Thursday, September 22, 2016

Antiquarian Book News

Bloomsbury Ephemera, Book & Postcard Fair

The next Bloomsbury Book, Ephemera & Postcard Fair takes place this Sunday, 25th September at the Royal National Hotel, London WC1H 0DG. This month's fair promises to be a bumper event, we have 60 dealers selling a wide array of material.

Whether you love books, collect ephemera, love to search out postcards, maps, prints, photographs or posters, the fair really will have something for you! With items available in every price range, from a few pounds up, the fair really is a collector's paradise!

Doors are open from 9.30 until 3pm, admission is £1.50. Check the website for News and Updates, Exhibitors list and much more. For further details phone Kim 01707 872140


Ireland: Dublin Book Fair, Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 October

The next Dublin Book Fair will take place on 1 and 2 October at the Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin. Fair times: Saturday: 12.00 – 6.00pm and Sunday: 11.30 – 5.0pm. Admission €3.
Featuring established booksellers from all over England, Scotland and Ireland, including the venerable Maggs Brothers of Mayfair, Foster’s Bookshop from London, Mark Skipper from Cheltenham, P & B Rowan of Belfast, Jerry Kelleher from Kildare, Joe Collins and Stoney Road Press of Dublin and William Cowan Books from Oban in Scotland. For further information, please contact Joe McCann at

In association with the fair, the head of rare books at Bonhams and star of the Antiques Roadshow, Matthew Haley, will be giving a talk entitled How to Buy a Rare Book and he will also be offering complimentary book valuations. The talk begins at 11.00am on Saturday 1 October at Bonhams, 31 Molesworth Street opposite the Book Fair. Entry is free, but space is limited. Places can be reserved by contacting Bonhams Dublin representative Jane Beattie at

PBFA Sherborne Bookfair – October 1st, 2016

ArielWith the nights drawing in, it’s time to settle down with a good book.

The next PBFA Sherborne Book fair is being held at The Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne DT9 3NL on Saturday October 1st from 10am. to 4pm. There will be over twenty of the finest book dealers in the South West and further afield attending, including two new additions to the local antiquarian bookselling scene, Peter Foster Books of Frome (specialising in children’s illustrated, fine bindings and first editions) and Bruins Books from Yeovil (specialising in militaria, history and biography).

Amongst the highlights for visitors is a first edition of Ariel – Poems by Sylvia Plath.  In fine condition, published by Faber and Faber 1965, it is priced at £160 and offered for sale by Kingswood Books of Milborne Port. Another highlight is a rare signed copy of Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon with illustrations by William Nicholson, published by Faber & Faber in 1954, priced at £250, being offered by Steven Ferdinando of Queen Camel, near Yeovil.

Refreshments available all day. Why not combine a trip to the book fair with a day out in the busy market town of Sherborne?

Enquiries: Karen Jakobsen at Bond Books on 01258 471 249 or

Sotheby's London

On 20 October 2016 Sotheby’s London will offer a previously undocumented and unpublished sketch-leaf for Ludwig van Beethoven’s most renowned piano concerto, his “Emperor” Concerto, estimated at £150,000-200,000.  Simon Maguire, Director and Senior Specialist in Books & Manuscripts said “This is a rare opportunity to acquire an unpublished draft for one of Beethoven’s greatest works”.  Offered on the open market for the first time in “The Library of an English Bibliophile, Part VI”, this sketch-leaf is one of the earliest for this great work, possibly containing Beethoven’s first draft of its famous themes.


Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto in E Flat Major, Op. 73 is dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria (1788-1831), the brother of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Beethoven’s great friend, patron and pupil.  The Archduke began taking lessons from Beethoven aged 15 or 16 and he was the only pupil that Beethoven taught composition to.  The composer dedicated fourteen works to the Archduke in total, more than any of his other patrons.

The Fifth Piano Concerto is now known simply as “Emperor”: legend has it that it was described by one of Napoleon’s officers as “an emperor of a concerto” due to its grandeur and ambition.  It is a revolutionary work in which Beethoven boldly reinvents the Piano Concerto, demolishing the older structure of the eighteenth-century form.  It is by far the composer’s most forward- looking statement in the genre.

In “Emperor”, Beethoven’s innovation and the radical rethinking of the relationship between solo and accompaniment heralded a new kind of music.  The scale of the work was unprecedented for Beethoven; the first movement is longer that any of his previous concertos.  The composer used the full scope of the piano and orchestra, with previously scarcely used keys such as C flat and B major, and the highest and lowest ranges of the piano.

In this sketch-leaf, Beethoven’s working process is laid bare. The concerto evolves before our very eyes; fragmentary sketches at the top of the page would later be included in two different movements and by the bottom of the page, the sketch for the first movement has been further developed by the composer.  The sketch-leaf gives an insight into his experimental approach, as much of the later passagework was not incorporated by Beethoven in his final version. 

Most of the surviving drafts for the Fifth Piano Concerto are in two sketch-books in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.  A few sketches elsewhere are related to these books, notably a leaf in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.  The watermark evidence of the present manuscript does not allow any firm identification with either sketchbook.


Library Acquires "Golden Legend"

The University of Toronto’s Fisher Rare Books Library has acquired a 1507 copy of The Golden Legend, making it the oldest book printed in English at the library and one of the oldest books in English in Canada. During the Middle Ages the book was so widely read that some consider it to be more popular than the Bible. The Golden Legend recounts stories, both factual and fictional, of the lives of the saints.

The book has original woodcuts in it by England’s first printer, William Caxton and it shows signs of censorship from the Reformation period. The word “pope” has been marked out throughout the book and a giant “X” at one time blocked out an entire section on Thomas Becket, the murdered Archbishop of Canterbury. At some point someone did remove the black ink covering the section on Becket and the black marks over the word “pope” with bleach. The censored material is now visible to readers.

The library expects the book will be used by students in the Department of English as well as the Centre for Medieval Studies. The work, which was acquired last month, is now catalogued and ready for the public.


Luxury Book Fair

A new London book fair organised by some book-dealers is to be held this autumn and will feature some of the trade’s most familiar names in a three-day luxury event. Shapero Rare Books, Maggs Bros and Bertram Rota are among the UK dealers already exhibiting at the inaugural fair in October and they will be joined there by a number of international booksellers.

The idea for the fair originated with dealer Ines Bellin, former director of ILAB dealership A Venue of Art, which went into liquidation in 2015.

Bellin, now managing director of INK LDN, and Leo Cadogan –  the fair’s communications chief – began serious preparations for the fair at the beginning of 2016. Their wish is to fill an apparent wide gap in the market for a luxury event.

INK LDN is to be held at 2 Temple Place, an established venue for exhibitions and fairs, and will run from 20 – 22 October 2016.


Sale of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts at Chiswick Auctions, Wednesday 28 September at 1pm

Some highlights from the forthcoming sale:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1954-55. 3 volumes, comprising The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers and The Return of the King, 8vo. Exceptionally finely-bound in contemporary green morocco by Asprey & Co. Ltd. First Editions. (3)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit or There and Back Again. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937. Original cloth, without the dust-jacket. First Edition, first impression.

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