Shelf Fulfillment

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association…

Month: February, 2013

by bibliodeviant

Historic Collections at Senate House Library

This intriguing title is the subject of a day event hosted by the Institute of English Studies on Saturday 16 February, with papers on the armed forces, Jane Austen and the male mind, Jane Austen’s clergymen, and the marriage market and changing fortunes of the landed class. Senate House Library agreed/offered to support the event with a small display of books from within its special collections – and very challenging it was. We did not think that we could do much with the Georgian male mind. But male writers featured largely in the mind of this inveterate novel reader, so to compensate we selected the first edition of one of the novels Jane Austen is known to have admired, Samuel Richardson’s History of Sir Charles Grandison. The armed forces were represented by Thomas Rowlandson’s Loyal Volunteers, replete with numerous full-page colour illustrations; clergymen by Rector Thomas Knowles’s Advice…

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by Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books

Historic Collections at Senate House Library

We were delighted this week to host a visit by students on the Institute of English Studies’ MA in the History of the Book course, in the suitably bookish surroundings of the Durning-Lawrence Library. A mouth-watering buffet of books was laid out on the table, ranging from the 1471 edition of the great compendium of medieval science De Proprietatibus Rerum (‘On the properties of things’) which William Caxton helped to print during his visit to Cologne – complete with elegant hand-coloured initials in blue and red – to 1930s drafts and redrafts of poems by Thomas Sturge Moore, showing the creative process from first trials to the printed page. Under the expert guidance of Professor Simon Eliot the lively discussion took in illustration, piracy and copyright, type, colour printing, the transition of play texts into print, three-decker novels, Dickens monthly parts, and much more besides.

 Students in the Durning-Lawrence Library

Chosen to illustrate…

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by bibliodeviant


Peter Harrington, the fabulous Chelsea-based book dealer, who has been my downfall many a day, currently has for sale some of C. E. Brock’s original watercolours for the 1907 edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.(They also have many other wonderful Austen related items:click here to see)

The 13 original signed illustration for the “Pride and Prejudice” were published in 1907 as part of the “Series of English Idylls” books by J. M. Dent & Co. The illustrations Brock created were a full and original revision of his previous illustrations for the edition of “Pride and Prejudice” published by Macmillan in 1895.

Charles Edmund Brock, above, was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in the year following the publication of these illustrations. Seen by some as too impossibly pretty, and presenting, perhaps, a chocolate-box image of Jane Austen’s…

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by bibliodeviant

University of Glasgow Library

We are delighted to report an exciting new arrival in Special Collections – a beautiful copy of the first edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations recently gifted by alumnus Stuart Leckie, OBE. The Wealth of Nations hardly needs introduction – it is regularly described as one of the most important and influential books ever written and, as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) comments:

“… is still one of the few works in its field to have achieved classic status, meaning simply that it has sustained yet survived repeated reading, critical and adulatory, long after the circumstances which prompted it have become the object of historical enquiry”.

Published in the same year as the American Declaration of Independence (1776), Smith’s An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations – now universally abbreviated to Wealth of Nations – was intended as a thoroughgoing examination…

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by bibliodeviant

Historic Collections at Senate House Library

Emilie Berrin’s bilingual French and German Secretair der Liebe first came to our attention as a rare and exquisite item during a project in 2001/2 to catalogue the Durning-Lawrence library, to which it belongs. Its beauty attracted the cataloguer, and its rarity was apparent Berrin_1808_pl-20when searching other library catalogues for cataloguing purposes: this turned out to be the only copy in Britain, with just one other copy of this edition recorded in Europe, in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. He researched it further. A decade later, a feature in Senate House Library, University of London is a distillation of some of what he learned. The beauty of the book is in its thirty-six hand-coloured plates in which musical notes, animals, flowers and other pictures make up hieroglyphs with ambiguous meanings. In one combination, the symbols can be deciphered as a potentially scandalous letter between young lovers, or as an epistle…

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by Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books

Treasure Hunt

The colleagues at Dunham Massey have just created an online classroom called the À Ma Puissance Channel. It will feature interviews and lectures given by various experts and produced by Unity House Films, originally for the benefit of Dunham’s volunteers but now universally accessible.

First up is Mark Purcell, our libraries curator, with a brisk gallop through the different types of libraries the National Trust looks after, and the insights they provide about social and intellectual history.

As Mark says, the libraries in the historic houses of the National Trust contain relatively large numbers of books which would have been ordinary or even ephemeral at the time of their publication, and which for that very reason have not survived in large numbers. The collection of pamphlets at Dunham Massey is one example of such a group of rare ‘ordinary’ publications.

The library of the 1st Lord Fairhaven…

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