Book Fairs | August 21, 2019

Britain’s Largest Antiquarian Book Fair Returns to York this September

Courtesy of the York Book Fair

A six-volume 1886 Jane Austen set will be on offer at the York Book Fair for £1,850 at the London Rare Books stand.

York, England — York’s annual showcase of books, maps, ephemera and prints from sellers across the UK and beyond, will be taking place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th September at the Knavesmire Suite, York Racecourse. Alongside the customarily impressive array of items available for sale, this year’s event is also embracing the arts with a large-scale mobile installation inspired by some of the breath-taking books on offer. Winner of ‘Best in Show’ at last year’s art& Art Show, York-based artist Lu Mason has been working on the installation for the last few months and has drawn her inspiration from John James Audubon’s huge illustrated book “Birds of America.”

Organisers of this celebrated annual event, the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association are delighted to be bringing a new twist to the already brilliant event whilst also supporting the region’s burgeoning creative scene.

Lu Mason is an artist whose work will be recognised by many within the city. Her mobile art- works have brought colour and informative installations to empty shop buildings as part of 2018’s Bloom! festival, have adorned the windows of many of the city’s independent businesses and have been exhibited at The City Screen, Blossom Street Gallery, Lotte Inch Gallery and more. She is a much loved fixture in York’s popular Open Studios weekends and is admired for her enthusiastic contribution to the city’s art scene, delivering workshops and pop-up installations always with a considered and timely message at their heart.

Talking about the commission, Lu Mason said:

“James Audubon’s book “Birds of America”, published between 1827 and 1838, in Edinburgh and London, is the inspiration for this piece. Each bird and each piece of foliage is my interpretation of the illustrations in the book. There are literally hundreds of beautiful illustrations which make up this publication. I hope to convey in my piece the vastness of Audubon’s endeavour here, I hope the sheer quantity of the birds I have cut out will go some way towards representing the years of work Audubon put into compiling this collection.”

Lu Mason’s impressive art work will be made of cut paper, fishing line and bamboo. The installation will comprise 7 carousels, each of which will move slowly, guided by the air currents. Each carousel will have approximately 15 shapes hanging from it; these shapes will be birds and tumbling foliage.
A facsimile of Audubon’s book will be exhibited, for sale by Red-Books, at the fair, alongside more specialist items on the same theme. Sellers such as Patrick Marrin will be offering exquisite contemporary images on the theme. Marrin’s Bookshop will have for sale, images from Illustrations of Ornithology, by the celebrated ornithologist and botanist, John Prideaux Selby – often considered to be the English Audubon.

Co-organiser and York-based bookseller Janette Ray said:

“The book fair at York is a high-spot in the book selling calendar and reaches out to a wide audience so we are pleased to be able to provide both a platform for booksellers to display their best books alongside supporting Yorkshires artistic pool of talent.”

From modest beginnings with just 20 exhibitors at the White Swan Inn in York in 1974, the York Book Fair has grown into the largest, and many say friendliest, rare, antiquarian & out- of-print book fair in the U.K and Europe. Held over two days, around 220 of this country's leading booksellers offer for sale an awe-inspiring diversity of books, as well as maps & prints, ranging in price from just a few pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds. There will also be a range of trade stands selling marbled papers, binding materials. Providers of services to the book trade including software and packaging material suppliers will also be present.

Anyone interested in books and reading is encouraged to come along to this brilliant event. This is not just a Fair for dealers or traders, but is open to everyone young and old, and is a great place to start collecting. With over 100,000 books for sale, where else can you look at, touch, enjoy, and even purchase so many rarities under one roof. If you are already a collector then it is a great opportunity to meet new dealers in your area.

Adding to the creative focus, music from York’s much loved “Two Bobs” will also serenade people as the fair opens to the public on Friday 13th September at midday.

The Fair venue is easy to reach, with unlimited free parking, and also a free shuttle bus running from the Railway Station to the Racecourse every 20 minutes. Entrance to the event is £2 on the door and tickets can be re-used all weekend. Advance FREE tickets can be downloaded from

The York National Book Fair is organised by the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association and is sponsored this year by Biblio Inc. – the major independent online platform serving independent booksellers and customers alike.