Flora and Fauna: Bloomsbury's rare book auction takes a turn around the garden
With highlights including works which might perhaps be more typical of Ketterer Kunst, Bloomsbury Auctions is limbering up to present another exciting sale of rare books, under the rather literal title of Books from the stock of the late John Sperr of Fisher and Sperr London.

Taking place in a week's time, the sale will present 169 lots including two antique natural history guides:

A complete set of 17 volumes (plus four supplemental) of Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert was first published back in 1751.

"A monument in the history of European thought; the acme of the age of reason … and a classic example of how not to arrange a work of reference." was one description of the eclectic but beautiful work. It is expected bring £10,000-15,000 (up to $24,600).

Botanical Magazine plate flower
A striking example of the Botanical Magazine's illustrations

The top lot however is likely to be William Curtis's The Botanical Magazine, bound in 167 volumes representing editions from as early as 1793 and as late as 1983. It includes 10,569 plates, of which 9,684 are hand-coloured engravings or lithographs and the remainder colour-printed.

Uniformly bound in half morocco, the publication was:

"The first and most important botanical magazine made up of 'figures' of plants and their descriptions. Provides a storehouse of exotics paralleling the indigenous plants similarly treated in Smith and Sowerby's English Botany." according to expert Hunt. It could make an interesting alternative investment.

It is expected to achieve £15,000-20,000 (up to $32,800) in the sale which takes place on June 14 in London.


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