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A Wonder Book. [Together with:] an autograph letter signed and a signed print.

RACKHAM, Arthur.) HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel. Together 3 items. A Wonder Book: small quarto. Original red cloth, titles to spine in gilt, title to front cover in blind, pictorial stamp to front cover gilt, top edge blue, pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket, with pictorial onlay to front panel. Mounted colour print of the frontispiece illustration (174 x 126 mm); autograph letter signed by Rackham (dated 21 August 1927, letterhead of Houghton House, Arundel), 2 pp. (177 x 110 mm). A fine copy in the very good dust jacket, lightly dust-soiled, faintly foxed, minor nicks to corners. The print and letter in fine condition too. Colour frontispiece and 15 colour plates mounted on off-white heavy paper with captioned tissue guards, 8 three-colour full-page illustrations and black and white decorations in the text, by Rackham. First trade edition, first impression. The colour print, signed by Rackham in brown ink on the mount, is of the artwork used as the frontispiece and cover illustration. The interesting letter is addressed to 'Mr Willford', a painter and stained glass artist based in Lancashire. Rackham thanks him for some photographs he has received, and discusses the problem of colour reproduction before going on to describe his satisfaction with the enclosed print and his usual tactics for ensuring quality control, "I can quite see how the camera has played the deuce with colour values - it always does. The print I am sending in exchange is a very good specimen of 3 colour reproduction of an original that, of its kind, I think is as good as I have done. The reproducers, I may say, do not love me at all. For I think my work undoubtedly asks for their utmost skill & care. But I have always aimed at supplying drawings, not such as can safely be given to the office boy to produce an effective result from (effective - from an uncritical point of view), but rather such as avoid the worst qualities of the process: I therefore give the reproducers a chance to show themselves at their best. I fear their work is now so commercialised that they hardly appreciate this". A lovely set with interesting provenance. Latimore & Haskell p. 55; Riall p. 146.
    • $4,010
The Life of Samuel Johnson. Comprehending an account of his studies and numerous works

The Life of Samuel Johnson. Comprehending an account of his studies and numerous works, in chronological order; a series of his epistolary correspondence and conversations with many eminent persons; and various original pieces of his composition, never before published: the whole exhibiting a view of literature and literary men in Great-Britain, for near half a century, during which he flourished. In three volumes. The second edition, revised and augmented.

BOSWELL, James. 3 volumes, octavo (202 x 125 mm). 20th-century mottled calf to style, twin red and orange labels to spines, spine gilt to compartments, gilt border and turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. Very minor wear at extremities, hinges cracked, some foxing in text. A good copy. Engraved portrait frontispiece after Reynolds, 2 folding engraved facsimile plates; additional inserted portrait frontispiece in vol. III. First octavo edition, the second overall, of "the most famous biography in any language, one of Western literature's most germinal achievements: unprecedented in its time in its depth of research and its extensive use of private correspondence and recorded conversation" (ODNB). Boswell set about compiling his many thousands of notes after Johnson's death in 1784, and this was the only revision he lived to make: much new material, including a number of original letters, had come to him in the wake of the huge success of the first edition (1791) and he added many lengthy new notes, and prefatory matter. Lowndes I p. 242.
    • $1,671
Legends of the Monastic Orders. As represented in the fine arts. Forming the second series of sacred and legendary art. New impression.

Legends of the Monastic Orders. As represented in the fine arts. Forming the second series of sacred and legendary art. New impression.

CHIVERS BINDING.) JAMESON, Anna. Octavo (205 x 144 mm). Early 20th-century purple morocco by Cedric Chivers of Bath (signed to rear turn-in), smooth spine lettered in gilt, front cover with vellucent hand-painted portrait of a saint enhanced with gilt incorporating hand-lettered title, gilt floral frame to spine and covers incorporating green morocco onlays, gilt ruled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. Very minor rubbing to spine and around extremities. A fine copy. With 11 etchings with tissue-guards, and 88 woodcut illustrations in the text. An exquisitely bound copy, with the front panel constituting a fine example of Cedric Chivers's vellucent style, where the backing sheet is hand-painted before being covered in vellum which has been shaved to transparency, which is then tooled in gilt. This is in contrast to the previous great binder of painted vellum, Edwards of Halifax, who painted in reverse on the underside of translucent vellum. Chivers had patented his vellucent method in 1898, and used it to create some of the most beautiful books of the turn of the century. His style influenced, and became closely associated with, the Arts and Crafts movement. The book itself is an attractively illustrated and printed edition of Anna Jameson's (1794-1860) book of monastical legends, first published in 1850, and part of her five-volume series Sacred and Legendary Art.
Foirades / Fizzles

Foirades / Fizzles

JOHNS, JASPER; BECKETT, SAMUEL ONE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED ART BOOKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY: SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION, SIGNED BY JASPER JOHNS AND SAMUEL BECKETT. ONE OF ONLY 250 COPIES, (from a total edition of 300). "Two of the most enigmatic artists of our time, Samuel Beckett and Jasper Johns, collaborated on this complex yet elegant artist's book. Originally written in French., the brooding essays were rewritten in English by Beckett for this project. Nevertheless, Johns decided to include both texts that expanded his own involvement to thirty-three etchings and aquatints plus color lithograph endpapers. Johns's imagery is based on a major four-panel painting, Untitled (1972), along with his classic imagery related to numbers and body parts. This cerebral volume that provokes more questions than it answers is considered one of the greatest artists' books of the second half of the twentieth century" (Johnson and Stein, Artists' Books in the Modern Era 1870-2000). Included in the landmark 1995 Museum of Modern Art exhibit: A Century of Artists' Books. Magnificently illustrated with original prints by Johns, with the complete set of 33 etchings and aquatints in- and hors-texte, including two double pages in colors. Printed on handmade wove Auvergne Richard de Bas paper watermarked with Beckett's initials and Johns's signature. Text in both French and English by Beckett. London, Paris, New York: Editions de Minuit and Petersburg Press S.A., 1976. Oblong folio (13 x 9 3/4 in.; 330 x 247 mm), publisher's ivory wove paper binding with aquatint endpapers, bound in accordion fold around support leaves; publisher's beige linen box with purple tassel lined with colored lithograph. Printed at Atelier Crommelynck. A small amount of offsetting to text as usual, despite all tissue guards present. A MAGNIFICENT WORK IN FINE CONDITION.
On the Mechanical Performance of Logical Inference [The Logical Piano]

On the Mechanical Performance of Logical Inference [The Logical Piano]

JEVONS, WILLIAM STANLEY A LANDMARK IN COMPUTER SCIENCE: FIRST EDITION OF JEVONS'S PRESENTATION AND EXPLANATION OF HIS "LOGICAL PIANO", THE FIRST MACHINE TO SOLVE A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM AT SUPERHUMAN SPEED. Jevons invented a "logical piano" (so named because it resembled a small upright piano) that could perform, through a sequence of switches, various types of logical calculations. In doing so, he became "the first person to construct a machine with sufficient power to solve a complicated problem faster than the problem could be solved without the machine's aid" (Goldstine, The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann ). "From his thinking on the processes of logical inference, [Jevons] developed the idea that these might be performed mechanically. As early as 1865 he was trying to build a 'reasoning machine, or logical abacus' (Papers, 4.69), which evolved through several stages into a 'logical piano' or logical machine which he demonstrated before the Royal Society in January 1870. He thought it 'quite as likely to be laughed at as admired' (Letters and Journal, 250), but it was later to be recognized as one of the forerunners of twentieth-century computers, and is preserved in the History of Science Museum at Oxford." (R.D. Collison Black, Dictionary of National Biography). "Jevons's logical piano could handle up to four terms and their negations (one per key) and provide all the possible combinations. Its operating principle was one of the most basic modes of thought, the law of duality. Given one to four terms, the machine, using this law, would expand, eliminate, those with contradictions, and churn out the conclusion. In this way, 'the actual process of logical deduction is thus reduced to a purely mechanical form, and we arrive at a machine embodying [Boole's] Laws of Thought." (Margaret Schabas, A World Ruled by Number: William Stanley Jevons and the Rise of Mathematical Economics). "On the Mechanical Performance of Logical Inference," a paper Jevons read before the Royal Society on January 20, 1870, is his most detailed description of this early prototype of the modern computer. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London for the year 1870, pp. 497-518, Vol. 160, Part II (the complete volume). London: Taylor and Francis, 1870. Quarto (9x12 inches), original wrappers, largely unopened; custom box. Complete with 26 plates (3 for Jevons). A FINE COPY.
Denslow's One Ring Circus and Other Stories

Denslow’s One Ring Circus and Other Stories

Denslow, W.W. Large 4to. 1 blank f. (slightly browned), [74] pp. illustrated in color throughout by Denslow. Original red publisher's cloth, top board edges, foot of spine, and lower front cover with evidence of bio-predation (?), pastedowns slightly browned. On upper cover: pictorial cover label depicting a clown seated on top of a festive elephant, in bright state; original pictorial DUST-WRAPPER (soiled, chipped and torn, and partially defective). Internally very good condition: hinges tights and unbroken, pages free from inscriptions, without defects or blemishes of any kind. Preserved in a Brodart sleeve. Rare in good condition, as here, with the original dust-wrapper which is almost unfindable: the only one listed in Rare Book Hub sold in 2008 (New England Book Auctions 4/29/2008, lot 48). It scarcely needs to be stated that William Wallace Denslow (1856-1915) is justly celebrated as one of the most original children's book illustrators of his day, immortalized by his iconic illustrations of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The present work is one of "Denslow's Picture Books" series, which were designed to eliminate "all coarseness, cruelty, and everything that might frighten children" from his picture books. If the implication is that nome of the illustrations in the present volume are scary, we would respectfully disagree. CONTENTS: One Ring Circus (in which little Peter Funnybone falls asleep in the hayloft and dreams of a wonderful and fantastic circus that arrives in his yard), The Zoo (in which Peter Funnybone tells stories about the zoo to his sister Sue), 5 Little Pigs (the last page is dated at "Inverurie, Paget West, Bermuda, June Fifth, 1903), Tom Thumb, A.B.C. Book (in which the Scarecrow and Tin-Man appear under the letters "S" and "T" respectively), Jack and the Bean-Stalk. The first edition of this work was published in 1902 by G.W. Dillingham, New York. Cf. Greene & Hearn, W.W. Denslow, 31.
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Catalogue des livres de M. l’abbe Courbon du Ternay, confesseur de Madame Louise de France

Courbon du Ternay, Abbe [Antoine] 8vo. [20], 206, 205-324, 15, [1] pp. Collation: a4 b8 (leaf b1/b4 bound out of order) c2 A-Tt4 A8, COMPLETE. Bound in original "temporary" drab wrappers pasted onto a printed waste, including a printed sheet of spine titles for a multi-volume edition of Voltaire. Approximately half of the drab paper covering the spine has torn away, revealing quire gatherings and sewing structure. All edges untrimmed. Preserved in a protective cloth case. No copy in BnF or the Grolier Club. Rale sale catalogue, priced and annotated in contemporary MS, of the 25,000 volume library of Abbé Courbon du Ternay (1721-1788), the confessor of Mme Louise-Marie de France (daughter of Louis XV), whom Cardinal de Bernis called 'homme terrible' on account of his scandalous behavior. The sale consisted of 5,811 lots (plus 40 Supplementary lots); while it realized more than 44,000 livres, it was still not enough to pay the Abbe's creditors. That the Abbe had gone blind in early 1787 certainly motivated the sale. According to the Preface, the sale was occasioned by "an unwelcome event that does not allow him to enjoy his library." It is an extraordinary fact that by December of that year, Pissot had catalogued the entire library, compiled and printed the sale catalogue, and organized the auction, which began on December 12; it took 56 days to disperse the library, and the sale lasted until January 22, as we see from the 15-page Ordre de la Vente, present in our copy, but not in B.H. Breslauer's (the only copy traced at auction by Rare Book Hub, which currently lists more than 9 million records). Our copy is further distinguished by containing, in addition to the prices realized, many salient notes in pencil noting various cataloguing errors, defective volumes, references to various bibliographic authorities, and even other library sale catalogues. Finally, after 232 years our specimen survives in remarkably good condition, preserved in the original drab wrappers, and completely unsophisticated. The method of catalogue arrangement conforms to that which was utilized by late-18th century "librairies de Paris," namely, 5 classes: Théologie -- Jurisprudence -- Sciences et arts -- Belles-lettres -- Histoire. The present sale catalogue is exceptional in that within each class are extremely well-organized and well-defined sub-classes, the result being a volume tantamount to a bibliography of all that was knowable and worth owning. The formation of the library had been the life's work of Courbon du Ternay; it was especially rich in books of theology, jurisprudence, and every class of history. It included some fine incunabula and several important manuscripts, unassumingly catalogued, such as the late 14th-century Cartularium Xenocochii S. Pauli Viennensis / Cartularium Delphinorum (lot 3474), now BnF MS latin 9908, which records laws and decrees dating from 1009 to 1357 (published in full by Ulysse Chevalier, Notice sur un cartulaire des Dauphins de Viennois en partie inédit, 1867). The prices in our copy document interesting elements of the market at that time: a "14th-century" illuminated Book of Hours on vellum (lot 201) realized just 8 livres 16 sols, whereas an illuminated copy of Hamilton's Antiquites Etrusques, Grecques & Romaines (lot 5126) sold for 432 livres, and Diderot's Encyclopedia (lot 2295 - the Paris edition, not the counterfeit according to our annotator) realized 580 livres. The first owner of our copy was evidently pleased with his purchase -- for only 8 livres -- of group lot 5685 which contained approximately 101 bound library sale catalogues. According to his notes on p. 314, he then sold two catalogues separately for 2 livres 11 sols: the 1662 DuFresne sale, and the 1707 Giraud sale. Who among us can blame him for keeping all the other catalogues for himself? Antoine Courbon, who later assumed the name Courbon du Ternay, was the son of a lieutenant in Saint-Etienne; he studied at the Saint-Irenee seminary in Lyon and then at the University of Valence. Tonsured in 1744, he joined the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, where he was ordained a priest in 1755. He became canon of Chartres in 1758 and archdeacon of Blois in 1761. He remained famous for having been chaplain of Louise-Marie de France, daughter of Louis XV, and for his extravagant spending. REFERENCES: DBF IX, 949-950. Migne, Dictionnaire de bibliographie catholique (1860) IV, col. 460. Guigard, Armorial du bibliophile I, p. 265 (named as "Jean-Hippolyte"). Le siècle des Lumières: Bibliographie chronologieque XXII (1786-1787) p. 230. Not in Blogie or North, Grolier Club. CENSUS OF COPIES: Institut catholique de Paris (Bibl. de Fels); Bibl. Mun. Limoges; John Rylands Library; Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh. The Breslauer copy (Christie's New York, 22 March 2005 lot 503) remains untraced.
Tulip Mania]. Tooneel van Flora. Vertonend: grondelijcke Redens-ondersoekinge

Tulip Mania]. Tooneel van Flora. Vertonend: grondelijcke Redens-ondersoekinge, vanden Handel der Floristen [.] Noch is hier by-gevoegt de Lijste van eenige Tulpaen vercocht aende meestbiedende tot Alcmaer op den 15 Februarij 1637

Cornelis van der Woude 4to. A4-C4, D2 [i.e. 28 unnumbered pages]. Bound in old paper wrappers. Some slightly browning, faint water damage at upper right corner of fols. 1-2, title-page with small paper repair in upper corner; final gathering (2 ff.) slightly detached from rest of textblock. Pasted onto the title-page imprint statement: a small printed slip, indicating the new location of Ioost Broersz's printshop. Title page also contains copperplate engraving of the Goddess of Tulips (signed "RB fecit 1631"). A scarce and very intriguing pamphlet printed during the financial crisis of "tulip mania," arguably the first stock speculation, and the first recorded speculative bubble. "Tulip mania" was a boom in the tulip trade in Holland and Utrecht that arose around 1634 and came to an abrupt end at the beginning of February 1637, and the present pamphlet is a strictly contemporary witness to its aftermath. Tulip mania is considered the first futures market in history, where contracts to buy bulbs at the end of the season were bought and sold between individuals, and not with the Exchange. Because of this, the Dutch described tulip contract trading as windhandel (literally "wind trade") because no bulbs were actually changing hands. Economists described the tulip mania phenonemon as the first extensively described bubble (or speculative wave) in world history, and is often used as a metaphor for a large economic bubble. During the Dutch Golden Age, the prices of the newly introduced tulip bulbs reached extreme heights. In January 1637, tulip bulbs were sold for more than ten times the annual salary of an experienced craftsman, and were worth about as much as an Amsterdam canal house. There was also speculation in options on tulips that were still buried in the ground. Pieter Cos's "Tulip Book" from 1637 lists the prices that his tulip bulbs realized at an auction, with some having selling prices as high as 3000 and 4200 guilders depending on the weight of the bulb. The tulip trade crashed on February 3, 1637 in Haarlem when, for the first time, buyers apparently refused to show up at a routine bulb auction. After the collapse, a new stream of pamphlets appeared, some mocking the tulip maniacs, and others in which the tulip trade was defended, as here. The "Tooneel van Flora" (The Theater of Flora) by the Alkmaar teacher Cornelis van der Woude was written for tulip growers who had seen their good name discredited by the speculators. The pamphlet contains -- in addition to arguments supporting the tulip trade in prose, verse, and sonnet format -- valuable commodity information in lists of tulip prices current as of 5 February 1637, a mere two days after the trade's collapse. The implosion of the tulip trade was so complete after February 3rd that virtually no information has survived concerning bulb prices in the spring of 1637, making our pamphlet an incredible source of information. Outside of the Netherlands, only the Harvard Business School / Kress Collection holds an actual copy of the printed pamphlet. Ours appears to be the only one currently on the market. Not listed in Rare Book Hub. Knuttel 4539.
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Large American Bookbinder / Bookseller Advertisement]. The Power of Religion on the Mind, in Retirement, Affliction, and At the Approach of Death

Murray, Lindley 12mo in 6's. A-Z6, Aa-Bb6, COMPLETE. Two binder's leaves at front and back. Paginated: xi, [1], 280 pp. Bound in contemporary American tree sheep, single gilt roll along recessed bands and head and foot of spine, double gilt roll along edges of red spine label, blue speckled edges. Large bookbinder / bookseller advertisement affixed to front pastedown (see below). Minor foxing here and there as is true in all copies on account of the paper stock; some staining to the outer margins, binding extremities a little rubbed. This large American bookbinder / bookseller label measures 153 x 91 mm and is the largest we've seen. Five other copies of it are known, and unlike ours -- which remains completely in situ -- they were either removed from the books that originally contained them, or were preserved merely as trade-cards (see Census below). The label describes the broad array of goods that were available from the original seller (and binder?) of this book, Oliver D. Cooke, including -- but hardly limited to -- traveling trunks, walking canes, silk umbrellas, portable writing desks, ink-stands, quills, tooth brushes, whips and lathes, sealing wax, ivory and dressing combs, and of course many types of paper stock, ink, blank books, Bibles, literature and books of moral instruction, and much more. Oliver D. Cooke (1766-1833) first went into partnership with his brother, Increase Cooke, under the name Increase Cooke & Co. In the 1799 Andrews Hartford Business Directory, he is listed as a purveyor of books, stationary, umbrellas &c. By 1804, Oliver had added "bookbinder" to his list of occupations, and in 1805 dissolved the partnership with his brother. From 1816-1819, Cooke was in business with Horatio G. Hale (1812-1853) and traded under the name Cooke & Hale. After this partnership was dissolved, Cooke formed his own firm, Oliver D. Cooke & Co., which he ran until his death. According to the American Antiquarian Society, the present bookbinder / bookseller label dates from 1802. Our copy of Murray's "The Power of Religion on the Mind" was first owned by Horatio Nelson Chandler (1804-1873), and bears his inscription on the first blank leaf. Originally of Colerain, Mass., Chandler became a merchant in Brattleboro. The movement of this copy (New York --> Hartford --> Massachusetts) attests to the vibrancy of the early American book trade. CENSUS: Three examples of this binder's label are held by AAS, none in situ: two are in the trading cards collection, and a third was inexplicably removed from the book that originally contained it; the other examples (University of Delaware and Connecticut Historical Society) were never affixed to books. This bookbinder's advertisement is not mentioned in Spawn and Kinsella, American Signed Bindings (Bryn Mawr); no examples of this binder appear in the Frederick E. Maser or Papantonio collections. The label itself is reproduced in the Archive of Americana, Broadsides and Ephemera as no. 19720. Tenth Edition, Corrected and Greatly Enlarged.
First Spanish Emblem Book]. Emblemas Morales de Don Iuan de Horozco y Covarruuias

First Spanish Emblem Book]. Emblemas Morales de Don Iuan de Horozco y Covarruuias, Arcediano de Cuellar en la Santa Iglesia de Segouia

Horozco y Covarrubias, Juan de 8vo. Three parts in one volume. Part 1: A-L8 (B4 mistakenly signed A4). Foliated 1-88. Parts 2-3: A-Z8, Aa-Ee8. Foliated [7], 201, 16. Altogether 320 ff. COMPLETE. Illustrated. Bound in early Spanish 19th-century marbled calf (or sheep?) with marbled endleaves, thin ornamental roll along bands and head and foot of smooth spine, floral stamp between each roll, orange calf spine label with rhombus-patterned background; edges stained blue. Text with significant browning here and there; in Part 3 small worm hole from T7-Z3 and pinprick worm hole from Z4-Bb2. Early ownership inscription on title-page heavily cancelled; "1821" date computation. Horozco's "Emblemas Morales" is justly considered to be the first truly Spanish emblem book, written in Spanish by a Spanish author, and printed and published in Spain. The work contains a total of 101 small woodcut emblems of high quality, all surrounded by elaborate woodcut borders in the late Renaissance style, with the arms and monogram of Juan de Bonilla, who paid for the publication. The text is divided into three parts: the first is Horozco's dissertation on emblems, while the second and third parts contain 50 emblems, each accompanied by Spanish verse of varying lengths. Our copy belongs to the third edition, following the 1589 and 1591 editions printed by Juan de la Cuesta in Segovia. For this 1603-1604 Caragoca edition, the woodcut emblems were recut, and the woodcut borders are entirely different. An important expression of the Spanish Golden Age (Siglo D'oro) was the development and proliferation of the emblem book. That Horozco's "Emblemas Morales" was the first is of the greatest significance. Throughout Europe, many Catholic orders, including the Jesuits, adopted the genre as a moral weapon of the Counter-Reformation. Horozco's emblems are of a moralizing and didactic character, "borrowed from Bocchi and Cousteau" according to Landwehr. Juan de Horozco y Covarrubias (1540?-1610) belonged to a distinguished family of humanists and clerics who held important positions of power in the Spanish court. The "Emblemas Morales" is his magnum opus; he dedicated the text to the memory of his uncle, Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva, one of the most well-known Spanish theologians and humanists of his time. Horozco was named bishop of Agrigento in 1594, bringing local Jesuits into the diocese and maintaining favorable relations with his Carmelite friends (through whom he established a Carmelite convent in Sicily) at a time when religious reforms after the Council of Trent were greatly increasing tensions between Catholic orders. Officials envious of his place and position in Rome and Spain denounced Juan de Horozco as a church official with "improper privileges," burning many of his works; he was ultimately removed and placed in the bishopric of Guadix where he remained until his death. Of this edition of the "Emblemas Morales," our copy appears to be the only one on the market. Cited in Landwehr Romantic, 396; Palau 116237; Praz p. 374; Salva 2081.
Le Decor Floral. 50 planches. Bordures et Panneaux - Semis

Le Decor Floral. 50 planches. Bordures et Panneaux – Semis, Fonds ornés, etc. (cover title)

Verneuil, Maurice Pillard] Folio (385 x 295 mm). Title-page (color collotype) + 50 color collotype plates after original photographs. Loose as issued in original cloth-backed illustrated boards (soiled, very worn and partially defective), three pair of cloth ties, all present. Title-page with original ownership stamp crossed out; some plates faintly soiled / worn along edges, not egregious, and certainly not affecting images or caption titles. Bookplate inside front board: "Ex libris Gaston Heliot." Preserved in a protective cloth case. Complete set of fifty design masterpieces by M.P. Verneuil, of great significance in the history of art history for indicating the logical transition from Art Nouveau forms to Art Deco repetition, the initial development credited largely to Verneuil himself. The hues of the color collotype photographs are eerily beautiful. The "Decor Floral" portfolio was issued for artists and designers, and is distinguished the meticulous arrangement of actual flowers, leaves, vines, and grasses, beautifully photographed and printed in soft, pale colors. The floral designs merge into ornamental friezes, pilaster columns, carpets, cornices, and mirrors, and MUST BE SEEN to be fully appreciated. Surely the present portfolio is one of the earliest expressions of what was to be called Art Deco. It was created by M.P. Verneuil (1869-1942), a famous designer who literally wrote the first book on the subject of Art Deco, namely in his "Etoffes et Tapis Etrangers" (1925) which documented - and championed - the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, from which the very term "Art Deco" takes its name. Verneuil's designs covered both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, subsequently transitioning into his much acclaimed, almost dizzying geometric patterns that found their wildest expression in his "Kaleidoscope, ornaments abstraits" (ca. 1923). What makes the present portfolio so special is the austere elegance of the color collotypes, and the geometrical arrangements of the flowers and plants (all of which are named in the captions). It is a remarkable fact that our portfolio preceded by 25 years Karl Blossfeldt's first published effort, the great "Urformen der Kunst," which did not appear until 1928. The success of Verneuil's "Le Decor Floral" is due to the sensitive presentation and composition, relying on the symmetry juxtaposed with asymmetry; repetition of the motifs; and a certain formal purity. Highlighted are the lines and the graphic qualities of the flowers and plants, which include chrysanthemums, ferns, irises, wild gladiolas, mistletoe, holly, sapwood, laurels, wheat, violets, begonias, ivy, maple leaves, lily-of-the-valley, lemons, and much more. The result is the clearest rendition of the decorative potential of actual plant specimens. "Le Decor Floral" celebrates not only the shapes of nature, but man's ability shape Nature itself in the pursuit of aesthetic beauty. Whereas Verneuil's name does not appear on the portfolio's cover or title, there is no longer any doubt that this is his work. We have discovered in the 1903 Mercure de France (vol. VIII, pp. 514-515) the following announcement concerning the forthcoming publication of "Le Decor Floral" (here translated): La Librairie centrale des Beaux-Arts, which M. Levy directs with a keen sense the needs and trends of modern art, is publishing a series of documents of decorative flora, chosen by M. VERNEUIL [emphasis ours], and photographed from nature. The "Decor Floral," which will be published in instalments of ten plates, will form a complete volume in fifty plates and will be of the greatest utility to all decorators. It is a kind of herbarium that is easy to handle and whose advantage is to provide the artist, in a more durable and less fragile way than dried plants, exact documents not only as to the form, but also as for the color" (unsigned but written by Yvanhoe Rambosson). Another pre-publication description of the book is given in Bernard Quaritch's Catalogue 234, p. 121 (immediately above Verneuil's "Etude de la Plante: Son Application aux Industries d'Art," 1903) which we here translate from the French: "As its title indicates, this book is a collection of ornamental documents from nature, whose sole source is the vegetable kingdom. Is it not that the decorative arts of every era have taken their best inspiration? The interest of this book is twofold. To industrialists (sic), the work provides many decorative compositions that can be used as is, or can receive an even more ornamental application. Decorative panels, shaded borders, ornate backgrounds or spandrels, friezes or foliage, are all available herein, offering the most diverse compositions. To artists, the work furnishes numerous and excellent documents on the flower itself, the compositions being ornamentally variegated without modification, but always with the specter of its own constitution. The work serves to inspire variations on decorative compositions. It will be useful to all floral arrangers -- and who are they who do not use flowers? This work, important as much by the number of ornamental documents as by the number of the various plants represented, will contain 50 plates, and the color will add to its charm and to the precision of the documentation." Attention is drawing to an earlier photographic design portfolio by Martin Gerlach, whose "Festons und decorative Gruppen nebst einem Zieralphabet" appeared in Vienna in 1893. In our opinion Gerlach's work is considerably inferior to Verneuil's "Decor Floral": the placement of the flora (and fauna) is boring, and the color hues average. It is likely - if not certain - that Verneuil knew of Gerlach's work, having visited Vienna in 1902. Gerlach published another similar design portfolio at this time, namely the "Formenwelt aus dem Naturreiche" (1902-1904). Verneuil is not known to have undertaken photographic work, but in any event the real artistry of the "Decor Floral" is his and