Papermaking, calligraphy, illumination, paper marbling, and gold-tooled goatskin bindings define fine bookmaking and are generally associated with western and continental books. However, mastery of these book arts was transmitted to Europe through the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Although the Chinese pioneered papermaking and printing with movable type, in Medieval times, all roads from China to continental Europe passed through the Middle East and North Africa.… Read More
Author Archives: Devon Eastland
Writings Provide New Insights To Secretive Painter’s Work and Life
An extensive archive of letters previously unknown to scholars and collectors concerning one of the most secretive and celebrated American artists of the 20th century will be offered in Skinner’s May Fine Books & Manuscripts online auction.… Read More
My daughter is 15 years old, and she is an ardent fan of musical theater. At our house, any possible topic of conversation could (should and will) relate directly to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Sometimes it’s really a bit of a stretch, but she always comes through with a lyric that fits, and favors us with song.… Read More
Martin L. Stone was mustered into service with the Pennsylvania Volunteers in October of 1861. He was ultimately captured by Confederate forces at the Second Battle of Deep Bottom in mid-August 1864, and in the intervening years he undoubtedly witnessed profound human suffering. His memories, like those of so many veterans, are lost forever.
An independent Audubon Society has decided to de-accession one of the great masterpieces of 19th century natural history book illustration. The Society has a mission: to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.… Read More
Massachusetts is home to a wealth of institutional rare book libraries and special collections, private and public. Collecting groups, college and town libraries, historical societies, and museums contain an astonishing depth of irreplaceable monuments to our collective social and intellectual history.… Read More
Five of the entries on the list of the top ten most expensive books ever sold are copies of The Birds of America by John James Audubon. A double elephant folio of the book sold for $10.3 million in 2010. This book is a giant in both price and volume – the complete work measures 39.5 inches by 28.5 inches and contains 435 plates.… Read More
A rare book can lose a significant amount of value if it’s missing even a single page of text. If what’s lacking is a title page, illustration, or map, the price will drop like an anvil in a cartoon. The same goes for a set of books that happens to be missing one or two volumes. And yet every day in the Skinner Fine Books & Manuscripts department we see plates, maps, title pages, and text leaves removed from valuable books.
I got a phone call last August about a potential book collection. Nothing unusual there, my job allows me the privilege of responding to queries about book collections every day. The description of the collection was brief but promising: about 125 books on the history of science, from the sixteenth to nineteenth century.… Read More