New Emporium Opens on Bond Street

2020 has seen an exciting period of expansion for Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Gallery, moving into two vast new spaces on New Bond Street, as well as a new ground-floor gallery on Maddox Street for Shapero Modern. In addition to a suite of offices solely for Rare Books, New Bond Street will also house an exciting new Emporium, where a cornucopia of incredible objects come together under one roof.

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It’s Business As Usual

We will be open for business as usual online whilst the doors to our Bookshop and Gallery at 106 New Bond Street and Shapero Modern’s Gallery at 41-43 Maddox Street are temporarily closed due to the lockdown in England which begins on Thursday 5th November.

You can shop at as normal, or contact a bookseller or Shapero Modern's Gallery Director.

In the meantime, our seasonal gift catalogues will be published in the very near future and we will continue to ship worldwide, with click-and-collect available by appointment.

Follow our Instagram account for uplifting illustrations, beautiful bindings, gift ideas and more in the run up to Christmas.

Art Exhibition: The Book of Neil Gaiman by Lorna May Wadsworth

Lorna May Wadsworth installs striking portraits of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern

Big Neil at Shapero Modern

Friday 30th October – Friday 13th November 2020

Shapero Modern, 41-43 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PD

Shapero Rare Books, 106 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1DN


Renowned contemporary artist Lorna May Wadsworth (artist in residence for the Amazon Prime series Good Omens) will be exhibiting The Book of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books located in its new first floor space on New Bond Street and Big Neil at newly opened Shapero Modern in an exciting short-term exhibition.

Wadsworth rose to prominence in the contemporary art world before she had completed her postgraduate course at the prestigious Royal Drawing School, with a series of notable works, including portraits of the Rt. Hon. Lord Blunkett and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Hon. Lord Williams. One of her most acclaimed works, a monumental portrait of the late Margaret Thatcher, was completed from five life sittings. The resultant painting is one of the most commanding and respected formal portraits of a modern British Prime Minister.

The Book of Neil Gaiman, alongside two Good Omens portraits at Shapero Rare Books

Author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline), shown in these works at both Shapero spaces, is one of the most treasured storytellers of our time. In Big Neil Wadsworth has captured Gaiman ‘god sized’, in a 2 metre large head, echoing his epic early novel American Gods. In casting Neil as the omnipotent narrator Wadsworth echoes the adoration in which he is held by his fans; an ardent fervour usually associated with rock stars, not those who sit atop the New York Times bestseller list.

Accompanying this, Wadsworth’s portrait The Book of Neil Gaiman is a life-size rendering of the author’s head suspended in layers of sun-bleached wax, crafted upon a piece of prehistoric bog oak which lay forgotten within the cold dark earth for thousands of years. The double-sided portrait, of both the front and back of his head, is manifested within the form of something almost book shaped. It is a piece which seems both ancient relic and other worldly. Indeed, time is contained and condensed within this dark, dense tome which will never open.

The Book of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books

Also at Shapero Rare Books, Wadsworth will exclusively unveil her preparatory studies which reveal the fascinating progress of developing this technique, inspired by the wax Fayum mummy portraits of the dead.

Wadsworth has always challenged the portrait tradition and a recurrent theme throughout her work is the inversion of the gendered gaze. Highlights from her career include her contemporary interpretation of Leonardo’s Last Supper fresco and her dazzling portraits of such celebrated sitters as actors David Tennant and Sir Derek Jacobi, award winning film maker Richard Curtis and an other former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair.

Shapero Rare Books & Shapero Modern CEO Bernard Shapero with the artist Lorna May Wadsworth

New Year, New Beginnings…

We're moving! After nearly twenty-five years in Saint George Street, the sale of our much-loved building has forced us to find a new home. However, we have been fortunate to find not one but two new spaces in Mayfair for  Shapero Rare Books and for Shapero Modern, our post war and contemporary gallery.

Shapero Rare Books will be headquartered at 106 New Bond Street whilst Shapero Modern is expanding into a stunning ground-floor gallery at 41-43 Maddox Street, both just a stone’s throw from our current building.

We’ll be giving more details in the coming weeks, but the recent celebration of Rosh Hashannah, when we wish our Jewish friends a good and sweet New Year, seemed a particularly appropriate time to be announcing this exciting news.

An update from our CEO Bernard Shapero

I am delighted to be able to announce that following changes in the UK Government's guidelines we are able to reopen our Mayfair Bookshop and Gallery on Monday, 15th June 2020.

If you are planning to visit in the coming weeks I'd recommend that you call in advance.  You don't need an appointment to see us, but in order to ensure social distancing rules are observed, there will be a limit to the number of people in the building at any one time.  Be assured however, that we have disposable gloves and masks, hand gel and wipes on hand to maintain strict hygiene standards at all times.

Alternatively, if your plans don't bring you into central London yet, you can continue to browse the Bookshop and Gallery stock on our website where a wide selection of books, prints and works on paper are on view, ready to be shipped to you directly from Mayfair.

The last few months have been an extremely challenging time, and I hope that you, your family and loved ones have managed to steer a path through the many difficulties that have arisen.  Whilst we all look forward to welcoming you back to St George Street I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

With best wishes,

Bernard Shapero

Shapero Rare Books COVID-19 Response

An Update from 32 Saint George Street

As measures to slow the pace of COVID-19 within the United Kingdom are brought into place, please be assured that Shapero Rare Books are prioritising the health and safety of both our staff and our customers.

From Tuesday 17th March, 2020 our Bookshop and Gallery at 32 St George Street, will be open by appointment for business and we would ask anyone planning a visit to telephone 020-7493 0876 or email beforehand.

Whilst we will have a skeleton staff at the Bookshop, many of our booksellers and gallery staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future and we will be forwarding calls to them from 32 St George Street, however the whole team will be available by email as usual.

In the meantime, we have taken the precaution of cancelling planned Bookshop events and Gallery openings until the beginning of May.  This will include the launch of the Jon Wealleans show ‘Postcards’ which will now take place later in the year.

Whilst COVID-19 presents an enormous challenge to everyone around the globe, we would like to assure you that the Scholium Group of Companies, including Shapero Rare Books, will endeavour to provide the same level of service as you have come to expect.


Rare Books in Space


London - Shapero Rare Books selected as the rare book specialist by NASA for their Space Shuttle program

One of London's leading antiquarian dealers is excited to announce that they have been formally nominated by NASA to send rare books into space. Following a chance meeting at the art and antique fair TEFAF Maastricht in March, Bernard Shapero is heading to the White House to help make a selection for the mission in 2020.

Will alien life appreciate Dickens?

Since the dawn of the Space Age in 1957, thousands of artifacts have been flown into space. Following President Trump’s bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA, Congress will be funding the construction of a Space Launch System rocket to send man to Mars together with a communications satellite that will serve as a testament to human existence as a species - including rare books.

A chance encounter at TEFAF Maastricht

Selecting books to outlast humanity is not easy and NASA called on the help of Shapero Rare Books after a chance encounter by one of their represenatives at the art and antique fair TEFAF Maastricht in March.

One of the highlights on Shapero's stand was a series of lithographs of the solar system and following a mutual appreciation for the aesthetic wonders of the universe and Harry Potter over complimentary glasses of champagne, the outgoing Bernard Shapero is delighted to have been invited to the White House to help make a shortlist of rare books to take into space.

Although tempted to suggest the complete works of Dickens finely bound in crushed gold morocco, the founder of Shapero Rare Books has many alternatives in mind suitable for a mission that will preserve great works of literature indefinitely and possibly be encountered by intelligent life elsewhere.

Bernard Shapero says; "I am looking forward to working with NASA and President Trump on this exciting project. It is really far out."

We need your feedback

The Shapero team have decades of experience in buying and selling rare books but selecting just one masterpiece for this mission is a huge undertaking. Please let us know your thoughts by emailing We will keep you updated with our progress.


Shapero Rare Books has announced their first major sale at TEFAF Maastricht prior to the official opening on 10 March 2017. One of the highlights on their stand is a lavishly illustrated folio Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam) by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) which has been sold to a European collector.  Priced by Shapero at £125,000, this hand-coloured copy of the 1726 edition is a masterpiece of both art and science; the naturalist was the first to record the full life cycle of many species of butterflies and moths.

A Study of Metamorphosis: More Than 300 Years Ago

At the age of 52, Merian, who settled in Amsterdam in 1691, set out for the Dutch colony now known as Surinam in South America. She spent two years studying and drawing the indigenous flora and fauna until forced to return after contracting malaria.

Despite her illness, Merian published her Magnus Opus three years later, filled with paintings of Suriname's plants and animals, especially of moths and butterflies, as well as spiders, and even snakes and lizards. Many of these tropical species were unknown to Europeans at the time.

Celebrating a Pioneering Woman of Science

The exceptional group of her works in the Royal Collection formed the basis of the exhibition held last year at the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace that travels to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Exactly 300 years after her death, the Frankfurt-born botanist, zoologist and painter is finally being recognised as a pioneering woman of science at an international symposium in the Dutch capital this June.

Shapero Rare Books has exhibited at TEFAF for over 20 years. Other notable natural history books on stand 231 include a first edition folio of the Wunderkammer by Dutchman Albertus Seba.

Merian: Bringing home a pioneering woman of science to TEFAF

To mark the 300th anniversary year of her death, Shapero Rare Books will showcase the work of Maria Sibylla Merian at this year’s TEFAF, held in Maastricht from March 10th-19th 2017.

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) a German-born woman who lived in the Netherlands, managed a successful career as an artist, botanist, naturalist and entomologist yet is only recently being celebrated as a pioneering woman of science after setbacks to women’s roles in Europe resulted in her  efforts being largely forgotten.

Last year the stunning plates from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (1726 – 1730), one of two works Shapero will be taking to TEFAF, formed the basis of an exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and Merian will be celebrated at an international symposium in Amsterdam this June.

The second work offered by Shapero is Merian’s first book, Der Raupen wunderbarer Verwandlung [The Wondrous Transformation of Caterpillars] (1679).

An enterprise like no other as it was the first time that anyone had drawn the full life cycle of butterflies. Rather than depicting them as clinical specimens against a plain background, Merian examined the relationship with the wider natural world, portraying them against flora and fauna, something that had not been done before.

From her early teenage years she had been obsessed with caterpillars, and Der Raupen wunderbarer Verwandlung was the culmination of almost 20 years of observation.

In 1699 the City of Amsterdam granted her permission to travel to the then Dutch colony of Surinam. Her expedition was extraordinary in many ways not least she was perhaps the first person to plan a purely scientific journey. Also at a time when expeditions were very male preserve, she travelled only with her younger daughter the artist, Dorothea Maria Graff, and without protection.  Further demonstrating her self-will and determination she financed the expedition through sales of her artwork: new, exotic species of insects sketched from life and then painted on vellum.

After a highly adventurous two years, malaria forced them to curtail their expedition and return to Amsterdam. The result of Merian’s work became the magnificent Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium. It features 72 stunning engravings, beautifully coloured by hand, with life-size depictions of the animals in their natural habitat – a nature that was both beautiful but true to life.

Merian’s innovative approach influenced important naturalists and artists such as Mark Catesby, William Bartram, and John James Audubon, who all depicted animals and their plants’ hosts and habitats.

With more than 250 illustrations in fine original hand-colour, the two works offered by Shapero Rare Books are especially remarkable for their binding: both volumes are presented in the same dark blue luxurious binding, which is of exceptional rarity. This set brings together the first editions in French of each work, both published in Amsterdam.

During her work on the insects of Surinam, Merian made use of the cabinet of an Amsterdam apothecary, Albertus Seba, because of the extraordinary array of natural rarities it contained. A compulsive collector of everything natural and unusual, Seba put together one of the most remarkable cabinets de curiosités, also called Wunderkammern.

To celebrate his achievement, Seba embarked on publishing an illustrated description of the collection. This resulted in one of the most lavish and curious natural history works, an impressive, 8-volume book, published over 30 years. These remarkable folios boast about 450 engravings, all coloured by hand, with striking compositions showing plants, fossils, minerals and all sorts of animals including a seven-headed hydra! This is a fantastic complement to Merian’s masterpieces, and Shapero Rare Books is especially proud to have the opportunity to present them all side by side.

TEFAF Maastricht. March 10-19, 2017

Shapero Rare Books has exhibited at TEFAF for over 20 years and one of the few dealers selected specializing in rare books and decorative prints.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: V&A licences protest posters for exhibition

Anti-war posters used on merchandise for the Records & Rebels 1966-70 exhibition

A range of anti-war posters acquired by Shapero Rare Books from the private collection of the late publisher Felix Dennis have been licensed to the V&A.

The protest posters have been used on merchandise including Christmas cards and t-shirts for the You Say You Want a Revolution?: Records & Rebels 1966-70 exhibition.

The exhibition – which opened at the museum in September and runs until February 26, 2017 – explores the counter culture revolutions of the late 1960s, along with the music, fashion and political angst that defined the era. Images bought from the Felix Dennis Estate were licensed to V&A for gift products including Peace Now, an image of a dove originally silkscreened onto discarded computer paper.


America in Revolt: The Art of Protest, an exhibition at Shapero Modern in London was curated by the historian Barry Miles earlier this year.

Barry commented: “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 60s, as well as a unique sociological record of a society in crisis.”

See more V&A products using Berkely protest poster designs