Buying books is one of the pleasures of doing research. Of course I use digital resources, and visit libraries and archives, but sometimes there is a book that I want to hold in my hands and refer to over and over again. As I delved into the history of colonial America and Georgian England for background to my novel A Moon Garden, my personal library expanded a bit. The social, industrial, and geo-political transformations of the late 18th century intrigue me, and I am currently writing the biography of a British general who lived and died during this time. My quest for books about this period continues.
Recently I acquired The Story of the London Parks by Jacob Larwood. It was published in London and has no copyright date. There is, however, a hand-written inscription inside the front endpaper, indicating it was a New Year’s gift to Mrs. Goodings in 1888.
It’s a beautiful book, which includes several illustrations, including some in color. It is in remarkably good shape, thanks to the fact that it has never been read. This is apparent, because the pages must have been printed two-up or four-up, and they were not trimmed. Many of the pages would have to be cut apart in order flip through them. I prefer to leave the book the way it has been for over 130 years.
My knowledge of book printing and binding techniques of the 19th century is very limited. If anyone reading this can provide an explanation, please feel free to leave your comments.
I wonder if Mrs. Goodings’ admirer ever asked her opinion of the book. What would she have said?
A Moon Garden – Amazon UK