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blackwell ’ s rare books 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BQ Catalogues on request 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BQ Catalogues on request 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BQ Catalogues on request General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics blackwell ’ s rare books 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BQ Catalogues on request 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BQ Catalogues on request General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics blackwell ’ s rare books ’ s General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics blackwell ’ s rare books General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics General and subject catalogues issued Recent subject catalogues include Modernisms, Sciences, and Greek & Latin Classics ’ 48-51 Broad Street,





Luis de Lucena, Repetición de amores, y Arte de ajedres , first edition of the earliest extant manual of modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold March 2018 for $68,750.

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644 France (without Paris and Normandy) 2 vols. B y Prof. Eberhard König and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. Both vols. € 200,- plus shipping 3 Catalogue 71 Tour de France –32 Manuscripts from the Regions of Catalogues 81–82 Paris mon Amour III–IV 40 Books of Hours from Paris 1460–1550, by nearly all important manuscript workshops of the time. 2 vols. By Prof. Eberhard König and Heribert Tenschert Royal-Folio. Each vol. 464 pages, 400 colour illustrations. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. EACH VOL. € 120.- PLUS SHIPPING France (without Paris and Normandy) 2 vols. B y Prof. Eberhard König and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. 50 Italian and Spanish illuminated manuscripts, 13th to 18th century. By Prof. E. König and Dr. H. Tenschert. Royal Folio; 504 pages with 350 colour ill . France (without Paris and Normandy) 2 vols. B y Prof. Eberhard König and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. Royal-Folio. 664 pages, 350 colour ill. Royal-Folio. 664 pages, 350 colour ill. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. Both vols. € 250,- plus shipping Both vols. € 250,- plus shipping Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. Both vols. € 200,- plus shipping 3 Catalogue 71 Tour de France –32 Manuscripts from the Regions of Catalogue 80 Paris mon Amour I–II Catalogue 61 Leuchtendes Mittelalter New Series VI 35 Illuminated Manuscripts from Paris and French Regions, 15th & 16th century. By Prof. Eberhard König, Dr. Ina Nettekoven and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. Royal-Folio. 576 pages with 319 colour ill. Full cloth, illustrated dust-jacket. Text in German. 3 Catalogue 67 Unterwegs zur Renaissance – Heading for Renaissance Catalogue 61 Leuchtendes Mittelalter New Series VI 35 Illuminated Manuscripts from Paris and French Regions, 15th & 16th century. By Prof. Eberhard König, Dr. Ina Nettekoven and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. Royal-Folio. 576 pages with 319 colour ill. Full cloth, illustrated dust-jacket. Text in German. 3 Catalogue 67 Unterwegs zur Renaissance – Heading for Renaissance 25 Books of Hours from Paris 1380 – 1460 by most of the leading artists of the time. 2 vols. By Prof. Eberhard König, Christine Seidel, Heribert Tenschert. 50 Italian and Spanish illuminated manuscripts, 13th to 18th century. By Prof. E. König and Dr. H. Tenschert. Royal Folio; 504 pages with 350 colour ill . Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. Both vols. € 200,- plus shipping 3 Catalogue 71 Tour de France –32 Manuscripts from the Regions of Catalogue 61 Leuchtendes Mittelalter New Series VI 35 Illuminated Manuscripts from Paris and French Regions, 15th & 16th century. By Prof. Eberhard König, Dr. Ina Nettekoven and Dr. Heribert Tenschert. Royal-Folio. 576 pages with 319 colour ill. Full cloth, illustrated dust-jacket. Text in German. 3 Catalogue 67 Unterwegs zur Renaissance – Heading for Renaissance Royal-Folio. 640 pages, 350 colour ill. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. BOTH VOLS. €200,- PLUS SHIPPING 50 Italian and Spanish illuminated manuscripts, 13th to 18th century. By Prof. E. König and Dr. H. Tenschert. Royal Folio; 504 pages with 350 colour ill . Catalogue 71 Tour de France – 32 Manuscripts from the Regions of France (without Paris and Normandy) 2 vols. By Prof. Eberhard König and Dr Heribert Tenschert. Heribert Tenschert Antiquariat Bibermühle AG | Bibermühle 1-2 | CH-8262 Ramsen | Switzerland Tel. +41 52 742 05 75 | Fax +41 52 742 05 79 | Royal-Folio. 664 pages, 350 colour ill. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. BOTH VOLS. €200,- PLUS SHIPPING Heribert Tenschert Antiquariat Bibermühle AG | Bibermühle 1-2 | CH-8262 Ramsen | Switzerland Tel. +41 52 742 05 75 | Fax +41 52 742 05 79 | Heribert Tenschert Antiquariat Bibermühle AG | Bibermühle 1-2 | CH-8262 Ramsen | Switzerland Tel. +41 52 742 05 75 | Fax +41 52 742 05 79 |

Royal-Folio. 664 pages, 350 colour ill. Illustrated hardcover. Text in German. Both vols. € 250,- plus shipping

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EDWARD THOMAS A newly discovered poetry notebook, December 1914 Sold for £52,500 *

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ILLUST { ATIONS Murray authors: a typical Drawing Room scene c. 1820 ������������������������������ 650 Proposals for Printing������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 666 ‘Frontispiece’ ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 670 ‘Puis il s’assit un moment...’������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 675 ‘Le devant du corps...’����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 678 A cheque for three copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover ���������������������������������������� 686 The following observations...��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 691 Advertisement�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 695 Binding on the Aldine Latin Orthography 1591����������������������������������������������� 706 In the library at Nostell Priory�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 711 The library at Shugborough Hall��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 711 Book room at Felbrigg Hall (detail)���������������������������������������������������������������������� 714 Francesco Pianta’s carvings (detail)����������������������������������������������������������������������� 717 The Mount Stewart shutters������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 720 Lost or fictional works of the Ancients���������������������������������������������������������������� 723 Nostell Priory jib door���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 726 ‘Sham backs for library doors’�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 730 Sir Quixote of the Moors and Radford’s ‘Old and New’ (Detail)�������������� 735 James Weatherup 1856–1935������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 740 Weatherup’s notes on his Bay Psalm Book��������������������������������������������������������� 743 The Ice Islands, 9th of January 1773 ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 760 Prize Bindings c.1900������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 768 Cover of The Monastery of Saint Werburgh ��������������������������������������������������������� 802 Ticket of J. Winstanley���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 803 William Reese�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 868

volume 67 no 4

winter 2018

Musings on 50 Albemarle Street John R. Murray���������������������������������������� 651 The Invention of Rare Books Robert Harding��������������������������������������������� 661 The Jolly Roger: Lady Chatterley’s Lover and its Pirated Editions Richard Owen������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 669 A Dibdin Rarity: George Lewis’s ‘Remarks’ on his Dispute With Thomas Frognall Dibdin Marie Elena Korey������������������������������������������������ 687 Hidden in Plain View: Decoration and Double Meaning in the English Private Library Ed Potten����������������������������������������������������������������� 707 Unwin’s ‘Poppies’ Series Paul McGrane������������������������������������������������������ 732 James Weatherup’s Great Find: the Discovery, Identification and Sale of a Copy of the Bay Psalm Book Anthony S. Drennan������������������������ 741 Voyages of an Eton Librarian Stephanie Coane�������������������������������������������� 758 The Evolution of Prize Bindings 1870–1940: their Design and Typography Lauren Alex O’Hagan�������������������������������������������������������������� 765 Pindar and Theocritus in the 16th Century Nicolas Barker�������������������������� 775 Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts at the British Library A. S. G. Edwards����������� 784 Hanckwitz’s Essay on Engraving and Copper-plate Printing Roger Gaskell 788 The AIB’s Northern Tour Anthony Davis�������������������������������������������������� 798 A Binding by John Winstanley of Manchester on The Monastery of Saint Werburgh: a Poem English and Foreign Bookbindings 136 David Knott 801 poem 814 ● news & comment 815 ● sales 849 ● catalogues 859 ● exhibitions 862 ● obituaries 867 ● letters 872 ● notes & queries 873 ● books received 875 ● book reviews 876 ● notes on contributors 885 ● list of advertisers 896 Editor : James Fleming. Deputy Editor : A.S.G. Edwards. Editorial Advisor : Toshiyuki Takamiya. Design : Prof. Phil Cleaver. Marketing : Silke Lohmann. Website : Sarah Bennett. Subscriptions and Advertising : Emma Brown , po box 1163, st albans, al1 9ws (07530 047470) ● We welcome correspondence, bibliographical queries and suggestions for articles. Please contact Editor at the book collector , 14 coxwell st, cirencester, gloucestershire, gl7 2bh , ● the book collector is published by The Collector Ltd.

A typical gathering of Murray authors in the Drawing Room c.1820 Courtesy of John Murray

Musings from 50 Albemarle Street john r. murray

As a publisher I helped to nourish the variety of the Murray’s list in the fields of history, travel, biography and art and archaeology but my position was always a mix of editor, salesman and administra- tor. One of my side interests was typography and design. When I was young my sister and I were given a small Adana hand printing press. Joe Tanner, director of the Frome printer Butler & Tanner that printed many Murray books, was a friend of my father and kindly supplied us with fonts of Bembo, Baskerville and Gill Sans. We used to print party invitations, Christmas cards, letter headings and suchlike for family and friends. This led to my fascination with printing and during later years I collected a wide range of printers’ specimen type books, books on design as well as runs of Alphabet & Images , Signature and the Newsletters of the Curwen Press. I pursued this particular interest and created a number of books, which I edited, designed and, on one occasion, typeset and bound myself. One of these was A Gentleman Publisher’s Commonplace Book . After my father Jock Murray’s death, I decided to make a selection from the enormous number of little blue notebooks in which he’d jot down any quotes, sayings or proverbs he came across whether wise, thoughtful, witty or sometimes simply dotty, and to assemble the best in a slim volume. I added illustrations from our archive by such as Osbert Lancaster, John Piper, John Betjeman, Kathleen Hale of Orlando fame and Johnnie Craxton as well as designs by Edward Bawden, Reynolds Stone and others. To my surprise we sold over 35,000 copies with four reprints. Another book I had fun produc- ing was Old Chestnuts Warmed Up , a volume of narrative verse I learnt by heart at school. Antonia Fraser reviewed it in the Literary Review as ‘an utterly delightful book. Inside you find a plethora of favourites’. Je V Fisher, a friend and well known for the jacket of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin , kindly designed the eye-catching cover


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and once again I had great fun illustrating it with all kinds of pictures from personal sources. Early on I learnt that to the Murrays publishing was a way of life and that work and play merged into each other. While I was at boarding school my father used to write me letters with the latest news of what was going on at 50 Albemarle Street, the home and later the publishing o Y ces of the Murrays since 1812. My father would describe how he went exploring parish churches with John Piper and John Betjeman in preparation for their county guides and how he would visit Dame Felicitas, Abbess of the enclosed order of Benedictine nuns at Stanbrook Abbey, to discuss with her through a grille her book In a Great Tradition . I also remember his description of the excitement when Paddy Leigh Fermor tracked down Byron’s slippers in Missolonghi and sent back a tracing of them to my father to check them against Byron’s boots in our collection. Then there was the evening spent in the drawing room at 50 Albemarle Street with Harold Nicolson and Peter Quennell reading through original Byron letters brought up from the archive, trying to discover what Byron was up to on a certain date in May 1815 that was a vital piece of information required by Harold Nicolson for a book he was writing. When my father read out a certain letter Harold Nicolson jumped to his feet exclaiming ‘so that’s where he was on that eve- ning!’ This gave me an idea of what the Murray style of publishing was like. My parents were close friends with their authors and there was clearly an overlap with the family as can be seen by the choice of their children’s godparents. Sir Francis Younghusband, who led Lord Curzon’s notorious invasion of Tibet in 1904, was my elder sister’s godfather, Freya Stark, the Arabian traveller, was my godmother, Osbert Lancaster, the cartoonist, writer and theatre designer, was my younger sister’s godfather and John Piper was my brother’s godfather. I found early on that the Murrays were often much more than publishers in their duties to their authors. John Murray II collected from the London docks the body of Byron’s illegitimate daughter Allegra, who had died in a convent in Italy, and arranged for her to be buried beside the porch of Harrow Church. John Murray III


musings from 50 albemarle street

organised for David Livingstone’s daughter to receive music lessons in Paris and provided her with pocket money. Freya Stark asked my father to send her a hip bath to the Hadhramaut by diplomatic bag, and Noni Jabavu, the first Bantu author to be published in English, asked me to send her a pot of Plush Prune nail varnish urgently. I had no idea how to procure this so I had to ask the advice of a young secretary. From 1812 the drawing room at 50 Albemarle Street became the great meeting place of authors, politicians, explorers, scientists and archaeologists. Walter Scott described these gatherings as ‘Murray’s Four o’clock Friends’. Its historic rooms are still lined with portraits of generations of authors including Byron, Walter Scott, Coleridge, Darwin, David Livingstone and those who came later. Up to 1928, when the publishing o Y ces took over, No. 50 was the home of the Murrays and in many ways my father continued to treat it as home. Indeed, it still has the feeling of a family house. After the Second World War he re-established the tradition of commissioning por- traits of his 20th-century authors and these now adorn the beautiful 18th-century staircase up to the first floor. When I’m in the main rooms alone in the evening as it gets dark, I can imagine the authors coming out of their frames like the scene in the haunted gallery in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore and picking up their conversations from where they’d left o V . In my father’s time, Osbert Lancaster always popped in for a gossip after doing his pocket cartoon for the Daily Express . John Betjeman was another regular visitor and a great friend. They had met at Oxford, and my father had taken an interest in his early poet- ry. Betjeman’s first collection, Mount Zion , was published privately in 1931 in a small hand-printed edition. My father took a copy to show his uncle old Sir John Murray, then head of the firm, saying ‘You won’t have heard of Betjeman, but I’m anxious to publish his verse.’ Sir John replied, ‘Poetry doesn’t pay. Betjeman? Probably a German. No, no, no.’ My father didn’t give up and sold his few shares in Bovril to finance the publication of Continual Dew in 1937 . It was Betjeman’s second book of poetry and included one of his most famous lines, ‘Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!’ My father would often take Betjeman to Murray’s warehouse where


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he enjoyed exploring the building and watching the sta V at work packing books. At his request, the same wrapping paper was used for the dust jacket of the first edition of Summoned by Bells . My father had great charisma and taught me how to get on with even the most di Y cult authors. An example of this is how he won over Kenneth Clark. Murray’s had published a few of Clark’s books before the enormous success of Civilisation in 1969. While the television series and book were being discussed with the BBC, Clark came to see my father and said, ‘Jock, I’ve signed and sealed the contract with the BBC.’ My father, in a way that only he could do, persuaded him that Murray’s would serve him best and he amazingly agreed that he should renegotiate the book rights with the BBC. This was a demonstration of Clark’s loyalty to my father, and it became the BBC’s first book to be jointly published with a commercial publisher. That year my father arranged for K’s royalty cheque to be put in the toe of his Christmas stocking. Who else could have got away with this? When I became a publisher myself I learnt a similar lesson. A publisher’s job was, it seemed to me, to give the best advice to an author for the success of his/her book. However, I quickly found that this was not always easy as authors rightly tend to be very pos- sessive about their writing and are usually experts on their subject. This was certainly the case with Peter Hopkirk who came to me with the typescript of his first book Foreign Devils on the Silk Road . This taught me that any ideas an editor may have, if they were to be adopted, should appear to come from the author. Having read the first draft of Peter’s book I realised it needed considerable attention and when I returned it to Peter, it was covered with my pencil sug- gestions. First, we immediately agreed on one point: that the end of one chapter should irresistibly lead the reader to the next one, an idea that Peter adopted as his own for this and all his later books. We had many tussles in the future but ours was a creative relationship. I had learnt always to see myself as a general reader and to persuade authors that a book was of little use if it was not intelligible to people like me. It was, I think, always assumed that I would join the family firm and in hindsight I suppose I should have seen myself as an iron filing


musings from 50 albemarle street

attracted to a magnet. After my time at Eton I went up to Magdalen College Oxford and not being academic I graduated with an excel- lent third-class honours degree in Modern History (this only went up to the end of the 19th century beyond that was ‘current a V airs’!). Speaking of Magdalen (and as a diversion), I was sitting there with a friend one evening reading an account by John Buchan of a walk he took from London to Oxford on a Sunday. In a fit of undergraduate enthusiasm we decided to follow his example and borrowing a friend’s car, drove to London and set o V on foot at 6 am from Hanger Lane. We followed the old A40 all the way to Oxford and walked exhausted twelve hours later into Hall at Magdalen for dinner. Just the kind of mad thing an undergraduate would do. On another occasion I swam the Bosphorus from Europe to Asia before wandering across Turkey to the Syrian border. I claimed to have followed in Byron’s footsteps (breaststrokes!) until someone reminded me that Byron swam the Hellespont not the Bosphorus (needing much greater stamina). On the way back to England I climbed Mount Parnassus by moonlight up a stream bed and was nearly eaten alive by one of the fierce mountain hounds trained to defend sheep from the rustlers. I luckily survived and managed to watch from the summit the sunrise over the Peloponnese. Three months later a backpacker was found dead in the mountain as a result of an unfortunate meeting with one of these bloodthirsty hounds. Before joining Murray’s in 1964, I decided I should learn some- thing about business and signed on to Ashridge Business School. There, far from learning how to cope with a small family publishing firm, I was trained to run businesses such as steel mills. I was almost the only person on the course coming from a company of under 500 employees. Murray’s had thirty-seven and unlike the others was more like a large family. When, on joining Murray’s I tried to im- plement critical path analysis to streamline the systems, I was firmly told by one of the packers in our warehouse, ‘Young John, you can’t possibly use that here’. There was an uproar and rightly so; the firm was too small for this to work and was also too steeped in tradition. I then spent some time in Frome at the printers, Butler & Tanner, where I decided for my apprenticeship to produce a little book of my own to demonstrate the skills I was learning. It was made up of a


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selection of quotes from letters sent to my ancestors describing their visits to 50 Albemarle Street. From such as Byron, Washington Irving, David Livingstone, Cavour and Herman Melville. It was entitled Variations on Number Fifty. A Limited edition compiled and printed by John Murray VII for his friends and the friends of Fifty Albemarle Street. It was illustrated by line drawings by Osbert Lancaster, of which I made steel repro plates, and I personally de- signed the cover showing the front door of No. 50. When I arrived at Butler & Tanner I was put under the supervision of a wonderful no-nonsense foreman. Reg had an incredible eye from years of ex- perience – and complete contempt for ‘new-fangled’ designers who had just come out from art school. He sensibly designed by eye not by measurement. In those days the print unions were all-powerful: you only had to touch the machinery or the stone for them all to go out on strike. As a concession I was allowed to typeset Variations on Number Fifty on a monotype machine, but I could only use Centaur as the letter ‘t’ was missing from the font and I had to insert each missing ‘t’ by hand. Because of this they were happy for me to set the book as I wasn’t depriving their members of any work. Once I was installed at Murray’s I was sent on an overseas mar- keting tour to meet our main overseas agents and booksellers. Wherever I went I received a warm welcome as everyone seemed to know of the famous house of John Murray. Oxford University Press had represented us for many years in Pakistan and India where I was to meet the Minister of Education. On arrival his secretary sat me down and asked me to wait. After I had waited a long time, I asked when my meeting would take place. He replied, ‘As soon as Mr. Murray arrives’. When I explained that I was Mr. Murray, the secretary told me that they had been expecting an elderly man with a long white beard. Murray’s and their books had been famous for so many years on the subcontinent that they clearly did not expect a youngster like me. We had a marvellous agent in Karachi who arranged for me to visit the Karachi Girls’ High School, where I planned to talk about Murray’s educational books with the head- mistress. However on arrival and without warning I was told I was to give a talk to the sixth form and was led to the assembly hall and guided onto the rostrum in front of a room full of beautiful Pakistani


musings from 50 albemarle street

girls wearing their shalwar kameez. I was naturally terrified, having had no time to prepare for this. However I was saved as, after start- ing hesitantly, I discovered that I had to pause after each sentence so that it could be translated into Urdu thus giving me a moment to think what next to say. When at the end there was a Q & A session I must admit I made up most of my answers but nobody seemed to notice. This was a useful experience as it taught me that I should always be prepared to speak wherever I went. The following years saw a great transition in the publishing world. The Standard Book Numbering system was being introduced and I was made responsible for responsible for implementing the system for Murray’s. Much of my time was now spent away from editing books as I became involved in the business side of the firm. Clearly if Murray’s was going to survive, it had to move with the times. So gradually we moved the entire business onto computers. Meanwhile we had a warehouse in Clerkenwell Road on five floors with a lift that moved at a snail’s pace. We were often several weeks behind with orders, and unbelievably still had an employee who remembered as a boy making deliveries to bookshops with a horse and cart. We decided to sell the warehouse and put our distribution in the hands of Grantham Book Services part of the Random House group. This proved an excellent move as Murray’s were publishers not distributors and had none of the essential skills needed for han- dling orders. During this time our sales were increasing considerably. Civilisation was selling vast numbers both in hard cover and paper- back and we were also selling millions of copies of D.G.Mackean’s Introduction to Biology. On the general side, 1975 saw the publication of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s novel Heat and Dust that won the Booker Prize and was later made into a film by Merchant Ivory Productions. In 1978, Patrick Leigh Fermor received the W.H.Smith Literary Award for the first volume of his travel autobiography, A Time of Gifts. Without our new distribution arrangement we would have been in serious trouble . Throughout my working life, and in the same way as my pre- decessors, I was totally immersed in the family publishing business not simply as a profession but as a way of life. To be working in


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a building that was world famous and attracting visitors (authors, ex-authors, friends, those who wished to visit the haunts of Byron, Water Scott, Darwin, Livingstone and others) added an interesting perspective to our normal publishing day. Many of our authors drew on original material in our archives for use in their books. In my free time away from publishing I have always found collecting rare books irresistible. Whenever travelling round the country I have invariably dropped into second-hand and antiquar- ian bookshops. Over the years I have built up a collection of early books on canals and railways as well as landscape design and atlases. These I dip into whenever I have moments to spare and they lift me out of the world of editing and the involvement of running a publishing house. One exciting discovery early on was when I tracked down a copy of Thomas Hornor’s Brief Account of the Colosseum, in the Regent’s Park, 1829, in an antiquarian bookshop run by a grumpy old book- seller called Stanley Crowe o V Museum Street, near the British Museum. It contains a wonderful panorama of London, sketched by Thomas Horner from a cradle that he built on top of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Paul Paget, who was then Surveyor of the Fabric of St Paul’s, kindly o V ered me the opportunity to go up onto the dome with him when it was being renovated. One of the builders working up there gave me a large square nail that he had just pulled out of the lead with his pliers. It fascinated me to think that one of Sir Christopher Wren’s workmen was the last person to touch that nail before I took it. It remains with my book collection. When I first came into publishing, it struck me that the lunch break was a complete waste of time. I decided with the journalist and writer Simon Jenkins that, during lunchtimes, we should prepare a book on the gables, pediments, turrets and other wonders above our heads. The plan was for him to produce the text and me the photo- graphs. As we both became too busy nothing happened until 2007. I then decided to complete it myself. It would be designed by our son Octavius with my text and photographs with the title London Above Eye Level . The book should really have been called A Passion for Looking Up , as it developed from my great interest in architectural detail above ground level.


musings from 50 albemarle street

I was always determined that neither of our two sons should feel obliged to join the firm. Octavius, our elder son, after a period as a drummer in a band, performing on one occasion at Glastonbury, studied Typography and Graphic Design at Reading University and Edinburgh College of Art. He is now a free-lance graphic designer and occupies an o Y ce at the back of No. 50. He designs books for the Bodleian, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Collections Trust and Kew amongst others. He has also designed several books for me including the book I wrote for the Roxburghe Club, The Brush has Beat the Poetry ! Illustrations to Lord Byron’s Works. It was the first Roxburghe Club book to be produced by a member and designed by his son. Now that the publishing house has been sold there is no danger that either he or our younger son, Charlie, who has gone into television, will be will be sucked into Murray’s as I was. By the late sixties authors began to use literary agents to negotiate for them. In most of my father’s time there were few middlemen and he always dealt directly with his authors and in this way had built up a very close and loyal relationship with them. This also meant that he would often look after much more than just their books, acting as a kind of confidante to them and more often than not sorting out their financial or sometimes their amatory a V airs. His great strength was that his authors always trusted him. He would give them sound advice on any problems they had and this was why they remained so loyal to him. Those who did leave him tempted away by high advances from literary agents quite often returned when they found that their new publisher did not give them the support they had received at Murray’s. My father was also particularly fortunate in attracting authors with private means who were not dependent on advances and who appreciated the Murray’s special qualities that their extraordinary history and friendship could o V er. When Billy Collins, head of the publishing giant William Collins, took Patrick Leigh Fermor to lunch and promised to double any advance that Murray’s o V ered him, Paddy was sharp with his answer: ‘Mr Collins, do you realise that Jock Murray is my publisher?’ and walked out. Billy Collins tried this on many Murray authors and received the same brush-o V . However, Murray’s never stood in the way of an author who wished to leave because of financial reasons.


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We always realised that with mortgages to pay and children to ed- ucate, it was understandable that they should accept a higher o V er. We would say goodbye yet always remained friends. By the millennium I realised that it was time for us to sell the firm and I was determined that we should do this while it was enjoying success. By this time I had seen Gollancz, Deutsch and Dent and other medium-sized publishers with whom I had worked closely go under or be absorbed by the large conglomerates. Nick Perren, our brilliant managing director, shared with me the view that the days of the medium-sized independent publisher were clearly coming to an end and after over 234 years of independence (longer than any other publisher of our kind in the world) we decided we needed to find a good home for the imprint. Nick rightly assessed that Hodder was a firm that would benefit from Murray’s list and had the finances to support the imprint as an important part of their group. In 2002 he skilfully negotiated the take-over with Tim Hely Hutchinson, who promised to keep the Murray imprint and to cherish its reputation. Sixteen years after the sale, Murray’s remains a separate and thriving imprint and Hodder benefits from its remarkable history. The most di Y cult part of selling the firm for me was keeping the planned sale completely secret until it had taken place and I was not even able to breathe a word of it to members of our own family. Luckily I had the full support of my wife Virginia and my brother Hallam (the only two members of the family in the know). For weeks before the sale, we spent time writing over 1000 letters, signed personally by me, to authors, agents, booksellers, friends and colleagues and also the Press explaining why we had decided to sell. All the letters were posted on the same day, timed to arrive the day of the actual sale. It was heart warming that the response was so positive. Everyone appreciated why we were making this move and congratulated us for taking such a brave step. Luckily it was possible to retain 50 Albemarle Street in our family trust and we continue to work there and to welcome visitors as we have in the past. Hopefully this will continue for another two hundred years.


The Invention of Rare Books 1 robert harding

There are common rare books, scarce rare books, and rare rare books. How this apparent conundrum came to become accepted in the 200 years from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries was the subject of David McKitterick’s Panizzi Lectures at the British Library in 2015. He has now greatly expanded on these in The Invention of Rare Books: Private Interest and Public Memory, 1600–1840. McKitterick asks how, in the age before the near-omnivorous collecting of modern national libraries, and faced with an ever-­ increasing avalanche of old printed books in circulation (due not just to the massive expansion in production during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but also to the natural dispersal of older collec- tions culminating in the continent-wide upheavals stemming from the French Revolution), a consensus was reached among scholars, librarians, collectors, and booksellers on defining a corpus of older books that should be considered suitable for both the private and institutional library? This gradual process resulted in the first steps towards modern bibliographical standards and the ‘orderly setting out of editions in a comprehensive way that has survived to be still acceptable today.’ In this wide-ranging investigation McKitterick also aims to make a second and larger enquiry: ‘how are canons of knowledge, of reading, of taste or of values constructed?’ While the answers have changed over time these are, as he notes, questions faced by today’s librarians in the face of an overload of born-digital, printed, and manuscript materials, all demanding preservation. Rarity was not, then, a statistical actuality (that has only come, 1 . the invention of rare books : Private Interest and Public Memory, 1600– 1840 by David McKitterick. Cambridge University Press, 2018. Pp.xii, 450 inc b/w illus. isnb 978-1-108-42832-3 Hardback. £ 45


the book collector

albeit still imperfectly, in the modern age) nor was it even a matter of perception until well into the period considered as the number of printed sales records and other bibliographical resources built up. It was, and in many ways still is, more a matter of merit or admiration, in the ‘O Rare Ben Jonson’ sense. McKitterick is interested in establishing what criteria made a particular book worthy of distinction from the common mass and therefore made it worthy of preservation, of competition for possession, and of bibliographical record. What it was, indeed, that made it valuable, not only financially but also historically. It was, as he notes, ‘no sudden discovery. It was a prolonged a V air, proceeding at di V erent speeds in di V erent subjects and di V erent lit- eratures, and it was expressed in several di V erent ways.’ In order to achieve this manageable corpus, entire categories of books, mostly but not exclusively in more popular genres such as lighter literature, personal piety, domestic economy and technical manuals that were genuinely rare were excluded from the corpus of acceptable books. Exclusion could be ruthless; as McKitterick notes, in 1805 La Serna Santander suggested that of the 15,000 editions he calculated had been printed in Europe in the fifteenth century, ‘it would be di Y- cult to find 1,500 worth the attention of the curious, and justifying a special place in libraries’. In what sometimes seems like a litany of bibliographical saints McKitterick clearly has a number of special heroes. One of the first was Lamoignon’s librarian Adrien Baillet whose encyclopedic com- pilation of Jugemens des savans sur les principaux ouvrages des auteurs (9 volumes, 1685–6) is ‘of especial interest in understanding the emerging priorities that were to a V ect taste for future generations. In particular, and besides the considerable range of his reading in di V erent subjects, he gathered a conspectus of printers who could be regarded as exemplifying the best of the past, sometimes thanks to the accuracy of their editions, sometimes because of the appearance of their books, sometimes (ideally) thanks to both.’ Thus attention was drawn to the work of the better early printers such as Aldus, the Estiennes, and the Elzeviers who have retained their high position among collectors (except and only recently for the last) to today. This increasing appreciation of typography led in part,


the invention of rare books

McKitterick suggests, by the production of type-specimens in book- form that could be bound and shelved with other books, inspired fashions for purchasing and lavishly binding (though apparently seldom reading) handsome books from the contemporary presses of, for example, Tonson, Baskerville, Bodoni and Didot. Once a concern for the appearance of books had developed taste naturally turned to matters such as paper quality (and size, with an increasing attention paid to Large Paper copies) and ‘external appearances’, by which we mean fine bindings. This applied equally to older books and ‘was driven less by antiquarian enthusiasm than by taste in modern books. Their importance was more social than textual. They provided a measure of wealth, masquerading as taste.’ It’s important to recall though, as McKitterick warns, that such tastes were always for the minority with economy usually overcoming extravagance - ‘for most book collectors these were irrelevancies’. Most copies of most books were plainly bound for utility rather than show. The fine balance between economy and extravagance can be par- ticularly seen at work in auction and trade catalogues where the costs of printing dictated that descriptions should be as short as possible, as indeed they were until such copy-specific information as large paper, morocco bindings or gilt spines began to be detailed, albeit often contracted into a system of initials, after 1660. While noting that ‘tastes developed among sections of the bibliophile community in the second half of the seventeenth century for books with deco- rated spines, as part of the furnishing of a room’, McKitterick does not equate this ‘surge of interest’ with the great turn-round that took place as books that had been stored ever since they were removed from chests or desks and placed on shelves with their spines inwards were turned-round and replaced with their spines outwards. This created a sudden demand for gilt-tooled spines with title-labels both on new bindings and added to old ones, a taste most obvious to vis- itors to Samuel Pepys’s library at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Nor does he consider the economic imperative: it could well be cheaper to buy an older edition in a handsome binding at auction or from a bookseller than to buy a new one and then have to pay to have it bound as well.


the book collector

This was a socio-economic impact on the market that is an exception to McKitterick’s general theme of evolving bibliograph- ic progress. He sees printed bibliography largely as proactive rather than reactive, as the determiner of taste rather than the result: ‘As a general rule, collecting followed bibliographical guidance.’ This is exemplified in a letter (which he does not quote) that James Mowat wrote from Paris on 30 January 1663 to William Kerr, third Earl of Lothian: I have bought and payed all the bookes mentioned in the incloas’d memoir, all bond in one fazon, de veau marbre , with the titles in gould letter on the back. I will say nothing of the handsome and proprenes, only that knowing men hath mad esteeme of them. 2 Another bibliographic hero, and one of the first to apply some methodology to his perception of rarity, was the Italian-born Nicola Francesco Haym whose Notizia de’ libri rari della lingua Italiana (London, 1726) cannot be separated from his work in London as a composer and librettist of Italian operas, the fashion that had been introduced by returning Grand Tourists and Italian residents in London. An extract from Haym’s address to the reader (here translated from the Italian) is almost McKitterick’s thesis writ small and as he does not draw on it in detail, it seems worth quoting: As well as the author and the subject attention has also been paid to the merit of the impression, in the quality of the types used, the correctness of the text, whether it is fuller than other editions, and often, and this is of some importance, the quality of the paper used, and had the mean- ness of printers not been joined to another step, it is certain we would not see printing in such a state of deterioration compared with what it was in its earliest days; and if it were not for the fact that today some few printers who are ashamed of present abuses, know their own power to maintain this noblest of arts, we should see it reduced to nought. Thus books printed from about 1460 until 1600 and shortly afterwards are more sought after and valued than those printed later. … A crucial factor in Haym’s ground-breaking book (which in 2 . Correspondence of Sir Robert Kerr, First earl of Ancram and his son William, third earl of Lothian , Edinburgh 1895, Vol. II, p. 531.


the invention of rare books

its later revisions remained a standard work into the nineteenth century) was his use of an asterisk to mark those books which are ‘rarest among the rare’ and to grade the relative rarity of others. Haym’s view on the use of booksellers’ catalogues for reference is also worth quoting although twenty years later some had improved enough for McKitterick to devote a chapter to another of his heroes, Thomas Osborne and his retail catalogues of the great Harleian Library (5 volumes, 1743–5) which had descriptions ranging from a single line to hundreds of words though their use for reference was hampered by the absence of printed prices which were by then becoming the norm: I have abstained from using the almost infinite number of booksellers’ catalogues of books for sale in their shops as they are generally compiled by people of little intelligence, or even by booksellers themselves, and are not precise and therefore not to be trusted … However, I distinguish from these the catalogues written and published by highly intelligent people, such as those of the libraries in Naples. Florence, and so on … As McKitterick notes of Haym’s book, ‘there had been nothing quite like it in England before.’ On a scale even larger than the Harleian dispersal was the sale in Paris of the library of the duc de la Vallière (‘the greatest library to be assembled in late eighteenth-century France’). The library was consigned for auction to the erudite bookseller Guillaume de Bure, author of the influential Bibliographie instructive (7 volumes, 1763– 8), who employed the young Joseph van Praët (future librarian of the Bibliothèque Royale) to catalogue the manuscripts. The nine volumes of catalogues for the two series of sales (1783–4) were pio- neering in including illustrations, an expensive investment justified by the high prices achieved. They ‘became part of the bibliography of collecting, to be referred to – if more rarely read – when bench- marks were sought for rarity or for value.’ Passing over the enthusiastic but much-ridiculed influence of the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, McKitterick’s last great hero is Jacques-Charles Brunet, who ‘was to have easily the widest influence, far beyond his own country, far beyond England, and far beyond his own times.’ His Manuel du Libraire, et de l’amateur


the invention of rare books

du livres first appeared in 1810 and in its final much-revised and supplemented edition (1860–5) is the only one of all those earlier works whose comments on rarity are still occasionally quoted by booksellers today (at least by those who can find nothing else to say . Maggs currently quote his assessment of a 1545 Estienne Lucan: ‘Bonne édition, peu commune’) McKitterick’s concentration on trade and auction catalogues gives a somewhat unbalanced view of the 200 years he covers as only those libraries dispersed in the period tend to be discussed. Hence there is no mention of the extraordinary recently-dispersed library at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire that had been created by two suc- cessive Earls of Macclesfield in the eighteenth century which, with its emphasis on scientific books of all periods, was distinguished from most private libraries formed at the time. The large library of mostly post-1660 books formed on universal enyclopedist princi- ples by George II’s wife Queen Caroline in the second quarter of the century is not mentioned either, while the great libraries formed by the sixth Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth and the second Earl Spencer at Althorp merit only passing references. The bibliophily of Queen Caroline extended beyond her court into literary patronage and an intellectual salon while the bibliomania of King George III had a great e V ect on competition for incunabula and early English books and, hence, on auction prices. Where their interests led, others in high society, or aiming to be there, would often follow and so on down the line. Later royal generations would have similar e V ects on game-shooting and horse-racing. Queen Caroline’s library makes us realise what a male world it was that McKitterick describes. The index includes only three women with even passing mentions: Katherine Bridgeman whose ‘books included little of value … [so] were listed with as little expense as possible’ in Cock’s auction catalogue of February 1741/2; Catherine de Medicis because she received a specially-bound large paper dedication copy of Jacques Bassantin’s Astronomique discours (Lyon, 1557) and other elaborate bindings; and Elizabeth-Jane Weston because she wrote a Latin poem in praise of printing. Although McKitterick’s title promises to cover the years 1600–1840 it is only on reaching the conclusion that the reader will


the book collector

understand why the first decades of the seventeenth are dealt with relatively cursorily. Despite the title the intention was to cover the period ‘from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centu- ries’, beginning when printed auction and retail catalogues start to become the norm. In asking what it was that made an old book ‘rare’ David McKitterick has raised questions that are still valid today. As he concludes: ‘The challenge, what to keep and how to keep it, is in fact simply an old question posed in a twenty-first century context.’ With its chronological as well as thematic approach McKitterick has produced a historiography of pre-analytical printed bibliog- raphy in the period 1640–1840 that should be read by everyone interested in the field. The book is let down only by its illustrations, mostly of title-pages, which are printed in the grey sludge that only Cambridge University Press seems to use. What rare books one should buy may, perhaps, be summed-up in Arnold Bennett’s words in Literary Taste (1909) as recently quoted by ‘J.C.’ in The Times Literary Supplement : Buy! Buy whatever has received the imprimatur of critical authority. Buy without immediate reference to what you read. Surround yourself with volumes as handsome as you can a V ord.


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