The title-page of John Napier’s 'Plaine Discouery of the whole Revelation of Saint Iohn…' from the volume bid to £13,500 at Bellmans.

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Bid to £13,500 was a volume, bound in contemporary limp vellum, containing both a 1593, Edinburgh first of John Napier’s A Plaine Discouery of the whole Reuelation of Saint Iohn… and a 1588 edition of then James VI of Scotland’s Fruitfull Meditatioun contening a Plane and Facill Expositoun of [verses] …of the Reuelatioun, in forme of ane sermon.

Several pages of notes and numerous other annotations had been added to the first named work.

The Book of Revelation, the cataloguer noted, “…was used by protestant propagandists to give currency to the Reformation. James had taken verses from this and other biblical texts to emphasise his religious position and monarchial status”.

In his dedicatory preface to the future James I of England, Napier (1550-1615), who is far better known as a mathematician and the inventor of logarithms, warns of the catholic shadow and “the apparent danger of papistry arriving in these islands”.

A volume containing nine items by John Byrom of Manchester sold at £2200. Byrom’s literary fame derives principally from his poetry and one very popular hymn, ’Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn’, but he is also remembered as the inventor of a revolutionary shorthand system.

His proposals for … A New Method of Short-Hand of 1739 was joined in this volume by such items as Sir Lowbred O-n: or, the Hottentot Knight, a broadside of c.1740, and Tunbridgiale: a poem… of 1726.

One of 500 copies in limp vellum of William Morris’ 1893 Kelmscott edition of Tennyson’s Maud: A Monodrama made £620 and an 1886, first published edition of Alice in Wonderland, in rather poor condition, reached £2200.


A number of plans of London’s docks were included in the Bellmans sale, among them the folding, hand coloured and linen mounted Plan of the India & Millwall Docks featured here, which made £780. Issued by the Port of London Authority and dated 1916, the full plan measures 2ft 3in x 2ft 6in (69 x 76cm) and includes such detail as the length, width and depth of the docks and their entrances.