Collection of rare books on the Arabian horse offered for € 275,000

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A first edition of The Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates by Lady Anne Blunt, published in two volumes in 1879, is among the works offered for sale by Asher Rare Books.

A massive collection of books on Arabian horses, including herd books and general reference volumes, is being sold by Asher Rare Books in the Netherlands for € 275,000 (NZ $ 460,000; US $ 320,000) .

This is the largest private collection of its kind on sale in recent decades, representing a lifetime of serious dedication. It includes 244 works or sets from 1788 to 2011 in more than 800 volumes of mostly original or original editions.

Ashers Rare Books has published a new catalog of old books on the Arabian Horse and Riding.
Ashers Rare Books has published a new catalog of old books on the Arabian Horse and Riding.

The Arabic books come from the Le Vivier and Marcia Parkinson collections, with additions from the Duke Maximilian library in Bavaria.

The second part of the Asher Rare Books catalog is “Exceptional Books on Horses”, 85 individually priced lots. The third part is “The horse in art: paintings and prints” with 25 lots. These include paintings, prints and lithographs, as well as four watercolors by famous British artist Peter Upton.

Accumulated over the past 50 years and spanning four centuries, the collection of books covers all aspects of the history and development of Arabian horse breeding. It includes within it many works from the Le Vivier collection: fine press books on racing and thoroughbred literature produced by Eugene Connett’s famous Derrydale press, as well as many important items from the Duke’s library. Maximilian in Bavaria (1808-88), himself a great fan of Arabian horses.

Included are the first breeding books from the Arabian Horse Registry of America, and many articles bear introductory inscriptions from the authors, including Carl Raswan and Gladys Brown Edwards. Most of the publications here have been issued for limited circulation in editions of 1,000 or fewer individually numbered copies.

As a reference library for breeding, the collection is unprecedented. Perhaps the most famous reference work is the Raswan index, of which only 380 copies were printed (many were destroyed by a flood).

A rare and old reprint of the Black Tents of Arabia by Carl Raswan is one of 244 lots for sale.
A rare and old reprint of Carl Raswan The black tents of Arabia is one of 244 lots for sale.

Raswan became an expert on the Arab race during his long journeys in the desert, where he lived with the Bedouins and learned their language and customs.

A few rare works from the beginning of the 20th century also bear witness to the Western fascination with the Bedouin and desert roots of the Arabian horse: Homer Davenport My quest for the Arabian horse (1909) and T de RaswanThe black tents of Arabia: my life among the Bedouins (1935).

Lot 33 of the art section: Die Gestüte und Meiereien Seiner Majestät des Königs Wilhelm von Württemberg.
Lot 33 of the art section: Die Gestüte und Meiereien Seiner Majestät des Königs Wilhelm von Württemberg.

The collection also includes classic reference books on Arab and Anglo-Arab racehorses and their breeding.

Asher Rare Books claims that many of the items offered for sale are only found in a handful of public institutions around the world. Such items rarely enter the market, and recent sales of the Raswan index and the AHRA Stud Books commanded five-figure prizes.

The Arab Godolphin
Lot 98 of the art collection is from The Godolphin Arabian. The composition, priced at € 450,000, is said to derive from an original by David Morier (circa 1705-70). Morier’s painting, engraved by John Faber and published in 1753, became a popular print, on which it is likely that George Stubbs based his portrait of the Arab circa 1793. Other versions of the present composition, by Quigley , are now in the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket and in the Paul Mellon Collection of the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

“Yet the value of such a collection does not lie simply in its impressive number of important publications, but in the vast amount of practical knowledge it contains.

The catalog can be viewed here.


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