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POP UP in Cape Town

Publié le 29 Fév. 2016


Burchell’s Travels – The Life, Art and Journeys of William John Burchell and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) on World Book Day, 23 April 2016

On Saturday April 23, 2016 rare book dealers will focus world attention on rare books and associated materials. At this time, when UNESCO and many others throughout the world celebrate literacy, ILAB book dealers will once again run a worldwide 24 hour campaign to promote the trade and to raise money for literacy projects.

“The purpose of ILAB’s participation in World Book and Copyright Day is to spotlight rare books and bookselling while raising money for what is at the very foundation of all we do - literacy”, says Norbert Donhoffer, President of ILAB.

After a successful launch in 2015,, the online rare book auction platform based in Cape Town, South Africa, will participate once again in the international 24 hour event.  In association with publishing house Penguin Random House, will host a talk with Susan Buchanan, the author of the recently published “Burchell’s Travels: The Life, Art and Journeys of William John Burchell”, and other experts in the field.  Local collectors and botanists, local historians and the general public are invited and asked to make a donation on the day. All proceeds from the event will go to charity.


William John Burchell (23 July 1781 Fulham, London - 23 March 1863 Fulham) was an English explorer, naturalist, traveller, artist and author who arrived in Cape Town in November 1810 after several years as a naturalist on St Helena island. The following year he embarked on an epic journey through the Cape Colony, lasting four years and covering 7000 kilometres, mainly through unexplored terrain. During this time he collected over 50,000 plant and animal specimens and built a vast collection of sketches and paintings.  He is best known for his two-volume Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, his extraordinary map of the country, and for the many species of animals, birds and plants that are named after him.

As he explained his own scientific curiosity with strong Romantic sensibilities in the preface to the Travels:

“These collections consist of above sixty three thousand objects, inclusive of the duplicates, in every department of science… In addition to these results of the expedition, are about five hundred drawings, the subjects of which are landscapes, portraits, costume, zoology, botany, and a variety of other objects.”

Burchell is famous for his contribution to botany and Burchell’s  “Map of the Extratopical Part of Southern Africa” was a milestone in the mapping of South Africa. He completed his South African journey in April 1815. His life ended tragically. Suffering from depression, he took his own life in 1863.

To date, Burchell is regarded as a pioneer in botany and as scientific traveller. His work Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa is one of the most collectable Africana publications.

“I am sure that however much the family and I myself may wish to be passing time in England, yet you all know that too long a residence at Fulham begins at last to look very much like lost time: at least you may say that while absent I am doing something”

(William Burchell, source: Pickering, p. 238)



Susan Buchanan holds an honours degree in psychology and a master’s degree in English literature. Her English studies developed her interest in autobiography, 19th century literature, natural history and William Burchell. Susan is the author of Burchell’s Travels: The Life, Art and Journeys of William John Burchell, published by Penguin Random House in 2015.

Paul Mills, owner of Clarke’s Africana & Rare Books and the auction platform has been an active dealer in the international rare book trade for over 35 years and is a member of rare book trade associations such as ABA, ILAB and SABDA and various international rare book organisations and collectors clubs.

Dr. John Rourke is an expert on South African botanical history and was Curator at the Compton Herbarium, National Botanical Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa. He has published has published widely including important volumes on historical botany for the Brenthurst Press

Dr. Roger Stewart is a South African expert in maps. His diverse publications on Burchell have popularised the subject and the recently published book by Penguin Random House draws extensively on Stewart’s expertise.

Location & exact time for the talk will be confirmed within the next days.


In cooperation with Penguin Random House and is an online auction site dedicated to the sale of rare and out of print books, maps & prints, documents, letters, ephemera and vintage photography. Dealers and collectors worldwide have been selling and bidding on the site since 2010. Only established booksellers who are members of major national trade associations such as  ABA, ABAA, PBFA or SABDA or are of good standing in the trade are permitted to sell on the site.  Auctions are held every five weeks and run on the model of a timed auction for one week.  The next rare book auction date is 3-10th March 2016.






23 APRIL 2016!


is the umbrella organization of the professional rare book trade uniting 22 national associations and around 2000 rare book dealers in 34 countries worldwide.


CONTACTS:  Sally Burdon -    |  Barbara van Benthem -

February 2016 – For immediate release. Pictures: ILAB, UNESCO, the Organizers

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