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writer...performer...sometime pop-up cinema host.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rare Books

In Tunbridge Wells there is a beautiful bookshop called Hall's; it is a place of pure magic, imagine the shop where Harry Potter bought his wand and then you will have it. Each wall is adorned with books, some paperback, most aged, browned, ornately bound.
Outside they sell books in a box for 50p and it was here that I found a wonderful old book, first edition and published in 1931.
The book is called Broome Stages and was written by Clemence Dane. It originally cost 8/6 when published.
Clemence was a novelist and playwright from Blackheath in Kent. She had recorded many successes, a notable one being her story Enter Sir John filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as Murder! in 1930.

Her real name was Winifred Ashton and she chose the pseudonym from the church along The Strand, St Clement Danes.
Broome Stages is set in the theatre and tells  the story of the family Broome and their trials and tribulations.

The book itself has seen better days, but what drew me to it was a beautiful pciture on the inside, a wonderful introductory illustration of the title, with a head of (presumably) Shakespeare over the title and then two cherubs sitting either side of the publisher Heinemann.

Rare books has long been an interest of mine; whether or not anything I pick up is rare I am not certain but I have some really good old books such as Paradise Lost and The Cloister and the Hearth (which I did start to adapt as a script, it would make a brilliant film).

The rarest book in the world, according to Wiki, is the Mazarin Bible; only 180 of these  were published and probably were mainly sold to universities and the wealthy. It is the first printed book, using a gothic font and legal paper. The last sale for one of these was in 1978 for £2.2m; an estimate worth now is £35m.


How I would love my little book to be worth something like that.


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