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John Cochran Issues the First Illustrated Antiquarian Bookseller's Catalogue


In 1829 English antiquarian bookseller John Cochran of London issued A Catalogue of Manuscripts, in Different Languages, on Theology; English and Foreign History; Heraldry; Philosophy, Poetry; Romances; the Fine Arts (Including Calligraphy and some Splendid Persian Drawings;) Sports; Alchemy, Astrology, Divination; &c. &c. of Various Dates, from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century, Many of them upon Vellum, and Adorned with Splendid Illuminations. To Which is Added a Small Collection of Manuscripts in the Oriental Languages; with an Appendix Containing a Few Printed Books, Some of them with Manuscript Notes and Autographs of Eminent Persons. This catalogue, written by John Holmes who was later assistant keeper of manuscripts at the British Museum, listed 650 items, each with annotated descriptions, some quite extensive. Presented in a cloth binding with printed paper label on the spine, this antiquarian bookseller's catalogue was the first to include illustrations of items offered for sale— a folding engraved frontispiece and five additional lithographed plates. The lithographs are all dated May 1829.

A.N.L. Munby, Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750-1850 (1972) 123 mentions Holmes and Cochran's catalogue in the context of a discussion of collecting by Bertram, the Fourth Earl of Ashburnham.

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