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  • A veritable Who’s Who of European High Society at the height of the Belle Époque
    LARGE OBLONG SOUVENIR ALBUM OF CALLING CARDS COMPILED BY THE NOTED VICTORIAN CONCERT PIANIST by [WOMEN IN SOCIETY.] DIETZ, Catinka de.
    [WOMEN IN SOCIETY.] DIETZ, Catinka de.
    LARGE OBLONG SOUVENIR ALBUM OF CALLING CARDS COMPILED BY THE NOTED VICTORIAN CONCERT PIANIST Catinka Mackenzie de Dietz, containing over 400 calling cards, greeting cards, printed menus, invitations, mourning cards, and post cards, from friends, colleagues and associates from across European High Society. [n.p.], [n.d. but ca.

    1890-1901.]. Large oblong album, 270 x 420 mm; ff. 33 leaves of thick paper 264 x 410mm; with 399 late Victorian calling cards, greeting cards, menus, invitations etc neatly mounted and organised, with a further 7 items loosely inserted, front and rear endpapers also used, four pages unused, and one calling card blank; a number of the cards signed or with manuscript messages of greeting, several of the mounted items with neat manuscript annotations penned below by Dietz; some light foxing, soiling throughout, with some offsetting and see-through caused by the glue, a few cards now a little faded, one or two slightly creased, and with a couple of small marginal tears; An extraordinary turn of the century personally compiled…

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    1890-1901.]. Large oblong album, 270 x 420 mm; ff. 33 leaves of thick paper 264 x 410mm; with 399 late Victorian calling cards, greeting cards, menus, invitations etc neatly mounted and organised, with a further 7 items loosely inserted, front and rear endpapers also used, four pages unused, and one calling card blank; a number of the cards signed or with manuscript messages of greeting, several of the mounted items with neat manuscript annotations penned below by Dietz; some light foxing, soiling throughout, with some offsetting and see-through caused by the glue, a few cards now a little faded, one or two slightly creased, and with a couple of small marginal tears; An extraordinary turn of the century personally compiled album of printed calling cards and correspondence, received over a number of years by Catinka [also Cathinka] Mackenzie de Dietz (1813-1901), noted concert pianist and former pianist to the Queen of Bavaria. As such, it throws a fascinating light upon her social circle, forming a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of European Royalty and High Society, and made even more appealing by her acerbic and often slightly scandalous annotations! in the original ribbed brown publisher’s cloth, ruled in blind with ‘Souvenir’ in gilt on upper cover, lower joint split at tail, spine somewhat sunned, small loss of cloth on upper cover, rear cover crinkled and stained at tail, with some wear along upper margin, corners a little bumped and worn. Dietz ‘made her Paris debut on 7 February 1836 at the Salle Pleyel with the first movement of Hummel's Concerto in A Minor and Kalkbrenner's staple debut piece - his Grand Duo in D for two pianos, Op. 128 - with Thalberg. Her career revolved around placements at royal courts. By 1840 she was pianist to the queen of Bavaria; the following year she played at the French court and was appointed pianist to the queen of the French in 1845. She composed salon pieces, played regularly for Queen Victoria, and was reported to have written an oratorio for which Queen Victoria accepted the dedication. Her pianistic style was Classical, firmly within the Kalkbrenner tradition. She sometimes published under her married name, Mackenzie von Dietz.’ (Katherine Ellis, "Female Pianists and Their Male Critics," Journal of the American Musicology Society Vol. 50 2/3, p. 359). She married William Mackenzie Shaw, Managing Director of the Antwerp and Rotterdam Railways, and they apparently divided their time between Paris and Saint Germain, no doubt entertaining quite extensively, if the present array of cards is anything to go by. Amongst the small number of loosely inserted additional material, are the two black-edged mourning invitations printed by Catinka for her husband after his death on December 7th 1890.
    The souvenir album houses predominantly elegantly printed calling cards, though Dietz has also retained and mounted a handful of greeting and Christmas cards, invitations, menus, and clippings. European Royalty are well represented, with several cards given by Princes, Princesses, Counts and Countesses, Viscountesses, and Barons. A high percentage of the cards have been given by other women. Others reveal her various artistic relationships, and as a whole, the album provides a wonderful snap-shot of social connections and late Victorian high society. A number have been inscribed by the giver with messages of esteem, whilst of particular appeal, Dietz herself has frequently added a little note below the card (usually in French, though sometimes English), and which often prove to be quite humorous and sometimes a little acerbic, adding some delicious flavour to this Who’s Who of the Belle Époque.
    Under the card for ‘Le Comte de Barck’ she has written ‘c'est dangereuse de s'embarquer avec lui?; Alderman Wilson of Beckenham apparently gave very good dinners; Mrs Crawford Bromehead apparently ‘found the tenors kinder than her husband,’; Mrs Baker ‘was a prim lady’; Mrs R. E. Hamer ‘Her pretty face greeted her two husbands’; under the card for Lady Caroline Murray ‘Sa famille ne payait pas ses dettes’; under the card for M. & Madame Ernest du Fresnel ‘Out of sight, out of mind’; for the painter James Frutier she notes that he ‘sells spinach’; E. Nathan, ‘miaule sur son violoncelle et fait le tendre auprès du beau sexe’, whilst Camille Philipp ‘est sourd et pourtant la déesse de la mélodie lui prodigue ses faveurs’ (is deaf and yet the godess of melody lavishes him with favours). The lawyer Malioche apparently ‘does business with lost funds’, whilst she describes Georges Stigelli as ‘a heavy German who made himself an Italian singer by adding an i to his name’; whilst Albert Anschutz, a professor of piano, ‘gives music lessons, cleans, composes lullabies and prepares baths for Madame’.
    Increasing attention is being given to the study of Victorian card ephemera, including calling cards, of which the present album provides a comprehensive and unique example. As the 19th century progressed, rules of deportment became more rigid, and cards helped define the complicated new social code and express its growing sentimentality. Barbara Rusch provides some insight into their importance in her essay ‘The Secret Life of Victorian Cards’ on the Ephemera Society of America’s website. ‘Cards were the ambassadors of social convention, and their subtle, covert messages were well understood by those who used them as tools in the creation of an image of respectability in an increasingly demanding and judgemental world. Particularly noteworthy are cards of social and cultural significance such as the visiting card. In Our Deportment, published in 1890, John Young observes: “To the unrefined or under-bred, the visiting card is but a trifling and insignificant bit of social paper; but to the cultured disciple of social law, it conveys a subtle and unmistakable intelligence. Its texture, style of engraving, and even the hour of leaving it to combine to place the stranger, whose name it bears, in a pleasant or a disagreeable attitude, even before his manners, conversation and face have been able to explain his social position.”... The use of cards in 19th-century daily life represented and helped define class, breeding, and status. They were a form of social contract, a common language, and ideology through which the Victorians communicated with one another, maintained moral standards and disseminated popular culture’ (Rusch).

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  • THE MONSTER TELESCOPES, by [WOODS, Thomas.]
    [WOODS, Thomas.]
    THE MONSTER TELESCOPES, Erected by the Earl of Rosse, Parsonstown. With an account of the Manufacture of the Specula, and full description of all the machinery connected with these instruments. Illustrated with engravings. Second edition. Parsonstown. Sheilds and Son, Cumberland-Square. London: Duncan and Malcolm, Paternoster-Row. Dublin: John Cumming and W. Curry.

    1844. Small 4to, pp. [ii] blank, [ii] title-page, iv, 54, [2] publisher’s catalogue; with lithograph frontispiece, three numbered lithograph plates, and four engraved text figures; paper a little browned, with some foxing along title-page gutter, and sporadically throughout with some occasional faint soiling; with two loosely inserted items, one a pencil inscription referring to optical works, the other a typed letter addressed to Sir Charles Parsons on headed Grubb Parsons paper dated 1929; in the original dark blue blindstamped cloth, with title title within roundel on upper cover, neatly recased with new spine and endpapers, covers a little sunned and stained, small nick to upper cover, with light wear to extremities and corners; from the library of Grubb Parsons’ chief…

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    1844. Small 4to, pp. [ii] blank, [ii] title-page, iv, 54, [2] publisher’s catalogue; with lithograph frontispiece, three numbered lithograph plates, and four engraved text figures; paper a little browned, with some foxing along title-page gutter, and sporadically throughout with some occasional faint soiling; with two loosely inserted items, one a pencil inscription referring to optical works, the other a typed letter addressed to Sir Charles Parsons on headed Grubb Parsons paper dated 1929; in the original dark blue blindstamped cloth, with title title within roundel on upper cover, neatly recased with new spine and endpapers, covers a little sunned and stained, small nick to upper cover, with light wear to extremities and corners; from the library of Grubb Parsons’ chief optical engineer David Sinden, with the Grubb Parsons & Co., address stamp at head of first blank; overall a very good copy. Second edition, (first also 1844), and a nice association copy, of this important and early contemporary account of the recent astronomical advances being made by William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse (1800-1867) on his estate of Birr Castle near Parsonstown in Ireland. Parsons had long been focused upon the idea of constructing a large telescope and worked for five years to find an alloy suitable for the mirror. His mirrors were made of speculum metal, an alloy of approximately two parts copper to one part tin by weight. Adding more copper makes the mirror less brittle, but is more susceptible to the development of small surface fissures during the cooling process, an tarnishes faster. After much experimentation he succeeded in casting and cooling a three foot mirror, and so in 1842 he began work on his ‘monster’ six foot mirror. The present work provides an account of these experiments, which eventually saw the installation of his ‘Leviation’ with the six foot speculum, and which was at the time the largest in the world. The telescope had a focal length of fifty-four feet and with it he was able to make detailed studies of nebulae, took some of the earliest lunar photographs, and was the first to detect the spiral nature of some nebulae. The ‘Leviation’ was immediately treated as something of a marvel and became a tourist attraction, and Wood’s account no doubt did much to inspire this.
    The present copy was once in the collection of David Sinden, chief optical engineer at the noted manufacturers of optical instruments Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons & Company, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The company was first founded in Dublin by Thomas Grubb in 1833 as the Grubb Telescope Company. During the 19th century it produced a number of famous telescopes including refractors for the Vienna Observatory, the Melbourne Observatory and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Sir Charles Parsons acquired the company in 1925, and loosely inserted is a letter addressed to him and signed by the manager C. Young and dated 1929. Young tells Sir Charles about the purchase of the present copy from Sotheran’s. It also mentions that Young will meet with ‘Dr. Lockyer’ at Sidmouth ‘to discuss the new mounting’. Sinden later founded the Sinden Optical Company, and many of his fine instruments may be found in observatories world-wide today.

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  • ATTRACTIVELY PENNED CHILD’S EXERCISE BOOK by [WUILLEUMIER, Emma.]
    [WUILLEUMIER, Emma.]
    ATTRACTIVELY PENNED CHILD’S EXERCISE BOOK the first seven pages of which contain a manuscript entitled "Notions du corps humain", and signed by Emma Wuilleumier. [n.p., and n.d., but possibly France of Belgium, and ca. 1840s.]

    1840s. Slim 4to, 210 x 171mm, ff. 21, of which the first four leaves have been neatly penned in brown ink, the remaining leaves remaining blank and unused; with faint ruled vertical margin in pencil, some faint pencil corrections and markings; stitched as issued, and most attractively bound in pink paper wrappers, heavily embossed in cream and pink to form a decorative cartouche within a single line frame, on a blue background, at the centre of the cartouches are oval hand-coloured lithographs of adults and children in garden settings, with a stork on the upper cover and ducks on the lower. A most appealing child’s manuscript exercise book, outlining some basic principles of anatomy and physiology, and the work of…

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    1840s. Slim 4to, 210 x 171mm, ff. 21, of which the first four leaves have been neatly penned in brown ink, the remaining leaves remaining blank and unused; with faint ruled vertical margin in pencil, some faint pencil corrections and markings; stitched as issued, and most attractively bound in pink paper wrappers, heavily embossed in cream and pink to form a decorative cartouche within a single line frame, on a blue background, at the centre of the cartouches are oval hand-coloured lithographs of adults and children in garden settings, with a stork on the upper cover and ducks on the lower. A most appealing child’s manuscript exercise book, outlining some basic principles of anatomy and physiology, and the work of young Emma Wuilleumier, who has also written her name on the front cover. Though her studies appear not have lasted for very long, sections focus upon the bones and skeleton, the trunk of the body, the arms and legs, and the muscles and tendons. This is a very attractive example of an embossed paper binding, designed for use by children and rarely found in good condition.

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