An ultra-rare copy with the frontispiece AND the printed 'results' list

[Lightfoot, J.]

A catalogue of the Portland Museum, lately the property of the Duchess Dowager of Portland, deceased: which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Skinner and Co. On Monday the 24th of April, 1786, and the thirty-seven following days, at twelve o'clock, Sundays, and the 5th of June (the day his majesty's birth-day is kept) excepted; at her late dwelling-house, in Privy-Garden, Whitehall. By order of the acting executrix. [AND] A marked catalogue containing the lots, what each respectively sold for, and the names of the purchasers of the four thousand two hundred and sixty-three lots which constituted the Portland Museum; late the property of the Duchess Dowager of Portland, deceased. Which was sold by auction by Mr. Skinner and Co. and the thirty-eight following days. Enabling every connoisseur to know among whom these valuable curiosities are distributed, and the sum which every lot produced.

Published 1786
Item ID 74640

excl. VAT

London, Skinner, 1786 [AND] London, Kearsley, Walker, Sewell, Flexney, Robson and Egerton, 1786. Two works in one. 4to (25.0 x 20.2 cm). "Wunderkammer" frontispiece; title page, viii, 3-194 pp.; Title page, 5-44 pp. Mid-20th-century dark blue buckram with gilt title on the spine.

The two catalogues of the most important sale of shells of the 18th century (the collection of Margaret Bentinck Cavendish [1715-1785], Duchess of Portland); these being the copies belonging to the most important sale of shell books of the 21st century (the library of Richard Irwin Johnson [1925-2020]). Both works published anonymously, but the first known to be written by the British malacologist and botanist John Lightfoot (1735-1788). The second catalogue, containing all the sales results, including lot prices and buyer's names, is extremely rare. Sometimes, copies of the Portland Museum catalogue are found with the data present in this second work added as handwritten marginalia. The alternate idea that these data were obtained by different writers during the 39-day sale [NOT 38 days, as intended] is speculative and probably incorrect in most (if not all) instances, particularly as all data across different copies match exactly. These are the Richard Johnson copies, which formed a basis of Johnson's publication, The Duchess, the Brahmin, and the Chank Shell, which we include. Also added is a copy of S. Peter Dance's The Authorship of the Portland Catalogue (1786), with a handwritten dedication by Dance to Johnson (paper a bit creased). Some weak dampstaining to the second catalogue, and some occasional, weak spotting, as usual, but in all very good, complete. Cat. BM(NH) Suppl. pp. 79 (under Bentinck)1023 (under Portland); Chalmers-Hunt Natural History Auctions 1700-1972. A Register of sales in the British Isles, p. 62; Dance, A History of Shell Collecting, pp. 75-76; Fearrington, Rooms of Wonder, 103. Not in Caprotti.

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