All posts by justin

The Enchanted World of Diane de Bournazel

‘Poésie sans paroles.

Il s’agit bien de ça.

Mettre en images le monde et l’arrière monde,

Comme un poète mais sans mot dire’ 

For several years we have been proudly exhibiting new work by the renowned book artist Diane de Bournazel. We try to have at least one example on show at each of the fairs and exhibitions we show at. Please check our current offerings at www.justincroft.com or with Librairie Solstices in Paris.

Diane de Bournazel makes unique books ― each an enchanted universe. Days of painstaking drawing, hand colouring, collage, papercutting and binding combine to create unique stories-without-words which are richly-layered, poetic, moving, and occasionally breath-taking. Her books find admirers and devotees wherever they are shown and have become highly prized by collectors.

As a book artist, Diane de Bournazel is among the very best in seeing the livre d’artiste as a total artistic creation, embracing all the special qualities of the codex form. She creates distinct and mysterious narratives, spurring us on to turn the pages, with her trademark papercutting opening windows between them, encouraging us to look forwards, backwards and beneath the surface. Subtle collage effects and gauffered edges invite us to touch the pages and to reanimate the books each time we return to them.

Her themes are those of life and death itself, of childhood, love, loss and longing. Recognising that everyone experiences these universals as part of their own unique story, De Bournazel’s visual meditations are always open to interpretation and reinterpretation. Every encounter, even with the same book, yields new insights as new details appear and new connections are noticed between the pages. This is a rich symbolic world, full of unexpected resonances and symmetries.

Diane de Bournazel (b. 1956) is a painter, printmaker and book illustrator and has illustrated many books in France, especially contemporary poetry. Her unique books are represented in both private and public collections in France and further afield, with examples of her unique books held by the BIbliothèque nationale, the Bibliothèques municipales of Nice and Toulouse and the artist’s book collections of the Boston Athenaeum. Some of her livres d’artiste have been reproduced digitally and published, but each of the works we offer is original and unique.

Literature: ‘L’Univers enchanté de Diane de Bournazel’, Art & Métiers du Livre, 316, 2016, pp. 24-31.

Diane de Bournazel crée des livres uniques autant d’univers enchantés.  Ces récits sans paroles sont peints et découpés, fragiles et harmonieux univers de papier, architectures d’encre, de gouache, de pigments et de collages.

Les voyages symboliques de  Diane de Bournazel embarquent le cœur et la raison. Son domaine graphique, nourri de poésie, s’étend en rhizomes. De sa main, avec le pinceau, la plume, la lame éclosent entremêlés des corps protéiformes, une flore foisonnante, une faune fantastique. Dans un virtuose jeu de plans-miroirs, rêves et souvenirs glissent, bondissent, s’envolent, plongent des surfaces aux profondeurs. Entre les bordures rythmiques se déploie la ronde de l’enfance, du désir, des amours, de la mort. Le manque se fait ajour, le tourment retournement. Parce que chacun a une expérience intime de ces thèmes universels, les méditations visuelles de Diane de Bournazel sont toujours ouvertes aux interprétations et réinterprétations. Chaque rencontre, y compris avec le même livre, est une révélation : de nouveaux détails apparaissent, de nouvelles connexions se laissent deviner entre les pages et invitent à regarder plus avant, à revenir en arrière et à passer sous la surface.

Diane de Bournazel, née en 1956, épanouit  à Marliac, en Corrèze, une œuvre singulière. Ses livres uniques sont des oeuvres rares à la maturation lente, essaimées chez les amateurs et dans quelques collections publiques. Aux Etats-Unis : Boston (Athenaeum), San Francisco (Center for the Book). En France : à Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Bibliothèque Forney, Bibliothèque de l’Heure Joyeuse, Bibliothèque Faidherbe ; en régions : Bibliothèques de Limoges, Nice, Médiathèques d’Arles, Bordeaux, Brive, Cahors, Chartres, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Montauban, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Toulouse, Tulle…

Bibliographie : « L’univers enchanté de Diane de Bournazel », Arts & Métiers du livre, 316, pp. 24-31.

I have a confession…

 

Bless me father, for I have sinned… So began the Catholic sacrament of confession as I remember it from thirty years ago, having made my ‘first confession’ at the Church of St Hugh’s, Buckden (Cambridgeshire) in the late 1970s. At least twice a year my siblings and I would wait uneasily in the pews at the back of church preparing for five minutes of toe-curling embarrassment with one of the parish priests as we stumbled through our short list of pre-adolescent failings: disobedience, showing disrespect to our elders, laziness, lying, cheating, sometimes stealing.

It’s arguable how beneficial all this was for the juvenile mind, and perhaps that’s beside the present point. I was glad however when in the 1980s individual confession came to be replaced by services of ‘general absolution’. These meant you didn’t have to name your sins out loud, which was probably for the best as we passed through our teens. In truth, one-to-one confession wasn’t as bad as it sounds and was approached seriously in our family, albeit with a certain grim humour. The ‘confessional’ in 1950s-built St Hugh’s was nothing like the comedy baroque chambers you see in the films—it was more like a well-maintained public convenience. If you were lucky, it would be Father Rourke behind the curtain, who was rather deaf and whose gentle Irish accent was so impenetrable that you couldn’t be upset by his response. He would listen to your confession and then invite you to consider ‘crushing the head of the serpent’, sending you away to recite three Hail Marys or an Act of Contrition.

The challenge for us children was to come up with a sensible and credible list of sins, usually confined to the basics—non-controversial but without sounding as though you were reading from the same list every time. A story told by our grandmother warned us of the dangers of anything too outré—as a convent-girl in the 1920s she had confessed to adultery and it had caused a stir. Invited by her confessor to elaborate she explained that she had been seen wearing an under-vest in public and that, even worse, she had borrowed it without permission from another girl.

A brilliant solution was devised by our little sister in the form of a tiny, clandestine manuscript scarcely bigger than a communion wafer. It consisted of a few stapled pages on which were written, in minute script, a goodly range of childish sins. The manuscript could be concealed in the palm of the hand and served as a peccatorial aide-memoire once in the confessional; if you opened the pages at random, the laws of chance took care that sins would be rehearsed in a different sequence every time. For a consideration, our sister would lend it to her brothers, and so the little book would be passed along the pew and then put away, concealed in a sock drawer, until the next time. Bless me father, for I have sinned…

However, I realise we were not the first to come up with this solution. In fact, in the seventeenth-century cleric Christophe Leuterbreuver, had published a remarkable little pocket book along this line which became a bestseller, running to numerous editions. It was more than just a list though—being a fully-fledged livre à système incorporating hundreds of folding slips. I have now owned several copies of this book, the earliest being printed in 1695 the latest in 1751.

Designed as a practical aid to the sacrament of confession Leuterbreuver’s ingenious little work first appeared in 1677 and ran to many editions. Intended as a complete manual of confession, the moveable slips provided a solution to the problem of making a full and detailed confession from memory. The sinner can mark the entries relevant to him or her by lifting the corresponding printed slips and then replacing them later so that no-one need ever know what was confessed. In reality, the lifted slips were often folded to mark them more clearly and it is, of course, intriguing to see which of the hundreds of sins have been marked. In the copy I have on my desk now very few of the slips are folded, but the one printed: ‘I have often had the name of the devil in my mouth’ is very clearly marked.

The book as a whole provides an uncommonly intimate view of the soul, akin to listing at the door of the confessional. The sins are set out according to the Ten Commandments and provide a glittering array of human failings. This is not a book for children and one wonders whether its popularity was as much because it provided such a panorama of the dark side of the soul. The list of sins for the ninth commandment, for example includes memoranda for ‘Avoir eu des pensées & des désirs lascifs. Y avoir eu de la délectation… Avoir prêté consentement aux illusions nocturnes… Avoit employé l’art magique des breuvages, & choses semblables, pour engager quelque personne en amour… Avoir dit des chansons lascives. Avoir dit les contes, & tenu des entretiens lascifs. Avoir fait des billets & écrits lascifs. Avoir eu, lû, & donné les Livres                                                    lascifs… Avoir jetté des regards déshonnêtes…

My grandmother’s confessors might have blanched at the sight of it, but she herself would have been intrigued and perhaps just a little amused. And I hope Father Rourke will forgive me for writing this post.

An Angel of the North

This time last year, I had just returned from a visit to Scandinavia. In my bag was this tiny book, found on the shelves of a Copenhagen bookshop, where it was hidden in the triple-shelved books of the theology section, wedged beside the water pipes. I had recognised the binding as being in the style of the Guild of Women Binders, with its modelled goatskin covers. Though an old pencilled note in the front suggested that the cover depicted Pan with his flute, the image looked more like a Burne-Jones angel to me.  The book itself is an unremarkable edition of the Imitatio Christi by Thomas a Kempis. The binding is dated 1896.

 

National Museums Liverpool

How long this angel had been in Denmark I just don’t know. Home in Faversham, a few minutes internet research brought up the source of the image: Edward Burne-Jones’s Angel playing a Flageolet, painted around 1878, now at Sudley House, Liverpool. Of course, it’s one of a veritable host of Burne-Jones angels: they were both his signature and his credo, brought to life in countless paintings, tapestries and stained-glass windows and endlessly reproduced. In 1882 Oscar Wilde recalled Burne-Jones telling him: ‘The more materialistic science becomes, the more angels I shall paint: their wings are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul’. He seems to have been particularly fond of this musical angel, keeping it in his studio for ten years before parting with it. How did our angel migrate to find itself on a bookbinding? The answer has been provided by Graham Hogg of the National Library of Scotland (who have acquired the book) and is written up on their website:

http://www.nls.uk/collections/rarebooks/acquisitions/singlebook.cfm/idfind/849

Trustees of the National Library of Scotland

In short, Graham recognised the binding as a product of the late nineteenth-century Edinburgh school of bookbinding founded by Annie McDonald soon known as the Edinburgh Arts and Crafts Club. The work of McDonald and her followers (almost all women) is characterized by these moulded goatskin bindings, where the leather has been worked while wet, with a single tool, pushing and squeezing it into relief, with remarkable effect. When new, their bindings were probably much whiter, only mellowing with age. The Edinburgh group were important, since it was they who inspired the foundation of a larger national organization, The Guild of Women Binders, who made and exhibited many hundreds of innovative book bindings over the coming decades. Their work was very much in tune with the Arts and Crafts Movement, creating objects of beauty and utility which contrasted with increasingly mass produced goods. Women played an important part in this. In mass factory production it was often women who provided cheap deskilled labour of stultifying tedium; one of the aims of The Guild of Women Binders was to allow women to relearn and revive traditional skills in a creative environment.

The binding has been positively identified as the work of one ‘Miss Maclagan’, probably a pupil of Annie McDonald, who has carefully copied a detail of Burne-Jones’s original, probably from a photographic reproduction. Graham Hogg has also discovered that this very book was exhibited at the 1898 London exhibition of the Guild, where it was item 93 and exhibited as an example of the work of the Edinburgh School.

It is one of the great pleasures of bookselling to see books find appropriate homes. There can be no better home for this wonderful binding than the National Library of Scotland.

An angel returns to roost in the city of its birth.

upper cover & spine

 

lower cover

On paper…

A few days ago I visited the ancient town of King’s Lynn. It was a memorable trip, not least for being booked-ended by glimpses of the great medieval cathedrals of Peterborough (underrated, I think) and Ely (the much-loved ‘Ship of the Fens’). Lynn, once one of the busiest sea-ports in Europe, had an eerie autumnal quietness; low clouds hung over the fenland approaches and the tide was disquietingly high in the Ouse estuary.

I spent some time in the borough archives, still housed in the Town Hall (access via the Old Gaol House). The medieval town archives of Lynn are breathtaking and include one of the finest collections of town charters in the country. But for me, the highlight was an initially unprepossessing paper book now blessed with the name of ‘The Red Register’ after its later binding. The register is a collection of town documents written up in this book from the year 1307. After turning some of its leaves and admiring the handwriting I put the register back in its archive box and made a brief note: ‘paper book; 1307; ?early’ and moved on.

In the early fourteenth century England’s writers habitually wrote, as we all know, with quill pens on sheets of parchment or vellum. And that’s true of writers in a variety of fields: in the church, the law courts, or in royal and local government. Here in Lynn, in 1307 we find a medieval writer (or probably writers) writing on quires of paper with the clear intention of binding them up as a book. The paper could not, of course, have been English: the first recorded English paper mill dates from only the 1490s, when a Hertford paper maker supplied paper to the printer William Caxton.

It was only after I returned home to Faversham (which coincidentally has a pretty mean collection of medieval charters) that I realised just how early the Lynn paper book was. In fact, consulting the endlessly-useful classic by Michael Clanchy From Memory to Written Record, I found that: ‘The earliest records made in England on paper come most appropriately from major seaports: a register from King’s Lynn beginning in 1307 and another from Lyme Regis in 1309’.

The King’s Lynn Red Register is then, the earliest surviving English paper book. I realise that, had I been paying attention, I would have noticed it even has its own blue plaque outside the town-hall, though it doesn’t tell us why it’s important.

It’s a common (and fair) assumption that paper books have something to do with printing. Books are printed on paper. There are a few black-tulip exceptions, usually very early (a few copies of the Gutenberg Bible and other incunables, including Caxtons, and of course a few copies of the wonderful Kelmscott Chaucer and other private press books; late revivals of vellum printing). There’s also a co-incidence of chronology: paper making, especially in England, takes off with the advent of printing. Conversely, we tend to think of medieval manuscripts as written on parchment or vellum.

On reflection I can now think of several examples of English medieval manuscripts on paper, mostly urban or legal registers from the fifteenth century (there’s even one here in Faversham). A few date from the period before printing, but very few from the fourteenth century. That makes the 1307 Red Register at Lynn truly remarkable.

It speaks of a confident leap-of-faith on behalf of the town government to make an important civic record on a material with such a short track-record in practice. Of course we know that Chinese and Islamic cultures used paper long before, but the first paper mills in Europe were not active before the 1270s (in Italy; where else?). Urban records were not mere shopping lists: they were the documents used by powerful ruling elites to protect the data which allowed them to carry out their day to day business in the knowledge that they were acting correctly and lawfully. Town documents were jealously guarded and treated with all the care and respect that a major business corporation would use to maintain and back-up its databases. That is one reason why medieval town records have such a good rate of survival.

To experiment with paper as a record-keeping technology was a brave and forward-looking move in 1307. Probably before its time, since it didn’t catch on for so long. Paper would turn out to have all kinds of advantages over parchment: it can be less bulky, it allows for much more rapid writing in new, faster hands, and ultimately it would become cheaper. By 1500, except for deeds and charters, paper would become dominant in record-keeping of all kinds. Perhaps most significantly, in the long run, it provided a perfect surface for printing.

I’m fascinated by the people who made medieval administrative records. It seems to me that, just like the IT wizards of the 21st century, it is they who were experimenting with new technologies for recording day-to-day experience. The Red Register of Lynn is perhaps just one example of how far ahead of their time they could be. They were often people of extraordinary capability and imagination. It’s no coincidence that people such as Geoffrey Chaucer, controller of customs at London, was also a full-time administrative writer. It has been argued that the explosion of English lay-literacy in the fourteenth century came about in part through advances in literate technology among administrators in the great towns of England. That is another story and one I’m certainly encouraged to revisit after my archival explorations at Lynn…

publication of an Antiques Roadshow discovery – war poet Timothy Corsellis

The Unassuming Sky: The Life and Poetry of Timothy Corsellis by Helen Goethals

Last year, while recording with the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow I unpacked an old suitcase of papers belonging to the largely unknown Second World War poet Timothy Corsellis. Among the papers were notebooks containing over 100 unpublished poems, many on the subject of the war itself. I’m delighted to say that the poems have now been published, as part of a masterly biography by Helen Goethals.

The Unassuming Sky - Timothy Corsellis
The Unassuming Sky - Timothy Corsellis

Pilot Timothy Corsellis died at the controls of his plane when it crash-landed on October 10th 1941. He was not yet 21. The poems he left behind were recognised for their quality and importance, with a small number appearing in anthologies of war poets. He also receives a brief notice by Ronald Blythe in ODNB. In life he was recognised as a rising talent, and attracted the notice of contemporary poets, including Stephen Spender who he met and who penned a posthumous poem in tribute to him.

The story told by the 100 poems we found in the Roadshow suitcase was too complex to tell in all but the briefest details in a few minutes of screen time. Corsellis trained with the RAF as a fighter pilot as the Battle of Britain was being fought in the skies above Southern England. Like so many young men of his generation he wrestled with the morality of war. While fully convinced of the evils of the Nazi regime, Timothy’s deeply-held Christian values were challenged by the onset of war. He was initially an objector, then enrolled with RAF.

In 1940 Corsellis was assigned to bomber training; at which point he was hit, head-on, by the moral dilemma which would ultimately end his life. The dilemma is prescient, even in 2012, as debates over the ethics of bombing civilians in war are ever present, not least in the context of the memorial to the pilots of the Second World War’s Bomber Command, constructed only this year in London.

Corsellis requested a transfer to a fighter squadron or the Fleet Air Arm, where his targets would, at least, be military. His request was met with refusal and an honourable discharge from the RAF. As a relief worker in London’s East End he then observed the realities of civilian casualties during the Blitz; which he recorded in some of his best poems, such as ‘Dawn after the raid’. Having described the discovery of another body among the ruins, he asks:

Relief work in the London Blitz
Relief work in the London Blitz

‘Is it for this that bending we strived

And fought in each other’s blood and other’s sorrow

To reach these wretched mangled remains?

Is it for this that we ached in the darkness

Not knowing that nearby

Another house had fallen

To the blast of that same bomb.’

Like  others of his best poems, it evokes the terrible realities of death in war and the fresh dilemmas facing the living at every turn. Corsellis tackled these questions bravely; always with a human background. This is one reason why his poetry remains so relevant today.The poet then saw service as a transport pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary (A.T.A.), delivering planes and supplies, and it was during a routine flight from Luton to Carlisle that his Miles Magister L8268 stalled, crashed, and ended his life.

The Unassuming Sky includes 100 poems presented within the framework of a sensitively researched biography by Helen Goethels, who was granted full access to the family’s papers and personal memoirs. Her study is alive with interconnections and influences which helped to shape the work of this important war poet.

The credit for bringing the poems to publication after more than 70 years goes in large part to the poet’s brother, John Corsellis. It was he who brought the suitcase to the Antiques Roadshow and who created such a memorable impression while discussing on camera what the artefact meant to him.  It was the broadcast of this discussion which found the poems an agent and led to publication with the Cambridge Scholars Press.

The book can be ordered direct from the publishers or from all good bookshops.

A. Maurice & Co’s First Folio

Since my first post ‘to begin at the beginning…‘ on the firm of A. Maurice & Co, founded by my great-great-grandfather, I’ve been fortunate to receive lots of suggestions, corrections and facts from friends and family. I hope to incorporate these here and in future posts.

Most importantly Simon Hicks pointed out my confusion between the two Armands, father and son. Armand (born 1824) my great great-grandfather founded the firm of A. Maurice, but later in the century it was run from Bedford Street by his son Armand (born 1865) my great grandmother’s brother.

Shakespeare, First Folio, 1623
Shakespeare, First Folio, 1623

This week I have been pursuing a chance reference I found to the Shakespeare First Folio (1632) sold by A. Maurice & Co in August 1896. To my delight, the copy had been tracked down by Anthony James West shortly before publication of his Census in 2003 and appears there as West 213. The copy still exists and is in Japan – apparently having been the very first copy of the First Folio to arrive in Japan.

A. Maurice acquired it in the 1890s and quite quickly sold it to the Cornish tin magnate John Claude Daubuz. It was sold again in 1932 (Sotheby’s, 25 July, lot 129A) and bought by Marks for £100. The next we hear of it is when sold jointly in 1969 by the British firm H. M. Fletcher and Japanese firm Yushodo to a Mr Kamijo in 1969 for £6,400. Lee’s enquiries suggest the copy was still with the Kamijo family in Japan in 2001.

1895 – la fin des livres?

listening online

She’s relaxing on the sofa with her headphones on; her friend is listening to a novel. Between them they can get hold of pretty well anything they choose to hear – literature or music – channel-hopping from dance to Wagner to poetry or from philosophy to novels. The year is 1895 and the days of reading from printed books seem to be numbered.

At the dawn of the electrical age the Parisian publisher and dandy Octave Uzanne and his friend, Albert Robida, a science-fiction author and illustrator, imagined a new literary world. The printed book was replaced by a subscription service where access to books and music was provided in the home with electrical gadgets wired to a central network. Those without the necessary equipment at home were not excluded and could get pay-as-go access from listening points in public places or on public transport. Libraries were repositories for recorded sound, and books existed as audio recordings, preferably in the voice of their author. Uzanne and Robida’s fantasy was published as ‘La fin des livres’ in Contes pour les Bibliophiles (1895).

Contes pour les Bibliophiles, 1895

Uzanne was a bibliophile who foresaw the potential of electronic publishing. But he also saw that printed books could survive in the coming era by becoming objects of desire. He understood that reading was not just an intellectual activity and he set about creating books which were not only beautiful, but which took delight in doing things that only books could do. He relished the power of the well-designed cover and the excitement it brought to the opening of a new book for the first time. He sometimes added extra jackets in embroidered silk with ribbons and laces to be untied. Texture was important. Paper was carefully chosen and decorative tissue guards protected the many illustrations to provide a whispered rustle as the images were revealed. Text and illustration were luxuriously combined on almost every page. His books were the bibliophilic equivalent of a collector’s vitrine, stuffed with exotic (and sometime erotic) exhibits in a heady mixture of graphic styles.

Octave Uzanne was not sentimental about his books. They didn’t, for example, hark back to an imagined golden age, and his project was entirely different from the Arts and Crafts movement across the English Channel which was busily recreating the book arts of the past. Uzanne loved technology as much as his sci-fi friend Robida. The two of them haunted the Paris Expositions looking for new printing techniques to perfect their colour plates. While their books were designed to appear exotic and exclusive, they were affordable and widely available. Certainly editions were limited, but they ran to 1000 or more copies in most cases.

These works are steeped in the fin-de-siècle Paris scene but some of Octave Uzanne’s thoughts and predictions on the relationship between print and changing communication technologies have become relevant to today’s ‘death of the book’ debates and to contemporary developments in publishing.

We have put together a catalogue of 10 characteristic works by Uzanne, which can be downloaded as a pdf here: http://justincroft.com/downloads;jsessionid=FBB61456E86513DE56BF4DB9FC83C6A1

If you’d like to read more there is an excellent book on the Parisian bibliophilic scene of the 1890s, with lots of material on Octave Uzanne: The New Bibliopolis. French Book Collectors and the Culture of Print 1880-1914 by Willa Silverman (University ofToronto Press, 2008). http://www.utppublishing.com/The-New-Bibliopolis-French-Book-Collectors-and-the-Culture-of-Print-1880-1914.html

to begin at the beginning…

Some recently discovered prehistory.

When I took my first steps into the rare book trade in 1990 I had no idea my family had already been booksellers for over half a century.  The reason for my ignorance was that the period in question had been roughly 1870 to 1930, when the firm of ‘A. Maurice & Co, Ancient and Modern Booksellers’ traded books all over the world from their shop at 23 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London.

The proprietor for much of that time was Armand Maurice, my great-great-grandfather. I knew nothing of him until a couple of years ago when his name was mentioned at various family gatherings when discussing my own bookselling experiences. Since then, the internet has thrown up an increasing number of references to him and his firm. He was born in London in 1865 of émigré French parents, Armand (a Jew) and Josephine Magnien (a ‘proselyte’, presumably Catholic). Both the French and Jewish  strands in my family history were new to me.

A. Maurice & Co. was most active at the turn of the nineteenth-century and bookselling in 1890s Covent Garden seems terribly romantic in retrospect. Bedford Street was a hive of activity. William Heinemann (publisher of Oscar Wilde’s manifesto, Intentions and of Wells, Stevenson and Kipling) was next door at number 21, while J. M. Dent and Company was a couple of doors away pioneering the Everyman series. Revisiting Bedford Street this week I find that nothing survives of number 23 or its neighbours, the whole site having been redeveloped in the past decade or so. Which leaves me free to imagine the scene in the 1890s…

23 Bedford Street, the site today

Few traces of A. Maurice & Co survive. No archive, and certainly no books. But the internet throws up more and more ghosts, with chance references to catalogues, customers at home and abroad and even some of Armand’s books, including what must have been his very best: a copy of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio. More of that (and others) anon.

I am actively seeking more information from friends, family and librarians. Armand issued many hundreds of catalogues, yet few survive, even in the libraries he sold books to. I have a couple and would love to have more. I’ll post more information as I find it, interspersed with my own  rare book discoveries…

Mnemosyne: personified by Rossetti in 1881

Armand Maurice used the codeword “Mnemosyne, London” as his telegraphic address. In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne, daughter of Gaia and Uranus, mother of the nine Muses was the personification of memory, as in mnemonic. What more appropriate word for a purveyor of old books. Here she is, pictured by Rossetti in 1881.