4 November 2016: When is a book not a book?
When is a book not a book? When it's a...
No, this isn't the start of a really bad joke - here at Rooke Books we really do have some books that are more than meets the eye.
This blog post explores our three personal favourite non-book books we have in our extensive library.
Take for example the first book on our list. On our website we have a morocco bound, Victorian photo album. It holds forty cartes-de-visite photographs,eight of which coloured. A beautifully bound album giving insight into early photography as well as a glimpse into the past lives of others. However, this is not just any photo album. Held inside is a music-box mechanism! Fully working, with the original key, this book is a beautiful keepsake with a wonderful hidden secret. Music boxes originated in the eighteenth century as musical snuff boxes small enough to fit into a gentlemen's waistcoat pocket. Music boxes remained popular for most of the nineteenth century before the introduction of player pianos and phonographs.
Our second choice is our seemingly innocent copy of Eminent Philanthropists. In a school binding from ‘The Close Ladies School Brighton’ to the casual observer this seems like it would be just another c1800 leather bound school book. However, upon opening the book the discovery is made that it has been hollowed! A prior owner has completely dismantled this text to form a secretive hideaway for their valuables. Here at Rooke we spent ages thinking of all the possible reasons as to why this school book was turned into a secret storage compartment. Why did they choose Eminent Philanthropists in particular? What was kept in there? Why did they need this secret hideaway? Was it made by a pupil of The Close Ladies School?
Our final example is this collection of beautiful hardwood bookcase facades. Quite remarkable in their likeness to real books the five ‘volumes’ give the impression of an expensive fine-binding bookshelf. Not only are they accurate and grand in their gilt detailing, these sets are of some very well-known texts. They are painted as the works of Benjamin Disraeli, The Waverley Novels, The Works of George Eliot as well as some novels by Dickens! The blocks are incredibly lifelike and are an accurate portrayal of leather bound books.
All three of these spectacular finds are on our website.