Running from November 1-2 in Chelsea Old Town Hall, the 29th edition brings together more than 80 exhibitors.
Pictured here is a handful of stand-out offerings. Look out too for a series of tours covering subjects such as 'What to Collect? from favourite novels to fine binding and Collecting Detective Fiction from the Golden Age 1920-1940'.
You and Yours
This 1902 George Newnes first edition, first issue copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle is offered by Fine Book Cellar for £1750.
It bears the tell-tale misprint of ‘you’ instead of ‘yours’ on page 13 (something that was corrected in later copies) and has 16 monochrome illustrations by Sidney Paget, the artist largely responsible for the classic look of the famous detective.
Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918) was a Nihonga painter who visited Europe to attend the 1878 International Exhibition in Paris where he was awarded a medal.
He is known for his blending of Western realism with the colours and washes of the Japanese Kikuchi Yosai school, which introduced a new approach to kachoga or kacho (bird and flower painting).
His Meiji period Album of Birds and Flowers is offered at the Chelsea fair by Harrison- Hiett Rare Books for £3500. It includes 86 colour woodcuts of animals and flowers and 14 pages of Japanese text taken from the original block bound editions of the book published in 1890. These are signed by the author. There are also 50 loose passe-partouts (card enclosures) each with two opposite pages.
Suez Canal: conception to operation
Meridian Rare Books from London and Voyager Press of Canada and the US have teamed up to bring a collection of works relating to the history of the Suez Canal. The archive of more than 150 items that chronicle the canal from conception to operation is offered for £35,000.
Among the items is Voyage Pittoresque à travers l’Isthme de Suez (1869), a viewbook by Marius Fontane with illustrations by Edouard Riou. Created to mark the opening of the canal, it is one of 500 copies that were issued.
The album caused some controversy. Fontane gave much of the credit for building the canal to the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps. This infuriated Ismail Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, who removed de Lesseps’ portrait, the preface and the last six gatherings from the 200 copies reserved for him.
Also in this archive are letters and manuscripts by de Lesseps, Auguste Colin’s 1846 estimate of the cost of the canal and a logbook kept by a midshipman on the HMS Royal Oak, which grounded on the day of the opening ceremony when it collided with the Prince Consort.