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Seventeen from the seventeen-seventies

Justin Croft’s new catalogue is taking us back to the 70’s but instead of flared trousers and ABBA it’s more panniers and Captain Cook. The catalogue features 17 items from the tumultuous 1770s. A decade of revolution, discovery and change. Captain Cook returning from the South Seas, the American colonies in revolt, and cities like London abuzz with news, politics, gossip and pleasure-seeking.

The catalogue includes a First Edition of The Sentimental Sailor (1772) by little known Scottish author Thomas Mercer, retelling a fictional adaptation of George Anson’s circumnavigation of the world. It perfectly reflects the acclaim Captain Cook returned to upon his return from his circumnavigation in 1771.

There is also a selection of satirical works reflecting the waves of change taking place throughout this period. The Macaroni. A Satire (1773) by Ferdinande Twigem provides a fine example. A satirical attack on the cult of the macaroni, rife in 1770s London and the effeminate ‘coxcomical fops’ then to be seen depicted in the windows of all the print shops. In the words of the OED a Macaroni was ‘one of a class of 18th-c exquisites, consisting of young men who had travelled and affected continental tastes and fashions.’

The collection also reflects how wider explorations were breeding new forms of literature and a fascination with the oriental. A First Edition of the first poetry book published by Sir William Jones, Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages (1772).

For full catalogue click here.