Fairs | April 2024 | Alex Johnson

Firsts London Rare Book Fair Returns in May with ‘The Art of the Book’

Firsts: London

The Art of the Book poster

'The Art of the Book' is the theme for the 2024 edition of Firsts: London's Rare Book Fair which returns May 16 - 19 over three floors of the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea.

More than 100 exhibitors will take part in this year's Firsts which is organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association in collaboration with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). The Friends of the Bodleian Library is the fair’s library partner for 2024.

“In books, the visual arts meet literature, and beauty may be admired in illustration and illumination, in calligraphy and cartography, in typography and photography, in printmaking and paper manufacture, and within the art of bookbinding itself," say the organizers. "Book design represents shifting tastes and conventions through the centuries and across cultures, as well as revealing socioeconomic factors which influence their production.”

Events include:

* May 17: York Antiquarian Book Seminar student tour of Firsts London for prospective and previous students of YABS

* May 17: Write Cut Rewrite - The cutting room floor of modern literature with Dirk Van Hulle, Professor of Bibliography and Modern Book History at the University of Oxford, expanding on the recent exhibition of the same name at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford

* May 18: Early Career Booksellers’ Brunch, a networking brunch hosted by the ABA for early career and emerging booksellers

* May 18: Dressed for Success - Judging a book by its cover with Jeremy Knight, formerly curator of the Horsham Museum and part of The Book Collector’s editorial board who will look at the history of dust jackets during a walk around the fair

* May 19: An introduction to book collecting with Andrea Mazzocchi from Bernard Quaritch