Antiquarian Book News

'The Prince'
A rare English first edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince, estimated to be worth £25,000-£30,000, failed to sell at Keys auction in Aylsham last week.

The top bid, from a London dealer, was £18,000, according to Andrew Bullock, head of Keys’ book department. Mr Bullock unexpectedly discovered the seminal renaissance work, published in 1640, among the effects of a Norfolk man after his death.

“The top bid wasn’t quite enough, which was a bit disappointing,” said Mr Bullock. He would be talking to the dealer to see whether he would increase his offer but, if not, the book would go into Keys’ book sale on September 27.

Mr Bullock said the current economic climate meant that people in the book trade were less inclined to buy such a work just to place with their stock, as they had done five or six years ago. Many would only bid nowadays if they had a client in mind. He added: “This is a very important book and any serious and wealthy bibliophile ought to have it in their collection.

[Courtesy of EDP] 

From the National Library of Scotland
The Scottish Government is to provide £100,000 for the National Library of Scotland to pilot a National Sound archive for Scotland. The Library will work on the archive pilot with a Skye-based digitisation project. Since 2006, 'Tobar an Dualchais' has digitised, catalogued and made available online over 11,500 sound recordings from all over Scotland. Some recordings date back to the 1930s, while the most recent were recorded in 2000.

To commemorate the centenary of Bartholomew's Survey Atlas of Scotland (1912), the Library has recently released colour versions of all the half-inch to the mile regional topographic maps in the Atlas, as well as a seamed geo-referenced mosaic of these sheets. This allows Bartholomew's layer-coloured maps from 1912 to be directly compared to the present day.

A recent addition to the Library's collections is a remarkable series of letters of the Orcadian poet and writer, George Mackay Brown (1921-1996), to his last 'muse', Kenna Crawford.  Kenna was in her 20s, George in his 60s, when the two met on Orkney and he credited her with inspiring him to write again after a fallow period. The letters reflect the intense platonic affection he felt for her and at the height of the correspondence he wrote so frequently that the letters are almost journals.

A collection of eye catching theatre posters promoting the shows and leading actors and actresses of yesteryear, is now available to view online. The collection covers the period between 1870 and 1900 and includes playbills, programmes and photographs for operas, plays and comedies. Many of the theatres are still in existence today, including the Theatre Royal, Lyceum Theatre and Princess's Theatre in Edinburgh.

British Library

The British Library will be throwing a three day party of storytelling, exciting conversations, poetry and performance for families and children of all ages – from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 August. 'Wonderlands' features some of the most popular authors and illustrators from Britain and around the world, including Shaun Tan, Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo and the authors behind Rastamouse! 'Wonderlands' runs alongside and borrows its name from the Library's major London 2012 Festival exhibition, 'Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands'.

As part of a unique Cultural Olympiad Project, The Written World has chosen a poem to represent all 204 competing nations at the London 2012 games. The poem for Great Britain can now be revealed as 'Hedge Sparrows' by Dr Richard Price, Head of Content and Research Strategy at the British Library. Jim Broadbent has recorded a reading of the poem, which will be available via Front Row from 30 July.

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