Sunday, June 12, 2011

54th International Antiquarian Book Fair At Olympia

It's been a busy few days here at Callum James Heights. On Friday I was all day in the hallowed halls of Olympia at the above fair where there are books for sale which cost the same as my house! Book fairs like this are great for a number of purposes: obviously, for the buying of books, also, for the networking but one purpose they serve which is sometimes overlooked is the educational. Attending a fair of this calibre gives a humble bookman the opportunity to see and handle a large number of books which might not otherwise have crossed our paths. So, what did I learn?

Well, for example, where else in the world would it be possible to examine three copies of the uber-rare High Street by J. M. Richards and Eric Ravilious. Nearly every copy printed was, at some point in the 20th century broken up for it's lithographic illustrations and so, to see a single copy would be exciting. Since a complete copy of the book retails for £2-3K, to be able to examine three in one day, and to have the oppotunity to note a binding oddity in one of them which bears further investigation is an opportunity that doesn't come along every day...

I learnt too, that The Savoy, the 1890s 'magazine' that tried, for a while to maintain the decadent atmosphere of The Yellow Book, was issued with a dust jacket. I wouldn't have known this unless I had access to piles of catalogues picked up at the fair and read on the train home. The survival of the jacket on the copy I saw for sale in one of these catalogues must have been nigh-on unique...

A hundred little points like this are picked up at a major fair if you give yourself enough time and exercise enough curiosity. It was, of course, also delightful to meet all manner of lovely people: new friends and old...

No comments:

 
Who links to my website?