Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fun and games in the British Museum Reading Room

I’m just putting together my list for the forthcoming Boston Book Fair, as my books will be leaving early next week.  It’s always nice to be able to show new stock, freshly catalogued, and I shall have quite a bit … Continue reading

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The first dog drama

This is a copy of the first edition of a hugely-successful play, published 1803, thought to be the first ‘dog drama’, which began a vogue for the use of trained animals on the London stage. Playwright Frederic Reynolds (1764–1841) wrote … Continue reading

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‘Somewhat removed from the text of Shakespeare’

This was fun to catalogue.  Not only because it’s a triple bill (500 × 735 mm), but because it promotes an extravaganza at London’s Olympic Theatre in April 1853, the highlight of which was a Macbeth burlesque by Francis Talfourd (1828–1862). … Continue reading

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‘A refined image of disability’

The full caption reads: ‘ ‘This extraordinary young Man was born Dec.r 18. 1769, at Hook, in Hampshire, without Arms or Legs, as here delineated, occasioned as his Mother supposes by a Fright she suffered when pregnant with him.  Notwithstanding these … Continue reading

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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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