NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th 8. XL MARCH 28, 1903.
LITTLE in connexion with books is so remarkable as the recent development of booksellers cata- logues. Half a century ago a few catalogues from firms such as Sotheran, Willis, Miller, and Thomas Kerslake, of Bristol, reached regularly the country collector, whose library was, however, made up principally from purchases effected during his travels The same man now receives from home sources, from America, France, Germany, and Italy, catalogues amounting in the year to thou- sands London alone is responsible for an immense and an annually increasing number. So far as town is concerned, the reasons for this change are obvious. Books can now only with difficulty and exertion be seen on their shelves. Places such as Holy well Street, with its long rows of books en etalage, have been destroyed. The state of our great streets renders it impossible to permit ot a man lounging over the stalls as he used to lounge in Oxford Street and the Strand; and even in Charing Cross Road, the last great refuge of the second-hand bookseller, all the Quixotry of Mr. Dobell, the chief defender of the right to bouquiner, will, it is to be feared, not prevail long against the mighty pressure of population and the growing requirements of authority. London is in this respect less well off than Paris, where the long line of quays offers an interminable, albeit at times chilly and blusterous and at others sultry haunt for the book-lover, or where the Palais Royal or the galleries of the Boulevard tempt to endless and comfortable inspection. Here the book - lover, even if he frequent the suburbs, can scarcely hope to rummage over the bookstalls, and the sight of a Lamb walking home, carrying under his arm a folio Beaumont and Fletcher, will not again be seen. A few months ago, at the corners of Holy well Street, opposite the churches respectively of St. Mary le Strand and St. Clement Danes, were delightful spots in which to turn over the pages of books old and new. These have disappeared, and nothing has come in their place.
The bookbuyer must now go to the well-known shops of the great booksellers and explore the shelves in artificial light, or such daylight as London affords. He may, wnile in the Strand, turn into Messrs. Sotheran's and seek a collection of the masterpieces of literature, often in choice bindings, such as can be rivalled in few towns in the world, and thence lounge, at a distance of a stone's-throw, into the nouse of Messrs. Maggs Brothers, who have brought from their whilom snuggery in Paddington Green an almost unexampled collection of those works in early English literature now most in demand in America and in England. In New Oxford Street, at Mr. Spencer's, he may find in plenty the earliest editions of Dickens and Thackeray and other writers of the last century ; and may turn into Red Lion Square, where the shop of Mr. A. Reader will provide him with abundance of the works which the late James Wilson, of Chandos Street, taught us to classify as facetiae or curiosa. In Charing Cross Road Mr. Bertram Dobell, himself both author and publisher, will show him rarities of all kinds, including Shakespeariana and the drama and those books exactly which the average collector most covets. In Western London, in High Street, Marylebone, Mr. Francis Edwards
will exhibit to him an immense collection, both old and new, including precisely those remainders which a dozen or a score years hence will be adver- tised for at ten times their original cost. Homeward returning, ho will do well to look in at Mr. Voynich's in Soho Square and see incunables of which Dibdin or Brunet never dreamed.
We mention a few places only in a land of lasting delight, and we hope from time to time to indicate a few gems which these and other booksellers of no less repute offer in their current catalogues.
The latest Catalogue, No. 193, of Messrs. Maggs deals with art and kindred subjects. The con- tents include a Kelmscott Press ' Atalanta in Calydon,' magnificently bound by Sir E. Sullivan, a catalogue of the bindings in the Burlington Fine- Arts Club exhibition, an extra -illustrated life of Mrs. Jordan, a set of Granger's ' Biographical History' (extended to eighteen volumes by the insertion of 4,000 portraits, some of them very rare), Gillray's works, many superb Books of Hours, and French illustrated works of the eighteenth century. Among Catalogues of Mr. Walter T. Spencer is one of fine autographs, a second of rare items in Byroniana, Burnsiana, first Brownings, a Smith's 'Costume,' a first ' Festus,' &c. Mr. Reader's col- lection includes works on slang, the ' Celebrated Crimes ' of Dumas, and many facetiae. Brayley and Britton's ' Surrey,' Sowerby's ' Botany,' and many other scarce botanical works are in a catalogue of Mr. G. A. Poynder, of Reading, as are a fine copy of the very rare Ireland's ' Life of Napoleon,' 1823-28, and the third edition of Tusser's ' Five Hundred Points of Husbandry.' A batch of catalogues, theological, antiquarian, genealogical, Scottish, &c., reach us from Mr. James Thin, of Edin- burgh, obviously the possessor of a precious stock. Among these we notice the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 39 vols. 4to, very rare, and a second set of the * Court of Session Cases,' priced a hundred guineas, with other works of the class as rarely encountered.
Jn addition to the latest catalogue of Messrs. Henry Sotheran & Co., containing a fine set in 68 vols. of ' Remarkable Trials,' Manning and Bray's ' Surrey,' Shaw s ' Staffordshire,' Piranesi's ' Antiquitates Romanse,' Goupil's ' Royal Bio- graphies,' and a magnificent Lysons's ' Environs of London,' extended from 4 vols. to 26 by extra illustrations, the firm issue an illustrated catalogue including the four Shakespearian Folios and other rarities, a mere description of which would occupy some pages. No work of supreme interest figures in Mr. Detail's Catalogue 110, but there are a valuable series of dramatic treasures in 21 vols., a large set of the curious Town and Country Maga- zine, a ' Habiti Antichi et Moderni ' of Vecellio, 1598, and other desirable works.
We must call special attention to the following notices :
ON all communications must be written the name and address of the sender, not necessarily for pub- lication, but as a guarantee of good faith.
WE cannot undertake to answer queries privately.
G. K., Germany ("To the nines "). This expla- nation has already been given.
ERRATUM. Ante, p. 234, col. 1, line 21, for " car bossed" read caboshed.