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The Joslin Hall Rare Books Newsletter
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January 9th, 2007.

Well, for one brief, shining moment Spring came early to Foggygates. True, according to the calendar it was only January, but it was 71 degrees on Saturday and the Book Elves went into full Springtime Overdrive Frenzy, hauling out the rakes and yard tools, as well as the lawn chairs and barbecue equipment. The end result was that three of them got completely stuck in the mud in the garden and had to be rescued by the neighbor’s lawn tractor, and the barbecue was brought to an unfortunate and abrupt end by that unforeseen temperature drop and brief snow squall at dusk (around 4:30).

But before they discovered that the temperature might lie, but the calendar never does, the Book Elves finished our new catalog of books on the decorative and fine arts and architecture-

catalog_292.jpg (21188 bytes)"RECENT ACQUISITIONS for January, 2007" is now available on our website or in printed format. It features 224 books and catalogs on furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, textiles, art, architecture and related fields, with highlights including-

-An 1805 'Dictionary' of trade merchandise imported to America

-The very first exhibition catalog devoted to Brother Thomas's ceramics

-A scarce glossary of Sheffield district dialect

-An uncommon catalog of Masonic pottery

-Several editions of Longworth's New York Register from the 1820s and 30s

-An elegant pamphlet study of Nanthaniel Hurd's bookplates, limited to 100 copies

-A 1750 'Inquiry into the Medicinal Virtues of Bristol-Water'

-An 1862 survey of Italian sculpture in the South Kensington Museum, extra-illustrated with albumen prints

-John Ruskin's scarce 1859 treatise on the architecture of the Oxford Museum; a copy belonging to the son of Prime Minister William Gladstone

-and much, much more!

Request a printed copy, or browse the catalog on our website.


We recently found some great new publisher-overstock titles on jigsaw puzzles, the art of Florence, the history of hospitality, and even a art thriller-

th-95064.jpg (4531 bytes)Pears, Ian. The Portrait. New York; Riverhead Books: 2005. The author of several well-known art-history crime novels turns to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany for his latest thriller. This novel is “a harrowing psychological portrait of a painter at the turn of the 20th century and the art critic who first elevated and then turned on him, revealed in the painter's rambling monologue. Having abandoned the London art scene and exiled himself to the tiny Breton island of Houat, the Scottish painter has brought the critic to his remote, ramshackle home to sit for a portrait. Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals the depths of his resentment, and the machinations he has practiced on the critic to exact his revenge”. Hardcover. 5.5”x7.75”, 211 pages, dj. New. [95064]

Published at $19.95.
Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95


th-95065.jpg (6897 bytes)Williams, Anne D. The Jigsaw Puzzle. Piecing Together a History. New York; Berkley Books: 2004. “From chaos, beauty emerges-bit by bit. Now, a jigsaw authority with a personal collection of over 8,000 that is considered one of the largest and most diverse in the world, offers the big picture on the enduringly popular, sometimes infuriating, and deeply satisfying hobby that has enthralled puzzlers worldwide for centuries. This volume discusses the jigsaw's history, which dates back to the mid-1700s, and its cultural impact on society. It examines the minds of such famous puzzlers as Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, and Stephen King, and provides a lively look at what goes into the construction of jigsaw puzzles.” Hardcover. 6”x8.25”, 250 pages, color and b/w illustrations, dj. New. [95065]

Published at $22.95.
Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95


th-95066.jpg (7801 bytes)Wirtz, Rolf C. Art & Architecture of Florence. Konemann: 2005. “Also known as Firenze, Florence in Italian is Florentia, the "flowering" city. Under the Medici family in the 15th century, such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Brunelleschi turned the city into an artistic center and awakened Italian humanism. Such was its status that Pope Bonifatius VIII believed the city should be considered a fifth element-water, earth, air, fire, and Florence. This guide takes modern visitors to such timeless destinations as the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Piazza della Signora, and the treasures of the Galleria degli Uffizi”. This book is compact enough to take on a tour, but pleasingly heavy and chunky, and isn’t that what we all look for in a book? Hardcover. 6”x6.5”, 559 pages, color and b/w illustrations, dj. New. [95066]

Publisher's Promotional Price- $16.95


th-95067.jpg (4978 bytes)Brownier, Jesse. The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down. An Informal History of Hospitality. New York; Bloomsbury: 2003. “Partisan, witty, and laced with surprising historical detail, this book looks at the darker undercurrent of hospitality. Beginning with the example of his own hosting of a poker game, in which he disarms his opponents' aggression with superb refreshments, Jesse Browner travels back in time to unravel the dynamics of host and guest. He visits the summer home of staunch vegetarian Adolf Hitler, catches John James Audubon in the act of playing a cruel prank on a defenseless guest, and documents the court of Louis XIV-an elaborate etiquette machine that rendered the French nobility powerless against him.” Hardcover. 5.75”x8.5”, 198 pages, dj. New. [95067]

Published at $23.95.
Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95


luminarium1.jpg (8298 bytes)We made it though the Holidays without a blizzard this year. In fact, the weather for much of the last weeks of December was decidedly temperate, but that didn’t stop Hatfield from having its annual Luminarium Night, the night when everyone lines the street in front of their house with candles in paper bags or plastic jugs, and then congregates in front of City Hall for carol singing and Santa’s arrival. The local farmers make floats from farm carts and wagons, decorate them with hay and lights and drive people around town, and I’m told that folks come from as far away as Rhode Island to see the thousands (actually, probably tens of thousands) of candles lining all the streets. We put 60 candle jugs out this year, and it always takes longer to light them than we think it will! It was very pretty, even without snow.

It’s turning colder now, and the fog from the Connecticut River comes creeping in every morning; if you get up early enough you can stand at the window and watch it advance across the fields and then up through the trees out back.

The silent winter fog steals in,
River’s breath, the color of gin;
Creeping, peeking, Oozing, sneaking,
Stealing through the iron branches;
Icy water drip drip drip.

The barn was there,
And now it’s gone;
Smothered, swallowed, by the gauze.
Silvery, silken puffs just linger;
Cottony death, with ice-cold fingers.

Now up above
The sun cracks through,
Shooting golden, molten hues
Cotton ghosts dissolve and flee,
Barn and tree and I are free
To watch the last cold fingers die.

While overhead
the first hawks fly.


If you’re driving around the Pioneer Valley this Winter and have a chance, give us a call and drop by. We’re a few moments down the road from Historic Deerfield, two miles from Interstate 91, and reasonably close to Amherst, Tanglewood, and other points of Western Massachusetts interest. We hope you find something of interest here, and until next time, enjoy the Winter!

-Forrest, Betty, Amy, Freckles, Pywackett & Ike



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