The 185 exhibitors will be squirrelling away their best stock to tempt delegates from the ILAB Congress in Oxford (taking place from September 7-14) for bibliophiles and booksellers from around the world.
Highlights include Mike Kemp’s collection of five silverware pattern books from Ward Bros of Birmingham from c.1880-1920 and for seekers of the unusual, of which this fair has plenty, Peter Fry has two mid-19th century albums of specimen seaweeds and Ken Spelman offers a rare 18th century book of designs for people working with human hair.
The lowest prices are around £5-10 with plenty of ephemera to choose from. High-end material includes maps, with De Bry Engravings bringing a collection which includes a 17th century map of China at £6000.
The fair’s publicity manager, York bookseller Janette Ray, said: “The attraction of a fair is to discover something special on the day which can be a personal triumph for anyone attending.”
Face to faces
Among the highlights is an unusual piece of moveable 19th century ephemera, The Stiff Old File from Waterloo: Drawn from Life and on Stone, priced at £1500 by Michael Moon. It shows a lithograph of a Chelsea Pensioner sat holding a pipe.
The face is cut out and behind this is a rotating disc of 32 faces worked by a simple mechanism to show the pensioners’ portraits, “some or all of whom were presumably at Waterloo,” said Moon.
Peter Fry is offering the intriguing A Voyage to St Kilda, published in 1818 priced at £475. An account of Gaelic speaker Michael Martin’s visit to the remote island of St Kilda in 1697, he describes “the remarkable inhabitants of thet Place, their fingular Chastity and their Contempt of Gold and Silver as below the Dignity of Human Nature”.