Dear Friend,

This week we’ll be at the New York Book Fair with a glorious set of volumes from the library of Madame de Pompadour, and the manuscript letter-books of an Anglo-French spy and double-agent at the court of Queen Anne - poor old Antoine de Guiscard ended up pickled in a barrel at Newgate.

Also on show is a presentation copy of Bizet’s Carmen, a cartulary from Elizabethan Newcastle and a superb 60 piece collection telling the secret history of AI . We will be at Booth B30 in person, but highlights are here.

Best wishes,

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: THE HIDDEN HISTORY — Claude Shannon, David Lewis, Thyllis Williams etc — 1950

Just as ChatGPT has pushed AI from a hot topic in the tech industry to a global news phenomenon, so AI has become the defining technology of our age. This collection forms a unique record of the creation of Artificial Intelligence during the early years of computing in the form of 59 unpublished typescripts, offprints, photographs, ephemera and association copies. It shows the making of a Silicon Valley revolution as well as revealing many unknown aspects of this so-far little-known story with i…… Read more


BOOK OF HOURS: Illuminated Manuscript on Parchment, 340 pages & 3 Miniatures — Northern French Artist — 1450

Late medieval Book of Hours written and illuminated for a woman patron who is depicted in a double-page of miniatures kneeling before the Virgin Mary to receive the gift of this manuscript. This Book of Hours was made in a northern French workshop of the second half of the fifteenth century, perhaps Rouen or Paris. It has attractive female provenance as well as 3 miniatures containing 4 images of books! The patronal prayer to St Elizabeth of Hungary below the image of the kneeling patron may wel…… Read more


NEWCASTLE CARTULARY ISSUED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE NORTH, OWNED BY SIR THOMAS PHILLIPPS: Newcastle Great Charter of 1601; the Decrees of December 1603 & February 1604 — The Council of the North - John Feare; Francis Burrell — 1603

Rare manuscript survival from the Council of the North, written in York or Newcastle itself, in the final months of Elizabeth I’s reign. This volume from the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps presents Elizabeth I’s Great Charter of Newcastle from 1599 together with two further decrees relating to the city which have been signed off - or attested - by the Council’s Secretary John Ferne and Newcastle’s Mayor in 1603. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Quarto manuscript (26cmx19cm) bound in late seventeenth centur…… Read more


ILLUSTRATED BY WILLIAM MARSHALL A Discourse Shewing the Great Happiness, that hath, and May Still Accrue to his Majesties Kingdomes of England and Scotland — John Bristol - Thornborough - Bishop of Bristol — 1641

Thornborough’s wholehearted polemic in favour of the union of the kingdoms - with a beautiful engraved title page by William Marshall. Small format, duodecimo, bound in 19th century diced calf with a Fairfax family bookplate to the front pastedown - ‘Fairfax of Cameron’. Speckled edges to the text block. Brown coated endpapers and a complete text: [48] pp286 without the two preliminary blanks and the final blank. A good clean copy of a scarce book. Thornborough (1551-1641) was a difficulat and c…… Read more


MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR 1636-7 The Tryal of Sir Henry Vane, Kt at the King’s Bench [with] Two Treatises: An Epistle General.. — Sir Henry Vane — 1662

Seemingly with early New England provenance, the first - and only - editions of 2 works by a defender of religious toleration in Massachusetts. Contemporary full calf with professional repairs. The earliest, probably 17th century ownership inscription appears on the first flyleaf, making the book ‘The Gift of Mrs Werden of Westchester’ - a place name that matches nowhere in England but seems likely to refer to Westchester County, New York State. Opposite the title page is a second early inscript…… Read more


‘I AM RECKON’D A SCHISMATICK’ - Spiritual Diary, Poems and Letters of a Dissenting Cornishman — Bernard Rowse — 1686

A remarkable manuscript (c200,000 words) that begins in London just before the 1688 Revolution and charts its author’s return to his Cornish village where he pleads for the right to remain in communion with both ‘Episcopal and Presbiterial’ congregations. Over 300 pages the manuscript plots Rowse’s efforts to assuage both conscience and Cornish neighbours. Shot through with powerfully expressed insights, the manuscript is a potent record of provincial intellectual life in a far corner of England…… Read more


ANNOTATED BY AN ENTHUSIAST FOR ABSOLUTE GOVERNMENT Two Treatises on Government — John Locke — 1698

Foundational works in western political theory, annotated by an early reader wishing to rebut Locke’s attack on absolute monarchy and his argument for government by consent - the very arguments that Thomas Jefferson and the framers of the American constitution were most keen to uphold. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Handsomely bound in recent panelled calf with a morocco spine label; tissue overlay to the inner hinges; a few marks to the endpapers which are retained from the original binding. Interesting…… Read more


UNPUBLISHED ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SWISS PHYSICS - A Compendium of the Aristotelian: & Cartesian Physics — John Roberts - Johann Heinrich Schweitzer — 1701

Manuscript translation by an English lawyer determined to inject his enthusiasm for Lucretius into this work by a 17th century Swiss natural philosopher - completing his English makeover with marginal references to Milton’s Paradise Lost. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Quarto in modern half tan calf over marbled boards; an eighteenth century presentation inscription from the actor/ playwright George Alexander Stevens mounted on the first original endpaper: ‘Presented to William Massey by his esteemed Fri…… Read more


LETTER BOOKS OF A FRENCH DOUBLE-AGENT & ASSASSIN AT THE COURT OF QUEEN ANNE — Antoine de Guiscard, Abbe de la Bourlie, Marquis de Guiscard — 1705

Three manuscript Letter Books (1704-1708) kept by a Franco-British double agent in London which record his efforts to lead a British invasion and his charismatic hold over British and European monarchs and ministers - worthy of a full Hollywood treatment. Antoine de Guiscard’s meteoric rise was followed by an equally precipitous fall from grace which ended in a suicidal mission to assassinate Britain’s first minister Robert Harley and the would’be assassin’s body being pickled in a barrel at New…… Read more


2 SETS OF 18TH CENTURY ‘CHARACTERS’ The Wooden World Dissected in the Characters [WITH] Mars Stript of His ArmourL or, the Army Display’d in all its True Colours — Edward Ward ‘A Lover of the Mathematicks’ — 1708

Grub-Street satirist and publican, Ned Ward’s set of military characters, including ‘A Spy’, bound together with an incomplete set of his more common naval characters - 1709 and 1708. Contemporary panelled calf with two spine labels and remains of an overlaid morocco label to the second compartment. Skilful repair to the head and tail of the spine and strengthening of the corners. Pencil marks to the front pastedown; no flyleaf. Mars Stript appears second in the book, collating complete [12] pp1…… Read more


42 VOLUMES FROM MADAME DE POMPADOUR’S LIBRARY - Memoires pour Servir a l’Histoire des Homees — Jean-Pierre Niceron — 1727

Superb set owned by Louis XV’s influential mistress, the enlightenment intellectual Madame de Pompadour, with full provenance and de Pompadour’s coat of arms stamped in gilt 84 times. 41 volumes bound in 42 (volume 10 is bound separately in 2 parts), 12mo, Paris, 17x10cm; published 1727-1740. As usual found without the final two posthumously published volumes. Her set was uniformly bound for Madame de Pompadour in speckled calf, triple gilt fillet to the boards, spines gilt in compartments, 2 re…… Read more


ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE MANUSCRIPT UTOPIAN NOVELLA C 1760-1780 - Unknown to Scholarship and Unpublished — Unknown Writer — 1760

Unpublished utopian manuscript novella set in an English rural arcadia showing the influence of Rousseau’s ideas on vegetarianism and fashions in clothing. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Single fascicule bound in coarse brown paper, labelled ‘No. 8’ to the upper cover; 3 gatherings sewn into a homemade binding which has been reinforced for purposes of sewing with checked cloth along the gutter. Three stab sewn gatherings, 2x 20 leaves each (80 pages) and 1 of 12 leaves (24 pages), c25,000 words in total.…… Read more



Collection of Acts of Parliament printed between 1767 and 1812 legislating on Britain’s relationship with its American colonies and subsequently the newly fledged United States. These Acts are disbound and altogether the 25 Acts run to 113 pages. Subjects under British law include the vexed problem of taxation on imports from North America (Rice,Sago and Vermicelli, rice etc), mutinous troops in the American colonies and laws regarding the transport of ‘Rice from… South and North Carolina and Ge…… Read more


22 IMPRINTS FROM THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES chronicling the controversial Presidency of Edward King — Society of Antiquaries [Benjamin Way; Edward King] — 1777

A compelling collection chronicling the short-lived Antiquaries’ Presidency of Edward King, owned and annotated by a friend of King’s and including 5 unrecorded imprints. Large quarto (27x21.5cm), 18th-century full calf; narrow gilt border to the boards, spine prettily tooled in gilt, red morocco label, marbled endpapers, red sprinkled edges - binding carefully repaired. Armorial bookplate of Benjamin Way FSA (1740-1808) to the front pastedown surmounted by that of the book’s second owner, Liver…… Read more


PRESENTED BY NELSON’S PATRON ADMIRAL JERVIS - Signal-Book, for the Ships of War — Admiral John Jervis; George Purvis — 1793

Rare Signal-Book given to a newly promoted Royal Navy Captain by Nelson’s patron Admiral John Jervis having been systematically annotated and updated by the Admiral’s secretary George Purvis, himself a correspondent of Nelson. Small quarto (24cm high) bound in half calf over marbled boards with a printed paper label to upper cover: ‘Signal-Book for the Ships of War.’ Paper label reading ‘238’ to lower cover, probably an old auctioneer’s number. Binding sound. Bookplate of American naval book col…… Read more


A LITERARY ENCOUNTER WITH THE ORIENT: Memorandum and Commonplace Book, 1798-1810 — John Spencer Smith — 1798

A remarkable manuscript written by the multi-talented British pleni-potentiary in Constantinople with contributions from Grand tourist friends as they tried to describe and to buy-up the Orient. JOHN SPENCER SMITH (1769-1845) became Secretary to the Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Robert Liston, in 1793, rising to Charge D’Affaires in 1795 on Liston’s departure for Washington and then Minister Plenipotentiary 1798-1799 as his brother Captain Sidney Smith was attempting to smash Napoleon’s Egyp…… Read more


HAMLET ACT 1 SCENE iV - COPIED FROM A LOST FUSELI PAINTING: A Platform before the Castle of Elsinore: Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, and the Ghost — [Henry Fuseli - Johann Heinrich Füssli - William Shakespeare] — 1830

Early nineteenth century oil-painted copy of Fuseli’s lost 1789 painting which depicts the ghost of Hamlet's father beckoning away his son to hear the terrible story of his death. Oil on wooden panel, 44.5x57.5cm, label to verso from its appearance at the 1969 Zurich Fuseli exhibition, wood repair to verso reinforcing a vertical split in the wood which rises 12cm from the base of the image, just visible in the painting itself. The panel is mounted in a heavy period frame with modern retainers ho…… Read more


PLATES DESIGNED AND ETCHED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK - Rare set of Separately issued Plates for Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens - George Cruikshank — 1838

Unrecorded perhaps unique surviving set of Cruikshank’s illustrations to Oliver Twist, issued by the book’s publisher as a loose, possibly promotional, set simultaneous with first publication. 20 plates (150x243mm) are loosely contained in a bifolium printed wrapper which has separated along the spine. This bears a modified version of the title page of the book’s first edition in its first state. Dickens’ authorship is referred to as ‘Boz’ but in place of the book’s ‘Three Volumes’ designation w…… Read more


CO-DISCOVERERS OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT & CLIMATE CHANGE - ‘Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays’ & An Autograph Letter from John Tyndall — Eunice Foote & John Tyndall — 1856

A climate change duo: Eunice Foote’s pioneering 1856 paper on the absorption of thermal radiation by carbon dioxide and water vapour together with an autograph letter from John Tyndall, discoverer of the absorption of radiant heat by gases some 3 years later. Foote’s paper appears in The American Journal of Science and Arts. Second Series. Vol. XXII. November, 1856, pp 382-383. Bound in quarter blue library buckram with a paper label at the foot of the spine and a small label at the foot of the…… Read more


PENNSYLVANIA MANUSCRIPT COPY OF THE QUAKER BOOK OF DISCIPLINE ‘From our yearly meeting at Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and the Jerseys..’ — Susan Lukens - Daniel Koll — 1860

Manuscript copy by the Pennsylvania Quaker Susan Lukens of the 1719 Book of Discipline ‘From our yearly meeting at Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and the Jerseys...’ PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Small notebook, green cloth spine over marbled boards, rubbed to edges, slight loss to cloth at tail of spine. A dedication in the hand of the manuscript’s author appears on the verso of the 3rd blank, opposite the beginning of the text: ‘To Daniel Koll from his friend Susan Lukens’. The manuscript has the preli…… Read more


PRESENTED BY THE COMPOSER TO A PARISIAN MEZZO-SOPRANO Carmen: Opera Comique en 4 Actes — Georges Bizet — 1875

A superb presentation copy warmly inscribed by Bizet to the Parisian mezzo-soprano Marie Trelat and bearing what appear to be her performance markings in the roles of Carmen and Mercedes. Quarto (27x18cm) bound in quarter morocco over red textured paper-covered boards; gilt spine lettering. Bookseller’s label of ‘H Baron, Music and Books 136 Chatsworth Road, London’ to front pastedown. Lithographed title page with Bizet’s inscription in ink at the head of the page: ‘A Madame Trelat son devoue et…… Read more


WOMEN ARTISTS ON TOUR IN ITALY IN THE 1860Ss — Ellen Brooker Beale & William Watkiss Lloyd WITH Sarah Sophia Beale — 1868

An exceptionally beautiful visual memoir of two European tours compiled by the artist Ellen Brooker Beale, her sister the portraitist and writer Sarah Sophia Beale together with Ellen Beale’s husband the writer and antiquarian William Watkiss Llloyd. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Large bespoke oblong folio album (40x32x7cm spine) bound in half pebbled morocco over green pebbled cloth covered boards, repairs to top and tail of spine which bears the initials of Brooker Beale and Watkiss Lloyd: ‘E.B. & W W.…… Read more


AUDUBON IN LANCASHIRE Catalogue of the Library of William Thompson, Blackburn — William Thompson — 1879

Number 1 of 20 copies of a Lancashire library catalogue that includes a first edition of Audubon’s birds; the catalogue interleaved and updated by hand throughout. Octavo format bound in imitation Elizabethan crushed black morocco with bevelled edges. All edges gilt; marbled endpapers; title page printed in red and black with ’Only twenty copies printed. No’ to verso and written by hand: ‘1’. The 67 printed pages are interleaved with blue margined blanks which record extensive additions to the l…… Read more


EARLIEST WOMEN’S COLLEGE WEST OF THE ROCKIES Mills College Photo Album, Oakland — C R Stead, R Davis etc — 1891

Richly varied photo album depicting student life at Mills College in Oakland shortly after it was chartered as the first women’s college west of the Rockies. Large oblong album (15x11inches) ‘Photographs’ in gilt to upper, textured cloth covered board. Light wear to edges but the binding remains sound, though some weakening to the cloth covering over the inner hinges. Bookseller label of ‘Hirsch, Kahn & Co.... Photo Supplies, 333 Kearny Street - San Francisco’ to front pastedown, above a pressed…… Read more


DICKENS’ WOMEN - Artist’s Illustrations of Eleven of Dickens’ Female Characters — Charles Dickens — 1920

11 pen and watercolour portraits of Nancy, Little Nell and 9 other female characters for prepared for publication in an edition of Dickens’ works - or perhaps cigarette cards? The images are x cm, executed on professional Reeves colour board during the first quarter of the 20th century. Each female figure is show in a full length portrait with her name and the name of the novel written below. Casual pencilled titles are visible, erased above the ink title. To the reverse there small paper scars…… Read more


VISITORS’ BOOK OF JULIAN & JULIETTE HUXLEY, 1938-1975 A Roll-call of Anglo-American Intellectual Life — Julian and Juliette Huxley — 1938

Manuscript Visitors’ Book covering nearly 40 years of the life of Juliette and Julian Huxley - ‘Student and lover of nature, inheritor of agnostics, brother of Aldous, believer in evolution by natural selection, and (his own invention) evolutionary humanism’ (Alison Bashford, The Huxleys, 2022). PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Large quarto size book (28x27cm) bound in quarter oatmeal cloth over brown batik covered boards; some marking and staining. Stub only of first flyleaf; signatures across 30 pages, mo…… Read more


Dr. Christian White
Christian White Rare Books
287 Leeds Road, Ilkley, LS29 8LL
07811 455398