Buying Antiquarian Books can be a time consuming, frustrating and often confusing task. Whether you want to fill a shelf, a bookcase or a complete library the problems are the same How many books will you need? Is content important? Will the bindings look right? What size books are needed? Colour? How much is all this going to cost? And Finally, where are you going to find them?
The answer to all these questions is simple. Get advice; better still let someone else do the hard work for you.
Classic Rare Books.
Over the past 25 years we have used our experience to develop the complete service that our clients need. By focusing on customer satisfaction, Classic Rare Books has become one of the leading suppliers of books, antiquarian and modern. We deal with clients worldwide and take pride in the amount of repeat business we do. We are very aware that our reputation relies not only on the quality of the books that we supply, but also on the strength of our service.
What is the Service?
Our aim is to take the hassle out of buying and collecting books. Whether the client is buying for themselves or on behalf of their client, we approach a project from the client's input and work from their perspecive. Whatever the size of the project, our varied stock range ensures that we can meet expectations.
How does it work?
Once we have established shelf dimensions and capacity we can calculate the numbers and the sizes of books required. Giving careful consideration to the client's choice on subject matter and period of the books and the colour and style of the bindings, we can then propose our recommendations. These will be based on our experience, but above all tailored to provide the client with the books that suit them and their budget.
As we regularly ship internationally we are able to arrange and advise on delivery anywhere in the world.
We are members in good standing of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) of Great Britain, and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). We observe the highest professional and ethical standards, and abide by the ABA Code of Good Practice.
A History Of British Birds
Published: R. H. Porter, London, 1883-85.
With coloured illustrations of their eggs. In four volumes comprising three volumes of text and one of plates.
Contemporary full crimson morocco over cloth boards with gilt panelled spines in compartments between high raised bands enhanced by gilding the second and fourth with titles and volume numbers stamped direct and the remaining with ornithological emblems placed centrally; teg, rest roughcut; large 8vo.
First Edition. With sixty-eight coloured plates of eggs printed by Lemercier of Paris and numerous textural illustrations.
A very handsome set in excellent condition.
Nissen BBI 851
Dimensions (height / length / width )
26.2cm / 16.3cm / 16.7cm
Japan and China
Published: T. C. & E. C. Jack, London, 1903-04.
In twelve volumes. Their History, Arts and Literature.
Period full crimson morocco by Morrell with panelling to boards comprising bamboo and lotus corner ornaments and spines in six panelled compartments between raised banding enhanced by gilt rule the second and third with title, author and volume number stamped direct and the remaining with the bamboo and lotus devices echoing the boards; teg, rest uncut; inner dentelles wide with binders mark and lavish bamboo and lotus tools; large 8vo, 239x172 mms.
Edition De Luxe. Limited to Thirty-Five Numbered Copies for the United Kingdom, of which this is Number 16. Printed on Japon paper with half-titles stating the Limitation Number, titles in crimson and black, twelve beautiful window mounted water-coloured silk frontispieces, twenty mounted hand-coloured wood block prints, one hundred and ninety-nine coloured, tinted and half tone plates, twenty-seven black and white line drawing plates; all with variant coloured captioned tissue-guards. In addition there are two large coloured folding maps and one double page map. The original cloth boards and spine for volume one are bound in at the rear.
A scarce set in almost mint condition, bound by the renown Morrell. A magnificent publication, with stunning illustrations, surveying Japanese and Chinese art, life and history.
Brinkley was a resident in Japan for over forty years and the publication of this monumental treatise corresponded with the West’s fascination of the Orient at the close of the nineteenth century. Numerous limited editions of this ‘Oriental Series’ were published including ‘The Viceroy Edition’ limited to fifty copies and ‘The Library Edition’ limited to one thousand copies; both were published in 1901-02 and in twelve volumes. However, it is uncommon to find such a beautifully bound set, limited to only thirty-five copies.
Dimensions (height / length / width)
24cm / 17cm / 51cm
Indians of North America
Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, London, 1859.
Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America from Canada to Vancouver’s Island and Oregon through the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Territory and back again.
Contemporary half sage green calf over marbled boards with both raised and thick gilt banding, maroon morocco title label; crimson sprinkled edges; 8vo.
First Edition. With the half title, large folding map which is hand-coloured in outline and eight chromolithographic plates by Vincent Brooks. There are also several woodcuts within the text.
An exceptionally clean copy of this very important work. Scarce to find complete in such spectacular condition.
An Artist's Fascinating Account and Illustrations of his Travel Among the Native Americans of Canada.
Born in Ireland in 1810, Paul Kane was brought as a child to Toronto in about 1818, the son of a soldier turned wine merchant. When he was sixteen, he was apprenticed and worked as a furniture decorator for ten years, and during this time he also studied art under Thomas Drury, the drawing master of Upper Canada College. From 1841 to 1843, he traveled in Europe to learn to paint by copying masterpieces, and in London, Kane met George Catlin. Catlin inspired him to paint a gallery of Canadian Indians, and he returned to Toronto in 1845. For the next three years, Kane made his way to Vancouver and back, by riverboat, canoe, horseback, sloop, and snowshoes. He sketched in pencil, later watercolor, and sometimes made oil sketches on paper from life. His lifestyle was nomadic, as he moved from place to place with different tribes, recording rituals and spectacular landscapes. His first-hand, gripping account of his experiences, along with his splendid, sympathetic illustrations, insured the success and influences of this publication.
Scelta Di Architetture
Published: L'Editore, in Firenze, 1755.
Antiche e moderne della citta di Firenze opera gia data in luce, misurata, disegnata, ed intagliata dal celebre Ferdinando Ruggieri architetto Fiorentino. Edizione Seconda pubbicata, ed ampliata in quattro volumi da Giuseppe Bouchard e dal medesimo dedicata Alla Sacra Cesarea Maesta Dell' Augustissimo Imperatore de' Romani Francesco I. Re di Germania, e di Gerusalemme, duca di Lorena, e di Bar, granduca di Toscana ec. ec. ec. Four volumes bound in two.
Contemporary full mottled calf with spines in seven gilt compartments bearing central floral emblem and lavish foliate sides, multiple ruled and raised bands with gilt, brown morocco title label and volume numbers stamped direct, dentelles gilt, crimson sprinkled edges; Folio.
Second Enlarged Edition. With four engraved titles by Bernardo Sansone Sgrilli and Teodoro Ver Cruys after Ruggieri, five vignette title-pages in crimson and black, four copper engraved vignettes, eight engraved initials of which three are copper engraved and five are woodcut, three portraits, double-page folding map of Florence, and two hundred and seventy-nine plates of which twenty-four are double-page and two hundred and fifty-five are single.
Provenance: Bookseller's ticket of Leo S. Olschki, Firenze [Olschki 15242]; engraved bookplate of Augustin Brentano [Millard Italian 118].
'Tres bel exemplaire'. A stunning copy of the second edition; scarce in such fine condition.
The first edition of this work 'Studio d'architettura civile' was published in Florence in three volumes in the years 1722, 1724 and 1728. The second edition, of which this is a copy, provides an additional volume of plates comprising reprinted publications of the 1730s; these are by several hands and consist of architectural drawings of Florence's cathedral and the Mediceo-Laurenziana Library. Ruggieri's impressive survey of the architecture of Florence was inspired by the Roman publisher Domenico de' Rossi's ‚ 'Studio d'architettura civile sopra gli ornamenti di porte e finestre tratti da alcune fabbriche insigni de Roma' which was published in Rome during the years 1702-1721. The work followed a similar format, with an elevation of the building preceding plates of architectural details and plans. Where the two works differ is Ruggieri's volumes provide measured illustrations of doorways, windows and related details from buildings in Florence while the illustrations in Domenico de' Rossi volumes are taken from buildings in Rome. Ruggieri's achievement is considered ultimately greater, since he succeeded in publishing two hundred and thirty-seven (1st edition or 1st 3 vols. 2nd edition) illustrative plates in less than half the period needed by de' Rossi. In addition, unlike de' Rossi, he drew and engraved most of the plates himself (1st edition or 1st 3 vols. 2nd edition). The plates are important in the history of architectural publication by being the first to provide accurate illustrations of architectural detail from public buildings, churches and palaces in Florence that had been designed by such notable architects as Michelangelo, Ammannati, Buontalenti and Vasari. Ruggieri's first major architectural commission was the remodelling of the facade of S. Filippo Neri (or Chiesa Nuova), Florence in c. 1715, which was followed by a commission from the Medici family to remodel the church of S. Felicita, Florence in 1736-1739. Concurrent with this, Ruggieri also rebuilt the Palazzo Sansedoni, Siena and the Collegiata Church, Empoli, and published a number of architectural works illustrated by his engravings of which ‚ÄòStudio d'architettura civile' is the most remarkable and highly regarded. Brunet IV, 1455; Cicognara 639; RIBA 2877; Berlin Cat 2690 (1755 edition).
Dimensions (height / length / width)
49.2cm / 13cm / 38cm
Published: Auber, Paris, 1806.
Tableaux Historiques des Campagnes D’Italie, depuis l’an IV jusqu’a la Bataille de Marengo; suivis De Précis des opérations de l’Armée d’Orient, des détails sur les cérémonies du Sacre, des Bulletins officiels de la Grande Armée et de l’Armée d’Italie dans tout le cours de la dernière guerre d’Allemagne, jusqu’à la paix de Presbourg. Toutes les vues ont été prises sur les lieux memes, et les Estampes sont gravées d’après les dessins originaux de Carle Vernet WITH Précis Historique de la Campagne D’Allemagne.
Nineteenth century case binding covered with a marbled blue paper; spine bears a crimson morocco title-label embellished with a decorative surround; Secondo, 520x360 mms.
First Edition. Half title, vignette title-page, engraved frontispiece of Napoleon on his horse by Simon after Carle Vernet, twenty-four plates by Duplessi-Bertaux and others, after drawings by Carle Venet, one double page map hand coloured in outline by Louvet after Dieu, two medallion portraits of Napoleon and Josephine, one engraved header by Roger after Duplessi-Bertaux and a Napoleonic emblem tailpiece. Occasionally a double-page plate of the Battle of Austerlitz is found at the rear however this is not called for by Ray.
A wonderful copy in incredibly clean condition of this beautifully illustrated book.
Pages 130 to 138 provide information regarding the 'Cérémonies du sacred et du Couronnement de sa Majesté Impériale Napoléon-Le-Grand'. The final part of this work 'Précis Historique de la Campagne D'Allemagne' has separate pagination.
Ray 79; Brunet V, 627.
Carle Vernet (1758-1836) was the son of the popular landscape artist Joseph Vernet, the younger Vernet early exhibited a gift for painting and came to develop an acute eye for natural detail. He rose to fame under the empire with his drawings of the Italian campaign and his paintings of 'The Battle of Marengo' (1804) and 'Morning of Austerlitz'. In addition he had a talent for intimate genre and for drawing rather than for painting. His long series of fashionable studies, often satirizing contemporary manners and costume, were reproduced by the best engravers of the time. After the restoration of the monarchy, Vernet became court painter to Louis XVIII and was popular as a lithographer in addition to painting dogs, horses, and scenes of the hunt.
Dimensions (height / length / width )
53.5cm / 4cm / 36cm
The Lord of The Rings
Published: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1954-5.
In three volumes comprising: The Fellowship of The Ring; The Two Towers; & The Return of The King.
Full crimson levant morocco by Bayntun-Riviere with double gilt fillet to boards and spines in gilt compartments each with a central ring motif, raised banding embellished with gilt split-rule and titles stamped direct; aeg; 8vo. Housed in matching crimson cloth slipcase.
A First Edition set in mint condition of this legendary work.
The 'Lord of the Rings' Trilogy is arguably one of the greatest works of literature in the twentieth century; containing amazing detail of a new mythology invented world, never really surpassed.
'The Lord of the Rings' is an epic high fantasy novel. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel‚ 'The Hobbit' (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II. Although generally known to readers as a trilogy, Tolkien initially intended it as one volume of a two volume set, with the other volume to be‚ The Silmarillion'; however, the publisher was not interested in the second volume and in 1954-5 printed ‚ 'The Lord of the Rings' as three books rather than one, for economic reasons. It has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many different languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in twentieth century literature.
Dimensions (height / length / width )
24cm / 10.5cm / 15.5cm
Published: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., London, 1924-27.
The Complete works in twenty-eight volumes.
Handsome modern full navy morocco with wavy surround in gilt to boards the front bearing central gilt facsimile signature, spines in six compartments the second and fourth with burgundy morocco title labels and the remaining with central lozenge shaped floral emblem, raised and flat gilt banding; teg, rest uncut; 8vo.
The Atlantic Edition. A Limited Edition of 620 sets for Great Britain and Ireland, of which 600 are for sale and 20 are for presentation. This is number 412. Includes photogravure frontispieces and titles in crimson and black.
Signed by the Author on the limitation page.
Attractively bound Atlantic Edition of Wells' works signed by the author.
A Limited edition of one thousand and fifty sets was also published by Charles Scribner's Sons for America.
Hammond, pp. 153-157.
Wells (1866-1946) in his lifetime was regarded as the chief literary spokesman of the liberal optimism that preceded World War I. No other writer has caught so vividly the energy of this period, its adventurousness, its feeling of release from the conventions of Victorian thought and propriety. His influence was enormous, both on his own generation and on that which immediately followed it. None of his contemporaries did more to encourage revolt against Christian tenets and accepted codes of behaviour, especially as regards sex, in which, both in his books and in his personal life, he was a persistent advocate of an almost complete freedom. Though in many ways hasty, ill-tempered, and contradictory, Wells was undeviating and fearless in his efforts for social equality, world peace, and what he considered to be the future good of humanity.
As a creative writer his reputation rests on the early science fiction books and on the comic novels. In his science fiction, he took the ideas and fears that haunted the mind of his age and gave them symbolic expression as brilliantly conceived fantasy made credible by the quiet realism of its setting. In the comic novels, though his psychology lacks subtlety and the construction of his plots is often awkward, he shows a fund of humour and a deep sympathy for ordinary people. Wells' prose style is always careless and lacks grace, yet he has his own gift of phrase and a true ear for vernacular speech, especially that of the lower middle class of London and south-eastern England. His best work has a vigour, vitality, and exuberance unsurpassed, in its way, by that of any other British writer of the early twentieth century.
Dimensions (height / length / width )
23.5cm / 140cm / 16cm