The Lost Library of Ynys Môn

 

Children of the Spirit

 

I’m fairly confident of being able to offer a game for Bookhounds of London at Concrete Cow on March 17th called The Bees of the Invisible.

Five bookhounds and a dreamhound will convene for an auction of unusual items at a Welsh country house.

Here is the catalogue of works for sale:

 

 

The Lost Library of Ynys Môn

Catalogue for the private auction of works from the Collection of Henry Cyril Paget,
5th Marquess of Anglesey.

 

2. The Parable of the Strange Fruit by the Reverend C A Johns.

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1887. 4to. Leather half-cloth, rubbed to extremities. Condition: Fair. Five of six hand-drawn plates remain, two of which have been re-glued; front hinge also re-glued. Closed slit to front external hinge. Fraying top and bottom of spine. Some underlining, particularly to rear parts of text.

Believed to be the only remaining copy in circulation of the Rev. C A Johns’ first-person account of rhubarb grown by the light of the full moon: he believed these to have been harvested by faeries. Johns later recanted and ordered all copies of his work destroyed.

 

3. The Bees of the Invisible by Mrs Eileen Donaghy.

Women’s Institute of Pembroke, Bangor, 1902. 8vo. Green cloth with gilt. Eight black and white engravings by the author. Condition: Very Good.

Each of Angelsey’s 28 cromlechs is adumbrated by Mrs Donaghy’s coruscating commentary concerning their use for “base and licentious acts” in pre-Christian times; pp56-84 concern the perils of drink.

 

4. Brytanici Imperii Limites by Dr John Dee.

Elias Ashmole, Oxford, 1677. 8vo. Black leather with decorative silver gilt, split at the spine and with singing patterns to the bottom right of the text block; front bottom right corner frayed. Condition: Good.

“The Limits of the British Empire”. The voyages of King Arthur and other legendary mariners, including Welsh prince Madoc, who crossed the Atlantic in in 1170 and met the winged fae-folk of Saguenay. Map missing from rear board.

 

5. The Secret Commonwealth; or an Essay on the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and for the most part) Invisible People heretofore going under the names of Fauns and Fairies, or the like, among the Low Country Scots as described by those who have second sight, 1691 by Robert Kirk.

Archibald, Constable and Co for Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 1815. 8vo. Half-calf with marbled boards and gilt lettering to the spine; slightly rubbed. Condition: Very Good.

Folklore from traditional accounts in the Scottish Highlands; reports that the author was carried away to fairyland for revealing the secrets of the Good People remain unconfirmed.

 

6. The Last Testament of King Maeglwyn Gwynedd.

Palimpsest of paper and vellum materials, c.1188; rebound in calfskin, Bangor, 1837. 8vo. Condition: Fair.

Handwritten text in dark blue ink includes many crossings- and workings-out: appears to sign over the Isle of Ynys Môn and much of North Wales to the “King of the Birds”.

 

7. The Horoscope of Benvenuto Cellini by Consuela du Pre.

Theosophical Society, London, 1901. 8vo. Decorative blue leather boards bearing the embossed coat of arms of the famous goldsmith and sculptor. Condition: Very Good.

Mrs Du Pre follows the Roman astrologer Manilius in insisting that a child born while the Sun is in Scorpio has “a spirit which rejoices in plenteous bloodshed and in carnage more than in plunder”; pp101-110 detail a cure for gonorrhoea derived from Pliny the Elder.

 

8. Mona and the Moon by “Sister Dierdre”.

Women’s Institute of Pembroke, Bangor, 1907. 4to. Blue cloth with decorative gilt. Centrepiece intact. Condition: Good.

Tidal patterns and lunar cycles on “Hook’s Island” (an older name for the Isle of Angelsey); intended as a treatise for children, it includes seventeen hand-drawn illustrations by local artist Cerys Llewellyn and a full-colour frontispiece by the (as yet unidentified) “Monk of Ynys Môn”.

 

9. New Hyperborean Grammar (4vols).

Skara Brae Press, Kirkwall, 1877. Blue half-cloth with light blue decorative trim and decorative silver gilt. Large item(s).

Claims to be a partially-revised edition of a work first produced at Gardar monastery in Greenland at the end of the fourteenth century. Volumes 2-4 comprise indices and commentary.

 

10. Codex Hibernica by Alejandro Cacamatzin.

Date unknown, Skellig, rebound circa 1560. Folio. Text in Latin and Nahuatl with Aztec pictograms. Whale-skin with decorative insignia, bumped at the bottom right corner of front and back boards and turned at the bottom right outer edge of the text block.

How to perform the intricately-costumed butterfly-dance of Itzpapalotl, the “Obsidian Butterfly”, by an exiled Mexican priest. 64 full-colour illustrations by an unknown hand. Six black and white illustrations of clochán-type beehive cells with an appendix of twenty-one hand-drawn stone crosses and slabs. The favourite item of the 5th Marquess.

11. Knowledge of Angels by Katherine Dee.

Reginald Newbury, Shrewsbury, 1608. 8vo. Leather boards with unstitched signatures. Five colour plates, two pull-out diagrams and 14 black and white illustrations. Text in English, Hebrew and Adamic script.

Includes a phonetic incantation to call forth Uriel from ancient stone and a pull-out design for a “Table of Practice” based on her father’s tradition. A unique item.

 

12. Liber Experimentorum by Ramon Llull.

Bartholomäus Leonhard Schwendendörffer, Antwerp, 1664. 8vo. Calf with decorative gilt. Pagination awry. Condition: Very Good. Catalan, Arabic and Latin text with pictograms of unknown provenance.

Llull’s “Book of Experiments” combines logic and natural philosophy to record the spiritual effects of Majorcan flora on imprisoned infidels.

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