Bookseller offers rarity that inspired Charlotte Brontë


A rare first edition of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds belonging to Frances Currer, the woman believed to have inspired Charlotte Brontë’s pseudonym of Currer Bell, has come to light.

Dubbed “England’s earliest female bibliophile” in Seymour de Ricci’s history of collectors, Frances Mary Richardson Currer’s library in her family home of Eshton Hall, Yorkshire, ran to 15,000 to 20,000 volumes. Among them lay Bewick’s classic of British ornithology - the work Jane Eyre is reading as Charlotte Brontë’s novel opens, and whose “enchanted page[s]” the author also celebrated in poetry.

by Alison Flood, The Guardian 

Books Change Lives!


On April 23rd and celebrated all over the world, the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day offers book lovers amazing events promoting the essence of reading andthe culture of the book. This day will also be a special day for ILAB. Starting the day in Australia, the ILAB Pop Up Fairs will open one after another from Australia to Asia to South Africa to Europe to the United States. For 24 hours these worldwide events will be followed up with pictures and reports in the media and on the ILAB website.

Imagine a Pop Up Book Fair in an unexpected location - a library foyer, another dealer's premises, an up market car dealer’s premises, a railway station, or a woolshed in Australia. These are the type of places that some of your colleagues around the world will be exhibiting in. Venues for pop up fairs are only limited by the imagination….

For more information or to join us, please visit ILAB

The World's Expert Antiquarian Booksellers in One Book!

ILAB DirectoryThe new edition of the ILAB Directory has recently been published. The Directory gives easy access to information on the almost 2,000 ILAB booksellers around the world that are experts in their chosen fields and stand behind the ethical standards of ILAB. In this new electronic world you will find this expertise and adherence to standards an essential part in making your buying experience a pleasant one. The ILAB Directory, in a wonderful new design, will be handed out at all major ILAB Book Fairs from California to Paris, New York, London, Boston, Amsterdam, Milan, Stuttgart and Melbourne.

All who want to have a look at it, before they hold the printed version in their hands, are able to download the PDF right here from the ILAB website!

London Walks for People Who Love Books

Regency BooksBooksteps Walks in London

London Walks for People Who Love Books

Come and hear the stories and the scandals behind London’s dignified buildings with qualified guide lecturer and distinguished bibliophile and scholar, Anthony Davis.

Anthony’s ‘thoroughly enjoyable’ walks offer a unique perspective on London – exploring little known corners associated with the writers, creators and collectors of books from before the beginnings of printing to the present day.

For full details see the website at booksteps.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth I's most famous 'conjurer'

John Dee

Major exhibition at Royal College of Physicians reveals the fascinating life, times and lost library of Queen Elizabeth I's most famous 'conjurer'.

John Dee (1527–1609) is an intriguing character from 16th century England. A member of the Elizabethan court, he is infamous for his attempts to make contact with other-worldly spirits and his study and practice of alchemy. He was also a mathematician and scholar of navigation, a founding fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, a university lecturer on rhetoric, and an astrologer.

Dee’s library was one of the most famous collections of books and manuscripts of its time, as renowned for its contents as for the fact it was pillaged and dispersed while Dee was travelling in Europe during the 1580s.

Collecting Association Copies - Christopher Edwards

Christopher EdwardsThe March 2015 seminar in the book-collecting series organised jointly by the Institute of English Studies (London University) and the ABA Educational Trust will be given by bookseller Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards has been an independent dealer in rare books for more than twenty years. He will talk about Association Copies – what they are, how to spot them, and what makes them valuable to the dealer, collector and scholar. Examples from his own collection will be passed around.

Make a note in your diary: 6pm on Tuesday 10th March 2015 – Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. The seminars are free and open to the public. There is no need to book and all are very welcome.

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Olympia Book Fair 2015

aba olympia 2015 short logo

Applications for stands at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair, Olympia 2015 are now being accepted from ILAB Members worldwide.  If you areinterested in exhibiting, please contact the ABA Office for the application form.  The closing date for applications - to secure your first choice of stand type - is 31st January 2015, after which bookings will be placed where space allows. 

We are also recruiting new exhibitors into LIVE!, an area of the fair where the world of book comes intriguingly to life.  Applications are being accepted from organisations, businesses and professional craftspeople that are linked in some way to the book.  Many of the exhibitors will give demonstrations and run workshops in subjects such as bookbinding, calligraphy, printing and wood engraving etc.  Please contact the ABA Office if you are interested in exhibiting, or know someone who might be.


New Associate Member - Clare Trimming (Beaux Books)

Clare TrimmingLast year marked the twentieth anniversary of my first foray into the antiquarian book trade. In 1994 I spent two weeks covered in book-dust helping out amongst the stacks at Bloomsbury Book Auctions.  It wasn’t the most glamorous of beginnings but something about the buzz of the auction, the chance discovery and the friendliness of the Bloomsbury crowd got to me and I was hooked.

I returned to Bloomsbury occasionally whilst at university. A fortuitous meeting there with John Sims led to a permanent job at Sims Reed and I moved from auctions into dealing. 

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ABA New Member - Julian Roberts

Julian RobertsI have always had an interest in books and libraries; well, for as long as I remember anyway. Not the sort of highly visible, glamorous Country House library but more the private library – the “guilty pleasure” – put together by one and to be shared by one and one only; these small libraries are often strictly devoted to a single subject and are collected with furious and determined ambition. I am in tune with this type of collecting and indeed it was this sort of driving passion that led to me dealing full time in books nearly twenty years ago ...

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Message from the new ABA Secretary - Camilla Szymanowska

Camilla SzymanowskaI am delighted to take up office at the ABA, and look forward to working with members in the coming months.  After nearly a decade on the shop floor [at Sokol Books and Bernard Quaritch], I am much enjoying the chance to see the bigger picture that life in the office affords.

Several members have come to me with initiatives, some of which are already being worked upon and will be implemented with all due haste.  Should you have any ideas of your own, I am very willing to hear them, and can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Camilla Szymanowska

Masters Courses in the History of the Book

BookmanThe MA/MRes Masters Courses in the History of the Book are organised by the Institute of English Studies (School of Advanced Study) at London University. They provide an unrivalled base for the study of a subject that has been the focus of increasing scholarly attention over the past thirty years. Originally considering mainly physical aspects of the book and the details of its manufacture and trade, scholars have come to see the study of the book as an aid to understanding literary texts and as a focus for insight into social, cultural and intellectual processes in history ...

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€500 Million Ponzi Scheme


The cosily niche books and manuscripts market may be about to be hit by one its biggest scandals in recent years. And Paris's Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, as well as itssister organization the Institut des Lettres et Manuscrits, is in the eye of the storm.

Le Point reported that on November 18, France's anti-fraud brigade raided the museum and the various branches of Aristophil, a company owned by the museum's founder, Gérard Lhéritier. The company is suspected by the tax authorities and Tracfin—a public body fighting money laundering and terrorism financing—of “deceptive marketing practices," and “gang fraud." At time of writing, the Aristophil website as well as the websites for the museum and the institute appear to have been taken offline.

The implications of the case are far-reaching, and could have significant impact on the rare manuscripts world as a whole. According to Le Parisien, Lhéritier owns five percent of the global books, letters, and manuscripts market, worth an estimated €3 billion a year.

Read the full article by Coline Milliard (on Art Net News) here

London Rare Books School

bookmanA series of five-day, intensive courses on a variety of book-related subjects. The courses are taught in small groups by internationally renowned scholars using the unrivalled library and museum resources of London, including the British Museum, the British Library, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Senate House Library. Each course consists of thirteen seminars amounting in all to twenty hours of teaching time spread between Monday lunchtime and Friday afternoon. All courses stress the materiality of the book so you can expect to have close encounters with remarkable books and other artefacts from some of the world's greatest collections.

Organised by the Institute of English Studies in the University of London at Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. 

Website: London Rare Books School 


Next Fair


Edinburgh Book Fair - 6th & 7th March 2015

The 2015 Edinburgh PBFA & ABA joint Book Fair is looming and marked in every bibliophile’s calendar we are sure. The Edinburgh Book Fair represents an important union between the two pre-eminent national bookseller associations and this two-day event provides an excellent opportunity to see and buy a wide selection of rare, antiquarian and secondhand books, manuscripts, ephemera and artwork from some of the country's leading bookdealers.

Venue: Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1TH

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Fairs and Events

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

Henry David Thoreau.