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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Stockholm
Book Fairs

News from Stockholm!

Published on 15 March 2018
On Saturday 17th March, the 2018 edition of the annual Stockholm Antiquarian Book Fair will open its doors! We spoke to Mats Peterson, owner of Stockholm's Centralantikvariatet in Stockholm and President of the Swedish association SVAF.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

You Can Quote Me On That

My catalogs are shorter, each consisting a single item, and they are even more "special" since they only go to one person each – with photographs, but digitally. They are called "quotes" and they're what little guys like me – specialist dealers – do instead of accumulating 350,000 books and hiring a prodigy like Dan Gregory to sell them. I suspect the act of "quoting" books has been around since 1455. In the old days we used carrier pigeons. Later, we graduated to postcards. Kevin Johnson of Royal Books is a terrific bookseller. He makes the point that people actually like being contacted by dealers, especially if we're offering material that stimulates their interest. He prefers telephone, but I'm too shy. I use email instead. Still, it amounts to the same thing – we put the book in the person's hand and say, "Look at this! Isn't it cool? I'm really excited about it."
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Poe and Rafinesque in Philadelphia

It is not often that one discovers the work of an overlooked or forgotten genius, or a previously-unknown work of an established master. This is, of course, the hope which moves us to carefully examine all sorts of periodical publications and ephemera. So when Tom Congalton asked me to catalog two large folio volumes of the Philadelphia-based Saturday Evening Post, from 1827 and 1828, I was pleased to find the puzzle poem "Enigma" attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, and "Psalm 139th" by his brother Henry Poe. Perhaps the most interesting contributions to these volumes are not the Poeiana, but rather a whole series of botanical sketches and other contributions by an eccentric genius with the evocative name Rafinesque.
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Article

Early Engraver Played His Cards Right

The "Meister der Spielkarten", or "The Master of the Playing Cards" is known only through the 106 engravings that have been attributed to him, including the set of playing cards that he is named for. The term "master" is reserved for someone who has completed an apprenticeship and ran his own workshop, teaching apprentices. His presumed students are also unknown but have similar names, such as "The Master of the Nuremberg Passion", "The Master of 1446", and "The Master of the Banderoles".
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Article

Obituaries for Martin Stone (1946 - 2016) - Bookseller, book scout, legend of the rare book trade

The rare book trade has lost one of his most interesting and legendary personalities. Martin Stone (11 December 1946, Woking, Surrey – 9 November 2016, Versailles, France) was an English guitarist and rare book dealer.
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Article

Two Faces of 20th Century Chinese Painting: Qi Baishi & Zhang Dagian

These days, it seems as though you could walk into your local coffee shop, shout out names like Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, Klimt, Rembrandt, Renoir, Degas, Munch, Chagall, Kahlo, Vermeer, or Dali and every single person there would know what these 14 people had in common. They are painters! They have different styles, are from different cultures, different countries, different eras and have different backgrounds, yet we know them all, despite – probably – never having taken an art history class in our lives. Now for a test! What do the names Xu Beihong, Bada Shanren, Lin Fengmian, Wu Guanzhong, Ren Bonian and Wang Hui have in common? Now, I hope 15% of the people reading this blog know at least one or two of these names already. I assume 35% of you have absolutely no idea, and the last 50% are possibly clever enough to realize that they are Chinese painters, given the subject of this blog. Yes, they are indeed Chinese painters, with those names alone ranging in history from 701 AD to the present day. Chinese painting too has a tradition spanning centuries, with artists today continuing the traditional style of Chinese painting just as often as they push the boundaries of modern art. Two of China's most renowned and legendary artists from more recent times are Qi Baishi and Zhang Dagian (or Chang Dai-Chien), the darlings of the Chinese Art World in the early to mid 20thcentury.
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Article

The Art of American Book Covers – Peacocks

The first post to this blog in August 2009 was about a book with a peacock feather stamped in gold on the cover, The New Day by Richard Watson Gilder [Scribner, Armstrong, 1876]. It's worth re-reading that story, because there is a connection to Margaret Armstrong, whose peacock designs are below. Here's a photo of that book to refresh your memory. Click it to read the original post. Peacocks and peacock feathers were a pervasive image of the Aesthetic Movement, a symbol of beauty in nature. Whistler's Peacock Room of 1877 was a monumental tribute to this theme.
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