Nov
27
2015

Ten Coloured Views of the Arctic Expedition 1850

No doubt I’ve said it before, but you just never know what books will come your way in this business. By volume alone, it’s inevitable that some of those books will be rare and valuable. That could mean a book from 1998 that shot up in value because Keith Richards recently said that it’s one he would take to a desert island (Doctor Dogbody’s Leg by James Norman Hall, co-author of the better known Mutiny on the Bounty). Or it could be a large volume from 1850 with ten colored views from a 1848 expedition to the Arctic.

The full title, a beautiful example of the long flowery title the Victorians were so fond of. Gotta say, I prefer the flowers to the one- or two-syllable titles that are so in vogue these days:

Ten Coloured Views
taken during

The Arctic Expedition

of Her Majesty’s Ships “Enterprise” and “Investigator,”,
under the command of Captain Sir James C. Ross, R.N., KT., F.R.S.,
drawn by W.H. Browne, Esq., Lieut. R.N., Late of H.M.S. “Enterprise.”
On stone by Charles Haghe.

With A Summary of the Various Arctic Expeditions
Search Of Captain Sir John Franklin, K.T., K.C.H.,
and his companions in H.M. Ships “Erebus” and “Terror.”

Dedicated, by Special Permission, To The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Ackerman & Co., 96, Strand,
by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, H.R.H. Prince Albert, H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent, and the Royal Family.

1850

For its age, and compared to many of the books from this estate, this volume is in great condition. The cover boards show the most wear, but the interior is nice and all the illustrations are bright. The books is approximately 11”x15”, and the page edges are gilt all the way around. Little to no noticeable foxing. One of the tissue guards has a neat tear near the bottom, but otherwise pages have very little wear. I couldn’t find out what the condition of the copy that sold in London was.

 

Of course, the research proved most interesting. Estimating value was interesting mostly due to the limited amount of information about the book – obviously the book isn’t available through Amazon, I didn’t see any listed when I searched a bunch of other book sites. The only one I could find anywhere was through a London auction house, where a copy had sold back in June or July of this year, which is fortuitous. With such scarce items, you might find reference to a copy that sold five or ten years ago, but not often one that sold so recently. At this point, it appears that our copy is the only copy available anywhere online.

I’m still a relative newbie to this whole book business, but I wonder how seasoned book sellers feel when they randomly come across a book like this. Giddy as a schoolgirl? or is that just me?

The plates:

  • Great Glacier Near Uppernavik, Greenland
  • Fiord Near Uppernavik
  • Ravine Near Port Leopold
  • The Bivouac, Cape Seppings, Leopold Island
  • North-East Cape of America, and Part of Leopold Island
  • Termination of the Cliffs, Near Whaler Point, Port Leopold
  • Prince Regent’s Inlet
  • Remarkable Apparance in the Sky Always Opposite the Sun
  • The Devil’s Thumb
  • Noon in Mid-Winter

The ship “Erebus” was only discovered in 2014 by “Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist who was Parks Canada’s project lead for the 2014 search, announced the finding in September of an underwater wreck that he said was “indisputably” one of Franklin’s two ships. Further investigation has determined that it is HMS Erebus and Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed the news 1 October in the Canadian House of Commons.” (wiki)

Songs were written about Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition:

You’ve stuck with me thus far, so have some photos:

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