October 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Postcard from INK Fair London

Our London correspondent, A. N. Devers, sends this report from INK Fair London's first two days:

A champagne and jazz soiree launched the second annual rare book and art fair, Ink Fair London, last night, a fair founded by Ines Berlin with thirty exhibitors hosting a crowd approaching 1,500 at Two Temple Place, a stunning Gothic mansion and former private home and office of William Waldorf Astor that is now run as The Bull Dog Trust, raising money as a private hire venue and distributing funds to various charities. The fair's intimate and lavish environment provides a wonderful backdrop against which to feature international rare book dealers with an emphasis on exceptional antiquarian and rare books and art sourced from around the world. Pictured below is Kaitlyn Mellini of Worlds End Bookshop.
INK Fair copy.jpgI am launching my own business, The Second Shelf, as a "Fresh Face" of the fair, but I took a break from my stand to take in some of the incredible offerings of the other dealers.
massey.jpgMy neighbor at the fair, Laura Massey of Alembic Rare Books, who shares my particular interest in books by woman, and women in science in particular, has a rare biographical sketch of scientist Rosalind Franklin and showed off her "Stereoscopic Skin Clinic" from 1910 to many customers. (She is pictured at left doing just that.) Her neighbor, Beaux Books, the design-focused business owned by Clare Trimming, showed an original set drawing for Don Giovanni at the Met by Eugene Berman.
Across the room Carl Williams Rare Books offered the true first edition of Yoko Ono's Grapefruit and rare James Joyce material.
A pop-up Obstetric Tables by George Spratt (pictured below) is in the center case at Deborah Coltham Rare Books. And her neighbor, Amanda Hall Rare Books, is featuring a breathtaking collection of 241 butterflies in a wooden collector's cabinet.
Coltham.jpgInk London communications director, Leo Cadogan, has his own stand and is featuring a secret Jesuit manuscript that was continued after the Jesuits were suppressed in 1775 and poignantly documents the hope that they will return.
Otter Bookbinding demonstrated her exceptional skill making bookmarks and exhibited multicolored stenciled linocut decorative prints on unbound sheets circa 1800s by John and Jane Jeffries (pictured below).
Otter.jpgAntiquates Fine & Rare Books has writer and mathematician Ada Lovelace's family copy of her father's poems. And a bewitching manuscript too.

                                                                                                                                                                            On offer in the stand of Charlotte Du Rietz Rare Books is the rare first English edition of Rabindranath Tagore's The Parrot's Training (1918) (pictured below).

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Sophie Schneideman Rare Books & Prints spotlights a wonderful range of fine press and rare books including the exceedingly rare first edition of William Blake's Book of Job from 1826.


Justin Croft Antiquarian Books is featuring his new catalogue of the French books of rare book dealer Martin Stone, who passed away last year, including Oscar Wilde's Salome with illustrations by Rene Ben Susan. (More on that here.)
Business was brisk, books were slung, and many selfies were taken in the grand stairwell, and there is still a day to go!   

Photos credit: A.N. Devers