Collecting Five Centuries of Printed Board Games


Collecting Five Centuries of Printed Board Games
Adrian Seville studies the history of printed board games, specialising in research on the Game of Goose and its many variants throughout Europe from the late sixteenth century to the present day. His research concerns the international diffusion of these games and their rich cultural history. He has a special interest in cartographic games and assisted the UK Government Department for Culture Media and Sport as an independent advisor regarding the export of the King George III cabinet of dissected maps, subsequently purchased by the Art Fund of England. He has assisted museums internationally and in the UK, including particularly the Bodleian Library, and Waddesdon Manor. He has given illustrated presentations in many countries and is a member of the Grolier Club of New York, where an exhibition of his personal collection of games is scheduled for 2016.

Though these spiral race games are simply played according to the throw of the dice, offering no choice of move, they are interesting objects to collect: often beautiful, and of historical and cultural importance in terms of amusement, education, propaganda or promotion. The numerology of the earliest games reflects medieval origins and tracing the iconography down the years is a rewarding pursuit, though the modern inventions can be equally absorbing.

Examples drawn from significant collections world-wide were presented, with an indication of the research tools useful in this specialised field. The collector also needs an awareness of the organisations and the markets that are involved, given that printed games are much less supported by reliable reference material than are books of comparable value.

The seminar took place on Tuesday 11 February 2014 at Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. 

The seminars are aimed at a broad audience including book-collectors, book-dealers, historians of all kinds, librarians, indeed at anyone with an interest in collecting any sort of text from the sixth-former to the retired professor. The atmosphere is informal, as are the presentations. They are held in the University of London’s Senate House and run from 6.00pm on the second Tuesday of each month. The seminars are free and open to the public. There is no need to book and all are very welcome.