London’s Friendliest Fair
The friendliest and most approachable event of the antiquarian book fair calendar: If you are already in the trade, an existing collector, or simply curious about old, antiquarian, collectable books, maps and ephemera, then the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th November is not to be missed.
There are 78 exhibitors this year and the beautiful Chelsea Old Town Hall will be filled with interesting and collectable items from 16th to 21st centuries and books to suit all pockets – from £10 to £10,000. You will find everything from books for children to books on chess, counter culture, China (or china) and Churchill, at Chelsea. Are you looking for an unusual present for a friend, colleague or relative? Is there a subject, author or period of history that specially attracts you? Perhaps you have been thinking of collecting books but are unsure of where to start, what to look for, who to approach or what on earth booksellers mean by yapp edges, pochoir plates or slightly foxed ... If so, then Chelsea is the place to window shop and to satisfy your curiosity about the world of antiquarian and collectable books.
Since its beginning two decades ago the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair has been held in the attractive Chelsea Old Town Hall on The King’s Road. The majestically solid Hall was built in the 1880s and contains murals commemorating the people who lived in the Royal Borough – George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Carlyle and many others. The Chelsea Old Town Hall is at the junction of Sydney Street and the King’s Road – which was, originally, just that: in the 1660s it was Charles II’s private road on his way to Hampton Court. By the 1960s it had become a bit more democratic, and found fame as the place for up-to-the-minute fashion. It is a delightful area of London to visit.
Wonderful London – The History
Since Caxton first set up shop in Westminster in 1476, London's printers have informed and entertained, amused and amazed us with books, newspapers and pamphlets. They also produced much that has been lost: handbills, trade cards, slip ballads, songsheets. Or rather, much that might have been lost, if it had not been for collectors of ephemera. Samuel Pepys was one of these snappers-up of unconsidered trifles; his modern reincarnation was Peter Jackson, from whose vast collection of London ephemera a small selection will be shown as this year's exhibition.
The Peter Jackson London Collection
Peter Jackson was an artist and illustrator who brought London’s history to life and made his vast library available to all. The Library grew from nothing in 1949 into one of the largest and most remarkable private collections in Britain. The main body of books, prints, maps and ephemera – too numerous to be counted – is now housed and cared for by his wife Valerie, who said she stopped counting the ephemera and prints when she reached over 250,000 images. Jackson was a man of many talents – antiquarian, artist, author, bookbinder, broadcaster, and sculptor – but his passion was for London. Over a period of more than 50 years, he acquired thousands of items associated with London and its history. As an artist, Jackson became known for the historical cartoons he drew for the London Evening News. Over the years, he also contributed to the Eagle comic, Look and Learn, and many children’s books. His love of the city led him to write many books on the subject including London: 2000 years of a City and its People (in collaboration with Felix Barker), described by Bernard Levin as ‘the richest pictorial history of London ever compiled’. This was followed by many more books and articles. Jackson became chairman of the London Topographical Society in 1974, remaining in the post until his death in 2003. He was also chairman of the Ephemera Society, and was presented with the Samuel Pepys Medal for his contribution to ephemera studies.
20th Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair
Remember the wisdom of Groucho Marx: ‘Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.’