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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Japan

Collecting Rare Books and Prints - Japanese Surimono

Surimono, meaning "printed thing," are a subsection of traditional Japanese woodblock prints. They were printed on commission in small numbers and generally not sold by art publishers, unlike their more commercialized companions, ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Known as far back as the early 18th century, surimono rapidly rose in popularity in the 19th century. They were printed on high-quality paper, called hôsho-gami, using the finest printing techniques. Prior to 1810, these sheets could be quite large and folded so that the illustration accompanying the text faced outward. Later into the 19th century, however, sizing of surimono became more standardized and most were printed on small, nearly square sheets called shikishiban.
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Japan

The Japanese Literature Publishing Project and The Private Library

For many years L.D. Mitchell's blog The Private Library showed collectors that it is possible to build a collection without the benefit of much money. He published numerous articles on every imaginable subject of book collecting, he wrote about the most beautiful, the most important, the most common, the most attractive, the most unusual, the most interesting, the most extraordinary, the most amazing ... books one could read, buy, collect and simply enjoy. The Private Library has become an irreplaceable resource for all booklovers. Since April 2012, it is a static archive. L. D. Mitchell will no longer post new original content. ILAB is very grateful that he has given permission to publish some of his best articles and collecting tips from The Private Library on the ILAB website. Thank you very much, L.D.
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Japan

Art and the World's First Novel

What is generally acknowledged as the world's first novel was written by a Japanese woman a thousand years ago. The Tale of Genji, by Murakasi Shikibu (known as Lady Murakasi in the West), is regarded to be an accurate description of life in the imperial court in the Heian era (794 - 1185 CE). The daughter of a scholar and an officer of the court, she was given a male's education. Being a lady-in-waiting herself, she was privy to life at court.
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Japan

Book Scouting in Japan - Tokyo

Rare book dealer and photography specialist Harper Levine travels through Japan with photographer John Gossage where Harper was welcomed at the airport as the "best book dealer (also best blogger) from East Hampton". Part 2 of Harper Levine's report, featuring the Tokyo booksellers and a sushi bar.
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Japan

Book Scouting in Japan - Introduction: The Back Story

Rare book dealer and photography specialist Harper Levine travels through Japan with photographer John Gossage where Harper was welcomed at the airport as the "best book dealer (also best blogger) from East Hampton". Bibliophiles may follow his book scouting traces in Tokyo reading his fabulous blog.
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Japan

Japanese Woodblock Ephemera

"For many people in the west mention of Japanese woodblock prints brings to mind the beautiful single sheet colour examples by artists such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and the many other artists of extraordinary skill working during the 18th and 19th centuries. Immense pleasure can also be gained from looking a little further and discovering the plethora of games, decorative papers, books, calendars, lists, news-sheets, maps, advertising, and ephemeral material of every kind that was published using woodblock printing methods during the Edo and Meiji periods." Sally Burdon's collecting tip is one of the highlights of BookFare 2, the recently published newsletter of the Australian & New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB). Read the article and subscribe to further issues!
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Famous Figures in the History of Book Binding, Part Two

The way we present and preserve the written word has changed considerably over the millennia. When Johann Gutenberg introduced movable type, our concept of the book changed forever. Since then, famous figures like William Caxton, Jean Grolier, and Samuel Mearne introduced the concept of the book as an object of art. In more recent centuries, Roger Payne and William Morris paved the way for the modern private press movement.
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Article

DE CARO AND THE GIROLAMINI THEFTS – More from Italy

Recent news concerning the Girolamini thefts in Naples (Italy) and the ongoing investigations: As a further reaction to ILAB's official note of protest published in August 2014 ILAB President Norbert Donhofer and ALAI President Fabrizio Govi received an official letter from the Italian authorities. Read more ...
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Novel That Never Was

The novel that never was: Meyern's book is a Bundesroman, a popular genre of novel in late eighteenth-century German literature which featured secret societies. As for The Ruins on the Mountain-Lake, it never existed at all, except in Meyern's mind.
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Article

"In Good Order But Poor Condition" - ILAB Patron of Honour Dr. Michael Knoche in F.A.Z.

The former director of the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar and ILAB Patron of Honour recently wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper about digitisation, book restoration and the state of Germany's libraries.
"In Good Order But Poor Condition" is an interesting read about the importance of digitisation, but also about the need for research material not only to be available in digitised format.
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Article

“Gelos” – Rare Book Auctions in Russia

Gelos was established in Moscow in 1988 and is renowned for being the leading Fine Art and Antiquities auctioneers throughout Russia, with offices throughout Europe in Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Prague, Riga, Warsaw and, recently opened, in London (Knightsbridge). It is the largest auction house in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The company carries out appraisals and makes expert examinations, holds auction sales, sells antiquities from its galleries and salons, forms private and corporate collections. Selling at auctions is generally practised and widely spread in the West. On the Russian market Gelos' activities are innovative. A report by Alena Lavrenova.
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