Hepplewhite, Sheraton & A Little Surprise

Rummaging around a secondhand bookshop (always one of life’s little pleasures) a few weeks ago, I discovered a small and slim hardbound copy of Sheraton’s furniture designs. It was published in 1946 by John Tiranti, and the simple yet charming, Classically-inspired illustrations inside made me glow. So I spent the £4 the bookseller was asking, and then spent a very pleasant evening curled up on a chair browsing through it.
Yesterday I found another, slightly larger book published by Tiranti in 1955 that covered Hepplewhite’s furniture and other designs. Remembering my pleasant evening, I had to have it, so I paid what I though was a very fair £5. I know more modern, more comprehensive, and larger format examples of these books can be found cheaply and easily today, but there’s something uniquely marvellous about these black cloth covered hardback books. From the thick paper, to the size, to the way they are printed, they’re just so much more appealing to me.
Flicking through the Hepplewhite volume last night, I found a little surprise (below) that speaks of a different age, and made me glow even more. It’s a ‘With Compliments’ slip from Hatchards of Piccadilly, London, which then purported to be ‘The World’s Finest Bookshop’, with four telephone lines at ‘Regent 3201’. Written in blue fountain pen ink, the dedication reads ‘Happers B. all love and gratitude, Robin‘. I wonder who Robin was, and I wonder who received it from him as a birthday present? The book is in lovely condition, so I wonder if they treasured it, or just left it unread on a shelf?  The slip is neither important nor valuable but, just like the books themselves, it’s utterly delightful in so many ways.

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