The first ‘blank bookplate’?

The first ‘blank bookplate’?

29th July 2020

There’s always a danger in book history when you suggest you may have found the first instance of something, but I wonder: could this be the first blank bookplate, i.e. ones that are pre-printed with ‘This book belongs to …’ that you then fill in yourself with your name? These block-printed covers were produced in […]

The World to me

The World to me

22nd July 2020

Following on from previous blogposts on The Greatest Refreshment, Advent Calendar, and Three Heine Love Songs, I thought I would write a little about another piece of mine, The World to me. Its text is the poem ‘World’ from Carol Ann Duffy‘s 2005 book Rapture, words I had actually wanted to set for a long […]

The birth of a bookplate

The birth of a bookplate

16th July 2020

I suppose I had always been attracted by the idea of having my own bookplate, so when my parents asked me what I would like for my 30th birthday (back in 2005), I suggested having one made. Likewise, I have always been attracted by wood engraving, and so I approached Simon Brett to see if […]

Freischutzism

Freischutzism

8th July 2020

A few years ago, I wrote about an early piece of English lithographed music, from the 1820s. As I said at the time, British music publishers largely neglected lithography in the first four decades of the nineteenth century, but it did serve its purpose well for William Hawkes Smith’s privately-printed music with his own illustrations […]

On show at the Grolier Club

On show at the Grolier Club

2nd July 2020

Last year, I was delighted to be able to join the Grolier Club, America’s oldest bibliophilic society. Every year, the Club runs an exhibition for new members, an opportunity for other members, and the wider world, to a get a glimpse into a wide range of private collections. Due to the pandemic restrictions, it was […]

Three Heine Love Songs

Three Heine Love Songs

24th June 2020

I wrote these back in 2009, when they were premiered by the Damon Singers. The text for the third was one of the readings at our wedding (my wife and I both studied modern languages at university).  Having discovered it, I read more of Heine’s work, and found two more poems of his I wanted […]