The Roxburghe Club: A Bicentenary History. By Nicolas Barker.

BARKER Nicolas (2012)


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8vo., original Roxburghe style red boards, spine lettered in gilt, purple endpapers; 347 pages; full-colour portrait frontispiece, 6 full-colour plates, 24 pages of black and white members portraits. Printed by Smith Settle in West Yorkshire.

London: for The Roxburghe Club,



Founded at a dinner to mark the sale of the incomparable library of the 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, the Club that bears his name is the oldest, and the pre-eminent, society of bibliophiles in the world. The Club's first secretary was the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, famous for his chronicling of Bibliomania, and its first President the Earl Spencer, the creator of one of the finest private libraries in Europe. Throughout its history, the Club has always linked the scholarly and the aristocratic.

Nicolas Barker, who was elected to the Club in 1970, is uniquely placed to undertake this anniversary history. As he explains in the Epilogue, “It is fifty years since I was asked to write The Publications of the Roxburghe Club. It was printed by Brooke Critchley at the Cambridge University Press, and presented by Tim Mumby, both already generous friends. Eric Millar, the Club’s Secretary, became another; we were neighbours in Holland Park, and met frequently in the last years of his life. Already engaged in printing and publishing for fifteen years, I was thus involved in the Club’s publications before I became a member. Providing advice to the Club and its members has continued since. I have written the text of several books, designed or overseen the production of more.”

This comprehensive study of the Club's history shows the continuing development of book collecting through changing tastes, advancing scholarship and extravagance and scandal, and brings to life the contributions of the membership, from scholars like M.R. James to villains such as Thomas J. Wise. This story is an important part of the history of book collecting told by an expert in the field and as Lord Egremont, today’s President, comments “This history should interest all of those who, in the words of the famous Roxburghe toast, continue to cherish ‘the cause of bibliomania over the world’.”

300 copies printed, of which 200 are for sale.

Stock Code: 240734

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