2,000 years of Jewish culture: The Opening Night

An exhibition of Judaica spanning over 2,000 years opened November 1 over three floors of the Shapero Rare Books.  The exhibition - the first of its kind to be hosted in a private space in the U.K - has been a long-held dream of Bernard Shapero, and brought together leading experts, collectors and academics, including Sharon Liberman Mintz (a curator at the Jewish Theological Seminary). Shapero's partners for the exhibition, Les Enluminures, exhibited a wide and fascinating selection of Judaica, including medieval Hebrew manuscripts, Jewish wedding rings and five unpublished fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Take a piece of Jewish History Home

The exhibition features over 100 items from around the world, with treasures ranging from children's Haggadahs, to bridal prayer books, to photographic accounts of life in Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century.  Full details can be found in the Judaica catalogue, or from our expert curator Bela Taieb.

Photo Highlights:a


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A Short Film Of The Opening Night:


The Guardian newspaper: Psychedelic posters of the 60s and 70s

The late publishing legend Felix Dennis had a passionate hobby: collecting deliriously psychedelic music posters of the 60s and 70s. Shapero Modern had the pleasure of cataloguing them and will be bringing them to Cultural Traffic, a new print publishing arts fair, in East London. Take a piece of music history home.

Cultural historian Barry Miles, who worked with Dennis on the collection, introduces 12 of these posters for a feature in The Guardian: Kiss the sky: psychedelic posters of the 60s and 70s – in pictures.  

Organised by Toby Mott, one of punk’s leading enthusiasts and historians (as well as an artist, fashion designer, editor and founder of political punk archive the Mott Collection), Cultural Traffic will shelve out-of-print material and cultural artefacts alongside contemporary print publications.

“Cultural Traffic is not just an arts fair for paper but a celebration of ideas and expression,” Toby Mott explains.

The posters are for sale at Cultural Traffic, Juju’s Bar and Stage, London, 7-8 October

Stephen Walter’s Map of Mayfair and St James’s

For this year’s Masterpiece art fair, Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern have commissioned the artist Stephen Walter to produce a pictorial, large-scale map of Mayfair and St James’s.

MAYFAIR & ST JAMES'S, 2016 (detail 5)


Entitled Mayfair & St James’s, 2016, the map of the two London districts celebrates many of its buildings, institutions, architectural features and green spaces. All the art galleries and museums are shown alongside its clubs, hotels, embassies, pubs and bars and other points of interest. It also includes many of the area other landmarks – its blue plaques, statues, restaurants, shops and arcades.


MAYFAIR & ST JAMES'S, 2016 (detail 1)

Additionally, some infamous historical events are noted, such as the Millennium Hotel on Grosvenor Square, where the poisoning of Alexander Litvenenko with radioactive polonium-210 took place in 2006. The map shows the routes of the new Crossrail tunnels and the Victoria and Jubilee Lines, as well as the route of King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer that now ghosts the course of the old Tyburn River. This course is still marked out today by South Molton Lane, Avery Row and Lansdowne Row.


It is a place synonymous with wealth, luxury and grand houses, with properties now being turned back into residences following the post-war period that saw many of its buildings turned into offices and boardrooms. Foreign investors have helped this turnaround most notably from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with both countries having their embassies in the area.


Stephen Walter - Mayfair & St James's - courtesy of TAG Fine ArtsSays Walter: ‘All the source imagery for this work came from my own photography. I walked every inch of both Mayfair and St James’s, marking off every road and alleyway in the area. The most striking architectural features that I noticed were the doors, windows and lamps that adorn many of the grand London Town houses. St James’s Palace, built in 1531 for Henry the Eighth on the site of an older women’s Leper hospital is a real gem and what is surprisingly still a reasonably hidden part of central London.’

The exhibition will run from Wednesday June 22nd to July 6th, 9:30 to 6:30pm daily, and 11 to 5pm on Saturdays.

Russian Art Week

Having the largest Russian rare books department in the West means that we tend to live every week in a perpetual celebration of Russian art and culture. But Russian Art Week 2016 is here, and as such we are particularly excited to take part in the seven-day vodovorot of exhibitions, auctions and festivities.  For the occasion we have prepared a plethora of great events, among them the release of a brand new online Russian catalogue, an exclusively Russian display in our Mayfair shop and, in our gallery, an exciting new exhibition by Moscow-based Kazakh artist Amanita.

Recent acquisitions: Russian books and Rossica XVIII – XX centuries

For this new catalogue we have gathered our finest recent acquisitions of Russian books and Rossica. Composed chronologically, the list includes some exceptionally rare literary and historic works, travel accounts and illustrated editions.

Bruce's Calendar, 1910.

Bruce's Calendar, 1910.

Among them you will find an early edition of the famous Bruce’s calendar, “Книга, именуемая Брюсовской календарь”, a book rarely found complete. It was compiled by a Russian statesman of Scottish descent, Count Jacob Bruce, during the reign of Peter the Great. Besides astronomic information it included an astrological forecast for more than a hundred years, which stirred up strong public interest and prompted numerous imitations and re-editions.

Also presented in our catalogue is an extremely rare Russian translation of the History of the Old and New Testament, a famous interpretation of the Bible written originally by de Royaumont in French. This item is particularly sought after due to its rarity (it is even absent from the Russian State Library) and its beautifully engraved illustrations, of which there are over one hundred. Our example is of Imperial provenance coming from the library of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia (1831 – 1891), a son of Tsar Nicholas I and Alexandra Feodorovna.

Another unusual acquisition is a complete set of The Russian Economic Review, an émigré periodical published in Prague during 1925-28, and revealing the economic reality behind the well-polished propagated data of the early Soviet Union and the New Economic Policy [НЭП].

Click here to discover the complete list of items.

A Russian display

A tour of our ground floor shop this week will equally thrill both fans of Cyrillic and military dress alike, for our finest Russian items have been displayed for Russian Art Week.  These items are available to be viewed on request all year round; it is a simple misfortune that their permanent lodging on the second floor offers them only occasional visits to the front of house.
Among our staff favourites are the manuscript notes of Catherine the Great, handwritten during her 1784 project on linguistics, and an early original drawing by Alexander Orlowski, an artist revered by Alexander Pushkin.


Handwriting of Catherine the Great, from the Comparative Dictionary of All the Languages and Dialects, 1784.

Convoy of Cossacks, Alexander Orlowski, 1799.

Convoy of Cossacks, Alexander Orlowski, 1799.









Amanita at Shapero Modern

Detail from 'Untitled', Commoonism Series, 2016. (Pencil, India ink on paper.)

Detail from 'Untitled', Commoonism Series, 2016. (Pencil, India ink on paper.)

We are delighted to present Encyclopaedia, a new show by Moscow-based artist Amanita from June 3rd to June 16th in our modern gallery. Composed of twenty pen-and-ink drawings, the collection is formed of five series: ComMOONism, Revolution, Eastern Calendar, Oil and Barrels. Not only captivating in their acute detail, Amanita’s works also gracefully navigate the murky waters of politics while conveying a wry humour rarely achieved in contemporary art.


Detail from 'Untitled', Commoonism Series, 2016. (Pencil, India ink on paper.)

Says curator Sasha Markvo: ‘Amanita is an artist of exceptional gifts and imagination, and I’m delighted and privileged to present the first survey of his pen and ink drawings in London. While Russian influences are evident in all his work, so too are those of Europe and Asia which lends it a universal quality. His is a unique talent, one that provokes and delights in equal measure.’

The exhibition will run in the Shapero Modern gallery from June 2nd to June 16th, Monday to Friday 9:30am - 6:30pm, and Saturdays 11am - 5pm.

Click here for more information.

And click here to see the photos of the preview party!

Steven Walter’s Nova Utopia at Shapero Modern


13-30 April 2016

Shapero Modern is delighted to present a new print by the acclaimed British artist Stephen Walter.


Entitled Nova Utopia, the artwork is inspired by Thomas More’s philosophical novel Utopia, and a map of the world he imagined drawn by Abraham Ortelius. ‘Utopia’ by Thomas More, a work of fiction and a political philosophy written 500 years ago in 1516, is an everlasting inspiration for both political theory and art. This book, a narrative depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs, is about persisting human desire to create order and unity in the world, and the imagination of a perfect human society where justice exists for all.  Walter’s hand-drawn map updates this to the 21st century, showing a world of mass tourism, package holidays, retirement homes, luxury resorts, banking districts and cultural hotspots.

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Nova Utopia is presented inside a ‘Hagioscope frame’ containing a movable magnifying glass with an LED light. Using this magnifying glass, only one person at the time can light and explore the artwork within, one piece at the time. This frame is a metaphor of today’s society since it goes against the idea that Utopia is for everybody, showing that this world can never be seen in total, but rather on a personal and local level.


The drawings of Stephen Walter have evolved from his fascination with maps, public signs, symbols, semiotics and investigation into obsessive drawing techniques. His maps and beautiful landscape works are rich in details and full of autobiographical references, epithets, hidden associations and wider contradictions, exploring the phenomenon of personal and collective experiences of real and fictional places.

Says Walter: ‘This map is essentially a collection of a number of utopian and dystopian manifestations, come that I yearn for, and also some of the things that I wish didn’t exist.’


America in Revolt: The Art of Protest

February 3rd – February 25th, 2016

AMERICA IN REVOLT: THE ART OF PROTEST is an exhibition of original posters and artwork created by students and activists during the landmark ‘Berkeley demonstrations’ in California in the early 1970s.

Drawn from the archive of the late publisher Felix Dennis, and curated by the revered writer and counterculture historian Barry Miles, the collection is comprised of more than 150 posters, each one capturing the incendiary spirit of that time.

While the demonstrations were initially sparked by the massacre of four unarmed student protesters at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard on May 4th, 1970, they were also a response to the reinstatement of the military draft by President Nixon, and the escalation of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

AMERICA IN REVOLT: THE ART OF PROTEST is made up of 50 works from the Felix Dennis collection, which was recently acquired by Shapero Rare Books. All of the posters demonstrate the swift organisation of the student body. Just days after the Kent State shooting, the Berkeley Political Poster Workshop, made up of art, design and political students, took over a small space donated by a sympathetic contingent of the faculty. Here they quickly disseminated their message through an ad-hoc production line. Posters were silkscreened onto recycled computer paper and psychedelic calendars; others went straight onto cardboard to be used immediately at demonstrations.

Only a few of each of these posters were made and most did not survive, such was their immediate necessity. They are supplemented by supporting material outlining the atmosphere of unrest in America including works illustrating solidarity with Vietnamese civilians, details of American weapons, and questions over President Nixon’s integrity.

Curator Barry Miles says: ‘These posters were not designed as art, but for a specific political purpose, and yet they inevitably fit into the history of graphic art, borrowing heavily from the Atelier Populaire posters of the student uprising in Paris of May 1968 and the counter-cultural posters of the period. They are a frozen snapshot of American graphic design at the end of the sixties, as well as a unique sociological record of a society in crisis.’

Henry Moore – ‘Mother & Child’

Shapero Modern are proud to present Mother & Child, a remarkable exhibition of Henry Moore's final work.  This poignant collection of thirty prints illustrates the most affecting relationship in intimate detail, from the protection of a helpless being, to the quiet chastisement of a mischievous child.

"The subject Mother and Child is eternal and unending, with so many sculptural possibilities in it - a small form in relation to a big form, the big form protecting the small one, and so on."

- Henry Moore

The exhibition will run from Friday December 11th until the 23rd.

To view the catalogue, please click here.

MF Husain — The Journey of a Legend

Tuesday 3 June - Monday 8 June

Stellar International Art Foundation and Shapero Modern are pleased to present a non-selling exhibition of works by the late, great MF Husain at Shapero Rare Books surveying the life and art of one of India's finest artists in conjunction with India Art Week, June 2015.

This is Stellar International Art Foundation’s first London exhibition and will feature heretofore-unseen Paintings and Drawings from within the Stellar’s own collection over the three floors of this longstanding Mayfair Institution.

The presentation precedes the Indian Art Auctions on view over the same period, reinforcing an active programme of Indian art in the community during this summer season.

Stellar International Art Foundation has the largest collection of MF Husain’s works outside of the estate – making it the most important warden of his oeuvre. Work from The Collection spans his entire career and includes large, and sometimes entire, bodies of some of his most significant series including RamayanaOur Planet Called Earth and most importantly, Maria.

This is the first true survey of the artist’s work from across his career and various media practices to ever be staged in london – one of the cities he called his home during his later years.

“Husain’s work has a monumentality that this generation cannot hope to grasp, being close to the subject  and from seeing the artist up close. In decades to come, he will be studied for each brush stroke and every tone of colour, for his subjects and his inspiring vision. He will move beyond mere markets, into the realm of the great artists of the world.” – Kishore Singh, MF Husain: The Journey of a Legend, August 2014

Alongside the paintings and drawings from the collection, visitors will be able to preview Stellar International Art Foundation’s seminal publication on the artist: MF Husain: The Journey of a Legend. This raisonné is not only the first since the artist’s demise, containing plates of the over 250 works within Stellar’s collection, but includes important new scholarship on the Artist as presented by the research and interviews of  curator and critic Kishore Singh.

Husain, though sometimes controversial, was himself a scholar of Indian history and philosophy, and it is fitting for his work to appear alongside the maps, atlases, and studies of his native land amidst Shapero’s rare, vintage holdings.