December 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Richardson Books

Catalogue Review: Richardson Books, #47

Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury writers are consistent favorites for readers and collectors, so it seems Jon and Margaret Richardson of York, Maine, made quite a wise decision when they focused their bookselling business on that eminent group (read more about them here). In this catalogue #47, we are treated to 168 items from the likes of the Woolfs, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, Vita Sackville-West, and E. M. Forster. The Hogarth Press also looms large, of course, and the very first listing in the catalogue shows fourteen first editions by the Hogarth Press, ranging in price from $175 for The Moment to $1,900 for Jacob's Room. A selection of Leonard and Virginia's limited, hand-printed books are also available.

An "exceeding rare book" by Leonard Woolf, The Wise Virgins: A Story of Words, Opinions And A Few Emotions is here ($7,500), and the catalogue further entices with the booksellers' comment that is this "only the second copy we have had in 25 years." Plus, it has the added association value of having belonged to Sydney Waterlow, a former suitor of Virginia's.
Another rarity for Hogarth Press collectors is a first edition of A Letter to Adolph Hitler from 1932 with red banting design on the cover, part of the Hogarth Letters Series No. 11 ($750). So says the catalogue, "We have been seeking this book for 20 years and this is only the second copy we have had." 

A small section on photographer Julia Margaret Cameron shows the first American printing of Victorian Photographs of Famous Men & Fair Women, which contains several photos of Virginia Woolf's mother, Julia Jackson ($85). Cameron was Jackson's aunt, and she took several photographs of Jackson. An albumen print of one of the photographs sold just last month at Bonhams for $90,000. 

Sir Leslie Stephen's Mausoleum Book (Clarendon, 1977) is quite an interesting title to consider ($85), and a first edition of Roger Fry's Henri-Matisse [1930] with its highly erotic illustrations, printed in Paris in a limited edition of 650, seems destined to find a good home ($7,850). 

This is a wonderful selection of highly focused material. So if you're wild for Woolf or bonkers for Bloomsbury, get ahold of this catalogue by contacting Richardson Books: 207-363-9874;