Book Fairs | February 18, 2013

Shapero Rare Books at TEFAF

After celebrating its Silver Jubilee last year, TEFAF, the world’s foremost antiques and art show, held annually in Maastricht, The Netherlands, returns on the 15th March. Always innovative in its presentation TEFAF also remains dedicated to quality and authenticity with more than 30,000 works of art, antiques and design objects vetted by one hundred and seventy-five international experts on twenty-nine different committees.


This year Shapero Rare Books, regular exhibitors at TEFAF for over twenty years, specialists in rare books, antique prints, original watercolours and vintage photographs, will be exhibiting some exceptional items.

Among them a beautiful example, in a highly unusual deluxe vellum binding and with vibrant hand-colouring, of Joannes Blaeu’s Grooten Atlas (Blaeu, Amsterdam, 1662-65) — “the greatest and finest atlas ever published” (Koeman).


With 600 hand-coloured engraved maps in 9 volumes covering the entire known world, the ‘Atlas Maior’ was the largest and most expensive book published in the seventeenth century. Renowned for the quality of the typography and superb hand-colouring, this book remained the standard world atlas and the premier example of the Dutch publishing industry. It was considered to be the most prestigious in the world for over a hundred years and was frequently presented as the official gift of the Dutch Republic.


As Russia is becoming a central theme for the Netherlands this year with the Hermitage in Amsterdam staging the exhibition of Peter the Great and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht showing “Moscow and St. Petersburg 1895-1917”, Shapero Rare Books are presenting several treasures from its Eastern European department. 

One of them is a unique album of early photographs of Tsarist palaces in a superb binding. Containing over 180 views, it unusually also includes two watercolours by celebrated Russian artists of the time Sverchkov and Frentz. It is rare to find so many photographic views of Russia in the 1860s all bound together and so well preserved. This fact, together with the presence of watercolours and album’s spectacular binding with lacquered boards and edges gilt with the arms of both Russian capitals, suggest this beautiful album was designed for a person of the highest rank. 

Another spectacular item of historical importance on exhibition at Shapero’s stand is a unique manuscript album in a signed Russian presentation binding showing 95 watercolour drawings of artillery by the cadets of the Second Corps. This album of large folio format and fresh condition is likely to have been initially presented to Paul I of Russia and later belonged to Tsar Alexander II. 

With more than thirty years of experience in the trade, Shapero Rare Books are leading specialists in Antiquarian Travel, Fine Illustrated & Colour Plate Books, First Editions of English and European Literature, important works in other fields, in particular Eastern Europe and Russia, Maps, Atlases and Decorative Works on Paper. 

Shapero Rare Books Stand 230 

TEFAF Maastricht Fair Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) Forum 100, 6229 GV Maastricht, The Netherlands 

15 - 24 March, 2013 Daily: 11am - 7pm Sunday 24 March: 11am - 6pm