21 December 2011

A Christmas Surprise & Season's Greetings

Christopher de Hamel delivered an early Christmas present today, thanks to his identification of a young John Waynflete Carter (190575), the great bibliographer and exposer of T. J. Wise, as one of at least four previous owners of the Dunedin copy of a Greek New Testament (Oxford, 1675). 

Carter was a student at Eton when he purchased this book, and his inscription is most fitting for this time of year: 'J. W. Carter Eton College, elect of King's Coll Christmas 1923'.

[Update 14.3.12: Thanks are due to the Berkeley-based bookseller, Ian Jackson, who informed me that this book was not purchased by Carter, but rather given to him by the man whose signature is above his, the ecclesiastical historian Cuthbert Hamilton Turner (18601930). According to Jackson, Turner published a volume on The Early Printed Editions of the Greek Testament (Oxford, 1924) and 'watched benevolently over the young Carter, taking him on vacations etc'.]

Wishing everyone who has visited Antipodean Footnotes a happy holiday season and all good wishes for a joyous New Year. Here is to more bibliographical discoveries in 2012.

01 December 2011

University of Melbourne Digitising Its Middle Eastern Manuscripts

Image property
 of the University of Melbourne
[The following was included in today's Hidden Treasures of the University of Melbourne Library e-newsletter]

The University of Melbourne Library holds almost 200 Middle Eastern manuscripts, dating from the twelfth to the twentieth century. Languages include Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Prakrit, Mongol, Sanskrit, Malmud, Ethiopic and Syriac. The collection is just one of a number of collections built up by the Reverend Professor John Bowman between 1959 and 1975 during his time as head of the Department of Semitic Studies.

MUL 134 [at left], tells the love story of Kamrup and Kamlata in Persian poetical form, although it was produced in Northern India in about 1737. Its miniature illustrations are in gouache, gold and silver leaf. The script is in black ink with some red, ruled borders with decoration of silver, red and blue.

One of the exciting projects of the University’s Digitisation Service is to digitise this beautiful collection and to date half of the manuscripts have been digitised.

The digitised manuscripts are available through the University's Digital Repository.

14 November 2011

Iconography Exhibition - Dunedin Public Library

'Why is the Virgin Mary's gown blue?' 'Does that snail in the manuscript's margin mean anything?' 'Who are those figures standing by the Cross?'

These questions were all asked by an inquisitive school group, which recently paid a visit to the the Dunedin Public Library's Heritage Collections. The library's latest Reed Gallery exhibition 'Signs & Symbols: Decoding Mediaeval and Renaissance Iconography' hopes to shed some light on these once familiar icons, and reacquaint visitors with the images and hidden messages of centuries past.

The exhibition includes over thirty-five items from thirteenth-century Bibles to an early-twentieth-century facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible. Christian iconography lies at the heart of the exhibition, with supplementary cases on such subjects as colour, flora and fauna, and the printer's device.

The link will lead you to the digital version, where you may also download a PDF of the item list (6.2MB).

'Signs & Symbols: Decoding Mediaeval and Renaissance Iconography' runs until 22 January 2012.

08 November 2011

Rare Books Summer School 2012, Melbourne

The seventh Australian and New Zealand Rare Books Summer School is being hosted by the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

On offer are:

Artists’ books, zines and other collaborative ventures
6–10 February 2012
The artist’s book has a schizophrenic existence. One of its traditions finds its origins in the luxury livre d’artiste – involving elaborate collaboration between artists, poets, letterpress artisans and master printers. The other tradition is that of the subversive, avant-garde, democratic multiple, frequently self-published or produced by an ideologically committed publisher in large non-editioned print runs and using cheap materials. Russian revolutionary avant-garde books, American, European and Australian minimalist and conceptual artists’ books of the 1960s and 1970s and present-day zines are part of this alternative tradition. This workshop with Sasha Grishin will introduce participants at first hand to some of the finest artists’ books and zines, and their creators.

Professor Sasha Grishin AM FAHA is the Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History at the Australian National University and works internationally as an art historian, critic and curator. He has published 18 books and over a thousand articles dealing with various aspects of art, especially printmaking and artists’ books.

Botanical riches: the art of the book
13–17 February 2012
Books are far more than mere texts, as demonstrated by sumptuous publications on topics such as exploration, botany and garden making. Drawing on the rich collections of the State Library of Victoria, and including privileged visits to other key Melbourne rare book collections, this course with Richard Aitken will reveal ways in which books can be repositories of cultural history, not only through their texts and illustrations, but through their physical characteristics as artefacts through provenance, use (and abuse) and reception.

Richard Aitken is an independent scholar and collector specialising in the literature of the garden. His books include Gardenesque (2004), Botanical riches (2006) and The garden of ideas (2010). He coedits the quarterly journal of the Australian Garden History Society and is writing Cultivating modernism: the literature of the modernist garden (due out in 2013).

Ephemera: a collector’s key to the history of books
13–17 February 2012
Ephemera of all kinds – type specimens, printers’ and binders’ bills and labels, prospectuses, subscriber lists, booksellers’ catalogues, library tickets, trade receipts and more – are a substantial part of the evidence for the history of books in the west. In this course, Wallace Kirsop will look systematically at the collecting, organising and interpreting of such material, drawing on North American, European and Australian examples from recent times back to the 18th century.

Wallace Kirsop is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University and a past president of the Book Collectors’ Society of Australia (Victorian branch). He collects and studies trade and library ephemera as part of his interest in the history of books in 19th-century Australia and in France between the 17th and 19th centuries.

The poetics of printing on the iron hand-press
13–17 February 2012
Participants in this course will combine the mind, hand and eye with a classic printing process to explore the physical qualities of text. They will experience hand-rolling both wood and metal type and printing on fine papers with an iron hand-press, learning to use the type creatively, operate the press safely and control the ink when rolling both small typefaces and large surfaces. The emphasis will be on text as image, with poetry as the main focus.

Caren Florance is a Canberra-based printer. She teaches book arts and letterpress at the Australian National University School of Art and operates the private press Ampersand Duck. Her printing output spans both traditional and less structured textual works.

An application and contact details can be downloaded here [The application deadline has now passed, 11.12.11].

Text and image reproduced with permission of Des Cowley, Rare Printed Collections Manager, SLVA.

Pycroft Auction Results

Results from the 2 and 3 November sale of the Pycroft Collection in Auckland. 596 of the 632 lots sold for a total of $546,060. The big winners were:

- Augustus Earle's Sketches Illustrative of the Native Inhabitants and Islands of New Zealand (1838), estimated at $18,000 to $24,000, sold for $30,000. 

- G. F. Angas's The New Zealanders Illustrated (1847), estimated at $12,000 to $15,000, realised $20,500.

- Alexander Mackay's A Compendium of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs in the South Island (two volumes, 1871 and 1872), estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, sold for $26,000.

The pre Treaty of Waitangi Maori land purchase deed (1839) made its minimum of $25,000. The set of Cook's Voyages sold for $16,000, just under its low end estimate of $18,000.

The Dunedin Public Library was successful in securing Sir George Grey's compilation of Maori proverbs with English translations, Ko Nga Waiata Maori He Mea Kohikohi Mai (Cape Town, 1857); Bagnall 2355; Parkinson 468.

07 November 2011

Happy Birthday, William Colenso

From the biography of William Colenso
by A. S. Bagnall and G. C. Petersen.
Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1948.
7 November 2011 marks the bicentennial of the birth of William Colenso (181199), New Zealand's pioneer printer (he was also a missionary, botanist and politician).

[Update: Despite what is stated in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, the Bagnall-Petersen biography, and doubtless other resources, Colenso was actually born on 17 November. This is recorded in his earliest surviving journal for 1833 (held by the Turnbull Library) and is also etched on Colenso's tombstone. Thanks are due to Ian St George for this correction.]

The honour of producing the first printed matter on New Zealand shores actually falls to the Rev. William Yate (180277), whose Ko te Katekihama III, a six-page printing of the third catechism in Maori, appeared in 1830 and survives in two known copies only. Yate's printing venture, however, was unsuccessful. He produced just the catechism and a few hymn sheets before his press was shipped back to Sydney.

William Colenso arrived in New Zealand as printer for the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in December 1834. He served as the CMS printer for eight years and produced a large body of work with little efficient help. An estimated 74,100 books and pamphlets were printed by Colenso between January 1835 and January 1840. Among his most important pieces of printing are: The Epistles to the Philippians and the Ephesians in Maori (1835), the first book printed in New Zealand; the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand (1836), the first printings of the New Testament and Book of Common Prayer in Maori (1838 and 1839 respectively), and the Treaty of Waitangi (1840).

Opening of the Gospel of St. John
New Testament in Maori (1838)
Colenso took an inventive approach to the layout of his type cases. He organised them in a way that was most effective for arranging lines of type in the Maori language, the alphabet for which (developed by church missionaries from the Maori oral tradition) includes about half the number of letters used in English. The Alembic Press website has some very useful examples of the distribution in Colenso's cases, as described in D. F. McKenzie's Oral Culture: Literacy & Print in Early New Zealand (Wellington, 1985): Maori (upper case) and Maori (lower case).

For more information on the life of William Colenso, see his entry in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

20 October 2011

From 15th-Century Germany to 20th-Century New Zealand: Signs of Ownership in the Legenda aurea sanctorum (Cologne, 1476)

No other early-printed book in the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection bears such robust and identifiable provenance as its copy of the Legenda aurea sanctorum printed in Cologne by Conrad Winters, de Homborch, and issued in November 1476.

From the Book Stalls of Ghent
The earliest inscription, found beneath the colophon, was written a mere four months after the book’s publication. Though obscured by being nearly obliterated under heavy black ink, Christopher de Hamel has deciphered the inscription as that of a Master Nicholas Flint who appears to have purchased the book in Ghent in March 1477 (35).

The partially erased inscription of Nicholas Flint

Flint’s exact identity is not known, but de Hamel does note a Master Nicholas Flint among the Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford, from 1480 until approximately 1486 (30).

When and how the Dunedin copy left the possession of Master Nicholas remains a mystery. What is known, thanks to a much clearer inscription, is that the book made its way to Arbuthnott, Scotland, before the end of the fifteenth century.

Scottish Collection #1: Church of St. Ternan
An inscription in Latin along the top edge of the preface states that this copy was presented as a gift by the rector David Luthirdale to the Church of St. Ternan. The Church was consecrated by David de Bernhem, Bishop of St. Andrews, on 3 August 1242, and is perhaps best known for its association with the finely decorated Arbuthnott Missal.

David Luthirdale was inducted into the church at Glasgow as rector of Weem in 1474 and was rector of the Church of St. Ternan by 1484 (Durkan and Ross 126). Prior to his appointment in Arbuthnott, Luthirdale served as Archdeacon of Teviotdale, Glasgow, from June 1474 until October 1475 when he was appointed Archdeacon of Dunkeld – a position held until November 1479 (Watt 157, 177). Two years after his appointment to St. Ternan's, Luthirdale was employed as comptroller under James IV, and his name is found throughout the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland for that year (Murray 25, 27–8). No mention of Luthirdale is found after 1486, and we may assume that he died in office.

Luthirdale's inscription

With the coming of the Scottish Reformation in 1560, there can be little doubt as to the fate of the Legenda aurea. In all probability it was purged from the Church of St Ternan library, joining the wave of other books flooding into the Scottish and English book trade as a result of the religious upheaval. 

Scottish Collection #2: The Library of James Balfour
The book is next recorded in the library of herald and antiquary Sir James Balfour (ca. 1603–1657), whose ownership inscription appears on the recto of the front flyleaf. Balfour was one of the most significant book collectors in seventeenth-century Scotland, and his acquisition of such material as chronicles, registers of religious houses and bishoprics, and cartularies preserved some of what might have been lost during the scattering of pre-Reformation Scottish libraries (ODNB).

After Sir James’s death, his library is presumed to have passed to his brother, the botanist and collector Sir Andrew Balfour (1630–1694). Four years after the death of Sir Andrew, the manuscript portion of Sir James's library was purchased from the Balfour family by the Faculty of Advocates on 2 December 1698 (Ovenden 18). His printed books were dispersed at auction the following year, along with some books from Sir Andrew's own collection (the majority of his library had already been auctioned in 1695). The Legenda aurea, however, is not recorded in the Catalogus selectissimorum ... fratres D.D. Balfourios, Jacobum ... et Andream (Edinburgh: Andrew Symon and Henry Knox, booksellers, 1699). 

Ownership inscription of Sir James Balfour

Scottish Collection #3: Newhailes Library
The book resurfaced around the beginning of the eighteenth century in another important Scottish collection. The Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report IV (1874) lists a copy of the ‘Sanctorum Legende’, bearing the same inscription by David Luthirdale, among the Newhailes Library of the Dalrymple family. This collection was formed over three generations, beginning with Sir David Dalrymple (ca. 1665–1721), continued by his son James Dalrymple (1692–1751), and then by his grandson Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes (1726–1792), who greatly expanded the library and brought it to its zenith.

One of the gaps in this book’s history had been what happened after it left the Balfour collection and before it entered into the Newhailes Library. The shelf-mark 
‘K4.41’ on the verso of the flyleaf and the Balfour inscription may hold the answer.

According to Brian Hillyard this early Newhailes shelf-mark designated that the book was the 41st volume on the fourth shelf from the ground in press K. Hillyard explained that in about 1740 extra presses were added to the library room (previously A–Q, now A–Z) and the books rearranged. This evidence suggests the Legenda aurea was acquired before the death of James Dalrymple, father of Lord Hailes, in 1751. Hillyard also noted that a number of books in the Newhailes Library bear the Leo Armorum Rex inscription of Sir James Balfour, and that Lord Hailes’s grandfather, Sir David, was purchasing books in 1699, the same year as the Balfour sale. It therefore seems most likely that the Legenda aurea passed directly into Sir David’s collection around the time of the July 1699 sale of the Balfour library.

Newhailes shelf-mark

To England and then Aotearoa
The Legenda aurea remained in the Newhailes Library until 1937, when Sir Mark Dalrymple, the great-great-great grandson of Lord Hailes, sold a portion of the collection at Sotheby’s, London, on 24 and 25 May. The book (lot 420) was purchased by the firm of John & Edward Bumpus, bidding on behalf of Dr Charles Newman of Peterborough, England. It remained in Dr Newman’s possession for almost thirty years before being auctioned again by Sotheby’s on 14 June 1966.

According to John O’Mara of the Early British Department at Maggs, the firm was commissioned by an ‘R. D.’ to purchase the Legenda aurea. The lot, however, went unsold, as this unidentified person (or institution) possibly used up their funds on earlier bids. In the end, Maggs purchased the book as stock. O'Mara theorised that the mysterious ‘R. D.’ could have stood for ‘Reed Dunedin’, and that Maggs planned to offer the book to the Dunedin Public Library once it secured further funds. This is indeed plausible, since the Library acquired the book from Maggs five months later in November 1966, adding the Legenda aurea to its extensive collection of Bibles and biblical commentaries.

The fact that the book ended up in Dunedin is rather fitting. Given the city’s strong Scottish heritage, Sir Alfred Reed perhaps summed it up best: ‘it seems not inappropriate that the [Legenda aurea], after ... thirty years in England, should find its ultimate resting place in the Scottish-founded city of Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South’ (17). In an interesting twist, the 
Governor-General of New Zealand at the time of the 1966 acquisition was Brigadier Sir Bernard Ferguson (1911–80), a descendant of Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes.

Sir Bernard and Lady Ferguson with the 1476 Legenda aurea
From A. H. Reed's Story of the Golden Legend (1967)
Photograph by Earle Andrew, Wellington

Legenda aurea sanctorum, sive Lombardica historia. Cologne: Conrad Winters, de Homborch, 8 Nov. 1476 (shelf-mark: RBC Jac 1476). ISTC ij00086000GW M11193.


This entry is based upon two earlier works – by Sir Alfred Hamish Reed and Christopher de Hamel respectively – with additional information provided, such as the details on David Luthirdale, the examination of the Newhailes shelf-mark, and the connection between the Balfour and Newhailes collections.

Thanks are due to Brian Hillyard and John O'Mara for the information they provided in 2008.

Please see my blog post on two manuscript fragments used as pastedowns in this copy.

John Durkan and Anthony Ross. Early Scottish Libraries (Glasgow: J. S. Burns, 1961).

Christopher de Hamel. 'Medieval Books in New Zealand' in Transactions / treizième congrès, Édimbourg, 23-29 septembre 1983 ([Edinburgh]: Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 1985): 29–35.

Athol L. Murray. ‘The Comptroller, 1425–1488’. Scottish Historical Review, 52:1 (April 1973): 1–29.

Richard Ovenden. 'Sir James Balfour (1600–1657) and Sir Andrew Balfour (18 January 1630–10 January 1694)' in William Baker and Kenneth Womack (eds.), The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Pre-Nineteenth Century Book Collectors and Bibliographers (Detroit: Gale Group, 1999): 12–20.

Alfred Hamish Reed. The Story of the Golden Legend (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1967).

Sotheby’s & Co. Catalogue of a Selected Portion of the Valuable Library at Newhailes, Musselburgh (London: Printed by H. Davy, 1937).

---- Important Printed Books of the 15th Century, 14 June 1966 (London: Sotheby's, 1966).

Alexander Du Toit. 'Balfour, Sir James, of Denmiln and Kinnaird, first baronet (1600–1657)' in H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: OUP, 2004); on-line edition, Lawrence Goldman (ed.), September 2010. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/1189, accessed 25 November 2008.

Donald Elmslie Robertson Watt (ed.). Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae medii aevi ad annum 1638 (Edinburgh: Printed by Smith and Ritchie Ltd., 1969). 

07 October 2011

Guest Post: University of Otago Printer in Residence 2011

John Denny, owner-operator of Puriri Press, Auckland, has now completed the hand-setting of poems by Peter Olds at the Otakou Press Room in the University Library. And Skew-Whiff, as it is called, looks fabulous. Peter Olds has made a point of photographing many samples of graffiti around Dunedin. The low-res image below is a collection of just some of the graffiti, which Denny has replicated in print. Eight images by local artist Kathryn Madill also accompany the poems.

The 'Centre-fold'

This hand-set, hand-inked edition is limited to only 100 copies. The cost is $250.00NZD. For further information, contact Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian, University of Otago.

Details on the University's Printer in Residence programme and the Otakou Press Room can be found here.

23 September 2011

Bound But Not Forgotten #3: Further 18C Prospectuses

My first post in this short series ended with a note on further prospectuses found in the binding of the 1785 folio edition of Johnson's Dictionary. Both were initially identified as being for an edition of Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia, or a Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences revised and supplemented by Abraham Rees, though the exact edition advertised was unknown.

I have since been able to identify the edition, though it turns out my initial identification was only half correct.

First Prospectus
One of the prospectuses is indeed for the Cyclopaedia (fig. 1), advertising the first revised London edition (London: Printed for W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, A. Hamilton, J. Hinton, T. Payne [and 31 others], 1778–88; ESTC T136235), issued in parts.

(Fig. 1)

The edition was identified by the conditions of sale, made visible thanks to some very delicate peeling. Condition IV notes that the first part of the Cyclopaedia was to be issued on 10 January 1778 (fig. 2).

(Fig. 2)

Chambers's Cyclopaedia was first published in 1728 and went through numerous editions throughout the eighteenth century. It was one of the first general encyclopaedias published in English and a precursor to the great Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

Abraham Rees's revised edition added much new material to Chambers, and his scholarly efforts garnered Rees fellowships in the Royal Society and the Linnean Society. Rees went on to published his New Cyclopaedia in parts between 1802 and 1820. The complete work consists of thirty-nine text volumes accompanied by five volumes of plates and an atlas.

The Second Prospectus
The second prospectus turned out to be a surprise. It was not for Chambers's Cyclopaedia at all, but for Thomas Theodore Middleton's A New and Complete System of Geography (London: Printed for J. Cooke, 1778–79; ESTC N5096).

(Fig. 3)

In her Carto-Bibliography of the Maps in Eighteenth-Century British and American Geography Books (2009), Barbara Backus McCorkle describes Middleton's System of Geography (and other 18C folio-sized geographical works) as:

'[A] bibliographical nightmare. The title-pages in similar volumes by Thomas Bankes, q.v., closely resemble in both wording and lay-out those in Middleton and may well have been intended as successors to Middleton's work. [Thirteen] map plates first used here in Middleton later make their appearance in Bankes's publications. Some of the Middleton title-pages carry dates; some do not. But they seem to have been published within a fairly short span of years, 1772–1782. The title-pages of the numerous copies seen frequently vary. The initial wording is the same, but type-setting, lay-out, and dates are not. Most copies were undated; on dated copies, dates ranged from 1777–1779; often [the] vol. I date was later than vol. II'.

For McCorckle's full analysis of Middleton's System of Geography see entry 280 in her Carto-Bibliography, available online thanks to the Bibliographical Society of America.

Samuel Johnson. A Dictionary of the English Language .... London: Printed for J. F. and C. Rivington, L. Davis, T. Payne and Son, W. Owen, T. Longman [and 21 others], 1785. Seventh edition (shelfmark: RJJ Dic 1785 OS). ESTC T116652; Fleeman 55.4D/9.

13 September 2011

Bound But Not Forgotten #2: 15C Manuscript Leaves

This week's binding fragments are two mid fifteenth-century manuscript pastedowns found in a seventeenth-century binding. The fragments are nearly contemporary with the printing a 1476 edition of Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda aurea and were possibly recycled as pastedowns at least twice in their history.

According to Christopher de Hamel the fragments preserve clear impressions offset from typical diaper ruling of late medieval bindings and may well have been with the volume since the fifteenth century. This suggests the parent manuscript had a fairly short existence, perhaps being irreparably damaged.

The fragments were visible beneath the overlaid seventeenth-century pastedowns, which were removed in 1984 to allow for access to the manuscripts. The text remained unidentified until this month and appears to be from Bonaventure's De Christi Humanitate, part of chapters 22 to 24. The front leaf (fig. 1) concerns Christ's descent into Hell and the beginning of the chapter on his Resurrection. The rear leaf (fig. 2) comprises further text on the Resurrection and the opening of the chapter on Christ's Ascension.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

The book itself has a very interesting and well documented provenance, which will be the subject of a future post.


Legenda aurea sanctorum, sive Lombardica historia. Cologne: Conrad Winters, de Homborch, 8 Nov. 1476 (shelfmark: RBC Jac 1476). ISTC ij00086000; GW M11193.

12 September 2011

Upcoming Rare Book Events in Australia

-- The Brisbane Antiquarian Book Fair begins in a few days' time. Sixteen exhibitors are offering something for every level of collector, from an attractive 1886 hand-coloured engraving of the Parliament House in Brisbane priced at $100AUD (Brighton Antique Prints & Maps) to a very fine second edition of John Gould's A Monograph of the Trogonidae for $60,000.00 AUD (Andrew Isles Natural History Books). The event is being hosted by the State Library of Queensland.

-- Australian Book Auctions is holding a sale of books, maps and prints on 26 and 27 September, in 672 lots. Lots 443 to 672 are individual plates from Gould's Birds of Australia.

26 August 2011

Bound But Not Forgotten: Prospectuses as Binder's Waste

In my previous post I noted some Dutch manuscript fragments used by the binder of the 1631 Isocrates. This put me in mind of other items in the Heritage Collections with bindings that have their own secrets to reveal. 

This post is the first in a short series on additional interesting binding fragments still in situ and found in the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection.

Johnsonian Prospectuses
The latest of the eighteenth-century editions of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language held by the Dunedin Public Library is the 1785 folio seventh edition. The Reed copy is bound in two slim volumes. The binding, a once attractive tree-calf with gold-tooled spines, is now in a poor state. The leather is peeling away from the boards, as are the front and rear pastedowns. The condition of the volumes is such as would make many a bibliophile cringe, but their decrepitude turns out to be a boon in this instance. Inserted between the boards and pastedowns of the first volume are two blue wrappers, each bearing a prospectus for the 'Genuine Edition' of Johnson’s Dictionary.


Fig. 1

These blue wrappers are mentioned in J. D. Fleeman’s A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, under his entries for the quarto sixth edition (55.4D/8) and folio seventh edition (55.4D/9), both published in 1785. Though still partially attached the wrappers were loose enough to be examined. Based on the trimmed measurement (27.3 x 44cm) and position of the chain lines, it was determined that the wrappers were used for sheets of a folio edition rather than quarto. Printed on the top margin of one of the sheets is the number 3 twice, positioned to be visible along the section of wrapper forming the spine, and 'N3' above the title (fig. 1). The relevance of the numbers lay with the publishing of the 1785 folio Dictionary, which was released as a single volume and in weekly parts (Fleeman, p. 433). This particular wrapper, therefore, possibly enclosed the third set of weekly sheets. Unfortunately, the other wrapper was glued in top margin first (fig. 2), thereby obscuring the numbers.

Fig. 2

The number of Johnson-related proposals and prospectuses recovered from bindings remains unknown. Robert DeMaria, Jr., noted that Fleeman spoke of finding some, but is unaware of anyone currently searching for them in a systematic fashion. Regardless of their number, the discovery of these prospectuses proves the saying that you never know what will turn up where, and invites further discussion about what light such printing house discards might shed on eighteenth-century printing and Johnson’s bibliography.

Samuel Johnson. A Dictionary of the English Language .... London: Printed for J. F. and C. Rivington, L. Davis, T. Payne and Son, W. Owen, T. Longman [and 21 others], 1785. Seventh edition (shelfmark: RJJ Dic 1785 OS). ESTC T116652; Fleeman 55.4D/9.

This post originally appeared as a longer article called 'Between the Covers: Newly Discovered Johnsonian Prospectuses' in The Johnsonian News Letter (61:2, September 2010).

The second volume of the 1785 Dictionary also includes blue wrappers used as binder’s waste. These are prospectuses advertising an edition of Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences with supplement by the Welsh minister Abraham Rees. Further research needs to be done on the edition advertised.

09 August 2011

Recent Acquisitions II: A Bible for Rarotonga and Isocrates in the Seventeenth Century

Opening of the Gospel of Matthew
Te Bibilia tapu ra: koia te Koreromotu Taito e te Koreromotu Ou (Lonedona: Societi Bibilia i Bertani e te au Enua Katoa, 1851).

The first full edition of the Bible in Rarotongan, or Cook Islands Maori. The initial translation work was carried out on Rarotonga by members of the London Missionary Society John Williams (1796–1839), Charles Pitman (ca. 1796–1884) and Aaron Buzacott (1800–64) in 1828. Williams, who was the primary translator, returned to England from the South Pacific in 1834 to oversee the printing of his translation of the New Testament. He returned to the Pacific in 1837. Two years later Williams and fellow missionary James Harris were killed and eaten by cannibals while visiting parts of the New Hebrides islands (now Vanuatu).

Pitman and Buzacott continued the translation work and printed portions of the Bible on Rarontonga. According to Darlow and Moule 'the missionaries had intended to print the concluding portions of the OT ... like the earlier portions, at Rarotonga; but the MS. was almost entirely destroyed in a cyclone ... in March 1846, and it had to be rewritten' (Darlow & Moule 7671). In 1847 Buzacott returned to England where he revised the Bible with the assistance of a Rarotongan native named Kiro and T. W. Meller, Editorial Superintendent of the British and Foreign Bible Society (Darlow and Moule).

The B.F.B.S. printed 5,000 copies, which were shipped to the Rarotonga. The translation was so well received by the local Christian population that the entire printing cost was refunded within a few years (Darlow and Moule).

Purchased from Blackwell's Rare Books, Oxford.

Isocratus logoi kai epistolai. Isocratis orationes et epistolae ... (Paris: Sébastien Chappelet, 1631). This edition of Greek rhetorician Isocrates's speeches and letters was edited by Ambroise Pezier and is based on the work of German humanist Hieronymus Wolf (1516–80), who first published his translation of Isocrates in 1551.

The printer, Sébastien Chappelet (1589–1647), was active as a printer and publisher in Paris from 1614 to 1642. The text is in Greek with Latin interlinear translation and marginal notes in both languages.

The copy is bound in contemporary vellum. The binding is mostly detached, revealing some fragments from a fifteenth-century Dutch manuscript used as reinforcing strips along the spine.

The front free endpaper has the ownership inscription of a young James William Robertson (1774–1855), later Minister of Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. Robertson was licensed by the Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1796 and received his MA from the University of Saint Andrews in 1797.

Received as a donation.

30 July 2011

Byron Book Found at Church Sale

A book acquired at a 2008 church sale in Savannah, Georgia, turns out to be long-lost tribute to Lord Byron.

The story broke earlier this month. For further details see the BBC report or National Library of Scotland website.

Notes on Exhibitions: The Farjeon Family and Experimental Philosophy

Dunedin Public Library
The latest exhibition 'Morning Has Broken: The Farjeon Family Collection' opened yesterday. The more than seventy items on exhibit commemorate the beloved children's author and poet Eleanor Farjeon, and her talented brothers: the composer Harry, the crime novelist Joseph Jefferson and Herbert, a celebrated figure in the British theatre. Also on display is material relating to their father, Benjamin Farjeon, manager, sub-editor and later partner of the Otago Daily Times newspaper; after his return to England Benjamin established himself as a popular Victorian novelist.

On display is a selection of published works (many with presentation inscriptions from one member of the Farjeon family to another), original drafts, theatre ephemera, photographs, sheet music, and personal correspondence. A rather touching item is Benjamin Farjeon's informal Last Will and Testament, written in pencil, and found by Eleanor after her father's death in 1903.

The exhibition coincides with the 130th anniversary of Eleanor Farjeon's birth and the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Otago Daily Times.

Further information, a PDF of the item list, and video clip of the speaker are available here.

'Morning Has Broken: The Farjeon Family Collection' runs until 23 October.

University of Otago
An exhibition entitled 'Experimental Philosophy: Old and New' launched on 1 July in the de Beer Gallery. The exhibition features (among others) works by Bacon, Newton, John Locke and Abraham Cowley (his A Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy [1668]), through to modern philosophers such as Russell, Shaun Nichols, and Kwame Anthony Appiah. One cabinet is dedicated to the Molyneux Problem.

The exhibition coincided with the Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference, which took place in early July, and the publication of Professor Peter Anstey's John Locke and Natural Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

'Experimental Philosophy: Old and New' runs until 23 September. There is an online version for those unable to visit the Gallery.

08 July 2011

'Great and Manifold' Symposium, Wellington

'Great and Manifold: A Celebration of the Publication of the King James Bible in 1611'
Parliament Buildings, Wellington
27 and 28 August 2011

David Norton 'The Genius of the King James Bible'
Chris Marshall 'Reflections on Reading the Pre-Modern Bible in a Post-Modern World'
Andrew Bradstock 'The Bible in the Public Square'
Wyn Beasley 'The King Who Gave Us a Bible'
Peter Lineham 'The Bible in New Zealand, 1814-2014'
Graham Redding 'The King James Bible: A Study in Truth and Beauty'

Jacobean music by the Tudor Consort and dinner in the Grand Hall of Parliament to follow. Special services are planned for the Sunday at St John's in the City and Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, where the first edition of the King James Version will be on display for a two-week period (courtesy of the Dunedin Public Library) from 26 August.

More information, including speaker bios, and registration details can be found here.

06 July 2011

How to Cook Roaches, Compliments of Thomas Percy

The Reed Autograph Letters and Manuscripts Collection holds thousands of original documents from the sixteenth to twentieth century. Its strength lies in the nineteenth century, but the eighteenth century is also well represented. This recipe for poached roaches (not the insect but the freshwater fish!) was found among a sheaf of letters and other papers belonging to Thomas Percy (1729-1811), Bishop of Dromore. Percy is perhaps best known today for his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), and close friendship with Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. Not suspected was a culinary bent.

The fish of choice, the roach, is mentioned in a number of eighteenth-century sources. A simple recipe for stewing roach is found in The London and Country Cook: or, Accomplished Housewife (third ed., 1749), and The Lady's Assistant for Regulating and Supplying the Table (sixth ed., 1787) informed its readers on how to select, boil and fry the fish. The Sportsman Dictionary (third ed., 1785) did not seem to think much of it, opening its entry on the roach by stating that it was 'not accounted a delicate fish'. Jim Chevalier, whom I thank for the aforementioned resources, informed me that French sources say to cook roach like carp, but 'don't seem very enthusiastic about it'.

The nineteenth-century naturalist and angler, John Greville Fennell, however, thought highly of the common roach and published a complete work on catching the fish, which he straightforwardly (if unimaginatively) called The Book of the Roach (1870). R A Gatty, writing in The Gentleman's Magazine (1907) lamented society's lost taste for such 'coarse fish':

'In the days of our forefathers what we call coarse fish were held in far higher esteem than they are now, and every country house had its stew-ponds where fish were carefully reared and preserved .... But the art of cooking coarse fish has ... disappeared, and nobody nowadays will thank you for a dish of dace, or roach, or chub; yet there was a time when these formed part of the regular food of the people'.

Readers who wish to don their kitchen aprons, sharpen their knives, and have a go at reinventing Percy's take on poached roach will find the recipe transcribed and interpreted below (thanks to my predecessor, Ian Stewart). I have not yet attempted to replicate the dish myself and would be delighted to hear from any readers who try it out.

Take ye Roaches scale open & wash ym very cleane; yn dry ym with a lining cloth yn take a smale very sharpe knife & scot[c]h [i.e. to cut with superficial incisions] ym to ye very back bone on one side from ye head to ye tale ; & one ye other side from ye tale to ye head ; you must take care yt ye scotches be as neare ye one to ye other as tis possible without cuting one part out : wn thus prepared Lay ym by in a cleane dish ; yn take the Liquor you designe to boyle to boyle [sic] ym in ; which must be 3 parts watter & one part French if you cane gett white wine vineger : to which you must add a large Fagott the 6 sweet hearbes ; sweet marjerinne winter savoury thyme speare mint penyroyall & a littell Fenell well chosen & pickt ye pell of a lemon  ye peele of an oring Sauge mace a few cloves a smale quantity of hole pepper a root of sound genger sliced ; & 8 or 10 sound well peeled onions cut ye crose way only together ; with 1, 2 or 3 according to ye proportions of yr Liquor ; handfuls of salt & take notice yt you can hardly over salt fresh fish ; wn you have put all these ingredients into ye vesell you intend to boyle yr fish in ; Lett it one a stronge good fire ; & thare lett it boyle for about halfe an houre untill ye strength of ye seasoning be out in ye Liquor : After this yr liquor boyleing very Fircely : put in yr fish one by one so as ye coldness of ye fish may very littell abate ye boyleing of ye liquor & you must not Faile to have in reddyness Spare wood or other convenient Fewell to keep the liquor constantly boyling : For if at any time it doe stint boyling while ye fish is in it it will make it soft which is not commendable whilst ye fish is boyling you must you must [sic] desolve into a smale portion of ye liquor 3 4 or 5 of good sound Anchovyes, as soone as yr fish is boyled enough you must immediatly (which is easily done by a false bottom [)] snatch it out of ye liquor ; & haveing a dish prepared by covering ye bottom with sliced manchit [i.e. manchet, a very fine small bread] lay ye fish upon it ; the sauce is good sweet butter drawn up very thick with ye liquor into which ye Anchovys ware desolved & to both ym add a lemon squesid ye dish if liked ought & may be rubed with garlike.


Roaches or some other fresh-water fish
Liquor comprising 3 parts water and 1 part French white wine vinegar
Large bunch of sweet marjoram, winter savoury, thyme, spearmint, pennyroyal, and fennel
Peel of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 orange
Small quantity of Peppercorns
1 root ginger, peeled and sliced
8-10 onions, sliced
1-3 handfuls Salt
Manchet, sliced
3-5 Anchovies
Melted butter
Juice of lemon

1. Scale and gut the Roaches, then wash and dry them thoroughly. Take a small, very sharp knife and score them to the depth of the backbone on one side from the head to the tail, and on the other side from the tail to the head – taking care that the scores be as near one to the other as it is possible without cutting one part out. Lay the Roaches to one side in a clean dish.

2. To a large pot add the liquor, the bunch of sweet herbs, the orange and lemon peel, sage, mace, peppercorns, ginger, onions, and handfuls of salt according to the amount of liquor used (it is very difficult to over salt fresh water fish.)

3. Bring to the boil and continue boiling for about half an hour so that the seasonings flavour the liquor.

4. While the liquor is boiling prepare the serving dish by rubbing with garlic (if desired) and cover the bottom of the dish with sliced manchet.

4. Add the Roaches to the boiling liquor one by one, taking care the liquor remains on the boil or else the fish will go soft.

5. While the Roaches are boiling prepare the sauce by dissolving the anchovies into a small portion of the liquor. Add melted butter to the anchovy mixture and reduce liquid until very thick. Add some squeezed lemon juice.

6. Transfer the Roaches to the serving dish and drizzle over them the sauce. Serve immediately. 

01 July 2011

Two New Blogs!

The University of St Andrews Department of Special Collections Echoes from the Vault, which promotes St Andrews' rich collections and associated events.

David Levy's Edmond Hoyle, Gent. which, to quote Levy, 'presents questions of bibliography that have come up in my research on the writings of Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769)'.

Please visit and enjoy.

14 June 2011

KJB in a Cupboard

From the title-page
of the St Peter's copy
Towards the end of April I received an email from a resident of Palmerston North (northeast of Wellington) who said he had found 'an old Bible' while rummaging in a cupboard in St Peter's Anglican Church. Naturally my mind turned towards a standard nineteenth-century edition, probably bound in black morocco. I was, however, pleasantly mistaken, for what was found was a 1616 edition of the King James Bible.

Its finder, who wishes to remain in the background of the story, had emailed in the hopes of confirming the exact edition. Thankfully he has an interest in typography and bibliography, and so provided a detailed description of its printing errors. A quick check of ESTC pointed to either the small folio or quarto edition printed by Robert Barker, printer to King James I. Comparing the errors with a digital copy in Early English Books Online (EEBO), I was able to confirm that, yes, St Peter's was indeed in possession of a 1616 KJB, the small folio edition in fact.

Small folio editions of the KJB were intended for church use, particularly churches with little money. The text of the 1616 KJB was based on the 1611 editio princeps with some readings from the 1613 second edition. According to David Norton's The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today (Cambridge, 2010) the 1616 folio 'brought in some twenty new readings, some of which involve a degree of scholarship and seem to draw particularly on older translations. Only a few of these were picked up in subsequent editions from the King's Printer, but the makers of the Cambridge edition of 1629 consulted this folio and so gave currency to some of its readings' (141).

ESTC records thirty copies of the 1616 folio edition, all of which are held by institutions in the northern hemisphere, and primarily in America and the UK. This makes the St Peter's copy number thirty-one and the only recorded copy in Australasia. St Peter's vestry has approved the professional conservation of the Bible, and intends to acquire a secure display cabinet (linked to the church's alarm system) so the Bible can be displayed.

Research has shown that the book was bequeathed to St Peter's by a member of the congregation in 1912. That member, Thomas Pattinson, emigrated from England to New Zealand sometime between 1874 and 1881. Though provenance research is ongoing, it appears Pattinson's lineage stretches back to another Thomas Pattinson born in Scotland around 1615. Were the seventeenth-century Pattinsons practising Anglicans? If so, then it could very well be that the 1616 KJB had been in the family from the time of its printing.

04 June 2011

Photography Exhibition at Auckland Central City Library

Visiting Auckland before the end of July? If so, be sure to visit the latest Sir George Grey Special Collections exhibition 'Q - Tornquist & the Quoin Club'.

From the Auckland Council site:

'Q - Tornquist and the Quoin Club' is an exhibition celebrating the photography of Bert and Fred Tornquist, and Bert's associations with the Auckland art workers' collective, The Quoin Club.

New Zealand-born Bert and Fred Tornquist opened the Tornquist Portrait Studio in Queen Street in 1924.

Bert had no formal photographic training, but had studied at Elam School of Art in Auckland before the First World War.

His brother Fred took a course in photography at the Bissell College of Photo Engraving in Effingham, Illinois, in 1918 and 1919, and worked in several studios in the U.S. before returning to New Zealand in the early 1920s.

The Tornquist Portrait Studio flourished, the brothers combining Fred's photographic expertise with Bert's artistic talent to produce sensitive and powerful portraits of Auckland citizens and visiting international celebrities, such as the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the Italian soprano Toti Dal Monte, and the playwright and author George Bernard Shaw.

Visitors to the exhibition can see a range of Tornquist portraits selected from over 800 of their negatives recovered by library staff from a demolition site in Queen Street in 1970, together with artworks and jewellery created by members of the Quoin Club and loaned by the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

When Until 31 July 2011, Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10.00am-4.00pm

Where Sir George Grey Special Collections, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne Street

02 June 2011

From the Archives: How Much Did the Captain Drink?

While gathering material for the latest exhibition, I noticed a rather grubby volume lurking in the archives with the following written on the front:

‘Wine.Book. HMS Rosario 1870. Luke Humphreys. HMS Nymphe 1875’

‘Wine Book’ was enough to catch my attention, and the volume provided a nice distraction on a quiet Friday afternoon.

HMS Peterel (sister ship to the Rosario)
HMS Rosario, under the command of Commander George Palmer, is perhaps best known for seizing the schooner Daphne under suspicion it was involved in the illegal act of ‘blackbirding’ in 1869. The term refers to the coercion of people, mainly Pacific Islanders and Aborigines, through trickery or kidnapping and then selling them as slave labour. Unfortunately the case against the crew of the Daphne could not be proven. Commander Palmer brought charges at the Vice Admiralty Court of New South Wales, but they were dismissed by Chief Justice Sir Alfred Stephen, on the grounds that the British Slave Trade Act (1839) did not apply to the South Pacific Ocean.

Commander Palmer published his experience in Kidnapping in the South Seas: Being the Narrative of a Three Months’ Cruise of H.M. Ship Rosario (Edinburgh, 1871), which the Dunedin Public Library purchased in 1935. The Rosario and Nymphe ‘Wine Book’ was included in the acquisition.

Commander Palmer's Dedication
Kidnapping in the South Seas

The book itself is a standard account ledger for recording sums and figures, covered, possibly aboard ship, with a cloth cover tied at the inner front and rear boards. Along the top of each page is a list of alcoholic beverages from ale and brandy to sherry and rum. Down the left-hand column are the names of the officers serving on board Separate messes (such as the sick mess) are occasionally noted. Against each name is a number in the appropriate column, keeping account of how much was consumed, with an expended tally at the bottom of each column. The last pages of the ledger record prices paid and number of cases for each month.

From the October 1869 entries
The answer to ‘how much did the captain drink’ is, well, practically nothing. According to the ledger it would appear that Commander Palmer was something of a teetotaller. There are no marks against his name until 26 September 1869 when Palmer enjoyed 1.5 glasses of amontillado. The largest record is under the succeeding captain, Henry Joseph Challis, who took command of the Rosario in April 1870. Along the bottom of the 2 September page is written ‘Captain: 1 case of port (3 dozen), 1 dozen champagne large, 1 ditto small, 2 dozen sherry, 1 ditto brandy’. It can be assumed (at least for the sake of his liver) that Challis was entertaining other ranking officers or guests aboard ship.

Luke Humphreys, the crewman who kept the ledger, eventually settled in Gisborne, New Zealand. My attempt to find out more about him sadly took a dark turn, as it was discovered that Humphreys committed suicide as an elderly man in 1913. According to the Poverty Bay Herald the coroner returned the verdict that he ‘died from the effect of a revolver shot fired by himself into his head, whilst suffering from temporary insanity brought on by serious family trouble and his own ill-health’.

Although no mention is made in the 1935 acquisition register, it is presumed Palmer’s narrative and the 'wine book' were among Humphreys’ possessions and later sold by his family. Tucked into the pages of the ledger was a finely printed menu for an honorary dinner for Judges Brookfield and Puckey of Gisborne dated 27 May 1882. Humphreys was one of fifty to attend and must have been an upstanding member of the community at the time. Something of his good and honest character was reflected thirteen years earlier. Against the 24 August 1869 entry in the logbook is ‘1 Sherry Broken (by Humphreys)’ written in his own hand.

24 May 2011

Robert Graves Online Exhibition

From Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian, University of Otago:

With help from our web office (Elliot O’Sullivan) and Merrin Brewster (Library web-master), and other library colleagues, the current exhibition at Special Collections 'Forging a Magical Landscape: The Works of Robert Graves, Poet' is now LIVE.

Hope the link works and that you enjoy the exhibition.

23 May 2011

Upcoming Auction: First Editions and Detective Fiction

Australian Book Auctions next sale features the collection of noted Australian crime fiction bibliographer John Loder. Highlights from the sale include a first edition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet (est. $40,000 to $80,000 AUD) and the Melbourne first edition of Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (est. $10,000 to $15,000 AUD). The auction is to be held in two session on 30 and 31 May.

The books are on view from 27 to 30 May at the Gallery, 909 High Street, Armadale, Victoria. A PDF of the catalogue is available.

18 May 2011

Kelmscott Chaucer Blog

From William S. Peterson, co-author of The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census (Oak Knoll Press, 2011):

My collaborator Sylvia Peterson and I are working on an online solution to keep our book The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census up to date. We have just created a blog for that purpose.

There's not much material on the blog yet, but we hope to add to it regularly as we learn about more copies of the Chaucer that are not listed in our book.

16 May 2011

London Rare Books School

Some seats are still available in this year's London Rare Books School, notably 'Modern Literary Manuscripts', 'Reading, Writing & Sending Texts: 1400-1919' and 'Children's Books: 1470-1980'.

14 May 2011

Birds of a Feather

The recent auctions of John Gould's Birds of Europe (1832-37), Birds of Australia (1840-69) and Birds of Asia (1850-83), puts me in mind of Walter Lawry Buller's A History of the Birds of New Zealand ((1872-73) for this month's highlight from the Heritage Collections. While not on the grand scale of Gould's publications, the coloured lithographs in Buller's Birds remain equally stunning.

Walter Lawry Buller (1838-1906) was a native New Zealander with a keen passion for natural history ever since he was a schoolboy. At nineteen Buller wrote to the Linnean Society, London, in 1857, and was elected a fellow before he ever published a paper. His first scientific paper, an Essay on the Ornithology of New Zealand written for the 1865 New Zealand Exhibition, received a silver medal and established him as a recognised authority on New Zealand birds. Six years later Buller was awarded an honorary doctorate in natural history from the University of Tubingen thanks to the assistance of German naturalist and ornithologist Otto Finsch.

Buller made plans for a monograph on the ornithology of New Zealand in 1865. By 1871 he had gathered enough material, and negotiated a government grant (by donating his 200 specimens to the Colonial Museum, Wellington) and leave on half pay to travel to London to publish his work. While in London Buller also read law in the Inner Temple and was called to the bar in 1874.

The first part of Buller's Birds was published on 4 April 1872, and the fifth and final part appeared towards the end of March 1873. The individual parts were followed by a run of 500 bound copies sold by private subscription. The Royal quarto was both a commercial and critical success, and won Buller not only acclaim but also the honour of a CMG in 1875. The thirty-six, hand-coloured lithographs by renowned Dutch bird illustrator John Gerrard Keulemans contain almost seventy figures of New Zealand birds. The lithographic stones sadly have not survived. They were destroyed after publication with one theory stating the stones were lost at sea.

Buller, who returned to New Zealand in 1874 to practice law and live the life of a gentleman naturalist, continued to publish scholarly papers. In 1879 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and the newspapers heralded him as 'the first scientific man, born and educated in any of the colonies, who has received this distinction'.

A second edition of Buller's Birds was published in thirteen parts between July 1887 and December 1888. It included more detailed descriptions than the first edition and the forty-eight chromolithographs by and after Keulemans exhibit eighty species of birds. These illustrations have become standard images of New Zealand birds, a number of which are now extinct or in danger of becoming so. A run of 1,000 copies of the second edition were printed, 251 of which were lost at sea in the wrecks of the 'Matai' and 'Assaye' in 1890. Buller, after emigrating to England in 1899, wrote a two-volume supplemental edition also illustrated by Keulemans. It was published in 1905, just one year before Buller's death.

Of the first edition, OCLC records just over sixty copies in institutional hands. The majority are held, not surprisingly, by libraries in Australia and New Zealand. However, copies can be found in the United States, France, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. A facsimile edition, which reproduced Keulemans forty-eight chromolithographs and was revised and updated by New Zealand ornithologist E. G. Turbott, was published by Whitcombe & Tombs in 1967. An online version of the second edition is available through the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.