Our first Zoom event was hosted by member, Anthony Davis who gave us an excellent talk on collecting fine books and bindings.  He shared some of his most treasured books, including his first purchase as a schoolboy, a Prayer Book, printed in 1630.  Amongst his other gems, what is believed to be King Charles II's own copy of the story of his royal escape from the parliamentary army and Elizabeth Cromwell's book of the life of Archbishop Usher, likely to have belonged to her husband Oliver Cromwell, judging by its modest binding. 

Other books included the Chapel Royal's very large hand written musical manuscript of anthems (1685) likely to have been handled by John Blow and Henry Purcell whilst they worked at the Chapel Royal.  Its poor condition being an indication of its hard working past.  Anthony led us through the London streets of 1667 to Pall Mall where William Nott's bookshop was world renowned for its fine bindings.  He described the craft of hand bookbinding and the tools still used today, heated for embossing gold leaf and sometimes silver onto the finest goatskin. 

Anthony is a retired lawyer. He is a Council member of the Bibliographical Society and writes and talks about fine bindings and book collecting. He has served as a trustee of the Society of Antiquaries and he is also a qualified tour guide specialising in book related walks in central London and led a walk for our Society last year.  His talk in conjunction with our visit to Shepherds Bindery in Rochester Row has been rescheduled for 15th June 2021.  Many thanks to Anthony for this special talk and tour.



Collecting fine bookbindings Talk - June 2020