We stock Western books in European languages, generally – but not exclusively – published before circa 1850. We are especially interested in early travel accounts – from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries – in all areas beyond Europe.Geographical regions in which we have tended to specialise include the Pacific and its surrounding countries – South America, the Northwest Coast of America, Japan, China, the maritime regions of Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia, and Australia. Books on Africa, the polar regions, manuscripts and separately published maps are also handled.
De patientia aurei libri tres.
Brescia, Bernardinus de Misintis, 30 May 1497.
First edition of Mantuanus’s work containing -on recto of m3- a lengthy reference to America, one of the very few 15th century instances: a ‘mention of discoveries of islands in the Atlantic, noting their size and the fact that they are inhabited. Because none of the ancient geographers knew...
(Colophon:) Venice, Aldus, May 1502.
A handsome copy of the first edition of the Greek text of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, printed by the great Aldus Manutius, with an interesting provenance.
Divini Platonis operum a Marsilio Ficino tralatorum tomus primus [-quintus].
Lyons, Jean de Tournes, 1550.
The only de Tournes edition of Plato’s corpus, rare. The Latin text is that of Marsilio Ficino, the first complete translation of Plato’s work into a Western language, and ‘the best translation of that author Italy can boast’ (Enc. Brit.), which the translator discussed with the best philologists...
P. Rami ... Oratio de legatione.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First (?) edition: a fascinating pamphlet marking a critical epoch in the history of the University of Paris and the first occasion on which Ramus came into prominence as champion of his University and of higher education in general.
Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.
VENUSTI, Antonio Maria.
Compendio utilissimo di quelle cose, le quali a nobili e christiani mercanti appartengono.
Milan, Giovan Antonio degli Antonij, 1561.
First edition, containing Discorso d’intorno alla Mercantia and Trattato del Cambio di Lione o di Bisenzone and Trattato de’ Cambi, and including the Italian translation of Saravia de la Calle’s Institutione de’ Mercanti.
[MAFFEI, Giovanni Pietro and Emanuel ACOSTA.]
Rerum a societate Jesu in oriente gestarum volume. In quo hæc ferme continentur....
Naples: Orazio Salviani, 1573.
Third and best edition of the earliest detailed history of the Jesuit missions in the East, especially Japan. Included for the first time in this edition are five pages of Japanese characters in printed facsimile, ‘Specimen quoddam litterarum vocumque Japonicarum; desumptum e regis Bungi diplomate’...
CAESAR, Caius Julius.
Rerum gestarum commentarii XIV … omnia collatis antiquis manuscriptis exemplaribus, quae passim in Italia,...
Frankfurt, Georg Rab for Jacopo Strada, 1575.
First Strada edition of Caesar’s Commentaries, with woodcut illustrations, annotated by the Feuillants against François Hotman. Prepared by the humanist scholar Jacopo Strada (1507 – 1588), Rab’s edition prints Caesar’s Commentaries with Aulus Hirtius’s additions, Eutropius’s epitome of...
[FULIGNATI, Giuntino (pseud.
for Tommaso BUONI?)]. Della famosissima compagnia della lesina. Dialogo, capitoli, e ragionamenti....
Vicenza, Giorgio Greco, 1601.
Scarce humorous dystopia of indigence, first edition thus: the first to include a section specifically directed at women. Styled as the statutes and histories of a fictitious society, the ‘Company of Stinginess’, founded to promote thrift in an age of economic depression and scarcity, made its debut...
Primera parte de la vida del Picaro Guzman de Alfarache ...
Çaragoça, Angelo Tavanno, 1603.
Rare early edition of the prototype of the picaresque novel, Guzman de Alfarache. The novel prepared the way for the acceptance of Cervantes’ Don Quixote by the literary public of Europe; and, like Don Quixote, it quickly inspired a sequel. The original part I first appeared...
Regole militari sopra il governo e servitio particolare della cavalleria.
Antwerp: Gioachimo Trognaesio, 1611.
First edition. A treatise on the conduct and service of cavalry by the lieutenant-general of the Spanish cavalry in the Low Countries at the Truce of 1609. Insisting that the cavalry should be considered independently of the other military branches, Melzo draws on his experiences in the Netherlands to...
CÉSPEDES Y MENESES, Gonzalo de.
Varia fortuna del soldado Pindaro.
Lisbon, Geraldo de la Viña, ‘626’ [i.e 1626].
Rare first edition of this semi-autobiographical picaresque novel, printed while the author was in exile in Lisbon following the publication of his politically controversial Historia apologética en los sucesos del reyno de Aragon (1622).
MENDES PINTO, Fernão (Bernard FIGUIER, translator).
Les voyages advantureux de Fernand Mendez Pinto. Fidelement traduicts de portugais...
Paris: Mathurin Henault, 1628.
First edition in French of Mendes Pinto’s celebrated travel account; rare. The original Portuguese edition was published in 1614, although the first draft of the book had been completed by 1569. The present ‘atmospheric and faithful French translation’ (Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe,...
Pompe funebri di tutte le nationi del mondo, raccolte dale storie sagre et profane.
Verona, Francesco Rossi, 1639.
First edition of Perucci’s extensively illustrated account of funeral practices, inscribed by a Scottish antiquary and documented book collector. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and later the Royal Society, Walter Bowman (1699 – 1782) travelled extensively over the course of five decades in...
Peribologia seu muniendorum locor[um] ratio.
Frankfurt, Anton Humm for the author, 1641.
First Latin edition of this monumental work on architecture and fortifications, a book produced by father and son. The imprint makes clear that the son, Johann Wilhelm, not only was responsible for the magnificent plates but also edited and published the work ‘edita sumptus et typos suppeditante Joanne...
Historia dell’antica, e moderna Palestina. Descritta in tre parti . . . Nella quale si hà particolare descrittione...
Venice, Giovanni Battista Surian, 1642.
First edition; scarce. The Minorite friar Vincenzo Berdini was named Commissioner General of the Holy Land by Paul V in 1615. It is not known how long he spent in the Near East, but it was apparently long enough for him to visit and carefully study the principal holy sites (‘di vedere, ed’intender...
A discourse touching the Spanish monarchy. Wherein we have a political glasse representing each particular...
London, printed for Philemon Stephens in Paul’s Church-Yard, 1654.
First edition in English. The translator’s preface to the reader is unsigned, but the translation is usually attributed to Edward Chilmead (see Oxford DNB). He explains that he could not discover in which language the Discourse was originally written in, but that the recent  Latin edition published...
Annales et Historiae de rebus Belgicis.
Amsterdam, J. Blaeu, 1657.
First edition of the great jurists’ Annals of the Low Countries, his one work of history.
THE RATES OF MERCHANDISE,
That is to say, the Subsidy of Tonnage, Subsidy of Poundage, and the Subsidy of Woollen Clothes or Old-Drapery,...
London, Edward Husbands and Thomas Newcomb, 1660.
Printed descriptions of the import duties on wine and merchandise appeared in England as early as 1545. This later edition is one of the first editions after the lifetime of Charles I, who levied the duties without the authority of parliament. Printed at the instigation of the House of Commons, it was...
The Dutch drawn to the life…
London, for Thomas Johnson and H. Marsh, 1664.
First edition. The book is written as a series of questions and answers, covering everything one could ever wish to know about the Dutch and their nation from their general character, social life and customs to physical details of the individual provinces, trade and industry, politics and government,...