I have always been attracted to antiques, especially when it comes to books. The idea of owning objects a lot older than myself has always been appealing – maybe because they have a story of their own. If a book has been signed or stamped by their previous owner, even better! My collection started by taking books from my father’s library and placing them in my bedroom, only to have them taken back a few days later. I bought my first antique book when I was thirteen years old, and became completely obsessed with it. The book is particular was a 1919 edition of La Cour de Louis XIV by Saint-Simon, printed in the UK by Nelson. It has surely seen better days – the cover is fading and some of the pages are loose, however, none have been lost. There’s an inscription which reveals that this book has been gifted from a teacher to her pupil, who is unfortunately unknown to me.
This second item is not a book, but I thought it worth sharing. At fifteen years old, I visited a small bookshop in Paris and was instantly attracted to a newspaper, La Familie, from 21 march 1869. It’s a fashion paper with some household management tips. Not only it has beautiful illustrations, but it the readers section is particularly interesting as it gives a good insight of life at that time.
One of my favourite books in my collection is the 1835 works of Coleridge, Shelley and Keats. I won’t talk talk about it as I already have a whole post dedicated to it. Instead, I’d like to share this small edition of Letters of John Keats. Apart from a small damage on the spine, this book is in pristine condition. Some of the pages have not been cut open, and I still haven’t decided if I want to be the one to do it. One of the pages that remain uncut contains the famous Negative Capability letter that Keats sent to his brother George. The edition was printed in Edinburgh by The Foulis Press in 1908.
Another Keats, and a rather recent acquisition, is this 1922 Oxford. The previous owner, Paul, received it as a gift from someone named Marjorie in 1928, and had his name engraved on the front cover. The spine doesn’t look great, but the pages remain perfect.
The next book is a very cheap Everyman’s Library volume of The Poems and Plays of Lord Byron – I believe that I paid no more than £5 for it. The cover is a bit scratched, but the content is untouched. The beautiful illustrated pages – adopted in several books from this collection – contains a quote from Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry.
The last book I will share here today is a tiny 1850 edition of The Poetical Works of John Milton. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, and apart from one loose page this books is not too bad for its age. I might dedicate a whole post to it in order to share the details, so I won’t get into it right now.
I hope this post was somewhat interesting – I have been busy catching up with my reading as well as organising a few projects. I have modified a few things on this page and still have some more that I’d like to change, but I’m getting there! I will share more about said projects as soon as I’m confident about their outcome. Thank you for reading!