Melbourne Rare Book Week: Antiquarian Fair & Fab Free Events

Book with Hearts

Book with HeartsMelbourne Rare Book Week (MRBW), for the love of books commences June 30 and runs until July 9, 2017. The many partners in this enterprise are indeed impressive, and a new organisation was formed in 2016 to meet the demands of this growing large and complex event.

There will be some fifty presentations, lectures, readings, tours and other print on paper related events to be held in various venues across the city of Melbourne in institutions and the many businesses also associated with this very special week.

All are free for you to attend, although you will have to book your seats because they will be in high demand.

Laptop in classic libraryYou can attend the climax of the week, the 45th Australian Antiquarian Book Fair to be held in the Wilson Hall of The University of MelbourneIt will be opening at 6pm on July 7 and continuing over the weekend, ending July 9 at 5:00 pm.

Presented by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), the fair will showcase an extraordinary rich and diverse array of fine and rare books from medieval manuscripts to modern comics and cartoons

Dealers will be catering for all those who love the tactile quality and sheer pleasure of holding a beautiful book in their hands, especially those produced to further infuse their passionate pursuit of the printed word, with joy.

Cute babies boy and girl in a chair readingWe have to continue looking forward the future, even though a lot of the books take us back to the past, holding both in balance. Knowledge of the past provides the foundation for our understanding of the world in which we live, most especially for children, including reading aloud sessions.

A child’s interest in the world is established through the discovery of communication and reading session for children and their carers with their Little Golden Books will help them begin to make memories.

Illuminated ManuscriptPresented by the State Library of Victoria Learning Services, I must say that I also like the idea of their School holiday Book-Making workshop and the Children’s activity session: Calligraphy and the art of illuminated manuscripts.

On-the-Move-Duc-du-BerryFor any child, life is a creative adventure and children 8 – 12 years who are the target market, are sure to love creating their own books. Learning how to complete an illuminated manuscript page and how to write calligraphy, will be inspired by viewing superbly illustrated pages from medieval times, which had a focus on visual delight a concept that has so many parallels in the image driven world we live in today.

Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals in life and also develop and expand his or her knowledge and potential. In this way they also begin to learn how to participate fully in a wider society.

WALLIS, Captain James (1785? - 1858), An historical account of the Colony of New South Wales and its dependent settlements; courtesy Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Melbourne

WALLIS, Captain James (1785? – 1858), An historical account of the Colony of New South Wales and its dependent settlements; courtesy Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Melbourne

The Douglas Stewart Fine Bookshop will be focussing its attention on the guide for Australian Book Collectors, launching the final volume in a five volume series, charting the lives and collections of more than 300 bibliophiles during the nineteenth and twentieth century, many of whom had their own bookplates on the inside cover.

The Editor of Australian Book Collectors Charles Stitz  has received a medal and Certificate of Honour from the International Federation of Ex-Libris Societies (FISAE) founded in 1966 in Hamburg, Germany to ‘cultivate and promote an interest in, and devotion to, bookplates and enhance their artistic qualities.

Ex Libris KangarooFirst known in Germany during the fifteenth century, bookplates were embraced by modern men of status who sought to mark ownership of their books, which cost a great deal of money at that time.

Over the centuries they became a mark of distinction, with family crests and badges, Greek and Latin Mottos and in time, amusing caricatures and artists also became involved, ensuring the ‘art of the bookplate’ was born. How could you not have your curiosity aroused by the Kangaroo design for Geoffrey Ricardo, which won an award in 2015.

Hordern House Rare Books of Sydney will be there, offering their outstanding collection of books, prints and paintings focusing on Voyages to Australia, Exploration and the early Colonial days of Australia’s development.

Jane Austen 2An exhibition By a Lady: the World of Jane Austen is sure to be a hit, as it explores the life, times and books of the famous author.

There will also be readings from favourite passages from her most famous books, celebrating the 200th anniversary of her death in July 1817 by Susannah Fullerton and Chris Browne.

Along with other talks they will be presented in the Library at the Dock on the Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands.

Dr Gary Presland will give a presentation Reconstructing Melbourne’s Lost Environments at the Old Treasury Building, while at the State Library you can take a Curator’s tour of Mirror of the World.


Collage of plates from Banks Florilegium

The Magic of the Arts, The Banks’ Florilegium, Literature for Everyman, Rare Advice: how to settle in Victoria and An Amazing and Astounding World, are just some of the events to choose from.

Be sure to participate and perhaps explore Hidden Treasures from the NGV Collection of Prints and Drawings and some of the NGV’s most significant books and Tall tales and True presented by Monash University Library.

Red Head ReadingFor the Love of Books – hop onto the Rare Book Week Website now and be amazed!

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017

A handwritten original manuscript by Elizabeth Barrett Browning of the epic poem Aurura Leigh, courtesy Margaret Clapp Library, Wellesley College, Mass.

A handwritten original manuscript by Elizabeth Barrett Browning of the epic poem Aurura Leigh, courtesy Margaret Clapp Library, Wellesley College, Mass.

Melbourne Rare Book Week – For The Love of Books

June 30 – July 7, 2017

45th Australian Antiquarian Book Fair

Wilson Hall
The University of Melbourne,

Starts Friday July 7 at 6:00 pm
Ends Sunday July 9 at 5:00 pm

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.