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  1. BROOKE, Charles, Sir.

    Ten Years in Saráwak … With an introduction by H.H. the Rajah Sir James Brooke …

    London, Tinsley Brothers, 1866.

    First edition, uncommon in the original pictorial cloth, of this account of Sarawak in Borneo by Sir Charles Brooke (1829–1917), second of the ‘white rajas of Sarawak’, with an introduction by his famous uncle Sir James, the first raja.


  2. [COOK, James, and Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de la PÉROUSE.]

    Tableau des decouvertes du Capne. Cook, & de la Pérouse....

    S. Sauveur, l’an 7 de la République Française [1798-1799].

    A splendid hand-coloured engraving depicting indigenous peoples of the Pacific and beyond, drawn from the voyages of James Cook (1728–1779) and La Pérouse (1741–1788), and published by the Canadian-born writer, artist and diplomat, Jacques Grasset de Saint-Saveur (1757–1810).


  3. TARTAGLIA, Niccolò Fontana.

    Quesiti, et inventioni diverse.

    Venice, Venturino Ruffinelli ‘ad instantia et requisitione, & a proprie spese de Nicolo Tartalea Brisciano Autire’, July 1546.

    First edition, annotated throughout by a contemporary reader, of Tartaglia’s highly influential work on ballistics and algebra, containing his polemical rule for solving cubic equations.


  4. SENECA, Lucius Annaeus (attributed)

    Liber ad Gallione[m] de remediis fortuitorum. 

    [Leipzig, Jacobus Thanner, 1517]. 

    An extensively annotated copy of a very rare early sixteenth-century edition of this successful tract of moral philosophy.  Whilst its entire manuscript tradition was unanimous in attributing this work to Seneca, and eminent scholars with a profoundly intimate knowledge of Senecan philosophy...


  5. WYLD, James.

    Map of the islands of Japan, Kurile &c. and part of the Chinese dominions and a sketch of the river Amoor and the...

    London, James Wyld, 1859–1860.

    Rare four-sheet map of Japan, the Russian Far East, Mongolia and Southern Siberia, Korea, and China’s central coast, by James Wyld the younger (1812–1887), published just a few years after the end of Japan’s long isolationist period.


  6. WOLFERSTAN, Stanford.

    An Enquiry into the Causes of Diseases in General, and the Disturbances of the Humors in Man’s Body …...

    London, Printed for Thomas Basset … 1692.

    First and only edition, very rare, of a short medical work on blood, air, and poison by Stanford Wolferstan (b. 1652), youngest son of the noted book collector Frances Wolfreston (1607–1677).


  7. [HOLBEIN, Hans, the Younger.] Christian von MECHEL (engraver).

    Le Triomphe de la Mort, gravé d’après les dessins...

    Paris, Simon Raçon, ‘1780’ [i.e. 1854].

    Rare nineteenth-century reprint of Mechel’s engravings after the magnificent set of woodcuts by Hans Holbein (1497–1543), in which the grinning figure of Death surreptitiously claims a host of victims ranging from popes to paupers.


  8. GASPARIN, Agénor Étienne, Comte de.

    Des tables tournantes du surnaturel en général et des esprits par le Cte Agénor de Gasparin.

    Paris, Bonaventure and Ducessois for E. Dentu, 1854.

    Scarce first edition of Gasparin’s early experiments in table-turning – a form of séance in which tables appear to rotate or levitate of their own accord – which would prove highly controversial and integral to the nineteenth-century Spiritualist movement.


  9. CREVE, Carl Caspar. 

    Vom Metallreize, einem neuentdeckten untrüglichen Prüfungsmittel des wahren Todes.  Mit einer Kupfertafel. 

    Leipzig and Gera, Wilhelm Heinsius, 1796.

    First edition of this uncommon contribution to the medical literature in which Creve proposes a new method of ascertaining death using a metal conductor attached to muscle tissue, part of the body of research that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.


  10. MATTHIEU, Pierre, et al.

    Tablettes ou quatrains de la vie et de la mort. Par Pierre Matthieu, conseiller du roy.

    Première [– troisième] partie … Rouen, Jacques Cailloué, 1628.

    Very rare pocket-sized Rouen edition of verses on life and death by the poet and royal historiographer Pierre Matthieu (1563–1621), here printed with further poems by Guy du Faur de Pibrac, Antoine Favre and others. All early editions are extremely rare, many known in a single copy.


  11. WYLD, James.

    The islands of Japan by James Wyld, geographer to the Queen & H.R.H. the Prince Consort.

    London, James Wyld, 1 January 1859.

    Rare folding map of Japan by James Wyld the younger (1812–1887) published just a few years after the end of its long isolationist era, showing treaty ports opening soon following the signing of the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and the United States.


  12. DESLANDES, André-François Boureau.

    Dying Merrily: or, historical and critical Reflexions on the Conduct of great Men in all Ages,...

    London: Printed for M. Cooper ... 1745.

    First edition of this translation of Réfléxions sur les grands hommes que sont morts en plaisantant (1712), by the philosopher and naval official André-François Deslandes (1670–1757), an important precursor of the Encyclopédistes.


  13. [MURDER.]

    Arrest de la cour du Parlement, qui condamne Pierre Guyon, jardinier, à étre rompu vif ... dans la Place du Pilory...

    Paris, Pierre-Guillaume Simon, 1778.

    Very rare decree documenting the crimes and punishment of one Pierre Guyon, a murderous gardener from Poitiers; a case of green fingers turning blood-red.


  14. MIMEREL, Marie-Thérèse.

    Vous êtes priés d’assister aux convoi & vigiles de Damoiselle Marie-Therese Mimerel ...

    [Amiens, 1779].

    An apparently unrecorded announcement of the funeral and burial of Marie-Thérèse Mimerel at Amiens, in northern France, on 17 January 1779.



    Uffizio de’ morti, ad uso delle confraternite e congregazioni. 

    Turin, Bernardino Barberis, 1805. 

    An apparently unrecorded Turin-printed Office of the Dead, with striking woodcut memento mori ornaments, printed for the use of religious congregations and confraternities.  The Uffizio de’ morti, outlining the liturgy used in commemoration of the dead, is accompanied by a notice...


  16. PERUCCI, Francesco.

    Pompe funebri di tutte le nationi del mondo, raccolte dale storie sagre et profane.

    Verona, Francesco Rossi, 1639.

    First edition of Perucci’s account of the funeral practices of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, extensively illustrated with engravings copied in reverse from Porcacchi’s 1574 Funerali antichi di diversi popoli, et nationi, inscribed by a Scottish antiquary and documented book collector....


  17. DEPARCIEUX, Antoine.

    Essai sur les probabilités de la durée de la vie humaine; d’où l’on déduit la manière de déterminer...

    Paris, chez les frères Guerin, 1746.

    A large, crisp and illustrious copy of the first edition of a classic of statistical science: it is the first to define expectation of life – which Deparcieux calls ‘la vie moyenne’ – and the first to contain life tables for men and women.


  18. POCKLINGTON, John.

    Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth...

    London, Printed by Richard Badger. 1637.

    First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.


  19. REFELL, A. 

    Trugbilder: Eine Anleitung Erscheinungen, auf optischer Täuschung beruhend, nach Belieben hervorzuheben und wissenschaftliche...

    Stuttgart, Rieger, 1865. 

    First German edition, rare, of this fascinating study of mirages and optical illusions, in particular ghostly apparitions, in which the author attempts to demonstrate using the principles of optics how they might appear, with the aim of proving the absurdity of the superstitions to which they...


  20. DENNYS, Nicholas Belfield (editor).

    The Treaty Ports of China and Japan. A complete guide to the open ports of those countries,...

    Shortrede and Co., 1867.

    First edition, complete with all twenty-nine maps and plans, of this remarkable guide to the open ports of China and Japan in the late 1860s, aimed at ‘travellers, merchants, and residents’, compiled by Nicholas Dennys (1839–1900), a noted scholar of Chinese folklore, with the sinologist...