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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Renaissance

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Published on 14 Oct. 2014
Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Renaissance

The Giunti of Florence. A Renaissance Printing and Publishing Family

Published on 24 Oct. 2012
This ambitious project explores the history and output of the Giunti Press in Florence, covering the firm from its beginnings in 1497 to its end in 1625, and providing descriptions of each Giunti book published with extensive indication of the libraries holding copies of each edition. In doing so, it describes the literature and history of Florence in the late Renaissance as well as the development of the Italian language within this important period of time.
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Renaissance

The Library of Symbolism - A Glossary and Bibliography of Renaissance Symbolic Literature

Published on 09 Nov. 2010
"For 2,000 years, from the time of Plato in 400 BC until the start of the modern era of empirical science in approximately 1600 AD, the culture of Western Europe was dominated by a single mode of expression: the symbol. The symbol was the universal medium for the approach to God, for the investigation of the natural world, for the interpretation of the Scriptures and for an understanding of and a guide to proper moral conduct. Towards the end of the period, enabled by the invention of printing by movable type, this obsession was translated into a vast literature of symbolism of which some eighty distinct species were identified by contemporary writers and theorists." The Renaissance symbolism refers to a time in which human thinking and the human view of the World changed radically. On the one hand Renaissance symbolism is one of the most interesting research fields for scholars. On the other hand it is one of the most fascinating fields of bibliophily at the very beginning of the history of printing.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors

"Like all good reference books, the ABC for Book Collectors conveys much in a little, sets limits to its subject and keeps within them, and - saving grace - treats that subject with individuality as well as authority, in a style at once concise, forthright and witty. It is, in short, a masterpiece, whose merits are acknowledged by the fact that it has never, in forty years, been out of print." (Nicolas Barker in his introduction to the revised edition of the "ABC for Book Collectors", Oak Knoll Press 1995)
John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors
The ABC for Book Collectors is presented here, with our thanks, by permission of Bob Fleck, Oak Knoll Press.
Nicolas Barker about the ABC for Book Collectors
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Article

History of Printing in Austria - Druckfrisch. Der Innsbrucker Wagner-Verlag und der Buchdruck in Tirol

375 years ago Michael Wagner, a printer from Augsburg in Germany, founded a publishing house in Innsbruck, Austria, which is still existing today: Universitätsverlag Wagner. To celebrate the 375th anniversary of the publisher the Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum has organized an impressive exhibition from 13th June to 26th October, 2014, accompanied by an attractive programme with lectures, concerts, guided tours, a children's workshop, and a conference with leading Austrian and international scholars and scientists, among them ILAB Patron of Honour Murray G. Hall.
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Article

Charity Auction to Support Literacy – How AntiquarianAuctions.com celebrates UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day

There are only a few ILAB affiliates in Africa, ABA member Paul Mills is one of them. He runs Clarke's Africana & Books and has launched a platform established by rare book dealers especially for dealers: AntiquarianAuctions.com. Shortly before April 23, AntiquarianAuctions.com will start a benefit auction ending on UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day, coinciding with the ILAB Pop Up Fairs worldwide and donating the money to the ILAB/UNESCO fundraising to fight illiteracy in South Sudan.
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Article

Preserving the photographic heritage of the Middle East

"When Bank of America Merrill Lynch launched its $1m conservation grant programme in May 2010, the Arab Image Foundation (AIF), a Beirut-based non-profit organisation, applied and hoped for the best. When the recipients were announced, the young foundation was among distinguished institutions such as the Courtauld in London, the Hermitage in St Petersburg and Madrid's Reína Sofia to have conservation projects selected. Now that the project is under way, the foundation's director Zeina Arida admits she was surprised to be selected." Snippets from an article by Emily Sharpe in The Art Newspaper.
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Article

Banned Books Week - ‘All that Hell could vomit forth’

This week is Banned Books Week. I've written about banned books before: the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Weimar Republic, in the Soviet Union. Here's something a little earlier: the libellous Philippiques of François-Joseph de Lagrange-Chancel (1677–1758). These virulent satires against the Regent, the duc d'Orléans, enjoyed a huge popularity in manuscript throughout the eighteenth century, as the varied examples here show. 'In spite of its imperfections and crying injustice, it is the monument of satire in France' (Nouvelle biographie générale).
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