Thursday, March 10, 2016

Antiquarian Book News

Bath Old Books

Bath Old Books has been a feature of the Bath literary landscape for 25 years. 

It’s a deceptive place: there’s not just the welcoming ground floor room with its attractive array of books - on architecture, on Bath, on Jane Austen (naturally), there are the first editions, the leather bound volumes, the wide range of art books and the equally enticing children’s and illustrated books.

Venture down to the basement and you’ll find a whole room of literature, philosophy and poetry; to the other side of the stairs  you can take in travel and topography, search through the ordnance survey maps and then explore the shelves of sport, natural history, military, transport, history and biography.

The shop has been run for twenty five years by a group of book sellers and is currently in the hands of five friendly book dealers with whom you are assured a warm welcome.

This spring the shop will hold  its sale where all books are discounted by 25%; (except for a very few new books) the sale starts on Saturday March 12th and runs until Thursday 24th March.

Bath Old Books is at 9c Margaret's Buildings, between the Circus and The Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LP.
Tel. 01225 422244. Open 10am – 5pm.


George III's Shakespere First Folio

A Shakespeare First Folio, once owned by George III, is set to generate huge excitement in Newcastle. The copy of one of the most famous books in the world is heading to Tyneside this week for what’s described as a “once in a lifetime” public display in the city.

Newcastle’s City Library is to exhibit the work, dated 1623. The book will be making the 282-mile trip to Newcastle at the end of the week in readiness for an exhibition opening on Monday, March 14.

It is thought that had the First Folios not been printed, works such as ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Macbeth’ would have been lost forever.

King George III’s copy was presented to the British Library, then the British Museum, in 1823 by his son George IV as part of the King’s Library.

The First Folio will be on display on level six of the library from March 14 until April 24, with the book left open at one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It will be free to view during the library’s usual opening hours. A complementary events programme will include an exhibition of Shakespearean costumes and some early Shakespeare playbills from the archive at Newcastle Theatre Royal.

‘Restraine Plundering’: Civil War Manuscripts come to Bonhams, London.

An important private collection of manuscripts concerning Charles I and the English Civil War is just one of the highlights in the forthcoming Fine Books and Manuscripts sale at Bonhams, London on 16 March. The thirty-lot collection, with a combined estimate in the region of £40,000-60,000, includes two rare autograph letters from Charles I to his sister Elizabeth of Bohemia, one thanking her for the gift of a watch, and an attractive Letters Patent with a fine Great Seal appointing Commissioners of Array for the City of Worcester.

Several documents shed light on the often turbulent relationship between the ill-fated King and his unruly nephew Prince Rupert – a letter of 1645 begs him to ‘restraine plundering’ and, two years later, we see Rupert unceremoniously dismissed from his service after the disastrous fall of Bristol, ensuring ‘all commanders, officers and soldiers are required to take notice’.

Many are of Oxfordshire interest and concern the preparations for war and the logistics of provisioning an army in wartime – one letter requires the Oxford colleges to melt down their plate and another makes an agreement with the citizens of Wolvercote to requisition their crop of hay for the army.

The collection also includes four lots of contemporary books and a letter concerning the training of soldiers in Norfolk signed by members of Elizabeth I’s Privy Council including Burghley, Leicester and Walsingham.

For more information about the sale, please visit or contact

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