246093 (JAMES, Henry) Sargent, John Singer. Portrait of Henry James. Silver print after the oil portrait by Sargent. 330 x 265 mm. (13 x 10 1/2 in.), [London: 1913]. One of 300 copies SIGNED by both James and Sargent on the mount. Mounted and framed. Fine. $7,500
My friend Henry Wessells sent me the link to the above silver print, knowing I would find it interesting. As I did, and the whole informative entry explaining it. But, more than that, I found the entire James Cummins Bookseller blog a wonderful time-sink and source of daydreams, if you happen to be a bookish sort of person. As well as being a perfectly delightful way of ridding yourself of excess money, should you happen to have that particular problem.
Glancing through the blog, I note such small marvels as: Carl Von Vechten's portrait of Bryon Gysin. Robert Van Gulik's self-published Dee Goong An, the translation that led to his later Judge Dee mysteries. The first appearance of Sweeney Todd in a book. A nine-page treatment for a movie that later became The Lion King, written by -- wait for it -- Thomas Disch. I had no idea.
You can find the site here.
Normally, after writing about such literary baubles, I'd make a joke about my birthday coming up soon. But as I get older and (some of) my friends grow more affluent, I worry that somebody might take me seriously. I can't be trusted with rare books. I remember vividly the time I found my copy of The Book of the Bear, autographed by Hope Mirrlees on the floor of the living room. "Aha!" I cried. "So that's why the couch wobbles!"
And I heard from Charles Stross . . .
Charlie pointed out that Hannu Rajaniemii's first novel, The Quantum Thief, will be published in late October by Gollancz -- and that the launch party will be held in the Finnish embassy in London.
"To add to the fun," Stross wrote, "what's not immediately obvious is that Hannu's got a PhD in string theory and is playing with hard physics in the key of Greg Egan . . . Art *and* science, in other words."
Which sounds awfully good, dunnit? I've got my fingers crossed.