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Present Indicative - Noël Coward

1937 - Doubleday, Garden City - First Edition
First edition of the first of Noël Coward’s autobiographies, sumptuously bound by Zaehnsdorf for Asprey’s of London, which he would have approved wholeheartedly.

Illustrated with numerous black and white photographs - ‘I was photographed naked on a cushion very early in life, an insane, toothless smile slitting my face and pleats of fat overlapping me like an ill-fitting overcoat. Later, at the age of two, I was photographed again. This time in a lace dress, leaning against a garden roller and laughing hysterically. If these photographs can be found they will adorn this book.’

‘Thus begins the life story of one of the most celebrated characters in British theatrical history. Displaying an early dedication to the theatre,
Present Indicative hints at the success that would come to Coward as actor, playwright, novelist and performer. Each line is punctuated with his trademark effervescent wit, making this book a comic tour de force in it's own right.’ [Methuen] 
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Price HK$ 4,000



Les Grand Crus Bordelais - Alfred Danflou

1867 - Librairie Goudin & Typ. Au. Lavertujon, Bordeaux - First Edition in this format (a smaller work was published in 1866 with only 19 photographs of the 1st and 2nd growths)
A rare and remarkable work on Bordeaux, in beautiful condition, two volumes bond in one, containing fifty-five early photographs of the great Châteaux of Bordeaux, with their history, vintages and other contributions, in French.

Of superb quality, the plates of the Châteaux include Lafite, Latour, Mouton, all accompanied by a history and contemporary description of the Châteaux and wine vintages. With a long and interesting commentary on the classifications of first and second Crû, strongly in favour of reclassifying to Premier Cru, Branne-Mouton (purchased and renamed Mouton-Rothschild in 1853 by Baron Rothschild but herein referred to by it’s former name), for which they would have to wait a further century until 1973, and referring to both the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris, and London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. There are additional chapters on ‘La Système Féodal Appliqué Aux Vins du Médoc’ and ‘Les Grand Vins de Saint-Émilion’.

A truly important and visually imposing work on Bordeaux and a vital part of any wine book or photographic collection.
 
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Price HK$ 100,000



Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne - R. Danguy, Ch. Aubertin

1892 - Librairie H. Armand, Dijon - First Edition
The first edition of this early, scarce and ‘invaluable reference work on the state of Burgundy's Côte-d'Or vineyards and wines in the late 19th century’ [Vineana]. With text in French.

Complete with the large folding map of the vineyards of Burgundy (73x39cm) by A. Casper and E. Marc, and two folding engravings of the ‘
Grande vue de la ville de Dijon’ and ‘Grand Vue de la ville de Beaune’ (both from from 18th century engravings designed by Lallemand).

A comprehensive work, over 740 pages, with long notes on the wines, the vineyards and their owners. Profusely illustrated throughout with an additional 34 full page plates and 45 half page plates, mostly of the châteaux, vineyards and cellars, as well as inserted advertisements.
 
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Price HK$ 9,500



A Ramble Round The Globe - Thomas R. Dewar

1894 - Chatto and Windus, London - First Edition
A bright copy of the first edition.

By 1890, Dewar’s, the Scottish whisky blender, had access to enough funds to send Tommy, the first Baron Dewar, on a world tour between 1891 and 1893, for both his health and to promote the Dewar’s brand internationally.

He visited twenty-six countries, appointed thirty-two agents, and arranged for opening consignments to each country he had visited. The tour cost £14,000, a hefty increase in costs when current profits were less than £7000 a year, but it established Dewar’s on a world-wide basis and created one of the world’s largest whisky brands.

Thomas, bon vivant and the more extrovert and sales oriented of the two Dewar brothers, describes in personal detail his own impressions of the peoples and places visited, and his observations combined with 220 illustrations throughout the book, make this a wonderful travelogue.
 
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Price HK$ 4,000



Songs of the Late Charles Dibdin; With A Memoir - T. Dibdin (Compiler), G. Cruikshank (Illustrator)

1850 - Henry G. Bohn, London - Third Edition
‘I be one of they sailors who think ‘tis no lie,
That for every wherefore of life there’s a why,
That fortune’s strange weather, a calm or a squall,
Our berths, good or bad, are chalk’d out for us all.’

A melodious collection of patriotic sea songs, composed by British writer and dramatist, Charles Dibdin, who according to
The Spectator in 1863 is considered to be ‘the only man who ever wrote sea songs that accurately delineate the sailor’s peculiarities of disposition’. Delightfully illustrated with several full page engravings, including frontispiece, by George Cruikshank, and featuring a memoir of Charles Dibdin, Addenda by Thomas Dibdin, Songs from the Works of the Charles Dibdin the younger, and a list of subscribers. 
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Price HK$ 1,500



The Cook's Dictionary - Richard Dolby

1830 - Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, London - First Edition
An uncommon copy of the first edition of The Cook’s Dictionary, considered the first cookery book to be arranged alphabetically. This wonderful compendium of delicacies – compiled by 19th century chef Richard Dolby of the Thatched-House Tavern on St. James Street and a popular domestic reference of its time – contains several thousand entries and many recipes for cooking, baking, and brewing that had never before appeared in print.

Features a glossary of cooking terms, and a number of alphabetical tables listing fish, crustaceans, fowl, fruit and vegetables, and when they are in season.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



Reports from Committees of the House of Commons. Vol. XI. Miscellaneous Subjects: 1782-1799 [containing] Report from the Committee upon the Distilleries in Scotland. Reported by the Right Honourable Sylvester Douglas, 11 June 1798; 12 July 1799. - William Eden, Sylvester Douglas

1803 - House of Commons, London - Re-printed by Order of the House, First Edition Thus.
This massive and scarce set of reports provides an in-depth study of the Scottish whisky industry, supported by hundreds of testimonies, and letters, provided by distillers, distiller’s agents, innkeepers, farmers, spirit dealers, grain merchants, the church, commissioners of excise, revenue officers, chemists, brewers, physicians, solicitors, landowners, and at least one butcher. There are also extensive lists and statistics of all the Scottish distillers, method of distilling, quantities produced, duties paid, quantities of grain used.

Nearly 500 pages, printed in double-columns, illustrated with eleven full page plates of stills and distilling apparatus, a large (47x60.5cm) folding hand coloured ‘
General Map of Scotland’ (by Laurie and Whittle, London, 1799) and 11 woodcuts in the text.

The extent of the problems of taxation and collection are evidenced by over 100 folio pages listing distillery prosecutions and seizures (527-640) combined with relevant extracts from court reports.

One interesting section compares other methods of producing spirits, which range from Spanish brandy and Dutch gin, to the distillation practised by the ‘
Natives at Chatra in Ramgur, and other Provinces in India’ (692-704).

In addition to the two main reports by Sylvester Douglas (pages 319-511, and 512-804), there is a three part report on ‘
Illicit Practices used in Defrauding the Revenue’ which relate to smuggling and ‘piratical practices’ and cover Whisky amongst other dutiable goods (pages 228-299). The remaining ten reports cover other areas of the Treasury (pages 3-226 & 303-317). 
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Price HK$ 30,000



1931 - Alfred A. Knopf, New York - First Edition
Inscribed by Jimmy Durante ‘To Anne – a pleasure to know you – Jimmy Durante, Mar 30-42’.

This is not a ‘guide’, it contains anecdotes, characters, deals, entertainers and speakeasy challenges that only someone deeply connected with the scene could piece together, and if anyone knew the night clubs of New York it was the great entertainer Jimmy ‘Schnozzola’ Durante. Performing from 17 in Coney Island dives, Manhattan slums and gangster hangouts in Harlem, moving from a Mafia club ‘The Alamo’ to open his own small establishment ‘The Durant’ (the signmaker forgot to paint the ‘e’), but this was prohibition and soon after they were raided. Durante with his by now well known partners Eddie Jackson and Lou Clayton, moved on from there to become one of the all-time great night club acts. All this before becoming a film star, radio star, and television star.....

Illustrated with 16 photographs, illustrated title page and endpapers. The fabulous and rather risqué dust jacket was illustrated by Herbert Roese.
 
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Price HK$ 9,000



 
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