Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Old books....

There is something special about old leather bound books.....the smell, the gorgeous, dark conker colour of the leather.... with a patina that can only be created from years of holding, opening and reading.

The raggy end papers....

And the wonderful print type set....with those great 'f's instead of s's so typical of the 18th century.

Bought yesterday at the very busy Hexham Fair in Northumberland from an exhibitor who has a great eye for the unusual and decorative....and one of my favourite haunts first thing in the morning.

So, last night, instead of slumping in front of the TV watching repeats of Grand Designs et al...... I sat and read The Romance of the Highlands.

Not exactly "romantic" ....

In fact it was more of a battle drama with mortal wounding, slaying, cruelty, tyranny and oppression raging between the Scottish clans.
Lots of drawing and wielding of typically male.

But to me, the most fascinating bits in the book ( which were originally library books from a Scottish border town ) were the sepia ink comments from an incensed reader...

He just couldn't bring himself to write the full word poor man!

Julie x


  1. They are gorgeous Julie, I too love old conker brown leather. I love the comment the man has written in the book, nowadays it would probably have an 'f' in it! Hope all is well and glad you had a busy day yesterday.
    Jo xx

  2. Oooh, I so love antique books! I have always loved the smell of them too although just found out recently that the mould has a powerfully hallucinatory affect on the brain apparently!

    I have a gorgeous, slightly crumbling set of antique books about wild flowers - one of my fave possessions.

    Love a bit of Victorian indignation too!x

  3. find me a sepia pen and I can write some outraged comments in the margins of 50 shades!!

    Apalled to hear that things take so much longer to filter through to you up yonder...have you had summer yet?

    Well off now to make some phonecalls (thing that you speak through to another person...?) and eat a jam sarnie (white bread...sliced...)

    Wishing you well with your 18th fentury bookf. I have one which I treasure which is a veterinary horse manual. Rather upsetting to read that when a horse has a fever he is best profusely bled and then buried up to his neck in the muckheap to induce "much heat and fweating" perhaps if I read it to Bruce he'll stop running-up my vets bills!

    lotsa love

  4. I love the books - how fantastic to have the hand-written comments! I wish I could persuade Mr N up to Hexham these days and I wonder who that interesting exhibitor is...?

  5. There is something timeless about old books that makes even the most boring of subjects look very appealing. Judging by the comment left in the book the reader was NOT a romantic.
    I've been away from the blogging world recently but its nice to be back catching up with you Julie.
    Joasia x

  6. I love old books too and have a modest collection. For much of history a leather bound book was a real luxury item, and I love that they still have that resonance today.
    But I have to say that I do cringe when I see that someone has written in a book - I could never do it!

  7. As you can imagine, I share your love! I just can't resist them and am continually adding to my collection. I love the comment in the book and never mind finding annotations. Jane xx

  8. ...and the thin tissue like pages too. That did make me smile that someone had felt so incensed he wrote a comment. I was always taught to treat books with the greatest respect and never turn down corners etc. so when I was told to annotate a book for studying I just couldn't bring myself to do it! Lovely old books.
    Ruth x

  9. There is something so special about an old book, who owned it, how many people have read it, how it came to be where it was. I have some books from my great uncle's father, he won a prize at school in early 1900's. A real treasure even though it is in a sorry state and a little damp at one time. jayne x

  10. Hello again Julie-I've just chosen your blog for an award. I hope that is o.k. with you. Please do pop over and have a look! Jane xx