Written by Claire Wooldridge
To celebrate the new year we have a vibrant new exhibition in our staircase hall.
The exhibition celebrates the wide variety of beautiful book jackets within our collections, through a selection of our most colourful favourites! These examples are mainly drawn from our Children’s collection, Printing collection, Finzi collection and William St Clair collection.
There are also a couple of stars from other collections – one of my particular favourites is the Tallis’s history and description of the Crystal palace, and the Exhibition of the world’s industry in 1851 (John Tallis, 1852) which features the publisher’s original deep blue cloth binding, with gold edgings and extensive gilt decoration. (Displayed in the upright cabinet, top right, seen below).
Particularly well represented are nineteenth century cloth bindings and twentieth century book jackets. These include A Chum Worth Having published by Blackie and Son and The True Heart by Sylvia Warner (1929) with a dust jacket illustrated by Edward Bawden.
The upright case features a selection of delightfully designed twentieth century children’s annuals, such as School Yarns for Girls and The Boy’s Budget, serving as a wonderful, nostalgic insight into childhoods gone by. The bottom level of the cabinet is carpeted with a selection of King Penguin books from our printing collection. Published between 1939 and 1959 the titles in this individually illustrated series were the first books with hard and colour printed covers published by Penguin.
Similarly, two titles from our collection of the Britain in Pictures series are displayed (Orwell’s The English People and Lynd’s English Children). With their strikingly coloured book jackets, this series was published by Harper Collins between 1941-1949 with the intention of producing morale boosting social histories whilst Britain was gripped by WW2.
So why not come and visit us and pick your favourite cover, in my opinion Peril and Adventure will take some beating!