Joseph Thornton
1808 - 1891

the old bookshop till 2002
History of the building
in Broad Street


Thornton's Bookshop
 ( W A & J S Meeuws ) 
Established in Oxford in  1835
(Internet and mailorder sales only)
the Old Barn - Walnut Court
Faringdon Oxfordshire SN7 7JH
United Kingdom

178 years of bookselling exprience



Catalogue of Rare and interesting titles
Note: Payment for amounts over £100 by bank transfer only

Auden, W.H.,. Poems, 1928. Reproduced in facsimile.. Privately printed for sale at the Ilkley Literature Festival by the Janus Press April 23-28, 1973. 12mo., pp. 37 facsimile, with scarce erratum slip, of the original edition partly printed by Stephen Spender at his home in Frognal, Hampstead and after page 23, when his patience ran out, finished by the Holywell Press, Oxford and bound in red wrapper. In the original green folder on which the date of the festival is different: April 24, 1973 and with the Janus Press device to the rear. Exact facsimile of the Durham University Library copy of 'Poems,' Auden's earliest book. The printing of the original edition, thought to number only some 30 copies, was undertaken in the summer of 1928 by Stephen Spender, whom Auden had met during his second year at Oxford. Auden excluded most of these poems from his " Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957. Auden's holograph corrections to the text are clearly evident throughout. Loosely inserted is B.C. Bloomfield's separate five-page Foreword to this facsimile edition, briefly outlining the history of the original edition and providing a census of the 15 copies known to be extant. Very good condition,  £65

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Quinctiliani, M. Fabii (Quintilian) DE INSTITUTIONE ORATORIA 
Liber septimus; liber octavus; liber nonus; liber decimus; liber undecimus; liber duodecimus pp. 578 - 1114; [2] followed by  Henrici Dodwelli: Annales quintilianei seu vita M. Fabii Quimtiliani per Annales disposita. Pp 1117 - 1171;[ Lugduni Batavorum. 1720) ]followed by annalium Quintilianeorum synopsus chronologica. Pp. 1172 -1178; followed by Addenda [25 lvs] Listed in the HBZ Verbundkatalog as : M. Fabii Quinctiliani de institutione oratoria / libri duodecim ; cum notis et animadversionibus virorum doctorum . summa cura redogniti ac emendati per Petrum Burmannum .Lugduni Batavorum (Leiden)  de Vivie , 1720 , 1178pp., ill. ; 4-o  [Quinctilianus ex edit[ione] P. Burmanni] ; [1] Iriginal full calf  with gilt decorations and red title label on the spine. Wormholed throughout binding and text, spine, hinges, boards worh, scuffed, pages browned/damp stained esp. at beginning and end, no impressum of publisher , half of f.e.p. missing, previous owner's handwritten names on  prelims one of which is Man. Calderon de la Barca. £27.50
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King, Leonard W., & S. Smith
A History of Babylonia and Assyria. 
3 Volumes

Volume 1: Leonard W.  KING: A History of Sumer and Akkad. An Account of the Early Races of Babylonia from Prehistoric Times to the Foundation of the Babylonian Monarchy. London: Chatto and Windus, 1910, First Edition.. xxii, (2), 380pp.,  34 plates incl. frontispiece, 1 folding map, 69 illustrations I the text, 12 maps, and plans. Some occasional  very light brown spots in the text. 
Volume 2: Leonard W.  KING:  A History of Babylon from the Foundation of the Monarchy to the Persian Conquest. London: Chatto & Windus 1915. First edition. With map, plans, and illustr. XXI , 340 pp. With frontispiece, 31 plates, 1 fold. map and numerous text-illustrations. Some occasional  very light brown spots in the text , leaf between f.e.p. and half title and half title with heavier foxing/browning as is the page preceding l.e.p. 
Volume 3: Sidney  SMITH: Early History of Assyria: To 1000 B.C.. London: Chatto & Windus,1928.8`+ XV, 418pp.  folding map. [ Smith completed this work since King died ]  text very good. The volumes 1 and 2 have ex-library Heythrop college library stamps on top right corners of 2nd lves and small stamp top corner of title page, volume 2 has an additional library stamp in the centre of the title. In a  very attractive new brown cloth binding, with original gilt embossed designs taken from the original bindings on the 3 front boards, title labels. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. A rare complete set.   £250
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Mazzolini, Sylvestro,  (1456-1523 )
Summae Sylvestrinae, quae summa summarum merito nuncupatur pars prima [-pars secunda] ab R. P. Sylvestro Prierate,... edita, nunc recens diligentissime correcta. Additionibus autem, ex sacro Concilio Trident. et catechismo, Pii V,... jussu edito, hac in editione in fine appositio Petro Vendramaeus... authore, locupletata et illustrata.  Lugduni: Sumptibus Petri Landry, 1594. 4to. 2 vols. in 1. [4] 515[3] one blank sheet; 541 pp followed by Additiones ad primam et secundam partem Summae Sylvestrine….Petro Vendramaeno 27 unnumbered pp., followed by Index omnium dictionum, seu titulorum..5 unnumbered pp.,   ¶  Sylvester Mazzolini, in Italian Silvestro Mazzolini da Prierio, in Latin Sylvester Prierias. (1456/57-1523) was a theologian born at Priero, Piedmont; he died at Rome. At the age of fifteen he entered the Dominican Order. Passing brilliantly through a course of studies he taught theology at Bologna, Pavia (by invitation of the senate of Venice), and in Rome, whither he was called by Julius II in 1511. In 1515 he was appointed Master of the Sacred Palace, filling that office until his death. His writings cover a vast range, including treatises on the planets, the power of the demons, history, homiletics, the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and the primacy of the popes. He is credited with being the first theologian who by his writings attacked publicly the doctrines of Martin Luther. Johann Tetzel's productions against the arch-reformer are called by Jacques Echard scattered pages (folia volitantia), and Mazzolini stands forth as the first champion of Roman Pontiffs against Luther. Luther replied to Mazzolini's arguments and the latter published rejoinders, and there was a regular controversy between them. The necessity of promptness in attack and defence will account for defects of style in some of his writings. Students of the Lutheran Reformation remember him for his charge that Martin Luther had a brain of brass and nose of iron. The Summa summarum is an alphabetical encyclopedia of theological questions, written largely to affirm Catholic theology at a time when that theology was under attack. First printed in Rome, 1516, it was  reprinted 40 times throughout the 16th century. His other principal works are: De juridica et irrefragabili veritate Romanæ Ecclesiæ Romanique Pontificis (Rome, 1520); Epitoma responsionis ad Lutherum (Perugia, 1519); Errata et argumenta M. Lutheri (Rome, 1520); Rosa aurea (Bologna, 1510) an exposition of the Gospels of the year; In theoricas planetarum (Venice, 1513). The first title page is rather worn and bottom corner and edges have been repaired/re-inforced  Previous owner's writing ibn ink on this title, first 12 pages and further scattered pages throughout the book  have sl. frayed edges, some like the pages 409-412 probably as they came off the press, small bottom corner torn off one bottom page in the unnumbered section; several sections of the book have sustained damp staining. the 2nd title page is very good. Recently re-bound in half calf with leather corners and gilt title on red leather title label. We have only traced holdings in the Swedish library catalogue;  Bibliotheque nationale;  Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München. £950
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Venette, Nicholas. (1633-1698 ). De la Génération de l'Homme ou Tableau de L'Amour. Claude Joly, Conjugal, Divisé en quatre Parties. 7. édition, reveuë, corrigée, augmentée & enrichie de figures par l'Auteur. A Cologne : Chez Claude Joly, 1696. (xii), (xl), (vi), 672, (xxx) pages. Original leather sewn binding rebound in new full calf. Early notations on f.e.p. Frontispiece, 9 plates (5 folding). but some of these appear twice in this volume, otehrs are missing. Engraved portrait of the author precedes text Includes index at end. Title page printed in red and black 3.5" X 6.5". small marginal tear in pp. 191/192, text sl. browned, some repairs made to plates, a few pp. soiled, SEE: Book-ends: The role of the eunuch and the hermaphrodite in Nicolas Venette's Tableau de l'amour considéré dans l'estat du mariage By Jane Rush ( Sage Publications, 2004 ) of which we add a resume: In his Tableau de l'amour considéré dans l'estat du mariage Nicolas Venette devotes the last section of his medical text to questions of sexual dysfunction or sexual malformation and the socio-legal implications that ensued for the afflicted. Like book-ends, the bodies of the eunuch and the hermaphrodite display the visible signs of sexual deformity yet, in Venette's view, these deformities, based largely on external and arbitrary signs, can be deceptive and should not prevent those who wish to marry or to take holy orders to do so. Rather than exclude from social discourse the sexually deficient, the non-productive couple and the impotent in general, Venette, through the spectacular plight of the eunuch and the hermaphrodite, makes a valiant attempt to moderate the powerful voices of church and state and bring into the social fold not only the severely deformed but all who suffer from sexual dysfunction and impotence.  The contents take a position somewhere between sexual education and pornography. In the first edition of this work author was referred to as 'Mons. Salocini Venetien', which is a conversion of the real name of the author: Nicolas Venette. The book provides a very interesting glimpse of seventeenth century sexual behaviour  £350
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WOLFENSTEIN, Alfred, Die gefährlichen Engel
Mährisch-Osterau und Leipzig, Verlag Julius Kittls Nachfolger, 1936, 154pp., [1] Original cloth binding with damaged dust jacket. First edition. 
With an autograph signed dedication in ink on the half title, dated Spring 1936 and a 2-page autograph letter written from Prague to a lady who he asks to promote this book amongst her friends. In this letter he also asks for the address of Lady Van der Elst, the opponent of the death penalty and one time eccentric owner of Harlaxton Manor. The letter is dated 7th June 1936. 

Alfred Wolfenstein ( Halle / Saale, 28 December 1888  - 22. January 1945 in Paris) was an expressionist poet, play write and translator. He married Henriette Hardenberg in 1916. He is famous for the publication of Die Erhebung (2 volumes, 1919/1920) the most important theoretical collection of the expressionist movement . In 1930 he received the first German prize for translations. In 1933, the year of the burning of the books Wolfenstein left the former Weimar Republic and settled in Prague. In 1938 he moved to  Paris. He hid under a false name when the nazis conquered France and committed suicide in Paris on 22nd January 1945. 
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Wallace, A.R .. The Malay Archipelago. The Land of the Orang-Utan and the Bird of Paradise. Macmillan & Co. 1872 As indicated on the title page this copy is the 3rd edition. On the spine however it reads fifth edition. We have not been able to find out if this was a binder's error at the time of publication. binding strong, boards straight, The binding is spotted all over and the end papers are split at the inner hinges, boards still firmly attached, gilt decorated cover a little faded and corners sl. rubbed, but contents complete & beautiful with only very sl. foxing. A Narrative of Travel With Studies of Man and Nature. "A great landowner may legally convert his whole property into a forest or a hunting-ground, and expel every human being who has hitherto lived upon it. In a thickly populated countrey like England, where every acre has its owner and its occupier, this is a power of legally destroying his fellow-creatures; and that such a power should exist, and be exercised by individuals, in however small a degree, indicates that, as regards true social science, we are still in a state of barbarism."A magnificent combination of interesting sketches of travel and vivid pictures of natural history, together with a discussion of the great generalizations of evolutionary biology", as well as being a fascinating and grippingly-written work in its own right. The author spent eight years away from England, "but as I travelled about fourteen thousand miles within the Archipelago, and made sixty or seventy separate journeys, each involving some preparation and loss of time, I do not think that more than six years were really occupied in collecting." (Preface). The author goes on to say that his collections comprised 125,660 speciments of natural history. "On the basis of artistic format, literary style, and scientific merit, it is clearly one of the finest scientific travel books ever written." (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). cf. Norman 2176.  [ our ref. 017111] 
£275  order via e-mail
Yeats, W.B.,. Plays for an Irish Theatre. with Designs by Gordon Craig.. Deirdre, The Green Helmut, On Baile's Strand, The King's Threshold, The Shadowy Waters, The Hour-Glass, Cathleen Ni Houlihan Contains seven of William Butler Yeats' best known plays at the time: London: A. H. Bullen, the Shakespeare Head Press, 1911 Original white quarter cloth with title label, brown paper covered boards. . Very Good+. 8vo - over 73/4" - 93/4" tall. spine slightly soiled. Edges untrimmed. Text fine, four b&w full-page plates by Gordon Craig with tissue guards, the frontispiece shows impression of "The Heroic Age - Morning".  [091701] 
£135.00   order via e-mail
 MOLIERE ( = Jean Baptiste Poquelin ). Oeuvres avec des remarques grammaticales, des avertissements et des observations sur chaque pièce par M. Bret. 6 Volumes.. , Paris, La Compagnie des libraires associés, An 13 [1804] portrait, 6 title vignettes, and 33 copper Engraved frontispiece portrait by L.J. Cathelin after P. Mignard in Volume I and thirty-three engraved plates by J.B. Simonet, A.J. Duclos, D. Née, N. de Launay, L.J. Masquelier, E. de Ghendt, J.J. Leveau, C. Baquoy, L. Legrand, J.P. le Bas after J.M. Moreau le jeune. A later printing of the celebrated 1773 edtiion . Cohen-de-Ricci said of the 1773 edition: "Edition plus remarquable par sa beauté qu par sa bonté. La suite des figures de Moreau est une de plus estimées de d'une rareté extrême avant la lettre" (Cohen-de Ricci)."De toutes les édtions des oeuvres de Molière avec les notes de Bret, celle-ci est la plus belle et la plus recherchée" (Brunet).Brunet III, col. 1798. Cohen-de Ricci, cols. 716-719. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 50. Tchemerzine VIII, p. 360 Bret's disparagemeny of later printings on the grounds that the plates are worn seems ungrounded and puzzling as these are [still] excellent. Prelims/first and last few pages sl. foxed, spotted, small stamp on f.e.p. vols. 2, 3, 5; sign. on f.e.p. vol. 4; stamped initials partly coverd in ink on f.e.p. of vol.4; small stamp reverse f.e.p. vol. 1, name on f.e.p. vol. 6; A beautifully printed ediition in new half leather binding with red and green title/volume number labels. 5 raised bands. the boards are covered in marbled paper matching the original marbling of the text edges. Silk page markers.  [008169]

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