All posts by Janette Ray


The 13th and 14th September 2019 marks the annual book fair in York and we will be there with a wide selection of books, largely not available from our online offerings on the website. These will include the 9 volume set by Avary Tipping on English Homes, a selection of modern architecture, art and design titles including copies of books associated with Eduardo Paolozzi and his contemporaries. We will also have a good selection of trade catalogues relating to architecture, design and building which inform the process of construction.

Hoping to see you there. Complimentary tickets can be downloaded from The fair opens at midday on Friday 13th and is open until 7.00pm for those who are at work in the daytime. It is also open on Saturday 14th 10.00am-5.00pm.


In 1846 Edward Twycross,  began a major project to record the country houses of Cornwall. He produced descriptions of over 80 with superb illustrations of 51 of them, publishing them in a wonderful book  which combines the family and architectural history of each house. The book was only produced in an exceptionally limited edition. Indeed there were only fifty two subscribers to the original edition.

Twycross had ambitious plans to extend the series for all of England and Wales, but following the publication of the  Cornwall volume he only managed to produce editions for Lancashire and Cheshire [ two parts for each County] before the whole project was cut short by his early death.  All titles in the series are rare and fabulously expensive.

This year, Kenneth Cooper, who has an enviable collection of country house view books and early guide books, in collaboration with Adrian Lack of the Senecio Press and Ludlow Book Binders,  has produced a facsimile of the Cornwall volume supported by an introductory essay on the history of the book and project.

We are promoting this beautiful edition and it can be purchased from us through the book shop, or by ordered from us by email or telephone. Attention to detail has guided the production of this lovely book which is limited to 175 copies.  Please contact us should you like to add this to your collection.


We are making some alterations to our shop and on the ground floor you will find more books than ever if you call to see us.

We are also  making changes to our opening hours. We are often here  and if you see we are in, come in! However, from now on we plan to open by appointment  and will cease to be here at regular times so please give us a call if you are travelling any distance to visit.  We don’t want to disappoint.

We are changing our hours because, in line with other retailers, less of you are visiting us and we plan to make more use of our website to reach you all out there and also plan to issue more lists. We hope you will still visit the shop if you live in the city or are just visiting as our customers make our shop come alive.

Christmas time 2018 at our bookshop

Our Christmas selection of books, bits and bobs are now on sale in the bookshop and both the shop and street are taking on a festive air. The street is looking particularly great with swags of fairy lights outside all the shops along Bootham, which is an initiative of all the independent shops and cafés around us. So please do come and visit us if you are in York and see what we have on our shelves. For those of you not able to come to the shop we are able to send out books to friends as Christmas presents if you want anything from our website. All books can be gift wrapped.

New Year – Ringing the changes

The 12th of January 2019 is a date to reserve in your diary as it is date of the York One Day Book Fair. This is the sister event to the York Book Fair held in September each year.  We will be exhibiting there and this event kicks off the season for book sales and our busiest season. Whilst others slumber through January we will be leaping to action producing catalogues and lists for sale and then in early February will be attending the 52nd California Book Fair 9-10th February.

Shop open by appointment

Our shop will open be open only by appointment from January. Please give us a call if you would like to visit. The business will continue to operate as before but please call us if you want to visit the shop.  You may find us here by chance but don’t be disappointed for want of a quick phone call.


Enjoy this catalogue which aims to give you a glimpse into the life of an architectural historian and an inquisitive mind. Some of the items in this list were originally bought from me in the 1980s when,  often in the company of Nicholas Long, and Alan Powers,  he was a regular visitor to the book fairs, held by the PBFA at the Russell Hotel, London; events long passed into oblivion. Other items are from earlier periods and indeed later ones. It will include  samples of his own original design work and writings, as well as books, pamphlets and journals which supported his projects, his campaigns for conservation, architectural history and photographic research interests.

For a copy email us or sign up on our website for newsletters. This material  will be issued as a paper catalogue and should be out in early November.



We will be there again this year with our specialist stock on art, architecture, design, gardens and photography. We are looking forward to welcoming all our regular customers and extend a warm welcome to those coming as part of The Association Internationale de Bibliophilie  group who are visiting the York Fair as part of their Colloquium will take place in Durham and York this year. We have some fascinating material of all periods associated with design so hope to see you at the fair. Tickets are complimentary at or from our bookshop or indeed any bookshop in the city.  This is me so you will recognise me at the fair!


We have always sold garden design books at the business and so we are excited to be part of the upcoming weekend events being held in York to celebrate 250 Years of the Ancient Society of York Florists, the oldest society of its kind in the world and which has been important  keeping fashionable flowers in the public eye through its shows. Our contribution to this celebration is an art show in collaboration with Lotte Inch Gallery “The Ephemeral Nature of Flowers”. This is the first collaboration between our enterprises. Part I, at Lotte’s gallery features wonderful work of the acclaimed artist Rebecca Louise Law.  At no 8, next door, in Part II, there is a mixed art show of contemporary and recent artists who have used flowers as their subject. Artists include Barnett Freedman, John Nash and Derrick Greaves among others. There are also wonderful photographs by Peter Heaton, whose suite of work here is inspired by Karl Blossfeldt. Come along and look. The Bloom Festival runs 5-8 July. The bookshop show, along with Lotte Inch’s show runs to 28th July.

Gerald Summers and Makers of Simple Furniture

I recall that, when I first started selling books, a client asked for trade catalogues by Gerald Summers and “Makers of Simple Furniture”. I have to admit that I have never found one in the years I have been selling  books  but keep on looking and I have come across adverts and references to this firm and its founder, Gerald Summers, who seems to have known more that most about how to make a chair or table from plywood.  Renowned for his ability to construct from a single sheet of birch plywood  a chair and make all kinds of furniture from the product, his furniture rather that his name and that of his wife and partner Marjorie Summers, is more often recognized and associated with art deco, Alvar Aalto and the concept of “Furniture from Machines”, popularized by the book by Gordon Logie of that name.

Now a new generation Furniture Company “1934” run by Abel Sloane and Ruby Woodhouse have produced a beautifully crafted book with photographic illustrations of some of the main pieces made by the firm. This lovely books is for sale at our shop and can be sent out to you if you would like a copy. Please contact us directly to make an order. 



It is almost time to turn our view south to London and the Rare Book Week events. We will be exhibiting at Battersea Evolution, set in Battersea Park. For me, with keen interest in public parks and their future, its is exciting to be moving from Olympia to this wonderful green space in London.  Visit the fair and explore the park at the same time. The park has a long history. It was established in 1858 on marshy ground known as  Battersea Fields, of which 198 acres became Battersea Park and the remainder was let on building leases. The park was laid out by Sir James Pennethorne between 1846 and 1864  Subsequently it  has hosted many events including  the gardens for the Festival of Britain  in 1951. In 2002-4 the park underwent a £11 million overhaul with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund but sadly the scheme which funded the repairs has been now abandoned. But don’t abandon the park, nor the book fair. Come and visit us at Battersea. Free tickets from

SPRING 2018 Events and Catalogues

This year we have been moving our store room which supports our bookshop. Lots of titles have come to light that were at the bottom of piles of books on the floor there. Some of these are now featuring in our two most recent lists respectively on Landscape Design  and Housing. The latter formed our list 100. I can hardly believe we have produced so many lists over the years of trading. You can find both these lists on the Catalogue section of the website.

We are also planning to be out and about in April with a visit to the Oxford Book Fair which is being held in a smart new hall at the Headington Campus on Saturday 21st April and Sunday 22nd April. Come along if you live in striking distance as it is always good for us to put names to faces.

We continue to seek unusual books for sale. We are looking for trade catalogues for stained glass windows in particular to add to a collection of trade material produced in the 19th century which will be a short specialist list issued in May or June.