Bright Young Booksellers: Clare Trimming
How did you get started in rare books?
My secondary school had a tradition of releasing us from the classroom for a couple of weeks work experience. The careers' advisor suggested I channel my love of books into a placement at the local library but that didn't sound quite exciting enough. Luckily my uncle, John Collins, worked at Maggs and he put me in touch with, what was then, Bloomsbury Book Auctions. I spent a fortnight there and caught the bug. That was in 1994 and I'm still here.
When did you open Beaux Books and what do you specialize in?
I spent several years working in London, including six years at Sims Reed. During this time I developed my knowledge and love of rare art and design books. When I had my first child the need to be closer to home and work more flexible hours spurred me on to take the plunge and start my own business. In 2012 Beaux Books was born. The company specialises in fine and rare books on art, design, fashion and photography. The majority of our stock is 20th century and we sell around the world. Many of our clients are art and antique dealers, and designers.
What do you love about the book trade?
I love the fact that every day is different. I love the books. And I love the interesting people that I meet - collectors and dealers. I met my husband, Nick Trimming (part of Daniel Crouch Rare Books), at a dealer's party.
Describe a typical day for you:
I start the day dealing with emails and any orders that have come in overnight. I usually have a few books that I need to source for clients and I check any upcoming auctions. I'll then catalogue and photograph any new stock. I'm currently working on a catalogue of Bruce Weber material so I'm spending time researching that. I try to fit in regular trips to London to see other dealers and catch-up with current exhibitions. In between all this there's the school run and trips to the park. Bookselling is a great job to fit in around the children.
Favourite rare book (or ephemera) that you've handled?
At Sims Reed I handled some amazing objects. Highlights included an archive of original William Morris wallpaper samples and a complete set of Gazette de Bon Ton.
I'm not at that level yet with Beaux Books but David Hicks's books from the 1960s encapsulate the kind of books I love to sell - good-looking books, striking dust jackets and stylish design by an iconic designer. And my customers love them too.
What do you personally collect?
I have a soft spot for the work of Cecil Beaton and his set. I have just bought a copy of Rex Whistler's own bookplate which is now hanging on my office wall. I've also recently been reading Patti Smith's memoirs and poetry. Her voice is so powerful and evocative of the creative scene in 1970s New York. I've started to collect some of her works.
What do you like to do outside of work?
As a family we like exploring and going on mini adventures. Nick is an excellent cook so food and entertaining is a big part of our weekends. And it goes without saying - reading.
Thoughts on the present state and/or future of the rare book trade?
I am optimistic for the future of the trade. The internet has changed the way we deal in books but for me these changes have been advantageous. I can buy a book from Paris and then sell it to a customer in New York without leaving the office. Yes, it's not as much fun as before but it's efficient and fits well around my schedule.
In the past few years I have seen people who started in the business at the same time as me setting up on their own and trying new and positive approaches to bookselling. The emphasis is moving from the generalist to the specialist. The good booksellers are those with an intensive knowledge of their subject coupled with a head for business.
Any upcoming fairs or catalogues?
Beaux Books will be exhibiting at the Olympia Antiquarian Book Fair for the first time in May. We will be launching "the WEBER list" there, a comprehensive catalogue of books produced by and about the American fashion photographer, Bruce Weber. Do come and say "hi".