Since childhood, I have collected miniature and small-format antiquarian books. I focus on literature for adults, especially Classical authors, and works in Latin, Greek, French and English. My collection includes more than two hundred books from the 16th through the 20th centuries, with many examples from the golden age of Dutch printing and publishers such as Plantin, Janssonius and the Elzeviers. From the 19th century, I collect the “Diamond Classics” printed by William Pickering, and sets of French literature designed as “traveling libraries.” I’m interested in the relationship between content and small format, for example, the popularity of small editions of philosophical works (Boethius, Epictetus) in the 17th and 18th centuries. I am fond of fine typography and bindings, and I particularly enjoy researching previous owners and their marginalia.
Titus Maccius Plautus. Lyon: A. Tardif, 1589.
The comedies of Plautus are the earliest surviving literary works in Latin. They were influential for Shakespeare (most clearly in The Comedy of Errors) and other Renaissance dramatists. This little set has 18th century bindings, and a prior owner’s Latin annotations on the play Amphitryo. Many early editions, like this one, mistakenly give the author’s name as “M. Accius Plautus.”
Ta tou Pindarou Olympia [Greek] [Olympian Odes of Pindar].
Pindar. Glasgow: R. and A. Foulis, 1754.
The work of Glasgow printers Robert and Andrew Foulis is admired for its elegant design and typography. They issued Pindar’s odes for Greek athletes individually and in sets; this volume contains the Olympian odes. Uniform with Pindar, the Foulis brothers also issued a volume of lyric poems (Anacreon, Sappho, Alcaeus) and another of philosophy (Epictetus). These are unusual examples of true miniature books intended for adult male readers.