Sir Henry Seagrave, an early pioneer in the world of motor sport gives a fascinating insight into early 20th century motor racing. He explains that in 1928 when this book was written that motor racing is much safer than when it started the century before, even though casualties occurred at virtually every race! He talks about racing past, present and future describing with a sound technical sense and in detail his record of a unique racing career over eight years, and the story of his life with modesty and restraint. His recall for all the events he entered is amazing, listing the state of the track, the problems before and during the race and who won or lost.
“As dead as a Dodo!” Many will be familiar with this saying. But how many will, like me, not be familiar with the story that lies behind this fabled bird? When and why did the dodo become extinct? What did it look like? What did it eat? Where was it to be found?
On discovering this book in our Special Book Room, I was immediately fascinated. Published in 1848, here was an entire work dedicated to the Dodo and other extinct birds or, as the rather imposing subtitle reads, “The History, Affinities, and Osteology of the Dodo, Solitaire, and Other Extinct Birds of the Islands of Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon”. So one question answered already – the Dodo was to be found on the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Bourbon (now named Reunion Island) which lie about 1200 miles off the south-east coast of the African continent.
Scavenger hunt question (clue - you may be able to find this item in your house).
'Roses are white, but they should be red,I'll help you play croquet, unless you me behead.'
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Originally titled 'Alice's Adventures Under Ground', the author Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) gave the story, in manuscript form with his own accompanying illustrations, as a gift to the young Alice Liddell (The Real Alice). Carroll had invented the story to keep the three Liddell children occupied on a day out rowing up the river to enjoy a picnic. (See Chris's article 'The Real Alice' for more detailed information).
This book was produced to coincide with the exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2004. I was lucky enough to go to the Tate Modern to see this exhibition and it was stunning! The book follows the life and works of Edward Hopper and would be ideal for an Edward Hopper fan.
So let me tell you a little about him. Edward Hopper was born in 1882 in Nyack, New York. He showed a talent for drawing from an early age, even then playing with light and shadow, a theme he continued throughout his work. He first studied art via a correspondence course but later transferred to the New York School of Art and Design where he studied under the inspirational teacher Robert Henri. Hopper once said of Robert Henri “Few teachers of art have got as much out of their pupils, or given them as great an initial impetus”. Robert Henri was founder of the Ashcan School of Art which was concerned with representing ordinary everyday subjects, people at work and urban scenes.
Written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.Illustrated by Florence HarrisonPublished by Blackie and Son Ltd Deluxe 1st edition 1912
If we think of the Golden Age of illustrators, we tend to think of luminaries such as Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac. However amongst these illustrators of the Golden Age we also find women illustrators such as Kate Greenaway, Jessie Willcox Smith and Florence Harrison to name but a few, no less talented, but perhaps less sung about. So this is what initially led me to my choice of book, which is quite beautiful in every way.
How many of you have read The Lord of the Rings from beginning to end? No, watching the films does not count! I have to admit that it took me three attempts to get through it. I finally managed to read the entire three books in my mid-teens. When I had accomplished this no small feat, I found that I did enjoy it. My favourite characters are Gollum and Shelob. Why? I couldn’t say… I think I like Gollum’s childlike simplicity although I might be biased with images of Gollum in the films turning his back and muttering ‘My precious’. Shelob is a huge spider guarding the pass into Mordor. Being a tarantula keeper, I guess it just fell into place.
What an informative book this is. It has been a pleasure to look through its pages of illustrations and detail.
The author and illustrator Maurice Sendak was born on 10th June 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish Jewish parents Sarah and Philip. He was the youngest of three children. As a child Maurice Sendak was called Murray and his earliest colour drawing of Mickey Mouse, done when he was six, is signed Murray Sendak. He was born in the same year as Walt Disney’s illustrious mouse who was an early dominant figure and “best friend.”
As some of our long-term readers may know, one of the founders of Stella Books – Cliff – was the proud owner of a 1942 Willys Jeep. The Jeep had been in his family since being purchased just after the war as ‘army surplus’. It was used around the family farm and was the first vehicle Cliff drove – learning to drive it around the farm as a young boy. Around 20 years ago Cliff and I restored the Jeep back to its original glory. Cliff used to love driving it around Tintern and had it shipped over to Portugal when he and Chris lived there. When Cliff died back in 2017 he left ‘Jeep’ to me. Although I don’t use it as much as I’d like, it is a fantastic vehicle to drive around in the summer – or even in the winter if you dress up warmly enough!
Quality Street was first published in 1901, a few years before Barrie's famous novel of Peter Pan. The play, a comedy in four acts, opened in Ohio in October 1901 and in New York in November 1901 where it ran for 64 performances. However, when it arrived in London in September 1902, it ran for a very successful 459 performances. The play enjoyed numerous revivals and tours until World War II and even enjoyed a recent revival in 2010.
In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful of the Folio Society books, and I love fairy tales so what could be better than a lovely copy in a slipcase? (View our current stock of this book - click here).
The book is bound in red buckram cloth, with decorations based on Edmund Dulac's design for ‘My Days With the Fairies’ by Mrs. R. Stawell. On the front cover is an elfin-like character in gilt sitting on a cloud beneath a vine of beautiful pale lilac and pink flowers. The spine is also decorated with gilt, pale lilac and pink, picturing what to me looks like a chandelier, with a gilt cockerel at the base of the spine.
'The House at Pooh Corner' was first published by Methuen & Co. Ltd in October 1928, being the final in a quartet of books for children by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. However, it is the second volume specifically about the well loved 'bear of little brains', 'Winnie-the-Pooh' along with his friends and their many adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.
This book follows the same format as 'Winnie-the-Pooh', where almost every chapter can be read independently of each other as a shorter story; perfect for bedtime reading and for keeping a child's (or adult's) attention! In fact, in the many years since their original publication, various chapters of these popular tales have been adapted and reprinted for younger readers in separate story books.
I love maps and this book intrigued me as soon as I saw the title. It covers the greatest cartographic phantoms covering everything from ghost islands to ship snatching beasts and uncovers the fascinating stories behind their invention. The world is depicted, not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be along with beautiful and enthralling images to illustrate.
I chose this book because, to my mind, it is a typical Cecil Aldin publication - I am a dog lover and love Aldin's drawings. This book is written by Walter Emanuel and I think the style of writing is very similar to Cecil Aldin's. However, the speech is slightly more forthright and tickles my sense of humour - for example:
"Then my master has given me the absurd name of Gibus, because, he says, my face reminds him of his opera hat when it is shut up. I only know one name more absurd, and that is Chicky [the baby in the story]. Which reminds me that it is pretty evident that I am intended to play second fiddle to that brat, and I don't intend to do it."
50 years ago on 20th July 1969 the first men stepped onto the moon. The book I have chosen was published in 1954 – seven years before Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut, became the first man to go into space and orbit the earth and fifteen years before the first moon landing. It is written by Arthur C. Clarke who was a science writer and a visionary when it came to space travel. In 1954 space science was new and still very much in the realms of fiction and fantasy. Jules Verne and H G Wells notably wrote adventure stories about travelling to the Moon and, although they were great fun, they offered no real insight into how this could be achieved.
Treasures from Tsarskoye Seloby Emmanuel Ducamp with photographs by Marc Walter
Tsarskoye Selo is just outside St Petersburg and is more than 300 years old.
It was originally a modest summer residence for Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great.
It has since been rebuilt and then refurbished by the Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great who developed it as a Royal Country residence. It is now a World Heritage site.
Over the years it had been plundered and left derelict and during WW2 many of the buildings were destroyed. When the war was over a redevelopment and reconstruction plan was put into place. Sadly some of the interiors were destroyed and are now only known through paintings and photographs.
The title of this book may seem off putting, but when this sumptuous leather bound book with gilt titles and vignette is opened, a stunning work is revealed. This edition was published in 1989 and was limited to just 1250 copies. The copy we have in stock at the time of writing is number 1112 and is signed by the publisher John F. Richardson of The Directors' Collection Ltd.
There are 60 specially commissioned, full page colour reproductions of artwork from eighteen leading South African artists with descriptive narrative and photographs facing each one. Each page depicts the life and death dramas played out as a necessary part of survival for all manner of creatures in Africa, from mammals to birds. Each artwork is also signed by the artist.
The naturalist in question and the author of this book is H.N (Henry Nottidge) Moseley, a British scientist who took part in the voyage of HMS Challenger around the world in the years 1872-1876. His observations are the subject of this fascinating and informative book, published in 1879, and dedicated to Charles Darwin “who has personally given me much kindly encouragement in the prosecution of my studies.”
The Royal Society of London obtained the use of Challenger from the Royal Navy and in 1872 modified the ship for scientific tasks, equipping her with separate laboratories for natural history and chemistry. The object of the journey was to investigate scientifically the physical conditions and natural history of the deep sea all over the world.
First published in 1972, the novel was Richard Adams' first and I was surprised to learn that it was rejected by a number of publishers before Collins accepted it. The book then went on to win the annual Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Prize and other book awards. The story was originally told to the author's daughters on a long car journey. It was only by their persistence that Adams put pen to paper.
Set in Southern England, Watership Down is a story of survival and adventure featuring a small group of rabbits who escape the destruction of their warren and seek a new home. The title actually refers to the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, near the area where the author grew up.
Just recently, here at Stella & Rose's Books, we have had two copies of this oversized soft-cover book come into stock. I decided to take a peek inside and discover more about this book.
This title is actually the first in which we are introduced to the character Toby Twirl. Created by author Sheila Hodgetts and brought to life by illustrator Edward Jeffrey, Toby Twirl is a young pig, but he walks upright, has human hands and feet and wears blue dungarees. It is said that Jeffrey based the illustrations on a soft toy made by his wife.
Sir Walter Besant's (1836-1901) work on London is truly impressive in its scope, and is fascinating to anyone with an interest in this great city.
Besant was a prolific writer, producing a number of novels during his literary collaboration with James Rice, and then a greater number on his own after the latter's death. He also helped to found the Society of Authors in 1884, and had a keen interest in improving the living conditions of London's poor. He was Treasurer of the Atlantic Union which sought to improve relations between Britons and Americans, and he received his Knighthood in 1895.