Category Archives: Uncategorized

A burlesque Tempest

When I put out a list on the theatre last year, this was one of the most sought-after items: excerpts from Ariel, a burlesque stage production based on The Tempest by the prolific playwright, librettist and editor of Punch, Francis … Continue reading

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Congreve, a wanted man

There’s one in every catalogue: one book that everyone wants.  In my recent list on Shakespeare and the Stage, it was this: A 1735 edition of Congreve’s Love for Love, his most successful Restoration comedy, heavily marked up as a prompt book … Continue reading

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Books in the balance

This large coloured lithograph, published in 1827, satirises Sir Walter Scott and how the Irish poet Thomas Moore pipped him to the post.  BM Satires explains: ‘A pair of scales hands unevenly.  In the upper scale sits Scott … supporting on … Continue reading

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A cat-headed goblin

Published in 1844, this is a delightful illustrated tale of a mischievous goblin—‘in form as a small and dwarfish Man, but his Head was as that of a Cat’—who one night leads a miller, worse the wear for drink, through a stream, … Continue reading

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The Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, the Grand Old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men; He marched them up to the top of the hill, And he marched them down again. And when they were up, they were up, And when they were … Continue reading

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Binding variants

This is something I have been thinking about for a while.  Antiquarian booksellers are always concerned with rarity, and look books up to see who else has a copy, either currently for sale, in a library somewhere, or perhaps offered … Continue reading

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A theatrical retirement

  When the great Shakespearean actor, John Philip Kemble (1757–1823), retired from the stage in 1817, aged 60, he was showered with gifts and accolades, and dinners were given in his honour.  His farewell performance as Coriolanus had been met with a rapturous … Continue reading

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Dr Watson, theatre buff

This volume is not an ordinary printed book, but a bound-up collection of 89 playbills, documenting a whole season in the life of the Theatre Royal, Manchester, 16 December 1799 – 24 November 1800. ‘The new season opened on December 16, 1799, with … Continue reading

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A fat lie

I am currently putting some things together for a new catalogue.  This will be included: a spurious will by which the testator, the ‘superabundant’ Mary Hughes, in 1758 distributed various parts of her body to, among others, a Bedfordshire clergyman, … Continue reading

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Love life

This rather charming book, from 1857, is the first edition of the comic autobiography of a Scottish ‘packman’, or commercial traveller, whose travels around the British Isles include a sighting of Queen Victoria at Braemar Castle, and a visit to … Continue reading

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