Visit our bookshop if you are in York. We will make you welcome. The walls are decked with lovely prints and architectural drawings and the shelves packed with books on art, architecture, design and photography. Our bookshop is just around the corner form York City Art Gallery in a location where there are lots of other independent shops. Drop by and see us.
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.
There were floods in York in December 2016. This was start of a campaign by the 30 initial businesses to turn this negative news of the floods into a positive. The creation of a logo for independent shops to display in their windows and share the message that ‘York is open for business’ was the next step in February 2016. Now the project is expanding to include about 100 independent shops who aim through a map and directory to draw attention to the local distinctiveness of York. We are part of that project. The best way to support local shops is to shop in them and so if you are in the city look out for the logo and map and if planning a visit to the city then have a look at the website of this pioneering self help project. www.indieyork.co.uk
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.
This is the tercentenary year of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, which is being widely and rightfully celebrated. As our contribution to marking his landmark anniversary we have produced a catalogue of books and related material on this design genius, the father of contemporary landscape design, and his world.
Brown wrote very little which has yet been discovered about the philosophy or his methods of design. Thus his landscape designs are his essays on landscape. There is a much quoted clip from Hannah More, who knew Brown first hand, where she reports he likened his approach to literary composition and of course there are scattered plans of his schemes for certain properties, contracts, an account book and bank ledgers so crafting a catalogue about Brown has thrown up challenges. One can set the context of the environment in which he was working in terms of his contemporary designers and the literati of the day and draw together later commentaries, some favourable, some critical of his work but there is really nothing in his own words on his work.
A diligent minute taker wrote down his proposals at Burton Constable, East Yorkshire, and here and there are comments; but unlike others in British landscape design practice such as Humphry Repton, John Claudius Loudon [who wrote millions of words], Edward Kemp and later practitioners we can only pore over the surprisingly extensive survivals of his landscape designs, not his words, for understanding of intention. Nonetheless for this important maker of the English Landscape style, whose work is still highly influential on modern designers, we have put together a catalogue of books etc. which may contribute to understanding his work. There are of course gaps in the narrative as booksellers are only able to assemble what they can find but this list is our contribution to CB300* which celebrates and interrogates the work of this landscape designer. We hope it will provide a window on Brown the designer and his historic context to reveal an area that deserves detailed examination and greater understanding.
Email us for your paper copy.
* CB300: i.e. Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival, bringing Brown’s landscapes to a wider audience
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.