Archive

Under another sky

Under another sky

17th September 2020

Under ordinary circumstances, I would have been in Paris today, for the opening this evening of the annual Salon international du Livre rare. But I am in still in beechy Buckinghamshire, enjoying instead some late summer sunshine. My mind, however, has turned to French books, and one in particular which I have at the moment. […]

The New Typography

The New Typography

9th September 2020

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Notgeld. Everyone knows, or thinks they know, the catastrophic German hyperinflation of the early 1920s, thanks to photographs of people pushing wheelbarrows full of money, or burning bundles of worthless banknotes as fuel.  But there was another pecuniary phenomenon to come out of those years: Notgeld, or ‘emergency […]

A ‘strange wild book’

A ‘strange wild book’

3rd September 2020

This is a copy of the first edition in English of Bettina von Arnim’s first book, Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (1835), translated in part by the author herself and privately printed in Berlin.  ‘The printing had almost come to end [sic], when by a variance between the printer and the translator, it was interrupted; […]

Notgeld

Notgeld

13th August 2020

During the lockdown, I started work on some larger cataloguing projects.  One of them is an extraordinary collection of German Notgeld, the ‘emergency money’ which originated, out of necessity, during the First World War, but which later became a way for towns to try and make some money in the early Twenties (before hyperinflation took hold) […]

(Not) on Choir Tour

(Not) on Choir Tour

6th August 2020

This week I should have been singing at Ely Cathedral with a group of friends called the Pearce Singers, a choir which arose some years ago out of those of us who used to sing with Tring Parish Church Choir when we were growing up. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, we would go […]

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 […]