Trillium Antiquarian Books

Some common memento is better,

Something he prized and is known by; 

His old clothes-- a few books perhaps.

William Carlos Williams, Tract

Welcome to the home of Trillium Antiquarian Books where you can search or browse our collection of antiquarian books on Country Life and Natural History -- scarce books, from A to Z, on angling, apiculture, bees, birds, botany, Darwin, farming, fish, flora, fruit growing, gardens, geography, grapes, herbals, horticulture, landscapes, mammals, orchards, ornithology, seeds, vegetables, wildflowers, zoology... and likely several other matters which do not come readily to mind.  Search and browse, too, our antiquarian Canadiana and Literature collections. In our Canadiana collection you will find the early works of Moodie, Traill, Davies, Bouchette, and others from Upper and Lower Canada. Our antiquarian Literature collection makes room among its novels, sermons, and poetry for some rare works by Mark Twain and Stephen Crane.


We will never have thousands and thousands of books for sale, lining the front stairs, boxed and piled in the basement, but we do spend a great deal of time looking, live and on line; our collection of books on architecture and design, number-wise, is modest enough, but lined up together you will find classics on church architecture and designs for book covers-- perfect, if you are determined to build a replica of Ely's cathedral or are looking for a way to apply Tiffany style to mass marketed literary uplift. Sometimes all that's left of an old book is the pictures. You will find antiquarian prints and maps, together with entire illustrated books, in Trillium's collection of images from antiquarian sources.


If you spend any time hunting up books, you are bound to come upon an occasional book so odd or idiosyncratic as to be irresistible. Proof of the proposition is to be found in the Trillium collection of intriguing Curiosities. Since their comings and goings are unpredictable, it's usually worth stopping in for a short browse.


Trillium Antiquarian Books has been selling scarce, out-of-print books on the Internet since 1998 and, earlier, by traditional mail order. We are a long-standing member of the Independent On-line Booksellers' Association (IOBA) and subscribe to the Association's code of Ethics.


Trillium Antiquarian Books is owned by William Van Nest, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Trillium Grandiflorum, from which we take our name, is the provincial flower of Ontario and appears in snowy white drifts among the hardwoods each Spring. One of several trilliums resident in the back garden furnished the images on this page.





William Van Nest (right) addressing remarks to a dinner companion, Hacienda San Lucas, Copan, Honduras (2012)


Canadiana Catalogue

To download our Canadiana Catalogue as a pdf, just click on...


Catharine Parr StricklandSusanna StricklandAgnes StricklandAgnes Moodie FitzGibbon Chamberlin


Now appearing in our Canadiana Catalogue are titles by the Strickland sisters (Catharine Parr, and Susanna) and George Douglas, books signed and inscribed by Sir Sandford Fleming, a family copy of Canadian Wild Flowers, and the letters of settler Frances Stewart. From a maple bush in Quebec's Cantons de l' Est, comes a cookbook by Martin Picard of Rabelasian recipes and good-natured ribaldry. Together with local histories and Margaret Atwood's surprising depiction of the ornithological origin of the written word, we hope our catalogue will merit more than a passing acquaintance.


Gardening & Horticulture Catalogue
To download our Gardening & Horticulture catalogue as a pdf, just click on...



Our Gardening Horticulture Catalogue features fine gardening books from the nineteenth century, together with a small collection of hand-coloured botanical plates by Elizabeth Blackwell, an eighteenth century herbal full of recipes for curing one or another illness, advice on establishing an orchard, and descriptions of every manner of fruit, vegetable, and flower. Even though its too late to place an order for their seeds and started plants, we still offer vintage seed catalogues with their offers of heritage varieties, some of which remain with us to this day.  (David Austin roses are from the front garden.)















Remarks & Notices

Trillium Antiquarian Books


Currently at Auction until 26th July
We are pleased to offer at ten titles from the Shepley collection of Africana. For complete descriptions and images of the books please visit the auction site Sale 68.


Captain Robert Percival.  An Account of the Cape of Good Hope; containing An Historical View of its original Settlement by the Dutch, its Capture by the British in 1795, and the different Policy pursued there by the Dutch and British Governments. Also a Sketch of its Geography, Productions, the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants, Etc., Etc. With a View of the Political and Commercial Advantages which Might Be Derived from its Possession by Great Britain.  London: C. and R. Baldwin, 1804.


John Barrow. Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa. In which are described the character and the condition of the Dutch colonists of the Cape of Good Hope, and of the several tribes of natives beyond its limits: the natural history of such subjects as occurred in the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms; and the geography of the southern extremity of Africa. Comprehending also a topographical and statistical sketch of the cape colony with an inquiry into its importance as a naval and military station; as a commercial emporium; and as a territorial possession.  London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1806. 


James Backhouse. A Narrative of a Visit to the Mauritius and South Africa. London: Hamilton, Adams, 1844. First edition, signed and with the inscription, ‘David Benson/ from his friend/ Jas. Backhouse/ of York, England/ 1851’.


Rev. John Philip. Researches in South Africa; illustrating the civil, moral, and religious condition of the native tribes; including journals of the author’s travels in the interior; together with detailed accounts of the progress of the Christian Missions, exhibiting the  influence of Christianity in promoting civilization. London: James Duncan, 1828. 


J. Theodore Bent. The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland. Being a Record of Excavation and Exploration in 1891. With a chapter on the Orientation and Mensuration of the Temples, by R. M. S. Swan. London: Longmans Green, 1892. 


Andrew A. Anderson. Twenty-Five Years in a Waggon in the Gold Regions of Africa. London: Chapman and Hall, 1887.  First edition, in two volumes (pp. x, 307; vi, 253). 


Rowland J. Atcherley. A Trip to Boerland, or A Year’s Travel, Sport, and Gold-Digging in the Transvaal and Colony of Natal. London: Richard Bentley, 1879. First edition (pp. x, 267).  


James Wyld. Wyld’s New Map of the Witwatersrandt Gold Fields and District Showing the Main and other Reefs, and the Farms and the Gold Mining Company’s Claims and Concessions [also Plan of Johannesburgh]. London: James Wyld, 1889. Second edition. 


Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and E. Caldwell (Illus.). Jock of the Bushveld. London: Longmans Green, 1907. First edition (pp. xvi, 474) with the first edition points as called for at pp. 65, 316, 337, and 457. 


Ian Fleming. The Diamond Smugglers. London: Jonathan Cape, 1957.  First edition, with an introduction by ‘John Blaize’ formerly of the International Diamond Security Organization (pp. 160). 





Just catalogued
Sir Francis Biondi [and Henry Earle of Monmouth, Trans.]. An History of the Civill VVarres of England, Between the two Houses of Lancaster and Yorke. The originall whereof set down in the life of Richard the second; the proceedings in the lives of Henry the fourth, the fifth and sixth, Edward the fourth and fifth, Richard the third, and Henry the seventh in whose dayes they had a happy period. Written in Italian in three Volumes, by Sir Francis Biondi, Knight, Gentleman of the Privie Chamber to His Majesty of Great Britain. Englished by the Right Honourable Henry Earle of Monmouth, in two volumes. London: John Benson, 1641. First edition (pp. translator’s epistle, author’s epistle, royal genealogies, introduction, errata; 162, 175). Small folio (29 cm) in full calf, six raised bands, gilt title and decoration to spine; various embellishments throughout— head and tail pieces and the like. With signature of William Owen, noted bibliophile, dated 1661, and bookplate of the library at Porkington (Welshed as ‘Brogyntyn’) Hall, the seat of the Owen family in the seventeenth century and later. Absent frontispieces of the two volumes and title page of volume II, old binding repairs. Still, an attractive copy of a now scarce book.  $750


Grabhorn Press

Dorothy and David Magee. Bibliography of the Grabhorn Press 1940- 1956 (With a Check-List, 1916-1940). San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1957. First edition, 225 copies ‘printed at the Press and completed the last day of April, MCMLVII [by] Edwin & Robert Grabhorn, Jane & Mary Grabhorn, Sherwood Grover’ (pp. xxix, 119, colophon).  $500


Eric Gill wood engravings
Brebeuf, Jean de. The Travels and Sufferings of Father Jean de Brebeuf among the Hurons of Canada as Described by Himself.  London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1938. Translated from the French and Latin by Theodore Besterman with wood engravings on title pages by Eric Gill.  $950


A Douglas family copy
George M. Douglas.  Lands Forlorn. G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Knickerbocker Press): New York, 1914. First edition (xv, 285, append.). Colour frontis of the author from a painting by Grier and 182 b&w photo illustrations mostly in text, two maps at rear. Large octavo (23 cm), in dark blue cloth, gilt lettering to titles, t.e.g. From the collection and with the signature of Douglas’ cousin, Lewis W. Douglas (1894- 1974), Democrat politician under Roosevelt, ambassador to Great Britain, and business executive (‘L. W. Douglas/ New York 1924’). 


"Der Zeit Ihre Kunst, Der Kunst Ihre Freiheit"

Joseph Maria Olbrich. Architektur.  Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth, [1904]. First edition, one hundred and fifty plates in two portfolio volumes.     $2500


Great Lakes Maritime History

Patrick Folkes. Shipwrecks of the Saugeen (1828- 1938), a History of Maritime Disasters of Bruce County [Ontario]. Privately published, 1970. First edition (pp. 85).   $150

Goblins, chiefly Welsh...
Wirt Sikes and T. H. Thomas (Illus.). British Goblins: Welsh-Folklore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions. London: Sampson Low, et al., 1880. First edition (pp. 412, adverts), from ‘Glantawe’- the seat of Sir John Jones Jenkins of Swansea.  $400

Fine houses, also chiefly Welsh...

Sir Richard Colt Hoar.  A Collection of Forty-Eight Views of Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s Seats, Towns, Castles, Churches, Monasteries, and Romantic Places in North and South Wales… London: John and Josiah Boydell, [1806]. First edition.  $750

Moosehead Journey, Kirk's copy

Lucius L. Hubbard. The Woods and Lakes of Maine. A Trip from Moosehead Lake to New Brunswick in a Birch-Bark Canoe to which are added some Indian Place-Names and their Meanings. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1884. Second edition (pp. 223, appendix), association copy.  Kirk A. W. Wipper’s copy (a founder of the Canadian Canoe Museum whose personal collection of small watercraft formed the nucleus of the Museum’s holdings), with his bookplate. Scarce with map. $300








Remarks & Notices Archives

Pictures of Friends


Mark Jokinen, Jokinen Books 

Paul Dyment, Scholars Books 

John Burbidge, Bookbinding

Nancy Grayson, Cunningham Books