Hordern House Rare Books

    Member of ANZAAB - Australia

    Art: Colonial Manuscripts Natural History Pacific Voyages & Exploration Voyages to Australia

Since 1985 Hordern House has been a centre for antiquarian material in all forms, especially dealing with voyages and travels, discovery and exploration, as well as Australiana, and classic fields of rare book collecting.

We are now located in a former warehouse in Surry Hills, Sydney. Visitors are welcome by appointment.

We issue catalogues and lists online.

Explore our website to see a wide range of stock in various fields.


Original drawing of a scene in Mauritius: “Vue prise sur le chemin du Tamarin à l’ile de France”.
A striking pencil sketch by the Baudin voyage artist Jacques-Gérard Milbert (1766-1840) , done in the south-west of Mauritius after he had jumped ship from the Géographe on Baudin’s expedition to Australia and the Pacific in 1801. The sketch showcases Milbert’s particular skill in rendering botanical scenes and makes an important addition to the rather slender group of known works by him, particularly relating to his time in the Indian Ocean.
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CICERO, Marcus Tullius. Various works contained in eight volumes…
A fine set of works by Cicero, assembled by the collector Henry Drury, uniformly bound for him, each work collated by him with his typically neat note, in slightly differing words in each volume, “Charta maxima [i.e. Large Paper]”, dated at Harrow in 1819. In one volume Drury notes that they were acquired “from Mr Williams’s collection, at Hendon”. In each volume he identifies its binding as being by Lewis, that is the famous English binder Charles Lewis, who worked from 1807.
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DICKENS, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.
A most attractive set of Pickwick in original parts, well-preserved by a series of owners, and in unsophisticated condition. Nowadays, as it should be, as much attention is paid to the coherence of a set and to be able to show, as with this one, that there has been no sophistication attempted. The set is as issued, as purchased serially by its first owner, and in original condition.
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ASHTON, Julian Rossi. Shipping on the Yarra, Early Morning.
A lovely example of Ashton’s atmospheric watercolours, illustrating his sensitive use of colour and light; the steam ships and the warehouses beyond are painted delicately at sunrise when the light is especially soft, whilst the Yarra River is bathed in a shimmering glow of subtle colour. This was one of six works that Ashton exhibited in the tenth exhibition of the “Victorian Academy of Arts” in 1880. Catalogue number 117 was, “Shipping on the Yarra, early morning”.
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SMITH, James Edward. A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland…
The first separately published book on Australian botany. The Specimen of the Botany of New Holland contains the first illustrations of a number of Australian species, including the waratah. According to a note in the preface the drawings on which the fine hand-coloured plates were based were done in the colony by John White, the Surgeon-General, who was a keen amateur natural history artist and collector. White’s own Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, published in 1790, celebrated the new colony’s ornithology in particular.
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WALLACE. Alfred Russel. On the Phenomena of Variation and Geographical Distribution as Illustrated by the Papilionidae of the Malayan Region…1865
The rare first printing of one of Alfred Russel Wallace’s most significant papers: his important text on butterfly variation on the Malay Peninsula, illustrated with eight full-page lithographic plates. Of this paper Darwin wrote, “I cannot conceive that the most firm believer in species could read it without being staggered. Such papers will make many more converts among naturalists than long-winded books such as I shall write if I have the strength” (Epsilon WCP1868).
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