Thursday, 30 August 2012

Now at the end of August, and with my holiday over, my attention turns to the PBFA’s York National Bookfair, held in...well...York, funnily enough, on Friday and Saturday the 14th and 15th of september.

Most U.K collectors, and an increasing number of overseas visitors, will know of this huge fair by now. Established nearly 40 years ago it has gone from strength to strength and Blah..Blah..Blah.  There is plenty written about this event every year so if you have not encountered it before, just visit the website and all will become clearer.

My own stand at the fair is number 7, on the ground floor, where, depending on the time of day, you will find me either; delighting customers old and new with my impressive book knowledge, entertaining visitors and fellow booksellers alike with my jokes and witticisms, staring blankly out of the window, wandering about in another part of the bookfair pretending to be busy, spilling tea/coffee down my shirt, stealing sweeties from the ever full bowl on my brothers stand (number  4, just behind mine), asleep.
Those lucky enough to visit the bookfair on both days might get to see all of the above. If anyone is interested I could produce an I-Spy type book where a sighting of each activity can be ticked off.

As well as the usual mix of English Literature, Children's and Illustrated, Fine bindings and general rare and antiquarian books, I will also have the following on my stand;


HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES. Translated by H. Oskar Sommer.
T. C. & E. C. Jack. London.,1911
FIRST WALTON EDITION. Large 8vo. (9.5 x 6.8 inches). Beautifully illustrated with 24 fine full colour plates, this is a beautifully designed book with decorative black and gold endpapers after a design by Walton, who also designed the gilt illustration and decoration on the front board and spine. Publishers black cloth, gilt. Top edge gilt, others untrimmed.Some rubbing to the extremities but overall a very good copy of this uncommon book. Cecile Walton's first major book commission. Her work shows the influence of her native Glasgow (she was the daughter of E. A. Walton, one of the 'Glasgow Boys' group), some of her illustrations being reminiscent of Jessie M. King's watercolours.:
Price: £450.00


PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. With a preface by George Saintsbury.
George Allen. London.,1894
LIMITED EDITION. One of only 250 large paper copies for England, from a total of 275 copies (there were another 25 copies for America) with all the101 fine line illustrations printed onto fine tissue paper and mounted onto the page. The text printed on Unbleached Arnold paper. Large 8vo.(10.5 x 7.2 inches). Previous owners name, dated Christmas 1896, on half title. A fine, clean copy in a beautiful fine binding of full purple morocco, extra gilt, by Bayntun-Riviere. Spine with two raised bands. Green label ruled and lettered in gilt. Elaborate continous lattice design with Vases, various plants and flowers and numerous dots, all in gilt, among the wavy lines, to the spine and both boards. Four gilt inner ruled borders surrounding purple endpapers decorated with gold floral design. Top edge gilt, the others untrimmed. A lovely clean and crisp copy of this scarce limited edition. One of the most beautifully illustrated books of the late nineteenth century in a stunning fine binding. :
Price: £5,750.00


CAUTIONARY TALES FOR CHILDREN. Verses by H. Belloc. Pictures by B. T. B.
Eveliegh Nash. London. (No date).,1907
FIRST EDITION. Large 8vo. (9.7 x 8.1 inches). Illustrated throughout with 86 line drawings by Blackwood. Publishers grey paper covered boards with red lettering and black illustration to the front board. Original plain grey paper spine has the words 'Cautionary Tales' neatly written in black ink. Small chip to the top of the spine (0.2 inch). Some minor offsetting to the blank endpapers and a newspaper cutting, dated 1917, announcing the death of Lord Basil Blackwood, mounted onto the front paste-down, but overall a clean and tidy copy of this scarce book.:
Price: £450.00


Mundell & Son, Edinburgh ; For J. Mundell, Glasgow; J. Johnson, and J. Wright, London.,1798
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. (8.9 x 5.5 inches). xxiv, 560pp. An uncut copy in original blue paper covered boards, with tan paper spine. Later printed paper label. Edges untrimmed. Neat professional repair to the front hinge. Some rubbing to extremities and one panel of the spine has a small brown mark, but overall this s a very good, bright copy. Scarce in original publishers boards.
Thomas Brown (1778-1820) was born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. He was a Philosopher, published Poet and essayist, (his criticism of Immanuel Kant was published in the second issue of the Edinburgh Review), and Lectured in Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University alongside Dugald Stewart. :
Price: £875.00

Tenniel. John. Illustrates.
Macmillan & Co. London.,1866/72

TWO VOLUMES. FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo, (Alice 7.6 x 5.3 inches, : Looking Glass 7.4 x 5.1 inches.---- Alice in Wonderland, when originally issued, was a taller book. Later editions were reduced in size to the same dimensions as Through the Looking Glass). Both volumes are beautifully Illustrated throughout, with forty-two and fifty line engravings respectively, by John Tenniel.
Bright, clean copies, finely bound, by Bayntun-Riviere of Bath, in recent full deep red morocco bindings. Double gilt ruled borders on boards with circular gilt illustrations of Alice carrying the Pig, The Cheshire Cat, & both the Red and White Queens, reproducing the decorations on the original boards. Spines with raised bands, each with gilt piping. The compartments double ruled and lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. Turn-ins with double gilt rules and decorative corner pieces.Original gilt decorated publishers red cloth boards bound in at the end of each volume.
Alice also has one of the original plain blue endpapers bound in. Both books are the first published London editions. Alice is the earliest state with the inverted 'S' at the bottom of the contents page and the light blue endpapers rather than the much more common dark green.
A very attractive pair of First Editions of these classic childrens books. Housed in a purpose built, felt lined, slip case, also made by Bayntun, with a step for the shorter Looking Glass volume and red silk pull-tie. Covered in deep red cloth. Fine.:


ARMS AND THE COVENANT. Speeches by The Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill. C.H. M.P. Compiled by Randolph S. Churchill.
George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd. London. 1938
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. (9 x 6.3 inches). Inscribed by Randolph S. Churchill, who complied the speeches, on front blank leaf.
A fine, clean and crisp copy bound in recent full red morocco for Asprey's. Spine with raised bands, each with gilt piping. Compartments ruled, lettered, and stamped with Rampant Lion, Portcullis, 2 interlocking Letter C's within a circle and a crossed feather and Shamrock device, all in gilt. Double gilt ruled borders on both boards with the same tools used on the spine stamped within the double ruled lines. Board edges ruled in gilt. Double gilt rule with floral corner pieces to the inner boards. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. A fine copy with the bonus of being signed by Winston Churchill's Son Randolph who complied the book.
Price: £1,500.00


TEN YEARS IN AN OPEN NECKED SHIRT. And Other Poems. Original Manuscript and typescipts.
Arena. Published by Arrow books. London.,1983
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. (7.6 x 5 inches). Paperback. Illustrated throughout with black and white drawings by Steve Maguire. A very good copy with some minor rubbing to the edges but generally bright and tight.
A folder containing five A4 typescript and partial manuscript leaves of poems by Clarke that feature in the book, all in an early form and different from the published version, some quite substantially so. Number 1. Spilt Beans. -- 47 line poem. 31 lines (4 stanzas) typescript and the final 16 lines manuscript in JCC's hand in green ink. This version is very different to the published text. --- Number 2. Salome (published as Salome Maloney). 40 Line poem in 10 typed stanzas. This version substantially different to the published version. --- Number 3. Readers Wives. 20 line poem. 16 lines (4 stanzas) typed and four lines in JCC hand in green ink. There is a line and arrow showing the manuscript verse belongs between the second and third typed verses. This has some minor differences to the published version. --- Number. 4. Psycle Sluts (part 2). 54 lines (7 stanzas) typed. This has minor differences to the published version. --- Number 5. Bronze Adonis. 74 lines (8 stanzas) typed on 2 sides of the sheet. This has minor differences from the published version, and, more importantly, a whole 10 line stanza (the last) that was not published. Also included in the folder are 9 photographic reproductions of Steve Maguire's illustrations. Formerly the property of Writer and Publisher Jay Landesman (1919 - 2011).:
Price: £3,750.00


Jonathan Cape. London.,1955
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. Black cloth with silver lettering on front board and spine. Near fine, bright, tight copy with some light offsetting to the endpapers where the dustwrapper ends. A few small spots to the fore edge but the cloth still clean and the silver lettering sharp and gleaming. Very good dustwrapper, devised by Ian Fleming and executed by Kenneth Lewis. Price of 10s. 6d still intact on both inner flaps. Spine just a little toned and one tiny chip to the to the top. Rear panel with a few faint spots.

Overall a bright and clean example of the third Bond title. Probably the hardest to find in collectable condition.:
Price: £4,750.00

THE HORNBLOWER COMPANION. With Maps and Drawings by Samuel H. Bryant.
Michael Joseph Ltd. London.,1964
FIRST EDITION. Large 8vo. (10.7 x 8.1 inches). A fine, sharp copy in a fine dustwrapper. Immaculate.:
Price: £125.00


Methuen & Co. Ltd. London.,1931
FIRST EDITION with Ernest Shepard illustrations. 8vo. (7.6 x 5.3 inches). A lovely copy, illustrated throughout with Shepard`s beautiful line drawings and decorative map endpapers. Publishers original dark green cloth with the front cover showing Toad, Ratty and Mole, all stamped in gilt. Spine lettered in gilt. Neat previous owners name on half title and at top of the front map endpaper otherwise a fine, bright copy in the original illustrated dustwrapper. There is some rubbing, mostly to the edges, and minor chipping to the corners but overall it is still a very good, clean example of this scarce wrapper.
The thirty eighth edition of the book overall, this is the first to feature the wonderful drawings by Shepard which haven't been out of print since. After his drawings for the A. A. Milne Pooh books, these are Shepard's most enduring, & endearing, illustrations.:
Price: £1,000.00


William Harrison Ainsworth. London.,1828
FIRST EDITION. 2 volumes. 8vo. (6.9 x 4.6 inches). 12 full page etched plates and several smaller wood engravings throughout the text. A clean set in fine quality early twentieth century leather bindings of half brown morocco. Spines with raised bands, decorated with gilt piping. Compartments with black and gilt rules. Gilt stamped centre pieces and lettering. Tan cloth on boards. Top edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. The spines are uniformly a little faded to a lighter brown but still atractive with the gilt bright and gleaming. Overall a near fine set of this scarce set.
Described in Clute & Grant's Encyclopedia of Fantasy as "The most significant attempt to codify and explicate British Folklore", the books are also much more, being a comprehensive study of everything related to the Myth of the Fairy, from the origins of belief in Fairies, and the word Fairy, to the differing mythologies found around many parts of the world including Persia, Scandinavia, Europe, The Celts, through to Slaves, Africans and Jews.:
Price: £600.00


Robert John Bush. London.,1871
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. (8.3 x 6.8 inches). A very good copy in a late twentieth century fine leather binding by Bayntun Riviere of Bath. Half deep red morocco, the spine with five raised bands, ruled in blind, the compartments lettered and decorated with gilt floral design. Marbled paper on boards and endpapers. Top edge gilt. A lovely copy of this scarce book which includes the First publication of two of the most famous and enduring works of nonsense verse ever published. The Jumblies and The Owl and The Pussycat.:
Price: £1,200.00

ROTHFELD. OTTO. Dhurandhar. M. V. Illustrates.

Simkin, Marshall Himilton, Kent & Co, Ltd. London. No Date. [1920]
FIRST EDITION. (U. K.). Large 8vo. (9.8 x 7.8 inches). Illustrated with 48 fine full colour plates, each with a printed tissue guard, (except the frontispiece which has lost its guard but the colour plate is still clean and bright). Some light patches of mild foxing to a few pages, mostly to the margins and away from the text, but overall a very good copy in the publishers highly decorative cloth binding. Spine and front board decorated in yellow, red, blue, and white over green cloth. Black lettering. Prize label from the Royal Air Force's R. M. Groves Memorial Essay Prize, dated 1923, on the front free endpaper.

A portrait photo of R. M. Groves (1880-1920), in his R. A. F uniform and with his facsimile signature, is mounted onto the front paste down endpaper, as is usual with the prize books given. The cloth is bumped and rubbed to the extremities with a couple of splits to the hinges (both about 1.5 inches long and without any loss) but overall this is a very good copy of this rare first U. K. edition.
Price: £750.00



TO THE WAR WITH WAUGH. With an introductory Memoir by Christopher Hollis and illustrations by Peter MacKarell.
Whittington Press. London. 1973
SIGNED LIMITED EDITION. First edition. 4to. (11 x 7.6 inches). 32 line drawings by MacKarell, some full and double page. One of an unspecified number of the total edition of 600 copies, all numbered and signed by St. John, that was bound in full off-white sheep with gilt lettering to the spine and a gilt stamped illustration, reproducing one of the drawings in the text, to the front board. The binding is by Hunter and Foulis Ltd, who bound the standard cloth edition, with their gilt stamp to the inner rear board. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. Housed in the original beige patterned paper covered slip case. The glue used along the top edge of the tipped in portrait frontis has bled through the plate and left some light offsetting to the title page opposite, otherwise a clean and bright copy throughout. Some minor scuffing and bumping to the spine but overall a very near fine copy.
This copy is numbered in Roman numerals, No. II, but this special delux leather issue is not mentioned in the colophon. A review from the contemporary issue of the Evelyn Waugh newsletter (Volume 7, Number 2 - Autumn 1973) does list this delux option, with cloth bound copies being advertised at £5.25 and Leather bound at £25. Because of the large price difference it is unlikely that many copies were bound in this way and in over twenty years of bookdealing this is the first that I have come across, despite having had several copies of the cloth bound limited edition.
St. John served in the same Royal Marines Regiment as Evelyn Waugh during World War Two. They participated in basic training, prepared to defend the Cornwall area, and joined the Dakar attack. Waugh related many of these activities in Put out More Flags and Men at Arms. We learn the prototype of Ritchie-Hook, the location of Kut-al-lmara House, and the identification of Inverary with the Isle of Mugg. There are some interesting personal revelations, e.g., Waugh's lecture to his men about cursing, his desire to be fighting the Russians in Finland, and his fear of being treated by a Soviet woman doctor.
Price: £450.00

Herbert Jenkins. London.,1936
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. A fine, unread copy in the publishers variant orange binding, with black lettering and ruled lines to the front board. Spine with black rules, lettering and publishers device. The rear board has the publishers name and device stamped to the middle. This First edition was also issued in green cloth with the same design on the spine and boards. A fine copy in the near fine original full colour illustrated dustwrappper. Price of 7'6 to the spine.
This wrapper is either a variant of McIlvaine's 1st issue or is one of a number specially printed for a Colonial Edition, either way it is not recorded by McIlvaine. This wrapper conforms to McIlvaine's description of the 1st state wrapper in every way except on the lower inside flap where she calls for "list of 19 titles by Wyndham Martyn, the last being Spies of Peace at 7/6 net". This wrapper does have 19 titles listed by Martyn but with 2 titles, ending with Spies at Peace, priced at 7/6 at the top and the other 17 titles listed below it, ending with Anthony Trent, Master Criminal, at 2/6.
One closed tear, without loss, to the very top of the front panel and only affecting the white area to the right of the lettering. A few tiny nicks from the spine but overal a near fine example, the colours still bright and fresh. A lovely, sharp copy. ( Eileen McIlvaine. -- P. G. Wodehouse. A Comprehensive Bibliography and Checklist).:
Price: £

Macmillan and Co. London.,1928
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. A very good copy with wonderful gilt decoration, designed by T. Sturge Moore, to front board and spine. Some rubbing to the top edge of the spine but overall very good. Only 2000 copies were published. (Wade. Bibliography of the works of W. B. Yeats. No. 158).:
Price: £550.00


I do have some complimentary tickets and will happily send them to anybody interested. Just let me know if you would like one.

If there is anything seen on my website that you would like me to bring to the fair so that you can inspect it in person, please do let me know.



Friday, 24 August 2012

               What I did in my Summer Holidays. By Paul Foster. Aged 45 ½.


As another summer nears its end I wonder where it all went. This year my summer period of quiet time has been longer than most years but seems to have passed so much quicker.

For me the end of the London Olympia ABA bookfair signals the start of the regular downturn in business that lasts until the end of August (and with Olympia being staged a couple of weeks early this year, so my summer got longer) as people turn their attention to holidays, the Tennis at Wimbledon, keeping bored children entertained, and this year the Royal Jubilee celebrations, European Football Championship and the London Olympics.

                                                              Stourhead gardens.
At the end of July I exhibited at what must be one of the smallest bookfairs to be held in Britain. Just 12 dealers from as far away as Sheffield, London and Kent, housed for two days in a small hall next to the National Trust owned Landscaped gardens at Stourhead House in Wiltshire, all smoothly organised by 2 local dealers on behalf of the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA), of which I am a member. My elder Brother Stephen (also a book dealer) was among those 12 dealers as well and we were placed next to each other in a corner of the hall. This had the desired effect of containing us in one small area away from the other dealers but also meant that we could keep each other amused with the legendary Foster wit over the 2 days of the fair. We even sold some books, which took us both by surprise.

You might ask why we both booked the fair if we weren't expecting to sell any books (my accountant did), and the truth is it seemed like a good idea at the time. Although neither my Brother or myself are what you would call nostalgic people, when the PBFA decided to put on the fair we both got momentarily carried away with the idea of spending a couple of days in this part of the world since it is where we spent many of our school holidays when we were young.

As soon as I got there I realised the flaw in our plan. When we were young and foolish we would spend our days cycling, walking, hill-climbing, fishing, exploring the many forests nearby, and teasing our little sister (the price you pay for being the youngest of four children) but mostly fighting amongst ourselves (we have a third brother who was at the forefront of this part of our youth) and devising new ways to drive our parents mad. A job we accomplished some time in the mid 1980’s.

Now approaching middle age and foolish, we had stupidly booked ourselves in for 2 days of work (ok, so it’s not digging a ditch but it’s my blog and I’ll call it work if I want to) and so had to sit in a cold hall being grown up booksellers while looking out at the many hundreds of people enjoying the warm sunny weather outside. By the time we finished in the evening the gardens were closed and we had to take what comfort we could from the local pubs.

Stourhead was my only bookfair of the summer months and as many of my customers are distracted by things other than buying books, the auction season ends and the ‘phone doesn’t ring as much it creates a perfectly good reason for me to slow down my normally hectic work rate and enjoy a shorter working day, long lunches with friends and this summer I even, in a moment of madness, joined a Gym.

It started with great promise. A perky and enthusiastic trainer showed me around and encouraged me to give everything a go to get the most out of my membership. There were rows of strange looking weight lifting and muscle toning machines that mostly look like the weird contraptions that I saw in a late night documentary about the seedy side of Amsterdam on the telly a few years back. I tried them all and awoke some muscles in my back that have been asleep for years now. I also awoke an old sports injury that had not troubled me for years as well, and is now back with a vengeance. There was a 50 foot swimming pool, unfortunately full of bouncing aqua aerobics classes every time I tried to use it, a steam room (just plain wrong. If I want to get sweaty with strangers in a confined space I’ll take the London Underground, thank you. At least on the Tube I won’t be sat opposite a naked Rugby player who keeps stretching out, spread eagled, on the bench while exhaling loudly. Although, now I think about it, there was this one time on the Piccadilly line………), ‘spin’ classes (20 people in a room, all sat on static cycling machines and pedaling furiously while a bored instructor shouted “come on, pedal” over and over for 40 minutes while texting on her phone for the whole time), and, my favourite, the stretching mats. I don’t know who had the brilliant idea of putting cushioned mats down on the floor in amongst the machines but they should be congratulated. The chance to have a cheeky five minute ‘power nap’ as part of a strenuous work out was very welcome.

I spent 3 weeks going 3 times a week but then had to stop to take my annual summer holiday (Sicily this year, since you ask. First in the dusty heat bowl of a city that is Palermo, then 2 glorious weeks in a hill side villa just outside the beautiful old sea-side town of Cefalu, pronounced Chefaloo, on the northern coast).
                                                                     Cefalu town.
                       Photo presumably taken from a helicopter or jet-pack. Or a very tall boat.

With temperatures in the high 30's and 40's every day, keeping cool became a priority. Luckily, with a pool at the villa and the beautiful long sandy beaches of the Mediterranean sea just 15 minutes drive away it was easily done. I love the sea and particularly being in it. I am equally happy floating about on the top of calm, flat water or swimming my way over big waves and being thrown about as they come crashing down. I can, and often do, spend hours at a time in the water.

The only day not spent in a combination of Beach in the morning and pool in the afternoon, or vice versa, was a trip to see Mount Etna.
                                                         Mount Etna. Very, very big.
This involved lots of driving up winding mountain roads and the most alarming road warning sign I have ever seen. Inside the traditional red triangle was bright yellow and orange balls of burning lava falling to the ground. You will have to take my word for this as despite one of the passengers in my car being a photographer (albeit one who shoots fashion rather than landscapes), complete with fancy expensive camera, she slept as we passed the sign on the way up and on the way back down again. I wanted to stop the car so that we could get a picture of the sign but pulling up on a narrow mountain road with a few thousand feet drop to one side is considered bad driving even by most Sicilians, a nation of people with the driving skills of a drunk child, and who take extraordinary risks on the roads every day in what seems like a constant race to get wherever as quickly as possible while ignoring every other motorist, cyclist and pedestrian around them. Strangely, when they get out of the cars the aggression disappears and people are genuinely relaxed and friendly.

I would recommend the Island to anyone keen on good food and wine, beautiful landscapes, interesting, if sometimes brutal, history, and exploring a country not in a hurry to change, outside of the cities anyway. (whilst chatting to the car hire rep who was preparing my paperwork at Palermo airport I was asked had I been to Sicily before. I said yes, but the last time was 13 years ago. "Don't worry, nothing has changed" was the reply. It took me a moment to realise that it was not a joke and that they meant it as a good thing).

The Sicilian/Italian beaches mostly operate a Lido system whereby somebody takes over a stretch of beach and builds some basic facilities including showers, changing cubicles and a cafĂ© (some more basic than others but mostly to a pretty high standard), provides lifeguards (one of the girls in our group spent many days flirting with one of these men thinking, at first, that his name was Salvataggio as he had it printed on the back of his tee-shirt), and generally takes responsibility for keeping the beach clean and safe. In return they get to hire out sun loungers and umbrellas, all laid out in neat lines with each lido choosing a matching patterned material on all of their umbrellas so that even if you swim, or take a pedallo, a long way out you can always spot your bit of beach to return to. For someone like me that spends uninterrupted hours in the sea and often gets carried away (and not just by the tide) it is reassuring to be able to see where my friends, not to mention my towel, Ray-bans and cash supply, are at any given time. This system also makes it easy to arrange to meet friends on the long beaches (‘we’ll see you at the red and white striped lido’ ). These Lido’s are spread out with ‘Public’ beaches in between for those that don’t wish to pay for the facilities.
                                                   I'm sat under the blue and white one.
                                      The 3 finalists in the Biggest Sun Glasses competition.

Despite covering myself in factor 30 sun block at regular intervals, I find myself back home with a sun tan. People have commented that I look ‘healthy’, although one did qualify it with ‘for you, anyway’, and my body clock is telling me that the hard work months are just around the corner. Time to start setting the alarm clock a bit earlier in the morning, and paying attention to it when it does go off. The pages with ‘Lunch, so & so’ casually written across half the day start to be replaced with specifically timed work appointments in my desk diary and the number of incoming emails, telephone calls and post are increasing every day.


Oh, well. It will be Christmas holidays soon.