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What's On

Guided Tours & Book Signing 2019

Sign up on the Stage when you arrive to join our free, expert-led guided tours of the Fair. Suitable for those new to rare books and wanting to learn more, and seasoned collectors looking to broaden their knowledge. All welcome. Also join Nicolas Barker who will be signing copies of his new book.


4.30pm Booksigning with Nicolas Barker

At First All Went Well ... & Other Brief Lives is a collection of 80 obituaries published by Quaritch, written over a period of 50 years. The subjects are widely varied but united by a common dedication to the printed word and all that goes with it. They include printers, publishers, librarians, booksellers and collectors, starting with C H Wilkinson and Sir Sydney Roberts in 1966, and ending with Barney Rosenthal (2017) and Ian Doyle in 2018.

5.30pm First Bookfair: An Introduction to Rare Books

Not sure what you are looking at, or for? Join Tom Ayling of Jonkers Rare Books for an introductory tour to the weird and wonderful world of old books.


12.30pm What to Collect? From favourite novels to fine bindings

Tom Lintern-Mole from Antiquates will provide a whistle-stop introduction to just some of the many collecting areas in the fascinating world of rare books

1pm Animals in Rare Books

A tour of some of the highlights of the Fair that feature animals, from dogs and cats to beautiful birds and exotic wildlife, with science specialist Laura Massey, proprietor of Alembic Rare Books.

1.30pm What Makes a Book Special?

Dr Les Ashton of Ashton Rare Books will be discussing some of the key highlights at the Chelsea Book Fair and what attributes they possess that make them so special to determine what makes a book special or a highlight title.

2pm The Icing on the Cake?

Looking at some fascinating examples from a range of dealers exhibiting at the Fair this year, Giles Bird of BAS Books will explore the history and importance of dust wrappers on Twentieth Century books. He will try to help you understand why there has been such a spectacular rise in the value of works of Twentieth Century fiction when these books retain their original dust jackets.

2.30pm Collecting Detective Fiction from the Golden Age 1920-1940

James Pickard is one of the UK's leading specialists in the sale and purchase of collectable detective fiction. He specialises in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction which he been collecting since the 1980s. This was the era of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Gladys Mitchell, Margery Allingham, Georges Simenon, Freeman Wills Crofts etc.. Detective fiction first editions of this vintage are highly collected throughout the World with collectors in the UK, North America, Europe (especially Italy) and the Far East (including Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Japan). He will also be discussing detective fiction as a modern first editions category and providing advice as to what collectors should look out for in building a collection.

3pm Six Good Books
What is a good book? One with a literary inscription from one author to another, a very limited number of a particular book published, or a landmark title? The tour will meet dealers with such books (well, 6 books) and there's still time to meet a porcelain tern.... Led by John Atkinson.