Tuesday 24 March 2020

Please support your local independent bookseller

It's always important to buy your books from your local bookshop, but it's even more so at the moment. Even if you can't visit the physical premises, many (if not all) will take orders online and get the books sent out to you, like mine in St Albans, Books on the Hill, pictured above. There's a good article on the BBC website about 'How bookshops are helping with isolation'.

Friday 20 March 2020

Make your own Ideal Bookshelf

Make your own Ideal Bookshelf, just like Jane does! Draw in the spines of the books you love most, the ones that changed your life and helped make you who you are today. We know, it's not easy to pick just ten! This is a perfect family project, especially when you're stuck at home and need some good edutainment! Also, many teachers have turned it into a very successful classroom project.
More details and downloads at Ideal Bookshelf

Thursday 5 March 2020

Miniature revolving wooden Shakespeare book case

Our smallest book is probably the ‘Ellen Terry’ Shakespeare, edited by J. Talfourd Blair and published by David Bryce and Son in Glasgow in 1904. It measures 50 mm by 35 mm. The Scottish publisher Bryce specialised in small text editions and produced a diminutive Bible and Koran. The 39 volumes are shelved on a purpose built revolving wooden book case. Ms A. H. Taylor donated nineteen volumes and the book case in 1957; in 2002 the set was completed by an anonymous donor.

The edition is dedicated to the actress Ellen Terry, a renowned Shakespeare actor and one of the most famous actresses of her time. In 1904 she went on a provincial tour appearing in Shakespeare plays and the publication of this miniature set might have been intended to coincide with her tour.
Some of the volumes are in a very fine condition, whilst others show signs of wear and tear. Perhaps they were handled, possibly by a child, and this set is the perfect accessory for a library in a dollhouse.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Wednesday 4 March 2020

18th Century commode in the form of a book

Whether they were originally made as a whimsical statement or in fact as a utilitarian portable convenience, there's no denying that a "book" toilet is a facility lacking in the homes of most modern book collectors. This situation can be relieved by the addition of this fine example, no doubt Continental in origin (they were all the rage in France). This example is constructed of wood and features hand-forged iron hinges, clasps, latches and nails. In its "resting" configuration, it appears to be a folio-sized book (19.75 x 14.75, 501 x 375 mm.) with lavishly decorated leather covered boards and a red morocco spine label bearing the appropriate title "Historia Universalis". But with some unclasping and skillful assembly of the component parts, there suddenly appears a 20 x 18 x 14.5 inch stool with the necessary hole. The stool would have concealed the more traditional bowl. This example remains in functional condition with some wear to the exterior leather covering and thankfully little or no sign of wear to the interior. 
Heritage Auctions

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Win 1 of 20 copies of How To Give Your Child A Lifelong Love Of Reading