Rare Books London - London's festival of old and rare books – June 2019

June 2019

Book Fairs

Book Fairs
Sunday 19th May 2019 10:00am

ETC Bloomsbury Book Fair (May)

During the Summer Etc Fairs run special editions of their Bloomsbury Book Fair as part of Rare Books London.

Royal National Hotel Bedford Way London WC1H 0DG
Book Fairs
Sunday 2 June 11am - 4pm (10am entry for members with membership cards)

Ephemera Society Fair

A window into the past for both the curious and the collector — find rare, unusual and historic paper items, priced from £2 to over £2000. A huge range of ephemera will be on display. The fairs will be on for one day only so make a note in your diary now!


Entry £3

Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London WC1N 1HT
Book Fairs
Thursday 6th June 12noon - 7pm and Friday 7th 10am - 7pm

PBFA London Antiquarian Book Fair

Over 100 bookseller professionals from across the UK, Europe and North America will be offering their books, maps, prints, photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera for sale.  Entry is free – all welcome! Email organiser: info@pbfa.org

ILEC Conference Centre, Ibis London Earls Court Hotel 47 Lillie Road, London SW6 1UD
Book Fairs
Friday 7th June 12pm - 8pm Saturday 8th June 11am - 7pm Sunday 9th June 11am - 5pm

Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair

The ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will be staged in beautiful Battersea Park. This major three-day event is one of the largest and most prestigious antiquarian book fairs in the world. Showcasing rare, unique and unusual items from more than 170 leading UK and international dealers, Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair is the jewel in the crown of Rare Books London. Specialisms range from unique manuscripts to fiction, world travel to cookery. Also enjoy expert guided tours, temporary exhibitions and Live! – where book related specialists come to provide workshops and talks.



Entry is £20 for Two on opening day, Friday 7 June.

If you provide your first and last name, and your email address, you can register for a free Ticket for Two for use on any of the three days of the Fair. Simply go to our website to register for free tickets.



22/05/2019 5:30 pm - 7:30pm

London Old and Middle English Research Seminar (LOMERS)

The seminar aims to include contributions from both leading medievalists and from new members of the London medievalist community, to encourage participation from graduate students, and to range as widely as possible within the fields of Old English and Middle English studies. The selection of topics offers a balance of detailed analysis and more general theoretical / methodological or historical discussion. The seminar fosters a friendly spirit of collaboration among London medievalists and is an essential and vital forum where London medievalists can meet, exchange ideas, and keep abreast of current trends in medieval studies.


Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
03/06/2019 6:30 am

Toward Inclusive Bibliography

Bibliography implies community. It focuses on understanding the creation and circulation of texts as physical objects; and implicitly recognizes that behind each surviving object, no matter how small, there are communities at work: booksellers and collectors, volunteers saving a local organizers’ flyers in their closets, the curatorial staff at a museum. Yet at the same time, bibliographical teaching and scholarship have historically focused on a narrow range of materials and creators, even while broadening in chronological range and subject matter. Having centered a canon defined by Western European values, the discipline has built a body of knowledge in which large gaps remain to be filled, especially regarding groups kept outside of centers of political and institutional power on the basis of their race, ability, class-background, gender identity or sexual orientation, or any combination of these factors. This panel aims to highlight the work of people filling those gaps, with the explicit intention of demonstrating how bibliographical scholarship and practices can be channeled toward a more realistic understanding of historic and contemporary relationships between people and texts. Our conversation looks to expand bibliographies and the communities they connect by broadening our view of who does bibliography, and how. Panelists Eyob Derillo (British Library), Hudda Khaireh (Thick/er Black Lines artist collective/OOMK) and Brooke Palmieri (Camp Books),  offer perspectives from traditional sites of bibliographical practice – the bookshop, the library, and the academy – as well as from marginalized or minority groups working as “bibliographers” on their own and for themselves. This panel aims to fill gaps not only by enumerating and analyzing more material, but also by including and recognizing new voices and perspectives in the conversation. Fuchsia Voremberg (Maggs) will moderate. A note about access to Maggs: the floor of Maggs on which the event will be held is not wheelchair accessible. They recently restored their lift, but since this is a historic building, the lift shaft runs to landings of the stairwell rather than the main upstairs levels. Therefore access to the event will be limited by one flight of 15 steps either up or down. The event will be recorded by video and posted to YouTube, and anyone who cannot attend in person can email bsa@bibsocamer.org to be notified when the video is published online.

For more information about the panelists, including biographical statements and abstracts of their presentations, please follow the link below!

Maggs Bros. Ltd. Rare Books and Manuscripts, Bedford Square, London, UK
Saturday 8th June

“‘Unreal City’: Journey to the dark side of London”

Unreal City is the new art photography book by international award winning photographer Adriaan van Heerden. Unreal City is a photographic conversation with The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot’s modernist poetic masterpiece. The book comprises 85 black and white photographs (accompanied by lines of text from the poem) which present London as if it were the waste land. The book reflects many of the themes of the poem: a feeling of alienation; the failure of people to connect meaningfully; the cruel demands of the City; the failure of religion to provide comfort in this broken world; and the apparently unbridgeable divide between rich and poor.

Join Adriaan and the book’s designer, Claire Parsons Brown, on a journey through this exciting and important project, and discover how Adriaan set about translating Eliot’s words into pictures nearly 100 years after they were written. Claire will provide a first hand view of how the choice of font, papers, design elements and printing process helped to bring the ideas behind the book to life. A 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A session.

To book, register for free tickets to Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair at the link below.

Firsts - London's Rare Book Fair, Battersea Evolution, Queenstown Road, London SW8 4NW
4th June 2019, 17.30-19.30

Library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649)

Dr Jean-Pascal Pouzet of the University of Limoges discusses the Library of Richard Holdsworth

One of the few Masters of Emmanuel College Cambridge, before the late 20th century, to have been elected from outside the College. Richard Holdsworth was a Fellow of St. John’s from 1613.

Holdsworth – academic, preacher, theologian and bibliophile – bequeathed his entire library to the University of Cambridge. This bequest represented a harvest of book-collecting over some 40 years, comprising more than 10,000 volumes (some 185 manuscripts, 215 incunables and 9,695 printed books). On its arrival in 1664, this amounted to a second foundation of Cambridge University Library, but it has barely been studied at all. This presentation offers a survey of current research on the collection, together with the first tangible results on Holdsworth’s manuscripts, set within a broader frame of reflection about the process of bibliographical and bibliophilic

This talk will be held at Lambeth Palace Library, London SE1 7JU. Admittance not before 5.15 p.m. via the main gatehouse of Lambeth Palace. A meeting of the University of London research seminar on the History of Libraries, in association with the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. All are welcome, but for security purposes those wishing to attend should send their names in advance no later than Friday 31 May

Great Hall of Lambeth Palace, London SE1 7JU



30th May 2019

Forum Auctions – Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper

Westbury Hotel, 37 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2YF
5 June 2019

Beyond the Horizon: the Mopelia Collection of Atlases and Travel Books.

Highlights include a magnificently coloured copy of Johannes van Keulen’s De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerderde Zee-Atlas, 1688, heightened with gold throughout, the Peiresc-Freycinet copy of Blaeu’s Flambeau de la Navigation, 1620, and Mount and Page’s Atlas maritimus novus, complete with the rare Haselden world map.


Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT
6th June 2019

Forum Auctions – Online sale: Books and Works on Paper

Forum Auctions, 220 Queenstown Road, London SW8 4LP
11th June 2019

Important Manuscripts, Continental Books & Music

Highlights from Sotheby’s sale on 11 June include a fine calligraphic autograph letter by Mao Zedong written towards the end of the Chinese Civil War, addressed to the journalist Yang Yi, as well as a charming Renaissance manuscript of the works of Ovid, part of a collection of books removed from the library at Ombersley Court, together with numerous fine bindings and some early printed works of Jewish interest. The Music section includes a fine autograph love poem by Robert Schumann to his beloved Clara.

Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA


Sunday 2nd June 11:00am

Bram Stoker, Dracula and Friends

Everyone has heard of Dracula, but his creator, Bram Stoker, is much less familiar.  This is a walk through London’s West End, introducing the story of Stoker’s life in places he knew and visiting places associated with people he was friendly with or who influenced his writing – a remarkable range from Oscar Wilde to WS Gilbert and Arthur Conan Doyle among others.   We explore Stoker’s own vampiric relationship with Sir Henry Irving, the great actor.  We hear about the later history of the book on stage and screen.  And there is a real life murder, the front door of a secret society and a dark alley where we learn the unfortunate influence of gas lighting.

Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7RQ
Sunday 9th June, 11am-12.30pm

Bloomsbury’s lost libraries: a walk through some forgotten book collections

Twenty-first century London contains some of the finest book collections in the world, but what about the libraries that haven’t survived? If you know where to look, London’s streets and alleyways are crammed with the ghosts of libraries past.

This walk will carry you back through Bloomsbury’s history, to long-forgotten libraries, readers, librarians and collectors. Alice Ford-Smith will reveal some of the links between London’s past and present book collections- and the tales of enterprise, transformation, obsession and destruction that are often behind them.

Meet point: Senate House cloister entrance. Pre-booking essential.

End point: near the Bloomsbury Book Fair, which is free to enter from 12.30pm.