A Celebration of Women Writers and Artists
BY Kitty Wong ON March 7, 2023 IN Bookshop Blog & Literature & History
'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.
'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).
'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 eleven volumes, this Thornton Edition of the Novels of the Bronte Sisters is regarded as the definitive edition.
'I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman' (Virginia Woolf).
Woolf’s story was her contribution to the Hogarth Press’s inaugural publication, Two Stories (1917). The edition sold out and in 1919 she had 1000 copies of her piece printed under its own title. Kirkpatrick records this printing as A2b.
‘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.
'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.
‘Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which one fits me and is most becoming?' (Sylvia Plath).
Collection of hitherto uncollected poems, limited to 10 copies on vellum and bound by Zaehnsdorf.
‘...the poems in this volume are hitherto uncollected. A few of them will be included in Winter Trees, a collection of Poems by Sylvia Plath, to be published shortly by Faber & Faber, London, ...’ (publisher’s note).
'I do not argue with obstinate men. I act in spite of them' (Agatha Christie).
A collection of Poirot short stories. A fine association copy with the author’s signed presentation inscription to the title-page, ‘To Daphne Honeybone from Agatha Christie’. The recipient was for many years Christie’s personal secretary.
‘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.
‘There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.’ (Helen Frankenthaler)
Helen Frankenthaler came of age in the midst of the avant-garde art scene in New York in the 1950s. From an early age she had a profound interest in understanding how painting worked and delighted in deconstructing Old Masters, creating her own lyrical abstract responses to them. Frankenthaler became a leading member of the second generation Abstract-Expressionists and eventually transitioning into Colour Field painting.
Orient Express #6 is exemplary of her individual approach to painting with the use of thinned paint applied to pastel coloured paper from all sides to create floating fields of colour with interjections of bright pigments and open surface space.
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 specialists and we will help you to find the perfect book for the recipient.