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Cryptomenysis Patefacta: Or the Art of Secret Information Disclosed without a Key. - John Falconer

1685 - Daniel Brown, London - First Edition
A complete first edition of this scarce work on cryptography, the second to be published on the subject but the first of practical value, according to Kahn (The Code Breakers) ‘Up until Falconer the literature was all theory and no practice’.

‘Falconer also gave what seems to be the earliest illustration of keyed columnar transposition, a cipher that is today the primary and most widely used transposition cipher, having served (with modifications) for French military ciphers, Japanese diplomatic superencipherments, and Soviet spy ciphers.’ – Leeuw,
The History of Information Security.

‘“The second English book on the subject excelled”, according to David Kahn (
The Code Breakers), and its high quality is all the more surprising when one considers that John Falconer had written Cryptomenysis Patefacta in France some thirty years before its first publication in 1685 while serving the Duke of York, the future King James II, during his period of exile there (1652-1660). Falconer about whose life little is known except that he apparently was entrusted with the Duke’s private cipher until he died in France, was a master of the trade. He structured his book in five sections, dealing with the ways of “Secrecy in Writing”, such as cryptography, steganography, and simple “Rules for Decyphering them without a key”; of the “Methods of Secret Information, by Signs and Gestures”; by the “Secrecy consisting in Speech”; “Of Secret Means of Conveying Written Messages”; and lastly, with “the several astonishing Proposals for Secret Information... concerning [Trithemius’] eight Books of Steganography”. Falconer’s sources are limited; they include Trithemius, Machiavelli, Kaspar Schott, Francis Bacon and Bishop Wilkins, but they suffice to provide a solid overview, which includes “the earliest illustration of keyed columnar transposition, a cipher that is today the primary and most widely used transposition cipher” [Kahn].’ - Leeuw & Bergstra, The History of Information Security. 
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Price HK$ 34,000

Chow-Chow. Being Selections from a Journal kept in India, Egypt, and Syria. - Viscountess Falkland

1857 - Hurst and Blackett, London - Second Edition, Revised
‘The word Chow-Chow means ‘Odds and Ends’ and in offering my Chow-Chow basket to the public, I venture to hope that something, however trifling, may be found in it, suited to the taste of everyone.’

A lovely two volume set of Viscountess Falkland’s account of her travels through India and the Middle-East during the 19th century. With two colour lithographic frontispieces.

The writings of Lady Falkland, daughter of William IV and wife to Lord Falkland, then Governor of Bombay, include fascinating insights into these regions as they were undergoing periods of tremendous change and political upheaval. Her eagerness to preserve as much as she could of traditional aspects of Indian and Middle-Eastern cultures provides a refreshing perspective, somewhat unusual for this time and genre.
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Price HK$ 4,000

The London Art of Cookery - John Farley

1801 - James Scatcherd, London - Tenth Edition, With the Addition of many new and elegant Receipts in the various Branches of Cookery
A clean example of Farley’s popular work, illustrated with 13 copper-engraved plates including frontispiece portrait of John Farley and his establishment, and bills of fare for each month.

With additional sections on ‘
Culinary Poisons’, ‘Wines, Cordial Waters, and Malt Liquors’, ‘Necessary Articles for Seafaring Persons’, and ‘Proper Nourishment for the Sick’.

Farley was principal cook at the London Tavern, and ‘
contributed much to the popularity of the London Tavern as an eating house, an inn whose generous helpings attracted customers from far and wide‘. This work is in effect a combination of the two most popular cookbooks of the time written by Hannah Glasse and Elizabeth Raffald, with the small remainder taken from others. 
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Price HK$ 2,800

Light in August - William Faulkner

1932 - Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, New York - First Edition, first issue
A superb first edition of Faulkner's seventh novel, an exploration of the lasting effects of racism and misogyny, one of four of his novels consistently ranked among the best of the twentieth century.

‘One of William Faulkner’s most admired and accessible novels, Light in August reveals the great American author at the height of his powers. Lena Grove’s resolute search for the father of her unborn child begets a rich, poignant, and ultimately hopeful story of perseverance in the face of mortality. It also acquaints us with several of Faulkner’s most unforgettable characters, including the Reverend Gail Hightower, plagued by visions of Confederate horsemen, and Joe Christmas, a ragged, itinerant soul obsessed with his mixed-race ancestry.’ -
Penguin Classics. 
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Price HK$ 69,000

1922 - North-China Daily News & Herald, Shanghai - First Edition
A scarce work, and even more so here in the original dust jacket.

As Sowerby puts it in his introduction, ‘
it is not surprising, then, that Miss Gretchen Mae Fitkin should have come to China, alone, unafraid, not knowing a soul in the East; established herself upon the staff of the leading newspaper in the country; and – gone exploring!’. ‘Her journey was made during the late summer of 1921, and that fact alone commands our respect, for conditions were such all that year, and especially during the summer, as to render travelling upon the Yangtze Kiang neither safe nor comfortable. Merchantmen and men-of-war belonging to foreign Powers were constantly being fired upon by the lawless soldiery engaged in the campaign of North against West, and at times things were so bad that all shipping was held up for weeks. But these facts did not daunt our young American Friend, and so we have a fresh account of one of the greatest wonders of this land of wonders.’

With 28 black and white photographs by Donald Mennie, and illustrations for the dust jacket and cloth covers by ‘Sapajou’.
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Price HK$ 8,500

The Collected Poems of James Elroy Flecker - James Elroy Flecker

1923 - Martin Secker, London - Eighth Impression
‘We are the pilgrims, master; we shall go always a little farther; it may be beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow, across that angry or that glimmering sea, white on a throne or guarded in a cave, there lies a prophet who can understand, why men were born: but surely we are brave, who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.”

A beautifully bound edition of Elroy’s collected poetry. A prodigious linguist, fluent in modern Greek, Spanish, French, German, and Italian, Elroy read Classics at Oxford University, before quickly joining the diplomatic services, and posted Constantinople where he wrote prolifically until his life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis at the age of thirty.

Prior to his death, he was credited with revitalising the Parnassian poetry movement and was considered a hugely influential poet in the Edwardian era, especially in the field of Greek classical poetry. Upon hearing the news of his demise, writer and critic Alec Macdonald said that it was
‘unquestionably the greatest premature loss that English literature has suffered since the death of Keats.’ 
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Price HK$ 2,000

Octopussy and the Living Daylights - Ian Lancaster Fleming

1966 - Jonathan Cape, London - First Edition
M looked coldly across the desk. It was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double 0 section, had been chosen for it.

“You've got to kill this sniper. And you've got to kill him before he gets Agent 272. Is that understood?”

So, it was to be murder.

The fourteenth and final publication by written by Ian Fleming in the 007 series, containing two short adventures; the title novella plus 'The Living Daylights'. These were later successfully filmed by EON productions with Bond played by Roger Moore (Octopussy, 1983) and Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights, 1987).

Smartly housed in a bespoke felt lined clamshell case, black morocco leather over cloth, spine lettered in gilt.
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Price HK$ 4,800

SOLD - Franz Schubert: The Man and His Circle - Newman Flower

1928 - Cassell and Company, London - First Edition
‘It should be made clear at the outset that this is not a book on the music of is an endeavour to portray the man Franz Schubert in the light of recent research - the man who left the world a rich inheritance of considerably more than a thousand works of extreme brilliance, and who received in return £575 as the sum total of his life’s earnings.’

A gorgeously bound edition of this fascinating biography, examining the personal life of one of the world’s greatest composers. Illustrated throughout with a full colour frontispiece and photographs of Schubert’s home, family, and influences, with a facsimile copy of one of Schubert’s earliest scores used for the endpapers. 
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Price HK$ 5,000

Results 25 - 32 of 85 results