Throughout history the world of publishing and art have, regrettably, tended to honour and court male voices in favour of women's, however as both are becoming more gender inclusive, so too is the world of rare books.

Current literary highlights which can be found on the shelves at 32 St George Street include a first edition of Writ on Cold Slate by the Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, written whilst she was in prison; a first edition of Virginia Woolf's landmark literary manifesto, A Room of One's Own; and one of the most famous Poirot novels by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie, The Mystery of the Blue Train.

Of course we couldn't celebrate the genius of creative women without including some of the female artists on show in our Gallery. Below you will find a few highlights including works by Barbara Hepworth, showcasing a lesser known side of her artistic oeuvre; Yayoi Kusama, with two of her surreal pumpkins and one of the most important and influential artists working today, Cindy Sherman.

Some of these highlights shine a light on women who have sadly fallen at the cultural and historical wayside. We hope to re-ignite interest in these works and bring them back to the attention of readers and collectors alike.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Alexander PUSHKIN; Natalia GONCHAROVA (illustrator)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

New York, 1995

£1,150

'A spark of the spirit lives in us, it is connected with all spirit. It is divine. It is drawn to other, similar sparks. This is the urge to creation.' (Natalia Goncharova)

Often referred to as 'the greatest modern artist, you've never heard of', Natalia Goncharova was a trailblazing experimenter in both painting and design. Finding fame after being kicked out of art school, arrested for exhibiting nude studies, and feted as co-founder of the city’s first radical exhibition group, 'The Jack of Diamonds', she established herself as a leader of the Russian avant-garde with a major show in Moscow in 1913. With the Tate due to present the largest retrospective of the rebellious artist ever held in the UK, later this year with many of the works having never been seen outside Russia before, Conte de Tsar Saltan is a truly wonderful work to behold.

Barbara HEPWORTH

November Green

1970

£7,500

‘Sculptures born in the disguise of two dimensions’ (Barbara Hepworth)

A lesser-known side of Barbara Hepworth’s sublime artistic oeuvre is her works on paper. Showcasing her incredible draftsmanship, these screenprints in colours from 1969-70, are signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60.

Virginia WOOLF

A Room of One’s Own

New York & London, 1929

POA

'I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman' (Virginia Woolf).

The true first edition of Virginia Woolf's landmark feminist literary manifesto, and a key essay in the context of both feminist and modernist theory. A Room of One’s Own stands as an argument for both a literal and figurative space for women writers within a literary world dominated by men.

Sylvia PANKHURST

Writ on Cold Slate

London, [1922]

£3,750

‘Only this age that loudly boasts Reform, hath set its seal of vengeance ’gainst the mind, decreeing nought in prison shall be writ, save on cold slate, and swiftly washed away.’ (Sylvia Pankhurst)

The staunch campaigner for woman's rights, Sylvia Pankhurst first found herself the victim of an archaic social system on the 24th of October, 1906. Protesting in court at the treatment of fellow suffragettes at the hands of a magistrate who would neither listen to the Defendants, nor allow witnesses to take the stand, Pankhurst found herself charged with obstruction and sentenced to pay a pound fine or go to prison for fourteen days. At the young age of 24, she chose prison and was taken to the women’s gaol at Holloway. She was released on November 6th and would go on fighting for the rights of woman. Shining a light on a less enlightened time in English history, Writ on Cold Slate is a historically important collection of the legendary suffragette's poems.

George ELIOT [pseud. of Marian Evans]

The Mill on the Floss

Edinburgh, 1860

£3,500

'Don't judge a book by its cover' (George Eliot)

The first edition, first printing and first state of Eliot's most deeply autobiographical novel. A masterpiece of ambiguity in which moral choice is subjected to the hypocrisy of provincial Victorian life. The narrative depicts Maggie Tulliver's coming of age, in a bourgeois Victorian community, resistant to change and resistant to strong-willed women. The result is a tragedy, on many levels, as the deep love Maggie has for her brother is thrown into question, whilst she can neither adapt to the provincial life she was born into, nor escape from it.

Sylvia PLATH

Ariel

London, 1965

£575

‘Out of the ash/ I rise with my red hair/ And I eat men like air' (Lady Lazarus, Sylvia Plath).

Courageously fusing the personal with the universal, Sylvia Plath's poems created a stir on both sides of the Atlantic when Ariel was first published. With dark energy and forceful imagery, this collection was published two years after Plath's suicide and with it's free-flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath's earlier Colossus poems.

J.K. ROWLING

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

London, 1998

£3,250

'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.' (J.K. Rowling)

An excellent first edition of the third Harry Potter book. Increasingly hard to find in such condition, the Prisoner of Azkaban revolves around the escape of the notorious ‘mad’ wizard Sirius Black from Azkaban. Notable for it's considerable darkening of tone that deepened as the series developed, J. K. Rowling has revealed that the inspiration for the Dementors that we are first introduced to here, came from her bout with severe depression before her phenomenal success.

Carol BECKWITH and Angela FISHER

Cattle camp at sunset, Southern Sudan

1983

£2,500

'When we first met, we shared a dream. We decided that one day we would like to do a comprehensive study of... the African continent......we've been working toward that for the last ten years in order to prepare our double-volume book.' (Carol Beckwith).

Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher are world-renowned photographers who have dedicated their lives to recording the traditional cultures of Africa. Numbered 1 from the edition of 15, this colour print depicts the Southern Sudan Dinka living in perfect harmony with their cattle, believing their animals to be the essential link to God. During the dry season, the Dinka move their herds through the swamplands of the River Nile in search of pasture, surviving on the milk of their cattle.

Margaret IRWIN

Knock Four Times

1927

£330

'Tonight, or tomorrow, or in a year or two of to-morrows' (Margaret Irwin).

Marked with the humorous sympathy and integrity that have distinguished all of Margaret Irwin's work, Knock Four Times is a story of Twenties London, the London of little flats and haphazard hospitality, the London of the young and poor and friendly. A London holding the dream of another world round the corner.

Jane AUSTEN; Charles E. BROCK (illustrator).

[Novels]

London & Toronto, 1922

£3,500

'Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion' (Pride and Prejudice).

Here we have a very attractively illustrated and bound set of the major works of Jane Austen (comprising Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility).

Agatha CHRISTIE

Poirot's Early Cases

London, 1974

£4,750

'I do not argue with obstinate men. I act in spite of them' (Agatha Christie).

Partly set against the wonderful French Riviera but also in part based in St Mary Mead, wherein abides Miss Viper, a formidable character very much a precursor to Christie’s other famous sleuth Miss Marple, The Mystery of the Blue Train is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous Hercule Poirot novels and a classic of crime literature by the Queen of crime fiction.

[BRONTË SISTERS]

The Works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë

London, 1896-1898

£1,900

'I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind' (Wuthering heights, Emily Bronte).

In twelve volumes, The Works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë is the most pleasing set in every respect.

Find out more

Explore more items in our Literature department. We are continually updating our stock with modern first editions and rare children’s books.

Can we help?

A first edition of a rare or beautiful book makes a great gift, whether it is for an adult or a child. If you are looking for that special present for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, christening, Christmas or any other special occasion, please contact our rare books specialist Angus Robb and he will help you to find the perfect book for the recipient.