All I want for Crowleymas
If anyone wants to buy me a special present, there's a rather tasty book coming up for sale at Sotheby's.
Lot 56 in the London 'Books and Manuscripts' sale on Thursday 29 October is a wonderful book from the library of John Dee, inscribed on the title page "Joannes Dee 1574" and with marginal annotations by Dee to eleven pages of the text. Estimated at £10,000 - £15,000.
In the same sale, there's a copy of the 1570 translation of Euclid's 'Elements of Geometrie'. As the catalogue states - "The preface to this editon is by John Dee. 'The most influential of all Dee's published works was his Mathematicall preface to Henry Billingsley's English translation of Euclid, Elements of Geometrie' (ODNB)." Estimated at a mere £4,000 - £6,000.
And, should you find the need to locate an archive in which to house it…
Owner and Editor
But since Paul's place is by his own admition so orevcluttered with stuff, why not for example ...
admition??? hmmm... oh yes, admission is the word!!!
I thought Dee's famous library was destroyed when Mortlake burned to the ground? Unless, of course, this book is from his library much later in life.
The inscription on the book is dated 1574 so it would have been part of his library in Mortlake. The mob burned his library in 1583 while Dee and Kelly were away on the continent.
If I remember right - some of Dee's manuscript leaves were even used to line pie pans.
Yes, according to French's book the destruction of the Mortlake library took place in 1583; however he also says that several boxes of books were carried away. So some books apparently survived.
Sounds very similar to the destruction of AC's "pornographic" books by HM Customs in 1924 - 1926 - while several copies of "White Stains" are still bouncing around! Both destructions (awful as they were) might not have been as apocalyptic as we romantics might like to think!
Still (no doubt) I'd be thrilled to find a copy of the BiM or Snowdrops!
durga23 - that sounds right.
My memory is hazy but I believe Elias Ashmole acquired Dee's diaries and papers and eventually hid them in a false bottom of a chest drawer - possibly because of the angels' warning to Dee and Kelly that the Enochian Calls were dangerous for mankind and the knowledge should not be preserved. The chest drawer was then sold and ended up in a kitchen. The kitchen maid discovered the hidden papers and used then to line pie pans - hence some of the dates of Dee's diaries are missing.
If only several boxes of books survived out of a famous collection of over 50,000 rare books lovingly collected over the years, I don't think "apocalyptic" would be too strong a word no? If I was a bibliophile it would certainly feel like the end of my world. I once attended a lecture by Geoffrey James on Dee in which he suggested one of the ways the angels work is by demanding something that the operant values to prove his loyalty and steadfastness to the angels. Hence the wife-swapping command. The aged Dee obviously cherished his young wife and the idea of surrendering her to Kelly, a physically unattractive and borderline personality, would have been heart-wrenching indeed. Some of my friends have speculated that Arthur Dee was conceived during this wife-swapping period and his real father was Kelly.
I don't *ever* recall a book from Dee's library being offered for sale.
Pretty amazing, really.
Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Clive. I have a feeling that the estimate is quite low.
tai - Too true.
I stand corrected.
"Apocalyptic" might actually be the right word in this "book case".
Has anyone done a study of how many of the Mortlake books still exist in institutional hands - that would be an interesting percentage....
A lot of work has been done tracing books which were once in John Dee's library. The following website has some useful notes, bringing up to date the standard text on the subject -
[PDF] 1 Julian Roberts and Andrew G. Watson, John Dee's Library ...File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View
Canada, from whom it was acquired by the Bodleian in 1992. For a full account of Dee's many annotations see rj Roberts, Bodleian. Library Record xiv/6 ...
www.bibsoc.org.uk/.../John%20Dee's%20Li ... alogue.pdf
Alas despite my best efforts, I can't seem to get a hypertext link. Maybe a more technologically savvy LAShTALian will be able to add the appropriate link?
Here's the working link: http://www.bibsoc.org.uk/documents/John%20Dee%27s%20Library%20Catalogue%203.pdf
The software on LAShTAL truncates long links so they always appear incorrect: your link was missing the "documents" directory name. The full link is ( http://www.bibsoc.org.uk/documents/John%20Dee%27s%20Library%20Catalogue%203.pdf) - remove the brackets, of course.
Here's the Bibliographical Society's description of the linked file:
The original edition of Julian Roberts and Andrew G. Watson's edition of John Dee's Library Catalogue was published by th e Bibliographical Society in 1990 and has been out of print for some years. Since then, further discoveries of books and manuscripts from Dee's library have been made and more work has been done on the interpretation of the entries in the Catalogue.
Original version: October 2006. Latest update: June 2009. Format: PDF.Size: 237Kb
Owner and Editor