Sunday 30 September 2018

Newly discovered! A long-lost tale of terror from the creator of Frankenstein.


By Mary Shelley

Newly discovered! A long-lost tale of terror from the creator of Frankenstein

Overlooked for nearly two centuries, and never included in any edition of Mary Shelley's work

A strictly limited, never-to-be-reprinted edition of 100 hand-numbered copies for sale

Each copy comes with an original, hand-printed linocut tipped in as a frontispiece

'The Ghost of the Private Theatricals' is a chilling short story, originally printed in the literary annual The Keepsake, credited simply to 'M.S.' 

Almost entirely forgotten for nearly two centuries, and never included in any collection of Shelley's work, it is now reprinted at last in a limited edition, with an extended Afterword by Adam Newell, giving the background to the first publication of the story, and presenting the persuasive evidence to show that 'M.S.' is, in fact, Mary Shelley. Newell has also uncovered a contemporary review which could give a clue to the story's origins...

Each copy includes an original, hand-printed linocut by Sharon Newell, inspired by the atmospheric location of the story, tipped in as a frontispiece.

A5 format, printed on uncoated 160gsm paper, 36pp plus a cover printed on heavy Rives Shetland paper.

Copies will be sent out on a first come, first served basis. In the UK, the price is £15, including postage. For the Rest of the World, the price is £23, including (unavoidably pricey!) airmail postage.


Each copy includes an original, hand printed linocut.


I am very pleased with how this edition has turned out, and I have several people to thank. Firstly, Charles E. Robinson, for inspiring my "literary sleuthing" in the first place. Secondly, Sharon Newell, for labouring over 100 copies of her beautiful linocut illustration (which suits the story far better than Charles Heath's engraving in The Keepsake!). Last, but certainly not least, Martin Stiff at Amazing 15 for his typically superb design work. - A.N.

Sunday 19 August 2018

A Hand Painted Binding by Cedric Chivers of Bath

'Breathtaking' and 'exquisite' are words which are easy enough to bandy about (and for the record, the best-ever use of the latter can be heard here) but believe me when I say that this book deserves them both, and plenty more superlatives besides. Inside is a common-or-garden Book of Common Prayer from early in the 20th century, but the binding... oh my, the binding.

Full leather with art deco gold tooling, with a panel to the front board containing a hand-painted design, inlaid with mother of pearl. It is unique, and yes, breathtaking and exquisite.

It is 'signed' by Cedric Chivers of Bath, though the actual painting, as this in-depth blog post at Booktryst will tell you, is likely to be by one of that company's female painters, which included Jessie M. King among their small number, although this one is perhaps more likely to have been by Dorothy Carleton Smyth. The 'vellucent' technique employed in this binding was invented by Chivers, and other examples have not surprisingly become rather valuable collectors' pieces over the years.

This particular book belongs to a customer of the Little Shop, and while they are not entirely sure they actually want to sell it, if anyone has a serious offer, I will happily pass it along...

Saturday 28 July 2018

Is this the only remaining copy of this book in the whole world?

This beautiful little childrens' book recently arrived on my desk. It wasn't a title or author that I was familiar with, so to google I went, to track down some information. The result was something that happens only very, very rarely in this game: not only could I not find another copy of this book for sale, I could find no record of its existence, period. Even exceptionally scarce titles usually turn up in a library catalogue somewhere; Man the Lifeboat! by F. Hamilton-Knight did not.

There's an incomplete copy of The Beacon Light, a similar looking title by Hamilton-Knight (and a W.H.S. Thompson, who is an artist) on Amazon here and some *very* expensive copies (£300!) of another Hamilton-Knight storybook, The Turning of the Tide, here and here.

... but no other copies of Man the Lifeboat!

It's a rather wonderful thing, so here, for the first time on t'internet, is the whole book in all its small but perfectly formed glory. It's not dated, but I reckon it's late Victorian or Edwardian. The quality of the printing is very good indeed. Given his work with Knight on The Beacon Light, perhaps the uncredited artist here is also W.H.S. Thompson.

It is for sale, but as it's so hard to know what price level to aim for, I'll just say I'm open to offers!

Saturday 21 July 2018

Withnail Books is five!

Withnail Books is five years old today! Happy Birthday to the Little Shop, and as ever, chin chin to all my customers, old and new.

Here's this year's Withnail Books Bonkers But 100% True Customer Quote:
"Are these books for sale?"

Withnail Books, today, aged 5.
A book which came across my desk today. Look it up: it's actually pretty valuable, due to its connection with the early history of The Oxford Group, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Saturday 14 July 2018

Fix up the Jag... A unique Withnail Collectible!

To celebrate the screenings of a certain film up at Crow Crag this weekend and next, here's a little Withnail treat. A little while back I came across a very special, one-off customised Withnail model Jaguar being offered for sale online, and I had to have it. No burglary was involved, and within days it arrived at the Little Shop. Its creator, the very talented model maker Joe Nagle has this to say about it:

"It was originally the colour that is underneath the bonnet [red], I went for a matt finish to replicate the Jag in the film, the wheels were wire spoked on the model but I had to hide this, also weathering and rust was matched to the original by using screen grabs. The finishing touches of course were the removal of the driver's side windscreen wiper and the correct number plate, but perhaps the most iconic thing about the car is the removal of the left headlight which just completes that Withnail look."

Thanks Joe! It's brilliant work, and is now safely in a case and on display at Withnail Books. It is NOT FOR SALE.