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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Japan

Collecting Rare Books and Prints - Japanese Surimono

Published on 03 Dec. 2014
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

Published on 15 May 2012
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

Published on 23 Feb. 2012
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

Published on 20 Sept. 2011
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

Published on 13 Sept. 2011
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

Published on 14 July 2011
"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

Nominated for the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography – R. J. Howgego’s Encyclopedia of Exploration

When the Prize Jury meets in fall 2013, its members - Felix de Marez Oyens (B.H. Breslauer Foundation), David Adams (Manchester University), Jean-Marc Chatelain (Bibliothèque Nationale de France), Poul Jan Poulsen (Aldus Antikvariat), Umberto Pregliasco (Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco), and Arnoud Gerits (A. Gerits & Son) - will look over more than 70 bio-biographical studies on a wide range of subjects. One of them is Raymond John Howgego's Encyclopedia of Exploration.
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Article

When will we meet again? - First impressions from the ILAB Congress in Paris 2014

It was his first ILAB Congress – and certainly not the last one. Peter Fritzen, a specialist for rare books, maps and prints who runs a wonderful bookshop in Trier (Germany), was among the – regrettably - very few German dealers who took part in the 41st ILAB Congress in Paris from 13th to 16th April 2014. If you read his enthusiastic report, you will soon realize why ILAB Congresses are so special and why you, for sure, will not miss the next big event in Hungary in 2016.
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Article

Collecting John Updike

If you want to collect John Updike in detail, you'd better build an addition onto your library. Its not true that he publishes a new book every week, it just seems like it, and his cheery indifference to writers' block has probably made him an editor's dream. He is generous with his signature, and apparently open to offers from publishers of limited editions.
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Article

'Tome raider' jailed again for stealing antique books

"A Cambridge graduate who stole more than £1m worth of rare books during his career as a professional book thief was today found guilty of stealing £40,000's worth of books from a celebrated library."
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Article

A Collector’s Primer to the Wonders of Fore-edge Painting

One of the most unusual types of book decoration is fore-edge paintings. These are books which have one or more of the top, fore or bottom edge painted – usually with watercolors. The typical form is a book with a single fanned fore-edge painting. In the twentieth century other forms have developed, including the double fore-edge or even the remarkable six-way painting where all three sides of the book have a double.
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Article

Canada: The Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair, 8 -10 November, 2013

By most accounts, the change of venue for the 2013 Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair (TIABF) to the Frank Gehry designed Art Gallery of Ontario (known locally as the AGO) was a resounding success (I say most and not all, only because I didn't speak to every exhibitor).
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