Friday, May 15, 2015

A Booke of Christian Prayers - Queen Elizabeth's Prayer Book 1578

Joane Wrayford and her copy of A Booke of Christian Prayers




[collected out of the auncie[n]t writers, and best learned in our tyme, worthy to be read with an earnest mynde of all Christians, in these daungerous and troublesome dayes, that God for Christes sake will yet still be mercyfull vnto vs]

“ … a most splendid example of ornamental printing which this country has ever produced …”  (T F Dibdin)

John Day (1522-1584) the most skilled and innovative printer of his day was recognised for his exceptionally high quality work. He specialised in printing and distributing Protestant literature and small-format religious books and is best known for publishing Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  In 1569 he produced, reputedly exclusively for Queen Elizabeth, Christian Prayers and Meditations. Only one complete copy is known to be extant. This prayer book (both the 1569 and the 1578 version) is notable for a number of reasons one being the depiction of the protestant Queen Elizabeth at the front of the book.

But, perhaps the outstanding reason for the book’s continued prominence is the plethora of fine ornamental printing; the splendid full-page woodcut of Elizabeth kneeling before a prie-dieu to the verso of the title page, the title itself surrounded by a broad woodcut border showing the Tree of Jesse and each page of prayers elaborately decorated with woodcut borders in historiated ornamental blocks. Read the rest of this post on Marijana's blog...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stephen Foster Books News

An Announcement by Stephen Foster

The Bell Street shop is now closed as an open shop for the foreseeable future; a difficult decision after more than 25 years. We still have the shop, but are currently using it as a base for our film and furnishing work.

All enquiries should be directed to the shop in Chiswick, which now also houses our internet stock, and the office. As a result of this change, we have extended the hours in Chiswick. It is open Monday to Saturday 10.30 to 17.30, and Sunday from 11.00 to 17.00, except Easter and Christmas.

There is also a new email address covering all aspects of the business stephen[at]fosterbooks.co.uk

Thank you.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Harrogate Book Fair

Another weekend, another lovely book fair. This time Ibooknet members Catherine (left) and Heather were both at the PBFA's Harrogate book fair. You can see us below in front of Heather and Jeff's stand full of gorgeous children's books.





Next weekend, on  21st March PBFA's Illustrated, Children's and Modern First Edition fair is on in London. Peakirk Books will be there again, and Stephen Foster will also have a stand there alongside many other dealers from all over the country, and beyond.

Below, a close up of stock from CL Hawley Books at the Harrogate Fair. With so many towns now without a good secondhand bookshop a fair, where the books come to you, is a great place to handle books and remember that book browsing is so much better offline.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Adventures at the York Bookfair

Rob and I have just returned from the PBFA York Book Fair. This January fair is the smaller of the two fairs that the PBFA run in York. This one had a mere 120 or so dealers offering around 400,000 books. We've been to this fair before but only as customers, this time we were exhibiting our own stock at stall number 61.

It was hard work, as we knew it would be, but we benefited from lots of advice before hand from the lovely Heather and Jeff at Peakirk Books as well as from the fair organisers. It was lovely to meet lots of new customers as well as the other dealers. It was also lovely to meet one other book blogger...

Read more from Catherine at her Juxtabook blog.

Friday, November 28, 2014

To track or not to track?

In today's Sheppard's Confidential, that excellent weekly trade newsletter, bookseller Richard Moffatt of 'Poor Richard's Bookshop' in Felixstowe writes of the loss of books sent to China.

Ibooknet member Mike Sims writes of similar experiences both to China and other countries in his latest blog post in The Abfar Blog. It seems that even the tracking system within the United Kingdom is not immune from the occasional glitch.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jacobean Travelling Library to go on Display to the Public in Leeds

Entrance to the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds Library
Among the many rare books and manuscript treasures in the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds, its Jacobean Travelling Library has be one of the most curious and intriguing.  Designed to appear, when closed, as a large folio volume, it’s bound in brown turkey leather and contains three shelves housing some 40-odd miniature books bound in limp vellum with coloured fabric ties.  Gold-tooling on the spine of each volume picks out a flower and a wreath while all the covers are embellished with a golden angel carrying a scroll that reads Gloria Deo, meaning Glory to God.

Library, University of Leeds

A sheet of vellum has been affixed onto the inside of the front cover upon which, between arches, architectural details and four grand Corinthian columns, a catalogue of the small books has been painted.  The arms of the Madden family appear beneath the catalogue, suggesting the little library may have been a gift to a member of that family.  The books, which appear to be in remarkably good condition given their age,  are mainly classical texts on philosophical, theological and historical themes but there are also some works of poetry.  Classical authors feature heavily with works by Cicero, Julius Caesar, Seneca, Horace, Virgil and Ovid included.

17th Century Travelling Library, commissioned by William Hakewill MP in 1617

The little library is thought to have been commissioned by William Hakewill MP for a friend around 1617 or 1618.  Hakewill, who at various times sat in Parliament for seats in Cornwall and Buckinghamshire, was a cousin of Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library and author of one of the first manuals of parliamentary procedure, The Manner How Statutes are Enacted in Parliament by Passing of Bills,  published in 1641.  He was at the pinnacle of his political career at the point at which he commissioned the little library, having been appointed Solicitor General to Queen Anne, wife of James I, in 1617.   During the next few years, Hakewill commissioned three further similar travelling libraries which are now kept in the British Library, the Huntington Library California and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.

Each of the little books is vellum-bound with gold-tooled decoration and coloured fabric ties


Earlier this autumn, the University Library was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will enable this and other rare manuscripts and books from its Special Collection to be put on display for the public.  Worked is expected to commence on the facility, to be housed in the University’s Parkinson Building in spring 2015 with a provisional opening date for the two planned, climate-controlled new galleries of November 2015.  Interviewed by the Daily Mail when news of the grant was announced, Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, told the paper 'The Jacobean travelling library - one of only four made - dates from 1617 and is one of the most curious items in the Brotherton Collection. The miniature books are contained in a wooden case disguised to look like a large book. It's essentially a 17th century e-book reader such as a Kindle.'

More images of the travelling library are available on BookAddiction's blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Booksellers in the Blogosphere



Another round-up of the many and varied things that booksellers muse on.

Mike from ABFAR has been visiting the Dutch House, the home and studio of the artist Edward Seago at Ludham in Norfolk and exploring his WWII connections. Mike's blog post is beautifully illustrated and makes me wish I was near enough to visit.

Jane Badger at Books, Mud and Compost continues her pony book of the day series and her look at Stranger at Follyfoot by Monica Dickens particularly caught my eye. Not a book I've read but anything that brings back memories of Steve and Dora is a Good Thing.

Barbara of March House Books has a lovely post (all Barbara's posts are lovely) on Judy annuals (my paper of choice as a 9 year old!) and Lucie Attwell and other good things. She also has a moving post on visiting the ceramic poppy display, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London.

Marijana has an erudite post on Charles De Gaulle and Hans Ornstein and the Deutsche BP connection over at Marijana Dworski Books.

Catherine of CL Hawley Books has an offer of free UK postage until Christmas and has been reviewing the hilarious Straight Man by Richard Russo.

I've only just added Plurabelle Books to our blog roll on the right but I recommend you take a look. Recent posts include a very readable piece on Bicycles and Gramophones (I do like a business that multi-tasks!), from which the image at the top of this post is drawn, and another of a beautiful Rabbinic Bible.

Lastly can I draw your attention to the post All the Fun of the Book Fair on Martin Edwards' Crime Writing Blog 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'. He's written a lovely review of the PBFA Book Fair in Harrogate last weekend including a great piece about a teacher taking some year 8 children (age 12-13) around which an really inspirational bit of teaching.
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