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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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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

The Gravell Watermark Archive: Taking watermarks online

The Gravell Watermark Archive (www.gravell.org) is bringing together more than 50,000 watermarks from America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet. On the website, you can search for stags, swans, or unicorns, creatures from a medieval bestiary produced long ago by wire attached to a paper mould. (Watermarks are made by placing a design made with thin wire on a paper mould. The paper formed over the wire is thinner and translucent when held up to a light source.)
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Article

Pictures from Italy - ILAB President's Meeting in Siena, September 2013

"Siena is like a bit of Venice, without the water", Charles Dickens wrote in his "Pictures from Italy" (1846). Indeed, there are not enough words to describe the beauty of Siena in Tuscany, whose medieval centre has rightly been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Siena is famous for its art and culture, libraries and museums, the medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year on the Piazza del Campo, and most of all: for its magnificent atmosphere. The four days in Siena from 26th to 29th September, 2013, brought together 18 presidents of the League's 22 member associations. They came along together with their spouses from the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Russia, Hungary, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. Fabrizio Govi, president of the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ALAI), was the perfect host and organizer. He did not spare any effort to make the stay of the ILAB delegates as comfortable as possible and went to great lengths to prepare a very enticing programme. It provided the ideal background for a President's Meeting that gave interesting insights into recent developments of the rare book business along with fruitful and controversial discussions about the future of the trade.
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Article

New York Rare Book Week – 7-15 April 2015

It is the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the world. Now for the second time antiquarian book dealers, collectors, and the intellectually curious will gather in New York City for Rare Book Week from 7 to 15 April 2015. Rare Book Week - a coordinated effort to focus attention on the antiquarian book fairs, auctions, exhibitions, and bookish browsing available in New York City – is headlined by the 55th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair.
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Article

21st Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair

For two days in November, the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair is the place where the antiquarian book trade meets. Booklovers and bibliophiles have an opportunity to find some rare treasures. The new collector can meet specialist booksellers and browse the large variety of antiquarian and collectable books, maps, prints and ephemera. The Fair brings together over 75 renowned antiquarian booksellers in the historical venue of the Chelsea Old Town Hall in London. It is organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and all exhibitors are either members of the association or its international umbrella organization, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).
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Article

The New USTC Site

A helpful user brought to my attention the newly updated website for USTC (Universal Short Title Catalogue) which was just launched 4 days ago. For those unfamiliar with the project, its mission is to compile a "collective database" of all European printed books from the 15th and 16th century, with a later extension into the seventeenth century also in sight. I don't think I need to make a point of how useful this will be to anyone who does research relating to early printing.
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