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Welcome to the Shapero Rare Books Blog. Here you can find articles on rare books written by our Specialists on subjects ranging from Pirate books to modern first editions; on authors such as Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl; and on illustrators including Quentin Blake. Sign up to our weekly newsletter at the bottom of this page to receive regular updates.

William Beckford | A Collector's Dilemma

I knew next to nothing about William Beckford (1759-1844) until, a year or so after I ...

Here Be Dragons | Recent Travel Acquisitions

To do an injustice to Tennyson, it’s usually at this time that my fancy turns to get...

Making Connections | A Calcutta Imprint to Lin...

What makes a book desirable apart from the important fact that you like it? Rarity pla...

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Writers and S...

Writers and spies - exploring all things cloak and typewriter by delving into the murky world o...

An Illustrious Quartet | Four Classic Narrativ...

Mary Wollstonecraft SHELLEY Rambles in Germany and Italy, in 1840, 1...

Strangers in a Strange Land: Europeans in Tibe...

Last week I was fortunate to buy a small quantity of the original 19...

High Times: Trekking in Himalayas

I suppose that whenever people think of the Himalayas, they think of...

Türkiye, a new name for an ancient land

Following on from President Erdogan’s December 2021 statement, the...

Views of the Holy Kaaba | An Illustrative Acco...

The Holy Kaaba is the most important site in the Islamic world. The ...

The Layered Legacy of Captain Cook

On the anniversary of Cook’s arrival in Botany Bay, we look back at an article from ...

Would you judge a book by its cover?

The joy of book collecting is the freedom to form a library exactly ...

The Anglo-Iranian Relationship from 1600 - 190...

PERSIA & AFGHANISTAN. Seen in the light of the past forty years, sinc...

The Magnificent Minimalist Mountaineer

I have always been fascinated by mountains and tra...

The Book in India from the 19th Century

Nowadays India is one of the largest and most important centres of printing and publis...

Travelling To Timbuctoo - not everyone gets th...

The first thing that needs saying is that not everybody that sets out for Timbuctoo ge...

'Dr Livingstone I Presume' - iconic meeting wa...

Today marks the 150th anniversary of one of those moments that scho...

Remarkable Books By Remarkable Travellers

When putting our new travel catalogue together, one of the first ...

Travels to the Roof of the World

The Tibetan plateau, situated at some 15,000 feet (4500 metres), sur...

St Petersburg

On the boggy delta of the Neva, Peter the Great founded his ‘windo...

Did they really do that?

Did they really do that? Some of the greatest feats o...

The Holy Land in the original cloth

The other day I received an e-mail offering me a copy of Brand’s H...

April 28, 1789: The Mutiny on the Bounty

The Mutiny on the Bounty William Bligh (1754-1815) wi...

Books not Borders - An Interview with our Seni...

As part of our Books not Borders series, where we're breaking down the barriers to the...

Richard Burton

One of the great men of his age, Richard F. Burton (1821-1890) was a true polymath. With an ext...

Why Collect Rare Books?

For the non-collector among us (are there really people who don’t collect books?), the idea t...

Shiver me Timbers! Rare Pirate & Corsair Books

Rare Book Review article slicing through the cut-throat stories from the earliest pirate books ...

Retracing the Footsteps of 19th Century Explor...

The great natural history museum collections have at their foundation, specimens collected by 1...

Photography: Eternal cities

Incredible photos from over 100 years ago show how much our lives have changed.

The Beauty of Maps

A voyage around the history of cartography takes in sea monsters, newly charted territ...

The Greatest Polar Exploration Literature

Lines in the Ice: Marginalia My recent talk at Shapero Rare Books gave me the opportun...

Layard and the Antiquities of Assyria

Today we are all too aware of the appalling damage inflicted by ISIS on the ancient sites of Ir...

Napoleon's Description of Egypt

The extraordinary success of a megalomaniac, an uncharted world, and a team of savant explorers

Larger than Life – The Explorer Sir Richard ...

The explorer Sir Richard Burton, after the painting by Lord Leighton.   Frequentl...

Ernest Shackleton, a Tale of the Antarctic

Ernest Shackleton, born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1874, was for many years the forgotten m...

Sir John Barrow - Unsung Champion of the Empir...

Civil servant, naval secretary, developer, publicist, settler, author and all-round-adventurer ...

Looking for Father Christmas – Robert Peary ...

Through the nineteenth century, interest in the North Polar region was stimulated by v...

Henry Morton Stanley: 'Bula Matari'

From a workhouse in Wales to establishing one of the ...

Great Explorers: James Bruce

The industrial revolution in the United Kingdom spawned a host of great British explo...