October 2016 | Nate Pedersen

INK LDN: A New Antiquarian Book Fair Opens in London

ICON-01-1-150x150.pngIf you're anywhere near London this weekend, you won't want to miss a new fair bringing together rare books and art in the heart of the city.  INK LDN, held at 2 Temple Place in a grandiose Gothic mansion on London's Embankment, starts with a champagne reception on October 20 at 5:00 p.m, with general opening times on October 21 (11:00 - 7:00) and October 22 (11:00 - 5:00). Twenty-six European and American dealers will be exhibiting.

Ines Bellin, creator of the Fair, took a few minutes away from her last-minute preparations to answer a few questions we had over e-mail:

Please introduce us to INK LDN:

I strongly believe that fairs will be a vital part in the future of the antiquarian book market as well as the art market. It is something dealers prepare for with secret, fresh material, collectors put money aside and institutions plan their budgets for. There is a sense of hunt in these events, and also celebration. The size of a fair can determine our perception and receptiveness for new information. Keeping INK LDN small and accessible, with the right mix of exhibitors allows new visitors a true insight into the art market and nurture current relationships.

INK LDN is very much a combination of friends we admire and respect highly, a stunning location in central London and lots of hard work. We believe that if you come to our fair and buy a £500 or £20.000 or £1.4 million book you should do that in stunning surroundings with a glass of Champagne.

Despite all the changes in the relationship between the UK and the world, especially Europe, London will remain the most important hub for collectors and sellers alike. 

I'm trying to make the dealers more accessible and personable. We do lose that sometimes when companies, profiles and price tags grow. Very often you will find that behind an amazingly rare and expensive book is a dealer that is still as fascinated and excited as any bibliophile and would love to talk about his or her material. 

INK LDN isn't a new idea by the way. During my initial talks with London based book dealers I learned that there had been talks about an autumn fair for several decades. Autumn has always been a slightly emptier calendar for most dealers.

The concept, which will evolve over the years, is to bring together books and other related forms of art, together. 

How many exhibitors will be participating?

We have 26 dealers from 7 countries this year, we could have had a few more but we limited ourselves to the last remaining topics we really wanted to have. It was a selective process and we are very happy with the type and range of objects now. Special thanks goes to Iris Antique Globes & Maps as they added their stunning globes to our range.

All exhibitors of our debut fair have first rights to participate again before we allow anyone else in. This is a "thank you" from us to those who have agreed, signed and paid to participate while INK LDN was no more than a crazy idea in my head. 

What are some exhibitor highlights?

Once more, Iris Globes brings a pair of library globes by Blaeu! A dedication copy of Hubble's Law first print by Sophia Rare Books, an Aldus Hypnerotomachia Poliphili shown by Fabrizio Govi and a couple of Book of Hours from Forum Auctions. Also, I'm very much looking forward to Laura Massey's (Alembic Rare Books) instruments and compasses. 

Tell us about the Fresh Faces section of the Fair:

Originally INK LDN was discussed among young and new book dealers, during a time many posts in larger antiquarian book houses where being filled with young bright minds and even more young dealers set up on their own. There is so much fresh talent out there that will BE the antiquarian and art market in the next couple of years I just wanted to give them a boost. 

It takes time, material and catalogues to be eligible to join ILAB LILA as well as annual fees. Our current Fresh Faces pay a very low price for a stand and we offer them 10 free hours of our Concierge service. Allowing them to have lunch, a break or even go out with a customer while our concierges take care of their booths. This includes even a packing service if they have to leave early.

On the other hand, visitors can get to know new dealers they might not have heard of (yet!).

Tell us about the venue for INK LDN:

Ah, all praise goes to Nicholas McBurney from Heywood Hill. He mentioned it to me as a potential venue and set up an initial meeting. The Bulldog Trust, who manages 2 Temple, has been amazing. The Gothic and Victorian inspired architecture has more history than one would suspect. The library alone, with its secret door and hidden little spaces. It's truly one of London secret venues you rarely get a chance to see. 

Where can our readers learn more?

Our site, which is constantly tweaked and updated www.inkfair.london, we are also strong believers in social media and all links and handles can be found on our site.

Image Courtesy of INK LDN.