Antiquarians can seem an exotic group to many of us and yet there are several successful dealers in this country, perhaps none more so than Hordern House in Sydney. Established in 1985, and now operating from elegant, post-industrial, award-winning premises in Surry Hills, the firm specialises in rare and important books, paintings, maps, artefacts and ephemera from the period of European exploration and settlement of Australia and the Pacific. The directors are Anne McCormick and Derek McDonnell. The catalogue (www.hordern.com) suggests a treasure trove of fascinating materials.
Consider, for example, a very rare 16th century world map depicting an island roughly in the position of Australia; for the first time, a single southern continent rather than an amorphous landmass. Printed in Antwerp in 1571 under the supervision of Arias Montanus as appointed by the Inquisition, it predates the first Dutch discoveries by 35 years. Another item, perhaps of interest to the Banking Royal Commission, is a printed share certificate for 100 pounds in the Bank of NSW dated 1824. From an earlier Royal Commission, that conducted by J.T. Bigge into the state of New South Wales, comes a series of three reports of 1822-3 via Lord Dacre. The resignation which flowed from that Royal Commission was of Governor Lachlan Macquarie. There are sketches of NZ by Augustus Earle who sailed with Darwin on the Beagle, and much, much more.
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