1748. I have seen a few Hiranoya hikifuda of the Meiji period, all a lot more sophisticated than this.
On the back is a fairly crudely printed route map.


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Catalogue - hearses. Merts & Riddle, Ravenna, Ohio. Merts & Riddle, Coach and Hearse Builders. Ravenna, printed by S.D. Harris [188-?]. Oblong octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 50pp, full page wood engraved illustrations throughout. A remarkably good copy. Au$250

Ravenna was clearly a hearse town in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Merts and Riddle bought their employer's coach building company in 1861 and expanded into hearses a decade or so later. When Merts left in 1891 the company became Riddle Coach & Hearse Co.
This is the earliest catalogue - dated "1880 or so" - in the collection of Thomas Riddle, descendant and company historian. The catalogues at the Huntington with a conjectured date of 1875 aren't. Romaine did not see any Merts & Riddle catalogues.


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Poisonous Women

Hanai Oume. Utagawa Kunimasa IV (signed as Baido Kunimasa). 花井お梅 [Hanai Oume]. Hasegawa Sonikichi 1888 (Meiji 21) Colour woodcut triptych, each sheet approx 37x25cm. Signs in the corners of removal from an album with a small bit of loss on a couple of corners. Quite fresh, with decent left and top margins. Au$450

I think this is the best of murder prints taken from the play 'Tsuki no Umekaoru Oboroyo' based on Oume's killing in the rain of her lover/employee in 1887. This made Oume one of the three greatest dokufu - or poisonous women - of the period. Yoshitoshi's small newspaper print of the murder has blood and a disturbing detachment between victim and killer and while Kunichika's triptych scene from the play is similar to this and makes more of the famous umbrella, this is more focused on murder and has the tension caused by the oblivious bystanders. Of course a serious dokufu collection needs them all but I'd be satisfied with this and Yoshitoshi.
Oume or O-ume - her professional name - was celebrity manifest. Her murder trial was public and though crowds unable to get in became irate, every moment was covered in the press; books were published within minutes, kabuki plays and novels performed and published, and the newspapers made rich.


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Risho. 花火秘伝集 [Hanabi Hiden-shu]. Osaka? [1817 or c1825?]. 15x9.5cm later but not so recent wrapper; 37 leaves (ie leaves 3 to 39 of 39); woodcut illustrations, some full page. Stained throughout; missing the title, first two leaves (preface and frontispiece) and colophon leaf. Au$1500

A horrible and incomplete copy admittedly but this, the first - and only, for a long time - Japanese book on fireworks, is so rare that even this copy was a delight to find after many years of looking. The text is complete.
It is often dated confidently to 1817 but CiNii and Waseda - the only places I can find copies - are not certain enough to assign a date. Philip's 'Bibliography of Firework Books' does list it but only from a translation of the Kokusho Somokuroku (the national bibliography of books before 1867) entry provided to him by the British Library. There it is dated c1825 and Philips notes that no more than six copies are extant in Japanese libraries. I can add that Waseda's copy is missing its title leaf but looks much nicer than this copy.
The title translates as firework secrets and, like many trades, the secrets were kept in the trade. Until this book and for at least another fifty years the secrets of fireworks were held in manuscripts. The attrition rate for a book like this with an audience of black-thumbed, fire-prone pyrotechnists must have guaranteed not too many secrets leaked out.

*Be assured that the black mark shown on one page is not mould. The damage to the book is long done and there is no sign that the paper is degrading.


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SWINBURNE, Alfred James. 通俗論理談 上 ... 中卷 [Tsuzoku Ronridan]. [Cover title: The Grave Made Gay]. Tokyo, Kochokaku 1887 (Meiji 20). Two volumes 19x13cm, publisher's illustrated wrappers; illustrations by Kobayashi Kiyochika. Some browning or spotting of the cheap paper; quite good. Au$300

Parts one and two - part three never appeared - of an an adaptation of Swinburne's 'Picture Logic or The Grave Made Gay; an attempt to popularise the science of reason ...' first published in 1875. The 'Grave Made Gay' seems to have been dropped from the title with the fourth edition of 1881.
The illustrations are mostly copies or adaptations of Swinburne's originals but Kiyochika has drawn a few new, specifically Japanese, illustrations.
Swinburne was wealthy, a school inspector by trade, and proper example of an eccentric (ie a pain to know) English gentleman; the sort that carried a revolver to visit schools in Irish catholic areas. I haven't read his self published memoir but you can find a charming precis of it online.
Worldcat finds copies at Berkeley and in the Diet library.


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Patent remedies. 諸薬功能書類綴 [cover title]. A gathering of 19th century handbills or descriptive and instructive leaflets or wrappers for various patent, herbal or quack medicines. v.p. c1880 to c1900? 26 individual pieces bound to fold into a handmade board and stiff paper wallet style string tied binding, 28x18cm, treated with persimmon, hand lettered title piece. Some are quite large, some are printed on both sides and a few are woodcut. Au$1500

The work of the sort of collector who deserves a small shrine. Here have been carefully preserved the most disposable, awkwardly shaped and ephemeral records of a recondite corner in modern history: when drugs and cures became an industry.
At least one of these brands is still available: Chujoto for "Female Complaints" still alleviates menstrual pain. There may be others and I'll bet many are the foundations of current industrial giants. The only date I've spotted is Meiji 13 - 1880; Chujoto was apparently invented in 1893 (or by princess Chujo of the Fujiwara clan in a Snow White like tale) and some may be a little earlier or later.


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Sino-Japanese War. Fushuken Tsuneshige? 帝国艦隊豊島ニ支那艦ヲ破ル [Teikoku Kantai Toshima ni Shina-kan o Yabu Ru]. Inoue Mohei 1894 (Meiji 27). Colour lithograph (or lithograph and woodcut?) triptych, each sheet approx 38x25.5cm. A good copy with decent top and left margins. Au$300

This is your run of the mill exploding ship Sino-Japanese woodcut senso-e triptych but for one thing: it is a lithograph. The are plenty of single sheet lithographs but they aren't the same thing. I'm yet to see another like this. A couple of other copies are reproduced online and even allowing for the vagaries of reproduction it's clear that colours were as experimental as the print itself.
All that I can find about Tsuneshige is that no-one agrees on how to read his name.


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戸締栓金具 文化クロロ [Tojimari Sen Kanagu : Bunka Kuroro]. [192-?]. Colour lithograph poster 76x35cm. Short tears around the edges; pretty good. Au$200

This shop poster is both an advertisement and a warning: these handsome door or window locks will not keep out mournful children.


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HILL, Headon. Unmasked at Last. NY, Fenno [1907?]. Octavo publisher's illustrated ochre cloth; frontispiece and two plates. A bright copy. Au$165

First American edition, soon after the English. An imprisoned counterfeiter's son is taken on as assistant gamekeeper by a thorough blackguard with a mysterious French master. But nothing is as it seems ... to start with, is the counterfeiter's son a counterfeit?


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HILL, Headon. The Embassy Case. London, Ward Lock 1915. Octavo publisher's decorated cloth blocked in blind, red and gilt; frontispiece. A used but decent copy. This came from Otto Penzler's collection, he usually kept the best copy he could find and sold any lesser copies. Au$100

First edition. A common enough story: a young well bred woman slaving in demeaning circumstances to help her ne-er-do-well brother running up gambling debts in India is accosted by a sinister prince of Balkannia who hires her to impersonate an as yet unidentified lady from his country. That brings us to the end of a brief chapter one. My guess is the king's daughter. From here on it gets complicated.


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HILL, Headon. Millions of Mischief. The story of a great secret. Akron, Saalfield 1905. Octavo publishers decorated red cloth blocked in black and white (a bit blotched). Not bad. This came from Otto Penzler's collection, he usually kept the best copy he could find and sold any lesser copies. Au$100

First published American edition? Hubin lists Transatlantic (1904) but I wonder what form that takes. The only thing by Transatlantic I can trace is an eleven page proof of another British thriller, presumably produced for copyright purposes.
Hill's publisher proudly repeated this notice from The Stage in his other books: "Not even the late Guy Boothby imagined anything more magnificently preposterous than the motive of Mr. Headon Hill's 'Millions of Mischief'".


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ETHERIDGE, R. The Dendroglyphs, or "Carved Trees" of New South Wales. Sydney, Govt Printer 1918. Quarto publisher's cloth backed printed boards; viii,104pp, frontispiece & numerous illustrations & photos on 29 plates, the last a folding map. A corner a bit bumped, minor browning, rather good. Mem. Geol. Surv. NSW. Ethnological Series, No.3. Au$750

Still the essential work and now quite hard to find. Etheridge was convinced that "at no distant date dendroglyphs will have ceased to exist," as was E.S. Hartland in his review of this book: "In years to come it will remain as the only record of these efforts of native art, beyond the few specimens preserved in museums". (Folklore; v31p4). Indeed some of the specimens here were already in museums.
While it is true that further examples have been discovered much of what is recorded here has perished and, so I was told by a central west grazier a few years ago, the average property owner who found carved trees on their land would often destroy them as quickly as possible before word got out, the authorities moved in and they lost control of their land.


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[VENABLES, Robert]. The Experienc'd Angler: or, Angling Improv'd. Being a general discourse ... third edition much enlarged. London, for Richard Marriot 1668. Small octavo sheep (rebacked and recornered); [16],96,[6]pp, extra engraved title and 10 engravings through the text. Some worming towards the end - of no great consequence. With the preliminary blank A1. Au$2000

One of the trio of Anglers; it was for a while, later in the century, included with Walton and Cotton but then slipped into relative obscurity. Venables' little fishing book seems to be about the only gentle, even warmhearted, product of an otherwise unhappy, troublesome and mean-spirited man. At least once here he preaches charity to the "sick and indigent" which he does not seem to have been able to extend to his own daughter and grandson.
The first edition appeared in 1662, the second edition seems to have vanished altogether and this third is quite changed from the first. At the end, in a contemporary hand, is a short recipe for bait.


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Itagaki Takao. 藝術界の基調と時潮 [Geijutsukai no Kicho to Jicho]. Tokyo, Rokubunkan 1932 (Showa 7). 22x16cm, publisher's cloth with onlaid colour illustration, mildly used printed card slipcase; 428pp including 36 pages of photo illustrations. A rather good copy. Au$650

First edition. Itagaki was seemingly indefatigable as a champion of modernity and modernism in the late twenties and early thirties. Between 1929 and 1933 he worried at the relationship of the machine to art, design, architecture, photography and film, propounding his concept of "machine realism" in a small bundle of books. Come the deadly government crackdown on Itagaki's natural disputants - the "proletarian realists" - he apparently retreated into conservative didactic writing on western art and film.


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