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Vintage book SPECIAL RARE HISTORY-- Answer to Question 33 by Christopher Sykes with bookplate of famous Booksellers' Provident Retreat, 1948

Vintage book SPECIAL RARE HISTORY-- Answer to Question 33 by Christopher Sykes with bookplate of famous Booksellers' Provident Retreat, 1948

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Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1940s
  • Favorited by: 4 people
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Description

There is no other book like this one.

That's because this book came from a very special place, and its story--or, at least, the story of that place--is incredibly interesting. Anyone who loves books and libraries would likely agree with me, and if you've found my site and are poking around here then you definitely love books and libraries (I would assume, haha). I'll get to the book and author after I tell this tale, because I can't contain myself and it is truly the coolest thing about this find.

So where'd it come from? Well, the book has a unique bookplate on the inside front cover that reads "Booksellers' Provident Retreat" in ornate medieval-type text, then below printed in bold letters "ABBOTS LANGLEY." It also has in italics below that "presented by" but the presenter never signed their name in the space, unfortunately. Still, this was enough to intrigue me into researching what it meant, and boy was I thrilled with what I found! The fact that this book came from here is what makes it worth so much--more than I priced it, actually, but there's little to compare it to, as there are no books that boast of this book's provenance elsewhere online. So this is your chance, bibliophiles, to own a piece of history.

The story of Abbots Langley and the Booksellers' Provident Retreat is thus: Abbots Langley is a town in the English county of Hertfordshire, in the Three Rivers District, an old settlement and a large village and civil parish. The town loves its history, and if you look into it further you'll find they boast of an important person: Nicholas Breakspear, who became the only English Pope, Pope Adrian IV. Additionally, Abbots Langley is not just home to many small cobble-stoned churches, but historical sites and cottages that have lasted through ages much longer than this book, which was printed in 1948.

Settled in Abbots Langley is a hidden mansion, a large house nestled near the railway line that runs along the bottom of Kindersley Way, build on three beautiful acres and known officially as the Booksellers' Retreat. Houses with names make me happy, am I the only one? I don't think so. This particular house makes me happiest, though, because it once housed the members of the Booksellers' Provident Society, founded in 1842, a group of high society men who sold books and worked among those in the publishing industry. There is so little information on them online it is disheartening, but it just makes my imagination go wild with the possibilities of who their members were and what they were like. I imagine a day at the Booksellers' Retreat was not only wonderful, to be surrounded by books and book lovers alike, libraries spread throughout the large, attractive literary house, but exciting too, for the conversations had amongst the literate men who loved books so much they dedicated their lives to them, and formed a singular society for this passion. Their wives, families, and even their widows and surviving relations were allowed to live there (as it served as a sort of retirement place for those receiving annuities from the Booksellers' Provident Society), together making up a group of people I would have loved to have spent long summer days with, talking books for hours.

Can you tell I'm a bookseller? :P

The foundation for this house full of library shelves and bookish Englishmen was laid on September the 3rd, 1845, by the 6th Earl of Clarendon, and the historic design was done by the esteemed architect W H Cooper. The original society that lived there became for a time the "Book Trade Benevolent Society," and is now known as "The Book Trade Charity." And though you may not believe it (I hardly can!), the purpose of the building continues today. In 1965 there were 24 modern bungalows added to the estate to accommodate society members' descendants and the newer society members, and the society remains responsible for the mansion's upkeep It is now mostly known as the Dickinson House, instead of the Booksellers' Provident Retreat, though I like the previous name better. The original "patron" of the grounds and institution, John Dickinson, is the reason for the name change, and a bust of his likeness, constructed by the notable Italian sculptor Carlo Marchetti, looks over the house's old, impressive library.

For more historical information you can visit http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/places/places-a/abbots-langley/abbots-langley-booksellers.htm

For information on the current organization you can visit http://www.btbs.org

And for information on this book's actual story, you can continue reading, as I've finally gotten to it :)

I know the story both from reading it and from the book reviews I've read that convinced me to read it. I knew from these reviews it would be a great book, not only because it was housed in a great library in a house constructed for and lived in by great booksellers. And they were right about it -- I liked it and could see why it lived in that library for the time it did, and why it has the bookplate it does. The novel is the odd tale of Kirkby, a gentleman of Northern England, and his life and the way it entwines with the lives of two women: Lady Caroline Medlam and Donna Isabella. The three lives are introduced before the recent war, then evolve through it. Kirkby loved Lady Caroline in his youth, but growing up he realizes they are very different, and she particularly makes it almost impossible to continue their love, though it is pledged. As a gentleman, this means he cannot even think about marrying someone else without causing a scandal and going against society and their high expectations, let alone his family name. This seems at first to be the challenge of his life, until we follow him and the scandalous Caroline further when they meet the Italian Jewish wonder, Donna Isabella. This new female is introduced in time to relieve Kirkby of Caroline's seductress-like behavior, which tempts him back to her again and again, against his true wishes. So will he escape with Donna Isabella, or fulfill his duty to marry the shameful Lady Caroline Medlam? Donna Isabella does in fact meet and interact with Lady Caroline Medlam, and this creates an explosive issue in all three of their lives, especially for Kirkby when the one woman helps the other in fleeing the country during dangerous wartime. Who loves one another, who hates one another, will the women become friends and thereby renounce Kirkby altogether, or will he find love with one of them and have a happy ending that he seems to deserve? It's dramatic, and you'll want to know the answer to question 33 even if you don't know what the heck question 33 is. Pick up this book and find out!

PS--Roland Pym did the beautiful cover art, which is only ever a plus to any book :)

And here's the straight information you might be looking for:

-Full title: Answer to Question 33
-Author: Christopher Sykes
-Cover Illustrator: Roland Pym
-Format: First Edition, hardcover with light green boards, uncut page-ends on bottom and top, dust jacket in full color with plastic protectant sheet, bio of author and portrait on back cover, important Booksellers' Provident Retreat bookplate pasted on inside front cover (explained above)
-Condition: Near mint!
-Publisher: Collins Clear-Type Press
-Copyright: Collins Clear-Type Press: London and Glasgow, 1948 "Printed in Great Britain"
-Date published: 1948
-Provenance: Explained above in the description in much detail :) I won't repeat it here, don't worry!
-Pricing: The book is well worth its weight in gold just from where it came from, its special bookplate, but even more so because of its being a first edition and in such perfect shape. I can't recommend this book highly enough for its story or history, its complete uniqueness and total rarity, and the piece of art (for Roland Pym outdid himself with this cover) that it is as an object-- the price reflects that exactly.
There is no other book like this one.

That's because this book came from a very special place, and its story--or, at least, the story of that place--is incredibly interesting. Anyone who loves books and libraries would likely agree with me, and if you've found my site and are poking around here then you definitely love books and libraries (I would assume, haha). I'll get to the book and author after I tell this tale, because I can't contain myself and it is truly the coolest thing about this find.

So where'd it come from? Well, the book has a unique bookplate on the inside front cover that reads "Booksellers' Provident Retreat" in ornate medieval-type text, then below printed in bold letters "ABBOTS LANGLEY." It also has in italics below that "presented by" but the presenter never signed their name in the space, unfortunately. Still, this was enough to intrigue me into researching what it meant, and boy was I thrilled with what I found! The fact that this book came from here is what makes it worth so much--more than I priced it, actually, but there's little to compare it to, as there are no books that boast of this book's provenance elsewhere online. So this is your chance, bibliophiles, to own a piece of history.

The story of Abbots Langley and the Booksellers' Provident Retreat is thus: Abbots Langley is a town in the English county of Hertfordshire, in the Three Rivers District, an old settlement and a large village and civil parish. The town loves its history, and if you look into it further you'll find they boast of an important person: Nicholas Breakspear, who became the only English Pope, Pope Adrian IV. Additionally, Abbots Langley is not just home to many small cobble-stoned churches, but historical sites and cottages that have lasted through ages much longer than this book, which was printed in 1948.

Settled in Abbots Langley is a hidden mansion, a large house nestled near the railway line that runs along the bottom of Kindersley Way, build on three beautiful acres and known officially as the Booksellers' Retreat. Houses with names make me happy, am I the only one? I don't think so. This particular house makes me happiest, though, because it once housed the members of the Booksellers' Provident Society, founded in 1842, a group of high society men who sold books and worked among those in the publishing industry. There is so little information on them online it is disheartening, but it just makes my imagination go wild with the possibilities of who their members were and what they were like. I imagine a day at the Booksellers' Retreat was not only wonderful, to be surrounded by books and book lovers alike, libraries spread throughout the large, attractive literary house, but exciting too, for the conversations had amongst the literate men who loved books so much they dedicated their lives to them, and formed a singular society for this passion. Their wives, families, and even their widows and surviving relations were allowed to live there (as it served as a sort of retirement place for those receiving annuities from the Booksellers' Provident Society), together making up a group of people I would have loved to have spent long summer days with, talking books for hours.

Can you tell I'm a bookseller? :P

The foundation for this house full of library shelves and bookish Englishmen was laid on September the 3rd, 1845, by the 6th Earl of Clarendon, and the historic design was done by the esteemed architect W H Cooper. The original society that lived there became for a time the "Book Trade Benevolent Society," and is now known as "The Book Trade Charity." And though you may not believe it (I hardly can!), the purpose of the building continues today. In 1965 there were 24 modern bungalows added to the estate to accommodate society members' descendants and the newer society members, and the society remains responsible for the mansion's upkeep It is now mostly known as the Dickinson House, instead of the Booksellers' Provident Retreat, though I like the previous name better. The original "patron" of the grounds and institution, John Dickinson, is the reason for the name change, and a bust of his likeness, constructed by the notable Italian sculptor Carlo Marchetti, looks over the house's old, impressive library.

For more historical information you can visit http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/places/places-a/abbots-langley/abbots-langley-booksellers.htm

For information on the current organization you can visit http://www.btbs.org

And for information on this book's actual story, you can continue reading, as I've finally gotten to it :)

I know the story both from reading it and from the book reviews I've read that convinced me to read it. I knew from these reviews it would be a great book, not only because it was housed in a great library in a house constructed for and lived in by great booksellers. And they were right about it -- I liked it and could see why it lived in that library for the time it did, and why it has the bookplate it does. The novel is the odd tale of Kirkby, a gentleman of Northern England, and his life and the way it entwines with the lives of two women: Lady Caroline Medlam and Donna Isabella. The three lives are introduced before the recent war, then evolve through it. Kirkby loved Lady Caroline in his youth, but growing up he realizes they are very different, and she particularly makes it almost impossible to continue their love, though it is pledged. As a gentleman, this means he cannot even think about marrying someone else without causing a scandal and going against society and their high expectations, let alone his family name. This seems at first to be the challenge of his life, until we follow him and the scandalous Caroline further when they meet the Italian Jewish wonder, Donna Isabella. This new female is introduced in time to relieve Kirkby of Caroline's seductress-like behavior, which tempts him back to her again and again, against his true wishes. So will he escape with Donna Isabella, or fulfill his duty to marry the shameful Lady Caroline Medlam? Donna Isabella does in fact meet and interact with Lady Caroline Medlam, and this creates an explosive issue in all three of their lives, especially for Kirkby when the one woman helps the other in fleeing the country during dangerous wartime. Who loves one another, who hates one another, will the women become friends and thereby renounce Kirkby altogether, or will he find love with one of them and have a happy ending that he seems to deserve? It's dramatic, and you'll want to know the answer to question 33 even if you don't know what the heck question 33 is. Pick up this book and find out!

PS--Roland Pym did the beautiful cover art, which is only ever a plus to any book :)

And here's the straight information you might be looking for:

-Full title: Answer to Question 33
-Author: Christopher Sykes
-Cover Illustrator: Roland Pym
-Format: First Edition, hardcover with light green boards, uncut page-ends on bottom and top, dust jacket in full color with plastic protectant sheet, bio of author and portrait on back cover, important Booksellers' Provident Retreat bookplate pasted on inside front cover (explained above)
-Condition: Near mint!
-Publisher: Collins Clear-Type Press
-Copyright: Collins Clear-Type Press: London and Glasgow, 1948 "Printed in Great Britain"
-Date published: 1948
-Provenance: Explained above in the description in much detail :) I won't repeat it here, don't worry!
-Pricing: The book is well worth its weight in gold just from where it came from, its special bookplate, but even more so because of its being a first edition and in such perfect shape. I can't recommend this book highly enough for its story or history, its complete uniqueness and total rarity, and the piece of art (for Roland Pym outdid himself with this cover) that it is as an object-- the price reflects that exactly.

Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(62)

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FAQs

Absolutely! I'm willing to do anything to get this book to you, but I will not write on it. If it is not in the condition you want, I know preservation techniques and will certainly oblige as best I can. You just need to let me know.
I will wrap the book any way you want. It is special and so are you, you deserve it! I will also write cards, include photographs, anything you'd like that would make this transaction more, well, you.
I won't tell you how to care for your book, but as to how they are cared for now, they are housed in two places -- some are wrapped in plastic in my main room in the part of the house that used to be a quaint B&B, lined on lovely old wooden bookshelves; others are stacked in piles or leaning on cool, creative and different bookends all round the room, and all are given care, attention, and kept away from my dog :)

Others sit in my library, in built-in authentic 1800s wooden and glass-door library shelves that line the walls in a secluded room in a historic home on the shore. With vintage, warm lamplights over the tiny marble fireplace, the library's windows catch plenty of sunlight--the books are in good homes and will arrive undamaged.
If the book comes later than expected this does not mean it was sent late. Every book is sent within 1-3 business days, unless one of the days is a Sunday, then it could be an extra day. This applies to International orders as well, but they might take longer to get to you than in-country orders. If there is a problem, please bring it up with UPS or see Etsy's policies.
I am more than willing to hunt down a specific book for you. This can take time, however, and would be a matter of personal back-and-forth on the site so you would have to keep in contact. There is no guarantee. I'm good at finding things however, and if I cannot find it to sell to you myself I will direct you to where I can find it online, if I can.

Important to note, however, that I may have it in my holdings already so it ALWAYS helps to check in with me. Listings come up continually, and it may just be waiting here to get processed and put up.
Contact me directly via the site and I will do my absolute best to help correct it. There should be no problems.
Always willing to make new friends and take on new jobs or opportunities -- this business does not stop me from working a full or part time job, and I am currently looking, so please contact me! Dempseylynch@gmail.com. I am definitely interested in talking with you and love meeting new people (especially book lovers of course).
Sure! Although the books are priced the way they are and are worth that amount based on a lot of factors (condition compared to others available online, if there are any available online or if it is the only one, age and whether it is signed or special in some way, etc.) I am always willing to hear you out as to why you think the books price is off, and work with you as best I can. I cannot guarantee the price will change, that is bad for my business, but I will listen to you. Don't be afraid to reach out. The worst that can happen is I will say no.

I put the reasons behind my pricing method for each item at the end of the listing so check that out if you're curious too :)

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