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Naval & maritime

Rare first editions, deluxe and collectible editions of books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to military actions at sea, also shipbuilding and mercantile shipping. See also Sailing under Sports & leisure.

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  1. 116681

    The Life of Nelson.

    Second Edition.
    First published the previous year, this handsomely bound set fulfils Southey's wish to create a pocket edition, "clear and concise enough to become a manual for the young sailor, which he may carry about with him" (Preface). His Life of Nelson has rarely lapsed from print, and has been the cornerstone of Nelson biographies ever since. Learn More
    £450

    Date of Publication: 1814

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116681

    Reserve

  2. 116665

    Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, c. c. c.

    With observations, critical and explanatory.
    First edition of the first significant post-Trafalgar life of Nelson (the frontispiece is dated 7 January 1806), attractively presented here in the original boards. Charnock was prompted to write his biography by Nelson's "teacher, friend, and correspondent" (ODNB) Captain William Locker ("by him the present work was suggested"): "the information and the letters communicated by Locker gave the book, at the time, a value far above that of the numerous instant memoirs which were produced after Trafalgar" (ibid). Learn More
    £950

    Date of Publication: 1806

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116665

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  3. 116545

    The Theory of the Gyroscopic Compass and its Deviations.

    First edition, first impression, of the author's "pocket book" (Preface) chiefly intended for makers and users of gyrocompasses. A second edition was published in the US in 1944. Learn More
    £300

    Date of Publication: 1929

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116545

    Reserve

  4. The Caine Mutiny.

    The Caine Mutiny.

    A Novel of World War II.
    First edition, first printing. The Pulitzer prize-winning novel spent 122 weeks on the New York Times best seller list from August 1951 to August 1953. The novel is based on Wouk's personal experiences aboard a destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific in World War II and deals with, among other things, the moral and ethical decisions made at sea by the captains of ships. Learn More
    £200

    Date of Publication: 1951

    Published: New York

    Stock Code: 115819

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  5. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 16601783;

    The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 16601783;

    [together with:] The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire 1793–1812; [and:] The Life of Nelson, the Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain.
    Early London editions of some of Mahan's most influential texts. Described by John Keegan as "the most important American strategist of the nineteenth century", and by Barbara Tuchman as "the Clausewitz of naval warfare". Mahan's development of the concept of "sea power" has been identified as one of the major factors in the outbreak of the naval arms race at the end of the nineteenth century. Learn More
    £1,250

    Date of Publication: 1892-92

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115778

    Reserve

  6. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton.

    Memoirs of Lady Hamilton.

    With illustrative anecdotes of many of her most particular friends and distinguished contemporaries.
    First edition of this "scurrilous" (ODNB) anonymous biography of Lady Emma Hamilton, who is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson (publisher's note mentions the incorporation of corrections into later printings). Published the year of her death and many times reprinted and, the Memoirs helped to form Hamilton's scandalous posthumous reputation, which only began to be rehabilitated with an edition of her letters in 1888 and Walter Sichel's definitive biography published in 1915, the centenary of Trafalgar. Learn More
    £575

    Date of Publication: 1815

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115371

    Reserve

  7. The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817.

    The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817.

    First edition, early issue, of this magnificent publication, the apogee of the coloured aquatint, illustrating the high-water mark of Britain's maritime hegemony. "As a record of naval events spanning a period of over twenty years [it] has no precedent. At no time prior to 1817 had a publisher attempted such a complete volume of documentary naval prints. Learn More
    £9,750

    Date of Publication: [after 1817]

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115370

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  8. The Life of Nelson.

    The Life of Nelson.

    First edition, first issue with page 258 of volume two misnumbered as 852. "Southey constructed an early-nineteenth century hero as a model for the young — in his words, a ‘patriotic manual'. He told a friend that he would write ‘such a life of Nelson as shall be put into the hands of every youth destined for the Navy'" (Knight, The Pursuit of Victory, p. Learn More
    £500

    Date of Publication: 1813

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115173

    Reserve

  9. The complete Hornblower:

    The complete Hornblower:

    The Happy Return (1937); A Ship of the Line (1938); Flying Colours (1938); The Commodore (1945); Lord Hornblower (1946); Mr Midshipman Hornblower (1950); Lieutenant Hornblower (1952); Hornblower and the Atropos (1953); Hornblower in the West Indies (1958); Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962); Hornblower and The Crisis (1967).
    First editions, first impressions. Forester (real name Cecil Smith) was called to Hollywood to write a pirate film, working under Arthur Hornblower. However, before they had finished the script, another studio released Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn, and using the same historical incidents that they had counted on. Rather than seeking another position, hounded by the prospect of a paternity suit, Forester jumped aboard a cargo boat bound for home. Learn More
    £3,950

    Date of Publication: 1937

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 114526

    Reserve

  10. Naval Reminiscences 1868-1891.

    Naval Reminiscences 1868-1891.

    A Brief Record of Service by Sea and Land.
    First and only edition, rare, untraced in auction records and eight copies only in libraries world-wide; possibly issued by H. F. & G. Witherby, specialists in travel accounts and military memoirs, with their ticket to the front pastedown. "The author was a sub-lieutenant aboard the Discovery during the 1875-7 Arctic Expedition. He served on the Hecla during the Egyptian War, 1882, and landed at Ismailia. Learn More
    £200

    Date of Publication: 1930

    Published: ?London

    Stock Code: 114462

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  11. Russian Ships in the Gulf 1899-1903.

    Russian Ships in the Gulf 1899-1903.

    First edition, first impression. "Using previously unpublished material from the Russian Navy Central Archives in St Petersburg, this book is the first publication of its kind, shedding new light on the period from 1899 to 1903 when Russia succeeded in penetrating the Arabian Gulf for a short time" (jacket blurb). Learn More
    £250

    Date of Publication: 1993

    Published: Reading

    Stock Code: 114443

    Reserve

  12. British Merchant Shipping.

    British Merchant Shipping.

    First edition, first impression. Includes chapters on marine insurance, accounts and statistics, as well as safety and sanitation at sea. Learn More
    £175

    Date of Publication: 1922

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 114161

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  13. The Complete Navigator:

    The Complete Navigator:

    or, an easy and familiar guide to the theory and practice of navigation, with all the requisite tables. Second Edition, Improved.
    Second edition, originally published in 1804; there was an American edition published at Philadelphia in 1807. With a very fitting provenance: from the library of Admiral Robert Dudley Oliver (1766-1850), with his armorial bookplate and ownership inscriptions at head of title page (dated 1812). "He entered the navy in May 1779, on the Prince George, flagship of Rear-Admiral Robert Digby, and in her, during the early months of 1780, was shipmate of Prince William, later William IV. Learn More
    £2,250

    Date of Publication: 1810

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 114058

    Reserve

  14. The Life of Nelson.

    The Life of Nelson.

    Eton leaving gift inscription on a preliminary blank in volume I: From Ld Marsham to J. Farquharson Junior on his leaving Eton, July 26th 1824: Charles Marsham (1777-1845), second Earl of Romney. Joints partially spilt but firm, touch of foxing to frontispieces. A very good copy, with the half-titles.
    First edition, large paper copy, of which there were only 500 sets published. Elegantly written and surprisingly even-handed on the issue of the Neapolitan Jacobins, "Southey constructed an early-nineteenth century hero as a model for the young - in his words, a ‘patriotic manual.' He told a friend that he would write ‘such a life of Nelson as shall be put into the hands of every youth destined for the Navy'" (Roger Knight, The Pursuit of Victory,2006, p. Learn More
    £1,500

    Date of Publication: 1813

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 114056

    Reserve

  15. Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea.

    Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea.

    Established by His Majesty in Council.
    First issued in 1731, these are the fundamental regulations governing "the organization and discipline of the British Navy" (Uden & Cooper, A Dictionary of British Ships and Seamen), this edition published in the months leading up to the Peninsular War. "Up to 1731 every commander-in-chief had issued his own code of instructions to his ships, but in that year appeared the first set of King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, to be followed by many others as they were periodically revised" (idem). Learn More
    £1,750

    Date of Publication: 1808

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 113882

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  16. Her Majesty's Navy including its Deeds and Battles.

    Her Majesty's Navy including its Deeds and Battles.

    With Coloured Illustrations by W. Christian Symons and W. Fred. Mitchell.
    First edition. "The recent augmentation of the Naval forces of the country has increased the interest felt in our ships and sailors, and the present appears a suitable time to bring before the public a detailed and comprehensive work on the history of the Navy, illustrated by coloured plates, depicting the materiel no less than the personnel of the British fleet" (preface). Learn More
    £975

    Date of Publication: 1890

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 113875

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  17. The Earlier Adventures of a Naval Officer.

    The Earlier Adventures of a Naval Officer.

    First edition of this "vivacious" (ODNB) account of Rajah Brooke's campaign against the Malay pirates in Borneo, based on the author's personal experiences. When a youth, inspired by accounts of the doings of James Brooke, St John (1825-1910) "had become obsessed with Sarawak, writing ‘innumerable articles' on Borneo … and [taking] up the study of the Malay language" (ibid. Learn More
    £250

    Date of Publication: 1906

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 113560

    Reserve

  18. Services of Capt. the Hon. E. R. Fremantle, R.N.,
    signed

    Services of Capt. the Hon. E. R. Fremantle, R.N.,

    in H.M. Ship “Barracouta,” on the west coast of Africa, 1873, 1874.
    First and only edition, rare: Copac locates only one copy in British and Irish institutional libraries (Cambridge), OCLC adds no further copies worldwide. A familial presentation copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper: "Mr. W. Baird, from his friend, Lord Cottesloe, April 1874". Thomas Francis Fremantle (1798-1890), first Baron Cottesloe, politician and civil servant, was the father of Sir Edmund Robert Fremantle. Learn More
    £250

    Date of Publication: [1874]

    Published: [No place]

    Stock Code: 113559

    Signed: Yes

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  19.  An Epitome, Historical and Statistical, Descriptive of the Royal Naval Service of England.

    An Epitome, Historical and Statistical, Descriptive of the Royal Naval Service of England.

    With the assistance of Lieutenant Lawford Miles, R.N. Embellished with eight highly-finished, coloured, engraved views of shipping, by W. Knell, besides fourteen coloured illustrations of the flags, pendants, and ensigns, as worn by Her Majesty's ships and vessels in commission.
    First edition. A most attractive work containing really spirited plates, with excellent colouring, engraved by Newton Smith Fielding after William Adolphus Knell. Knell had originally worked in "the popular Dutch seventeenth-century marine style, [but] in mid-career he shifted to an English manner to maintain his share of the market. The results were lighter and less heavy-handed pictures marked by translucent seas and broader handling in the skies. Learn More
    £650

    Date of Publication: 1841

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 113548

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  20. The Trial of Vice-Admiral Byng,

    The Trial of Vice-Admiral Byng,

    at a Court-Martial, held on board his Majesty’s ship the St. George, in Portsmouth Harbour. For an enquiry into his conduct, while he commanded his Majesty’s fleet in the Mediterranean, and particularly on the 20th of May, 1756. Together with the Admirals’s Defence, taken down in short-hand. [Together with:] An Exact Copy of a Remarkable Letter from Admiral Byng to the Right Hon. W[illiam] P[itt], Esq; dated March 12, 1757, two days before his execution. London: J. Reason, 1757.
    First editions. The trial and execution of admiral John Byng (1704-1757) was one of the great cause célèbres of the mid-eighteenth century. "After his failure to relieve Minorca from the French (1756), he was court-martialled and shot on the quarter-deck [of his own flagship, the Monarch] for lack of resolution. This face-saving act by the government brought strong condemnation from many quarters" (Uden & Cooper eds. Learn More
    £350

    Date of Publication: 1757

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 113497

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