This sale includes great works of Natural History, including a fine copy of Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, the greatest book known to document a so-called “cabinet of curiosities.” This wonderfully illustrated catalogue of the author’s collection of natural history specimens, including shells, minerals, snakes, birds and butterflies, was published between 1734 and 1765 and contains 449 beautifully hand-coloured engraved plates. Much admired by Carl Linnaeus, this work was instrumental in his classification of the natural world.
A private collection of celestial atlases and astronomical works from the library of Gerald F. Fitzgerald is another feature of this sale, and is offered together with atlases from the 15th to the 19th centuries by Ptolemy, Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu, de Wit, Visscher, Valk, Homann, Senex, Willdey and Berry, as well asisolarios by Bordone and Piri Reis.
Early photographs of China and Taiwan are another highlight of this sale. Focusing on two lots: the first is a group of 18 photographs taken by Felice Beato in 1860 during the Second Opium War, among which is the first photograph panorama taken inside the city of Beijing. The second is an important album of photographs by John Thomson, a Scottish photographer who travelled extensively in China in the 19th century. The 71 photographs show views in and around Swatow (Shantou), and Amoy (Xiamen) in China, together with some of the first photographs taken in Taiwan.
Turkey and the Ottoman Empire is the subject of a collection of printed books, manuscripts and photographs formed by Herry W. Schaefer. A highlight of the Schaefer collection is a magnificent early-18th century manuscript with hand-coloured maps of Piri Reis’s great book of sailing directions for the Mediterranean, which was once owned by the famous manuscript collector Sir Thomas Phillipps.
There are many other important books and manuscripts on travel and exploration, including a very fine hand-coloured set of Joseph Cartwright’s Views in the Ionian Islands, signed by the author.