Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Franz Schubert's birthday

It is the birthday of Austrian compositor Franz Schubert (1797), who was unusually prolific in his short life, composing more that 600 symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music and piano solos. He died at age 31. Enjoy Schubert's beautiful Ave Maria.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Florida Suite by Frederick Delius

It is the birthday of English composer Frederick Delius (1862), whose father sent him to Florida to manage an orange plantation on the banks of the St. Johns River, after he showed no inclination for business in Yorkshire. Delius showed little interest in managing the orange grove, either, but he became associated with arty people in Jacksonville who nurtured his musical talents. He was inspired to write the Florida Suite by his experiences at Solano Grove and listening to black grove workers singing in the evening.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

We're in Jacksonville for the antiques show

We're on the road again this weekend. We're in Jacksonville for the Pilot Club Antiques Show. It runs through Sunday.

We have a great collection of antique books, leather bound volumes, antique maps and more for this year's show. Florida history and Southern writers are always popular at the show.

It's always great to see Karyl DeSousa, the antiques show manager, and Gail Pender, the dealer manager. The Pilot Club puts on the antiques show to support its various charitable projects that help the community. The Pilot Club is a volunteer service organization of professional businesswomen.

The Pilot Club's name was inspired by the riverboat pilots who represented leadership and guidance and maintaining a steady course. The Pilot Club of Jacksonville was founded in 1921.

Next weekend we'll be in Miami for the Miami International Map Fair. More about that later.

Friday, January 27, 2012

One of the most beloved composers ever

It is the birthday of German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756), a child prodigy and one of the most beloved composers of all time. He wrote more than 600 works, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music, operas and choral music, many of them considered the most perfect examples of the genre. The Andante from his Piano Concerto No. 21 in C is often called the Elvira Madigan Concerto because it was used as the soundtrack for the 1967 movie Elvira Madigan, about 19th century star-crossed lovers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hans Brinker has never been out of print

It is the birthday of writer Mary Mapes Dodge (1831), whose novel Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland (1865) was very popular when it was first published and has never been out of print. Dodge served as an editor on several magazines, Working Farmer and United States Journal (started with her father), Hearth and Home (edited by Harriet Beecher Stowe) and St. Nicholas Magazine (which carried work by Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain. Hans Brinker is a little Dutch boy who dreams of winning wonderful silver skates in an ice-skating race. He offers his paltry savings for new skates for a risky brain operation for his father, who was injured in a fall from a dike. The popular children's story has been adapted numerous times for television and films.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Finest handmade papers in the world

In 1952, Stevens-Nelson Paper Corporation published what it called "a catalogue of the finest printing and art papers in the world." It was less boast than just a simple statement of fact. Indeed, the company had enlisted the help of small handmade paper shops across the globe.

The result was Specimens, a thick volume with deckled edges and amazing printing and artwork. Each page was a different specialty paper, varying in texture, design and thickness. The book is a remarkable find for people who love the beauty and artistry of handmade and mould-made papers and special printing techniques. A copy of Specimens is in the collection of rare and unusual book at Lighthouse Books, ABAA.

George Bernard Shaw
From 1901 to 1949, Stevens-Nelson, and its predecessor, Japan Paper Company, had produced broadsides (that is, large sheets) as samples to be shown to potential customers. The sheets contained work designed by some of the best typographers and printers in America. The Specimens catalogue was an effort to expand that endeavor and to provide examples of fine printing using the papers contained in the company's repetoire. The book was intended for printers and print buyers who might handle projects that called for specialty papers.

Handmade papers are created literally by hand, or using a flat, hand-manipulated mould—a wooden frame covered with wire cloth. Mould made paper is manufactured on a small, mechanically driven, cylindrical mould. In both processes, the operator hand regulates the sheet-by-sheet manufacture. It is a slow and painstaking process, as art is often likely to be.

The process is used, the book notes in the introduction, not because it is "quaint or romantic, but simply because man has not been able to devise any other means of manufacture that will produce such superlative qualities." Indeed, mass-produced papers cannot achieve the look and feel of excellence, the strength and the quality of handmade papers.

At the time the book was produced, most of the specialty papers were produced in small mills in Europe or Japan. It is noted that one mill represented in the book was founded in 1268 "and is probably the oldest in western civilization." One French mill was founded in 1492, and one of the English mills had made currency papaer for more countires than any other mill in the world.

In addition to very beautiful papers, though, the book is a repository for amazing works of art. For here is a Picasso lithograph from the Curt Valentin Gallery in New York, an illustration of George Bernard Shaw by British expressionist painter Feliks Topolski, pen and ink illustrations of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the cover for a menu of an elegant Paris restaurant, and so much more.

Here, too, is an illustration by Italian child prodigy Romano Dazzi, heavy covers for serious reviews and public policy forums, and a simple but elegant program cover for the installation of Dwight D. Eisenhower as president of Columbia University in 1948.

The book contains a preface by Egbert Jacobson, director of the department of design at Container Corporation of America, certainly a major user of paper. Jacobson suggests that the real importance of the book lies "in its role of pacemaker for the art of printing." He contends that printers would do well to recognize the contribution artists make to the success of the art and business of printing.


SUNDAY CONCERT: It is the birthday of German composer Christoph Bernhard (c. 1628), who literally sang for his supper as a child because his family was poor and his sailor father was away at sea. He studied in Rome as a young man and attracted the attention of Italian musicians with his compositions, including a Mass for 10 voices. He composed a piece for the funeral of his childhood teacher, Heinrich Schütz. Most of his work is sacred vocal music in German and Latin. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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