Alembic Blog

I Sold That! The Chicken in Trousers Manuscript

One of the delights of being a bookseller is that occasionally something you work on strikes a chord with the general public and goes a little viral. Recently I sold what may go down in history as the "Chicken in Trousers Manuscript"  a wonderful mathematical workbook by an 18th-century boy named Richard Beale, who seems to have spent as much time doodling as completing his homework. It was a real pleasure to link the manuscript with the rest of the family's papers at the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, which was then able to purchase it with the help of a generous donor.

I wasn't online much last week, and was pleasantly surprised when the Museum got in touch about all the press attention their tweets generated, including some love from JK Rowling! The day-to-day work that booksellers do in researching stock and placing it with the right clients is often hidden, so I was thrilled that the Museum kindly gave me permission to highlight my association with the notebook. Read on for my cataloguing and some of my favourite doodles.

View full article →

Join Us at the ABA Rare Book Fair London

ABA Rare Book Fair London Ticket

This month we're proud to be exhibiting at the ABA Rare Book Fair London, previously the Olympia Book Fair. 

Now celebrating its 61st year, and being held for the first time in central London's beautiful Battersea Park, this major three-day event is one of the largest and most prestigious antiquarian book fairs in the world, showcasing rare, unique and unusual items from more than 170 leading UK and international dealers. This year the fair will be specially opened by beloved broadcaster and bibliophile Sir David Attenborough at a public ceremony on Thursday at noon. And there will be a number of other special events, including demonstrations and workshops on hand-press printing and bookbinding, and guided tours and talks introducing various aspects of rare books and book collecting.

The graphic above is a ticket that admits two, and can be shown on your phone or printed out. We look forward to seeing you there!

View full article →

Free Tickets to the Olympia Book Fair

Olympia Book Fair Tickets

We're very pleased to announce that we're exhibiting for the first time at one of the world's great book fairs, the ABA London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia, June 1st-3rd, on stand F07. This is the perfect opportunity to have a look at our stock in person. If there's something you like on our website just let us know and we'll be happy to bring it along. The graphic above is a ticket for free entry - just show it on your phone at the door or print it out. 

Olympia is one of the largest and longest-running rare book shows in the world, and all 150+ exhibitors are fully-vetted members of the ABA and ILAB. There will be an incredible variety of books, maps, prints, ephemera, art, and manuscripts for sale, and it's an excellent opportunity for new collectors to meet dealers and learn about books. There is also an excellent line-up of guided tours and hands-on workshops. We hope to see you there!

View full article →

An Exciting Announcement - We Are Now ABA Members

I'm very proud to announce that I have been elected an associate member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association.

The ABA is the senior trade body for dealers in rare books in the British Isles, and is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. Members are elected solely on the basis of proven experience, expertise and integrity, and we observe the highest professional and ethical standards.

The ABA also organises book fairs, and now that I'm a member I will be exhibiting at Olympia and Chelsea, two of the most important rare book shows in Britain.

But more than just a trade body, the ABA and its sister organisations around the world are also like a family. It's been nearly three years since I set out on my own as a bookseller, and over that time my colleagues have been incredibly generous with support and advice. I wouldn't be where I am today without their encouragement, and I hope that over the coming years I can give back to this wonderful community.

View full article →
December 05, 2016

0 Comments

book fair › shop news ›


The Bloomsbury Christmas Book Fair

Still need gifts for the book lovers in your life? Join us at the Bloomsbury Christmas Book Fair this Sunday, December 11th, from 10am to 4 pm.
View full article →

A Brand New Book Fair: INK London

We're very pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at London's newest book fair, INK London, this October!
View full article →

Our First Book Fair

This summer we're excited to be exhibiting at our first rare book show, the Bloomsbury Bookfair on Sunday, July 10
View full article →

What's an Alembic? Alchemy, the History of Science, & Our Logo

One of the most exciting parts of starting a business is choosing your name, and as a science specialist I wanted one that would be evocative of the history of science, as well as broader concepts of discovery and knowledge. For a long time I’ve been interested in alchemy and its evolving place in the history of science, so an alchemical symbol seemed apt. And what better than the apparatus at the centre of so much alchemical, medical, and scientific work - the alembic?

View full article →