Over its life, the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair has become a fixture in the November calendar for book collectors and dealers from Britain, Europe and America. Warmer than Boston, more intimate than York, less formal than Paris – Chelsea has it all. Dealer and collectors love the fair: it’s friendly and varied, the dealers have time to talk, there are plenty of books but it’s not overwhelming. ‘See you at Chelsea’ has become a phrase familiar to everyone in the British rare book trade.
This year's Fair will offer visitors an excellent opportunity to find the perfect antiquarian book among thousands brought to the Chelsea Old Town Hall from 1st to 2nd November. Besides the exquisite, extraordinary and unique items showcased by the 82 expert booksellers from the United Kingdom and abroad, book lovers will enjoy an amazing number of book-related talks and tours throughout the weekend.
ON FRIDAY at 5 pm, one of the world's leading experts on exploration and himself a travel book collector, Raymond Howgego, will be signing copies of his latest book Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel. It is a comprehensive guide to invented, imaginary, apocryphal and plagiarized narratives of travel by land, sea and air, from the earliest times to the twentieth century. Although a separate publication, it also serves to complete the author's Encyclopedia of Exploration, a four volume, 3.7 million-word work dealing with voyages ad travels of indisputable historical reality, believed by many experts to be the largest unaided single-author work in the English language.
ON SATURDAY, book fair visitors can sign up to special book tours, designed to guide small groups around the Fair and point out some of the highlights. Specialist dealers will give advice to collectors or those interested in starting to collect books. Timings and tour guides will be announced online nearer the time.
LOCAL LONDON: Discover some of your local history. Books, ephemera and maps on Chelsea & Kensington covering not just decades but centuries. Find some of those books whose authors found inspiration in this London borough - think J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, but also some of the murder mysteries of Kensington resident Agatha Christie. The tour will also include books and prints covering more recent Kings Road residents like the Rolling Stones and Sex Pistols.
FIND THE PERFECT GIFT: With Christmas fast approaching, find a unique gift at the fair. The tour will point out some great gifts that we have spotted, but will also point out what to look out for and why books make such special gifts.
CLASSIC MOVIE BOOKS: You have seen the film, but have you read the book? This tour will guide you through the Fair following a trail of well-known film titles – from James Bond 'Dr No' and Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', through to Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind', E. M. Forster's 'Room with a View' and F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Great Gatsby'.
CHILDREN'S BOOKS: Travel back in time and remind yourself of those treasures from your childhood days. Hear more about their value today and track down a long lost copy of your favourite book. See some first editions and admire some of the finest illustrations.
BRITISH HEROES: Meet some of the heroes and heroines of British fiction and find some of the best examples of their books. These will range from James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Oliver Twist, Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Eyre and even Harry Potter.
EXPLORERS AND VOYAGES: Learn about some of the best books by or on famous explorers, read all about their voyages and even see some prints or photographs from their travels. Follow Shackleton to the Antarctic, Livingstone to deepest Africa and Isabella Bird to Persia.
PERSONAL SHOPPING TOUR: For the first time, personal shopping tours will be available to visitors, but signing up in advance is essential. This can be done online and is an ideal opportunity for new collectors to find books for their collection with the help of an expert.
Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair – 1st to 2nd November, 2013
Chelsea Old Town Hall
King’s Road, LONDON
The Fair will be open between 2pm and 7pm on Friday and from 11am to 5pm on Saturday. Tours and starting times are to be confirmed and will be advertised on the website beforehand.
Chelsea Old Town Hall is located on the King's Road, (opposite Sydney Street) London SW3 5EE; nearest underground stations are South Kensington and Sloane Square and many buses stop nearby.
For more information, please visit the official website: www.chelseabookfair.com