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.
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 www.rarebookfairlondon.com
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.
We will be at the London Fair at Stand C14 so hopefully you will call and see us and find some unusual titles to start a collection with or add to one.
Our traditional inventory of books on the arts, architecture and photography has been expanding in recent years to include photograph albums, which document architectural projects, trade catalogues, which inform what was really produced, and small print run journals which give insights into contemporary design ideas at a given moment. These areas interest will be part of our stock at the fair.
Among the items we will be bringing are two short-run journals “Uppercase” [ five issues] and “Living Arts” [ three issues]. Uppercase was the brainchild of Theo Crosby and he edited this between 1958-1961 as a journal of the graphic arts and visual communication. Crosby said “if some of the communications are tenuous, then the reader must bridge the gap with his own experience.” Living Arts documents, just a few years later, the activities of the ICA in London with particular, but not exclusive interest, in the visual arts. Both these publications were at the cutting edge of design when produced.
There will be original architectural drawings too spanning the 19th and 20th century on the walls of the stand including work by Robert Venturi, Maurice Adams and James Murray.
All the material mentioned in this news item is for sale [ unless someone has read it before you, discovered something and purchased it]. Highlights, beyond those mentioned here, can be viewed on this website by clicking on our catalogue section but the majority of the material at London Olympia can only be seen there… so come along.
We will be at the Grasmere book fair on the 8-9th October with a selection of material on Architecture, Design and Gardens including some original architectural drawings which link to the Lake District. If you are in the area call and see us in this beautiful spot.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of bookselling for me is buying collections and recently we have just bought two; both on aspects of design in the 20th century. Our latest collection, books selected from the library of the late Nigel Whiteley, design historian, will form our next catalogue entitled “Reference points in post war design history.” Nigel’s collection extended to some 3000 titles on art, design, architecture and place and reflected his energetic interest in the links between theory, design and culture. The concepts in one of his best known titles “Pop Design: Modernism to Mod,”  on pop theory and design 1952-72, are well represented in the upcoming list in that he collected a whole series of “first” issues of ephemeral magazines, fanzines and zeens which link place and pop culture of the period.
The breadth of interest he held in art and design movements, in general, will be also reflected in the list. He followed the progress of Archigram, the influences of modern movement architects and designers amongst other things. If this sounds interesting to you then email us and we will add you to the catalogue email list.
Our other recent purchase concerns British designers of a slightly earlier period who were associated with Alasdair Morton, who established the Morton Sundour textiles firm and the Edinburgh Weavers. This is a much smaller group of items. The Morton Family are associated with a whole range of British designers including British illustrators such as Edward Bawden and John Farleigh. Look out for material from this collection on our website. There are a few items featured here already.
Going to the London Book Fairs Week always turns up some interesting items and this year I have come back to York with a fabulous album of original photographs of the York Pageant 1909; timely because the York Mystery Plays are in progress in the City at the moment and during the 1909 Pageant there was a parade of wagons which included a parade of guild banners accompanying a wagon representing the Nativity and this event is often cited as a precursor of the current mystery play cycle which was reinvented in 1951 at the time of the Festival of Britain.
This is a fabulous album and I have been pouring over it as, it is not only interesting for the people it shows in their strange [to our eyes] costumes, but for the buildings and gardens it shows that were pressed into service as the backdrop of the scenes acted out then.
It comprises 58 photographs, the first two bearing the signature of Louis Napoleon Parker looking very proud [Dramatist and author of the York Pageant] The photographs are fine matt platinum prints mostly by H. Lane Smith + Debenham and Co., York. It depicts the scenes of the Pageant and the key actors and actresses. The setting was the Museum Gardens and St Mary’s Abbey, The Kings Manor and St Leonard’s Hospital all of which were backdrops for variant scenes. There are further photographs of the cast in the main courtyard of the Kings Manor. Photographs vary in size between 10×8 inches and 6 x 4 inches.
The album itself is supported by a very useful contemporary postcard album: 45 sepia photographs of the pageant and participants which are very helpful in interpreting the larger format photographs. These post cards turn up now and then but rarely together.
Of course it is for sale so if you are interested let me know. If you are in York call by and have a look for yourself.