Topic: Rare Books Talk by Stephanie Smith (2016)
As part of Local History Week and the 40th Anniversary of Nga Wahi Rangahau Research Collections, archivist Stephanie Smith gave a talk on the rare books to be found in Research Collections on Monday 26 September. Text and photographs: Debbie McCauley.
Testamenti veteris Biblia sacra sive libri canonici: accesserunt and ex Graeco a Theodoro Beza in Latinum conversos - the oldest book in the collection which is a Latin Bible dating from 1585, published in London, England. This copy was re-covered in Victorian times (220.47 Early Edition).
The Old English Baron: A Gothic Story by Clara Reeve, published in 1819. This early Gothic novel was first published under the title 'The Champion of Virtue in 1777, and then under this title in 1778. The book would have a major influence in the development of Gothic fiction and was dramatized in 1799 as 'Edmond, Orphan of the Castle'. The story follows Sir Philip Harclay who returns to England after a long absence and finds that his childhood friend, Arthur, Lord Lovel, is no longer alive, and that the castle and estates of the Lovel family have twice changed hands. But a mysteriously abandoned set of rooms in the castle of Lovel promises to disclose the secrets of the past (FIC REEV).
Funnily-told Tales and Funny Pictures, a children's book published in London, England, by Dean & Son in 1858. Established around 1800, Dean & Son was a 19th Century London publishing firm, best known for making and mass-producing moveable children's books and toy books. They were one of the first firms to introduce pop-up books for children. Expensive to produce, their books were printed on letterpress, then hand-coloured using the 'pochoir' stencil method. Pochoir (the French word for stencil) is a printmaking method in which one or more carefully cut stencils are used to hand-colour a set of prints. Every colour has a separate stencil and brush dab on the paint, and each stencil is applied in turn. The stencils need to be placed exactly in position or there can be over-run of the lines as we can observe in our copy of 'Funnily-Told Tales and Funny Pictures'. The pochoir process is characterised by brilliant colours and crisp lines and produces images that have a freshly printed or wet appearance. Searches reveal that the copy of this book held in the Sladden Collection at Tauranga City Library may well be the only one in New Zealand (FIC FUNN).
My Simple Life in New Zealand by Adela Stewart - this first edition was published in London in 1908. Adela kept a diary throughout her pioneering years at Athenree in Katikati, which was later published as this book. In many ways, Adela was the social heart of the new community. In 1906, the Stewart's sold Athenree and returned to England and in 1910 Adela returned to New Zealand for a visit and to publicise her book. Six weeks after her arrival back in New Zealand she died at Twickenham on 12 February 1910, the night of her arrival in back in Katikati (993.422 STE).
Our Stolen Summer: The Record of a Roundabout Tour by Mary Stuart Boyd, published in 1900. Mary and her husband Alexander Stuart Boyd (former 'Punch' illustrator) visited New Zealand in the summer of 1898/1899 with their 11-year-old son. On their return to England, Alexander illustrated his wife's story about their visit with 170 pen and ink sketches. The couple returned to New Zealand in around 1920 and settled in Takapuna, Auckland. The book contains a chapter about their visit to Tauranga in around January 1899 (pp. 95-104), Mary writing, 'Tauranga seems almost to have lost its reason for existence'. Christmas 1898 is talked about on pages 77-78 (993.023 BOY).
New Zealand Ferns: 172 Varieties by Eric Craig & Herbert Dobbie, published in 1892 (2nd edition). The illustrations are full-size, white silhouettes on blue paper. They were hand-made by mounting fern fronds on sheets of glass and directing sunlight through these onto sheets of home-made blueprint paper. At some stage Herbert changed the spelling of his last name from Dobie to Dobbie. He was the brother of artist Mary Beatrice Dobie who was murdered at Ōpunake, Taranaki, on 25 November 1880, one year prior to the invasion of the pacifist settlement at Parihaka (587.31 DOB).
The Art Album of New Zealand Flora (Volume 1) by Edward Henry Featon. Published in 1889 the book was a collaborative project between Sarah Featon, an accomplished botanical artist, and her husband Edward. It was the first full-colour art book to be published in New Zealand. The prints are all original chromo-lithographs produced by Bock and Cousins, Wellington, from Sarah Featon's original artwork. Due to the expense and extremely time-consuming nature of the colour lithography process, Bock and Cousins were forced into bankruptcy by their work on the book, and the series remains unfinished (582.13 FEA).
A History of the Birds of New Zealand by Sir Walter Lawry Buller. A New Zealand classic, this second edition was published in 13 parts between July 1887 and December 1888. It is full of eyecatching paintings by Dutch artist John Gerrard Keulemans. Buller's book has been used to document the decline and extinction of endemic New Zealand birds in the late 19th century as a result of introduced mammal predators (598.0993 BUL).
Maori Patterns Painted & Carved by John Henry Menzies. The classic book of Maori art designs was first published in 1904 as a result of Menzies study of Canterbury Museum's Maori artefacts. This reprint dates from 1975(?). Menzies was a skilled carver. In 1879 he built his homestead 'Glen Mona' which was elaboratively decorated with carvings of Maori patterns and flower motifs. He also carved St Luke's Church in Little Akaloa which included Maori patterns in both stone and wood carving and is the earliest known example of a Pakeha designer using Maori decorative motifs for a Pakeha congregation. The church still stands today as does 'Rehutai' in Menzies Bay, built for his son William in 1894. 'Glen Mona' burned down in 1907 and its replacement was similarly decorated but was destroyed by fire in 1929.
Picturesque Atlas of Australasia (1886-88), published in Sydney, Australia by the Picturesque Atlas Publishing Co., edited by Andrew Garran. Contains over 700 engravings on steel and wood contained specially commissioned from leading Australian artists. There are only thirty maps in the Atlas's 800 pages which contains hundreds of pictures. It was was released in 42 separate editions usually bound into three large volumes and sold an impressive 53,000 copies. Writers, artists, academics and politicians came together to prepare a book of unprecedented splendour and ambition (990 PIC).
A voyage towards the South Pole and round the world: performed in His Majesty's Ships The Resolution and Adventure in the years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775 by James Cook (‘Resolution’) and including a narrative by Captain Tobias Furneaux (‘Adventure’) in 2 volumes. Cook was absent for three years during his first voyage, arriving home in 1771 to find his youngest son and daughter had died. He was promoted to captain in August 1771 and asked to voyage to the Pacific again in search of the elusive Southern Continent. Setting sail from Plymouth on 13 July 1772, Cook reached Dusky Bay in New Zealand on 26 March 1773. He made an astonishing series of discoveries and rediscoveries during this voyage during which he only lost four men, one from tuberculosis and the others likely from drunken accidents. The calfskin covered books are illustrated with maps and charts, and a variety of portraits of persons and views of places drawn during the voyage by artist William Hodges and engraved on their return. Included are 63 engraved plates, maps and charts (15 folding, 16 double-page). First published in 1773, this third edition was published in 1779 (910.92 COO).
Manual of the Birds of New Zealand by Sir Walter Lawry Buller, published in 1882. This book was a photolithographic reproduction of the plates in 'A History of the Birds of New Zealand' with summary text. It was a cheaper alternative and very popular (598.0993 BUL).