Preparations for the PBFA London Antiquarian Fair

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It is that time of year again, when Marcia and I must put all thoughts of road trips to one side, whilst we concentrate on preparing for the PBFA London Antiquarian Book Fair.  As the name suggests, this is in London, has lots of antiquarian books and is put on by the PBFA. We manage the fair – so it keeps up pretty busy.


This year, we have once more gathered a group of over 100 exhibitors who come to London to buy and sell beautiful books, maps and other works on paper. Dealers come from every part of the world to be part of the fair. This year at the Ibis Hotel, Lillie Road, we will welcome dealers from Canada – including Aquila books, and Voyager Press. From America,  B & B Rare Books and D & D Galleries. (My new policy of only accepting Americans who use initials for their trading name seems to be bearing fruit). We also have friends old and new from Europe. Christian Haslinger and Antiquariaat Talke will both be presenting their usual impressive stands. We are also bringing along a contingent of Dutch booksellers this year, who we have met on our travels.

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Of course our core membership are the stalwarts of the PBFA. . We are very pleased that we span the generations of the organisation. Gerry and Glenda Mosdell, from the Junction bookshop are amongst the “founding fathers” of the Association, and are at the other end of the spectrum we are pleased to once again welcome the Bibliomaniacs, a group of booksellers from Papplewick school in Ascot, who proudly claim themselves as the youngest antiquarian booksellers in the world.

Bibliomaniacs 3

Whatever your particular taste in books,  you will find examples here. From the fine bindings of Temple Bookbinders to the Modern Firsts of Holybourne Books and Cheltenham Rare Books From the ancient manuscripts of Alastor and Modern First Editions to the Antarctic explorations of Kingsbridge Books and Meridian Books. Naturally there will be a variety of maps and prints from the likes of Michael Morris and several others.

As usual, the event is part of Rare Books London, which sees London present a variety of book fairs and events to the world. We hope you will be able to come and visit the fair. If you do – be sure to say hello to Marcia on the reception, and Marc on the Harrison-Hiett stand

PBFA London International Fair

The fair is nearly upon us. This year, the fair at the ILEC suite is our biggest ever. We have more dealers than ever, with a wider range of stock. Please do come and join us at the fair. We will have regular free buses up to Olympia so that you can enjoy both fairs.

PBFA London International Fair – Ibis Hotel, 47 Lillie Road, London. SW6 1UD

Here is the floor plan and exhibitor list for the PBFA fair:

floor plan 2017 – wall copy

(I’m afraid you have to click on that one for a pop up!)

Pitch Dealer Name
A1 Veronica Watts
A2 Chris Mees
A3 White Fox
A4 Harrison-Hiett Limited
A5 Jonathan Kearns (Martin Stone)
A6 Rare & Antique Books
A7 Lorych Books
B1 Ballantyne Way (Roger)
B2 Antiquariaat Christian Haslinger
B3 Michael Morris Maps
C1 Nicholas Daly Books
C2 Unsworth Antiquarian
C3 Wildside Books
C4 Grove Rare Books
C5 Nicholas Bernstein
D1 Besley’s Books
D2 Paul Bostock
D3 Collectable Books
D4 Lymelight Books
D5 Interamnia
E1 J & S Bonham
E2 Matthew Butler
E3 Marcus Campbell
E4 Old Town Bookshop
E5 A G Cram
F1 Extraordinary Editions
F2 Bow Windows
F3 Love Rare Books
F4 Wool House Autographic
F5 Adrian Harrington
G1 John Underwood
G2 Sarah Key Books
G3 Lucius Books
G4 Voyager Press
G5 C.R. Denistoun
H1 Meridian Rare Books
H2 Rainford & Parris
H3 B.J. Walsh Old Books
H4 Robert Frew
H5 Pablo Butcher
H6 Peter Harrington
I1 Mayfly Ephemera
I2 Imperial Fine Books
I3 Bookmark Children’s Books
I4 Sevin Seydi Rare Books
I5 Zimnol Books
I6 Fine Books at Ilkley
I7 Demetzy Books
J1 West Hull Rare Books
J2 Aquila Books
J3 Dik Ramkema
K1 Petersfield Bookshop
K2 Turner Donovan Military Books
K3 Antiquarian Book Company
L1 Steven Ferdinando
L2 Keogh’s Books
L3 Deverell Books
L4 Peter Foster Books
M1 The Bibliomaniacs
M2 Any Amount of Books
M3 The Book Business
M4 Hans Lindner
N1 Eclectica
N2 Walden Books
N3 Sportspages
N4 Claude Cox
O1 Rochdale Books Company
O2 Barnaby Chiari
P1 Yesterday’s Books
P2 Simon Finch
P3 Fawsley First Editions
P4 Mark Sutcliffe
Q1 Wilfrid M. de Freitas
Q2 G. Mosdell T/A Junction Bookshop
Q3 Jarndyce
Q4 Peter Whetman
R1 E. J. Morten Books
R2 D & D Galleries
R3 Bauman Rare Books
R4 Staniland Books
S1 Alastor Rare Books
S2 London Rare Books
S3 Wykeham Books
S4 Modern First Editions
T1 B & B Rare Books
T2 Edmund Pollinger
T3 Robert Kirkman Ltd
T4 Picture This
U1 Prior Books
U2 G David
V1 Michael Kemp
V2 Scott Brinded
V3 Shapero Rare Books
V4 Holybourne Rare Books
V5 Cheltenham Rare Books
V6 Tittle Books
W1 Hereward Books
W2 Peter Hill
W3 White Eagle Books
W4 Design for Today
W5 Chantrey Books
W6 World’s End Bookshop
X1 Kingsbridge Books
X2 Gresham Books
X3 R.E. & G.B. Way
X4 Antiquates Ltd
X5 Antiquariaat Talke
X6 Reigate Galleries

If you would like a ticket to both the PBFA fair, and the ABA Olympia fair – please click on the link below:

Joint Ticket download

I hope we shall see you there soon.



Children’s & Illustrated / Travel Fair

Two for the price of one

Next weekend (Saturday 19th March) we are attending two PBFA fairs at once. This is easier than it may seem, as this year, the Children’s & Illustrated Fair, and the Travel book fair are both being held in the same hotel.
Please do see the information below for more details. Click on the tabs for free tickets, and most importantly – come along to visit us!
Between the two fairs there will be 56 stalls offering some very special items.

There are links to free tickets to each fair at the bottom of this post:

Hope to see you at the fair.

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travel ad


The Travel & Exploration Book Fair now in its 21st year offers you the opportunity to view and purchase a wide selection of antiquarian books, maps, photographs and prints that relate to travel and exploration in all parts of the world. In particular, we will celebrate the centenary of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, and Wilfrid Thesiger’s epic first crossing of Arabia’s Empty Quarter in



We look forward to welcoming old and new visitors in this our new venue for 2016!

free ticket children                             free ticket travel

For both fairs the venue is: Hilton London Olympia Hotel, 380 Kensington High Street, London W14 8NL,

tel: 0207 603 3333

Kensington Christmas Fair

It is almost time, and I have been busy packing my stock ready for the Kensington fair this weekend. Why would anyone in their right mind head up to Kensington just before Christmas?  Well the book fair is as fine an excuse as any!  A last opportunity to bag a unique (or at least very hard to find) item for the one you love.

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Once you get a goodly gathering of PBFA dealers, add some authors presenting their works, a sprinkling of Small Press publishers and finish with poster and artwork sellers, then you have a mix to attract anyone (well,  anyone with taste and a yearning for the finer things anyway!)

Whoever you are trying to purchase a gift for – there will be something available. Here is a selection that will be taken by PBFA dealers. Click on the pictures for more information. There is also a slide show at the bottom of the blog that has more images of these items. ken_1

Perhaps you are trying to inspire an appreciation of books in your grandchildren (or children) – You could do far worse than a first edition of “The Vicar of Nibbleswick” by Road Dahl, offered by Sarah Key (The Haunted Bookshop) . A fine first edition, with illustrations by Quentin Blake – it certainly is a nibble at only £20


Sarah is also offering some goodies at the other end of the scale. A lovely numbered, limited copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (number 916), with beautiful illustrations by Arthur Rackham. This will be presented for £2,995.




Somewhere in the middle, Black Cat Bookshop is bringing along a first edition of “The Lorax” by Dr Seuss, from 1972. A lovely clean tidy copy, in “unscribbled” condition, a bargain at £295.




For the travellers amongst you, there will be a wide variety of books, maps and items. John Underwood is presenting Peter Heylyn’s  “COSMOGRAPHY IN FOUR BOOKS. Containing the Chorography and History of the whole WORLD and all the Principal Kingdoms, Provinces, Seas, and the Isles thereof” Printed in 1682, and boasting a beautiful hand coloured title page, this contains four folding maps. Complete, and potentially yours for £2,500


Adrian Harrington (newly of Tunbridge Wells) is bringing along an account of the voyages of Captain Cook. Written by John Hawksworth, “An Account of the voyages undertaken by the order of his present majesty for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere … “ together with a copy of Cook’s ken_9own “A Voyage towards the South Pole, and round the world.” and also containing Cook’s “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean” Altogether, these fabulous books, make 9 volumes, all bound into a lovely matching set by the Chelsea bindery. Follow the photo link for a lengthy description of these books and their importance. This one only for the truly deserving! Yours for £25,000.

If you prefer your travel to be fantastical, then we (Harrison-Hiett) will beken_8 taking along a copy of Johann Baptist Homann’s  “Accurata Utopiae Tabula”, a complete (if fictitious) map showing the allegorical isle of fools paradise or Pays de Cocaigne, printed and hand coloured in 1740. It includes the “Kingdom of Extravagance”, and “Empire of Fat Stomachs”, “Tobacco Island” and the “Land of Gluttony”.  All surrounded by Seas of Drunkenness and Lust – when can I visit?  find your own way there for £500


It isn’t just books that are available at the fair. If it is rare signatures that you are looking for, then consider White Eagle’s copy of “Tenzing After Everest” – Tenzing’s own account of the ascent of Everest, and signed by him to the front end paper. Available at £495.

You can also find some interesting London ephemera at the fair. Wool House Books are bringing along a Copper token engraved with the words Lyceum Strand London engraved below figure of a prancing horse ken_92with figure of Mercury on its back. Words engraved around edge: “The First Equestrian Performance in Europe.” Theatre tokens were issued by the London theatres to reserve seats or booths, and as commemorative items. This one offered at £95

ken_94Finally, Wool House are also bringing another piece of London ephemera –  a lovely silk souvenir programme for a performance at Covent Garden June 23rd 1897. Silks were produced for a lasting souvenir in Victorian times, and this, to celebrate the Queen’s 60th anniversary as Queen, shows the program of the operatic performance at Covent Garden. Perfect for lovers of music, London or royal family history. Only £75

I hope you can make it to the fair to visit. If you do, come and say hello to us on stand 11 in the main hall. (If you don’t wish to speak to me, the lovely Marcia will be helping me for the day).

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Made in Chelsea

chelsea panorama

Last weekend, Marcia and I spent the weekend in Chelsea, at the ABA Antiquarian Fair. Above is a panoramic photo of the hall at the end of Thursday evening (I wanted to capture the hall without the dealers – an exhausted Marianne was just a bonus)! Click on the panorama to see it in all its glory.

As ever, the fair was full of some fabulous books, manuscripts and ephemeral items from around the world. Just behind me on the stage was an array of medieval manuscripts and incunabula. Ranging from a few pounds, to many tens of thousands, there was truly something for everyone. Even for Marcia – she picked up a small artists note book full of beautiful illustrations by a Victorian doctor, who caught yves_1typhus in the last major outbreak in London, whilst assisting the sick.

Another lovely item was the original sketch by Yves Saint Laurent – presented by one of our French colleagues.


On Pat Marrin’s stand, I found this lovely little picture of a bookseller. I am sure I recognize him from our dinner on Friday night (wonderfully arranged by Giles from Worlds End Books). Which reminds me – did anyone ever work out where the missing five hours went after the dinner?

And so, Chelsea is over for another year. Many thanks to Marianne, Ped (relaxing below at the end of the fair), Camilla (hiding in the video of the fair below) and of course, our wonderful ring master Graham York. Ever onwards to the next fair – for many this is Boston, but for me it will be the PBFA Kensington Christmas Fair.


A Joy Forever?

I have discovered a new font. In common (I suspect) with many booksellers, designers and arty types, I do like a nice font. and at the moment I have a new favourite. It is called Doves Type, and has recently been released in an electronic format, which is allowing me to hone my catalogues, brush up my emails and perfect my letters. If only it could do something about the content!


Keats wrote that “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Thomas James Cobden Sanderson, and his engraver, Emery Walker certainly didn’t find this to be the case, and it is their story that I find particularly intriguing. The pair of them set up the Doves Press together, and in 1899 engaged punch cutter Edward Prince to create a beautiful type to be used in their books. This he did – and it is lovely.

recovered doves
pic by Sam Armstrong.

By 1909 the Doves Press was in financial difficulties, Sanderson and Walker had fallen out and the partnership was dissolved. Sanderson feared that Walker wanted to use the type to mass produce books (obviously a bad thing!) but under the partnership, he was obligated to allow him access to the type. So instead of this, he threw it off Hammersmith Bridge.  Starting on Good Friday 1913, slowly, (over 4years) he managed (under cover of darkness) to drop 2,800lbs of metal type into the mud in 12lb parcels. That’s commitment to your art! In his diary he described this act as bequeathing the type to the river.

A hundred years later, and the story continues. Robert Green began to re-create the font in a digital format. Having undertaken lots of research, he even managed to locate some of the pieces of type in the mud under Hammersmith bridge. He managed to enlist the assistance of the Port of London’s Diving Team, and eventually 148 of the packages were recovered. This has enabled him to faithfully reproduce the type for the modern age. And a beautiful thing it is too. I have naturally got myself a copy of this, and begun using it everywhere I can (sadly I can’t do so here!) Much as I would like to be the only one out there using it, I feel honour bound to tell you that you can purchase a download of the font from TypeSpec. The pic of the type was by Sam Armstrong of

doves advertThe final twist in the story, and redressing the balance a little, is that Robert Green has permanently loaned half the recovered type to the Emery Walker Trust, who are renovating Walker’s house at 8 Hammersmith Terrace. So finally he gets at least some of the type he was entitled to.

There is a nice little BBC report on the salvaging of the type that you may wish to view below.