Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alec Clunes's Book Catalogues

Okay, I promise not to do this too often but here now, another couple of things that I'm currently selling on Ebay...

There is something that delights the soul of any bookseller, I'm sure, about the apparatus of bookselling, the ephemera, the booksellers labels, bookplates, and of course, the catalogues. Alec Clunes was the father of the well-known British actor, Martin Clunes, and a dealer in books about the theatre. For a little while in 1960s Clunes had a shop in the famous Cecil Court.

These are Alec Clune's own copies of a number of his catalogues, dismembered and then pasted or tipped into commonplace books so that sales could be tracked. I have two books, the first containing the first two catalogues he issued, the second contains catalogues 13, 15, and 16 and all of them have wonderful annotations to say who bought what books: I was particularly intrigued to see just how much selling was done to academic institutions.

Also from the same source is a three page typed catalogue of portraits, photos, relics, prints and books relating to Sarah Bernhardt. There are only 19 items but they were offered for sale as a group for £137. 15s. which gives an idea of the quality of the items. They were, in the main, according to the very brief blurb, from the estate of the artist Graham Robertson, an intimate of Bernhardt's. I'm not even sure that this catalogue was ever 'published' or if carbon type copies like the one I have were used simply to accompany approaches to individual buyers.

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