The Library of a Greek Bibliophile: Travel books, Aldines and an important Qur’an

Live Auction: 28 July 2020 • 10:00 AM BST • London
The Library of a Greek Bibliophile: Travel books, Aldines and an important Qur’an 28 July 2020 • 10:00 AM BST • London

This impressive library encompasses early Greek printing, including eleven Aldines, accounts of travels in Greece and the Levant, costume of the Ottoman Empire, art and architecture, and fine colour-plate and illustrated books, including a magnificent gold illuminated Qur’an.

Featured Highlights

Dupre. Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinople. Paris, 1825. folio, colour plates, twentieth-century blue half morocco gilt, Estimate £50,000–70,000
In this celebrated work, described in the Blackmer catalogue as “probably the most beautiful [book] ever produced on Greece and Turkey”, Dupré records his experiences whilst travelling in the Levant in 1819. The landscapes and people he encountered are rendered with great skill in this series of lively and vividly coloured plates.

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Qur'an. copied by Ahmad al-Nayrizi, illuminated. Persia, Safavid and Qajar. 1122 AH/1710 AD, Estimate £50,000–70,000
Remargined during the Qajar period, the borders of this manuscript are lavishly decorated with different patterns of interlacing flowers and vegetation, making it an exceptionally luxurious manuscript, likely to have been commissioned by a member of the nobility.

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Plato. Omnia Platonis opera. Venice, Aldus, 1513. modern pigskin, the Garden copy, Estimate £20,000–30,000
Aristotle was beloved of scholastic philosophers, and Plato was traditionally seen as an enemy to Christianity. However, the revival of Platonic study during the Renaissance attempted to align Plato with Christian ideals, particularly visible in the works of Marsilio Ficino, who had produced the first printed translation of Plato in 1484.

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Hamilton and d'Hancarville. Collection of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman Antiquities. [1766-67]. 4 volumes. red morocco, Estimate £30,000–50,000
A splendid catalogue of the collection of ancient vases assembled by Hamilton after he was appointed to the court of Naples in 1764. The art historian Pierre-François Hugues introduced Hamilton to the Porcinari family who owned a large collection of classical vases which Hamilton bought and enlarged. Apparently only 100 copies of the later volumes were issued nine years later, explaining the high number of incomplete sets.

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Extraordinary Colour Plate Books

This sale offers extraordinary colour plate books. Each tell a story about Greek culture and history in the most picturesque fashion. Depicted are episodes from the Greek War of Independence, Etruscan vases, and costume.

Splendid Schmied

This sale features a pristine collection of works illustrated by François-Louis Schmied (1871-1941). Schmied is an emblematic representative of the Art Deco movement. He was chiefly dedicated to the art of the book, book-binding and wood engraving which he learned at the Ecole des Arts Industriels in Geneva. Books illustrated by Schmied were very expensive to produce, which is why they were printed in small and exclusive editions.

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