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Antiquarian Book Fair Celebrates the 450th Birthday of William Shakespeare

Rare Book Extravaganza Will Feature Shakespeare Special Exhibit, Panel Discussion and Sale of Spectacular Copies of Shakespeare Plays and Sonnets

Published on Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 1:00 am

In commemoration of the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth in 2014, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair (Book Fair) will pay tribute to the Bard when it opens its doors to the public from February 7 – 9 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The bi-annual Southern California rare book extravaganza that brings together the world’s foremost dealers, collectors and scholars, the Book Fair will present a special exhibit featuring some of the finest expressions of Shakespeare through the centuries.

The Huntington Library, which holds a world-class collection of early editions of Shakespeare’s works, will offer an enlightening display on Shakespeare scholarship throughout the 90-plus years of its history. On view will be highlights of scholarly work researched, written, and published at the Huntington, as well as facsimiles based on Huntington holdings and items that illustrate the institution’s focus on all facets of the history and culture of Renaissance England.

Fine press and artists’ books from the Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College will show how Shakespeare has inspired the art of the book. Highlights include:

• Early 20th Century “Hamlet” from Doves Press, the British private press that was one of the exemplars of the Arts and Crafts movement.
• “The Tragedie of King Lear,” illustrated with spectacular woodcut prints by American artist Claire Van Vliet that eloquently convey the pain and drama of the play; printed in limited edition in 1986.
• “R&J: The Txt Msg Edition,” this limited edition, contemporary artists’ book created by Elizabeth Pendergrass and John Hastings in 2008 presents Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene in the form of text messages printed on accordion folded pages fitted into a retro cell phone cover that is cradled in a miniature leopard-print, high-heeled shoe.

Poster images from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will spotlight memorable film adaptations of Shakespeare from around the world including:

• “Hamlet” directed by and starring Laurence Olivier, 1948. [Italian release]
• “Macbeth” directed by and starring Orson Welles, 1948. [Mexican release]
• “Throne of Blood” director Akira Kurosawa transposes the plot of “Macbeth” to feudal Japan, 1957. [Japanese release]

The Honnold/Mudd Library at the Claremont Colleges Library will offer insights into stage productions with items that include:

• Photos of renowned Victorian actors Ellen Terry and Henry Irving in some of their most famous Shakespeare roles.
• Original 20th century costume studies.
• Prompt books with actors’ handwritten notes.
• “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke” (Weimar, Cranach Press, 1930) with illustrations by Edward Gordon Craig.

Rare books on food and cookery in Elizabethan times from the University of California San Diego Library. Highlights include:

• Ann Clutterbuck, “Her Book.” A English family manuscript book containing recipes for foods and for medicinal needs from 1693.
• Gervase Markham, “The English House-Wife” dated 1675.
• Bartolomeo Scappi, “Opera…dell’ Arte del Cucinare” from 1660 which includes fabulous woodcuts of the Renaissance kitchen and all its gadgets; first time knife, fork, and spoon shown together.

A related special panel on Saturday, February 8 at 1 p.m. entitled “What Shakespeare Ate: Dining in the Elizabethan Age” will further immerse Book Fair visitors into the world of the Bard. Panelists include Los Angeles Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold; noted food historian Charles Perry; cookbook author and founder of the Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne Anne Willan; and bookseller Ben Kinmont who specializes in antiquarian books on gastronomy. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison will moderate.

Those who want to start their own collections of the plays or sonnets will find many opportunities to acquire items from individual dealers who will be displaying their most desirable Shakespeare works at the Book Fair. Recognized as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, the Book Fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more.

Book Fair hours are Friday, February 7 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center, located at 300 East Green Street, Pasadena. Tickets on Friday, February 7 are $25 and provide three-day admission. Proceeds from Friday tickets will benefit and offer free admission to the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens during the month of February. Tickets purchased on Saturday or Sunday are $15 and include return entry and free admission to the Huntington during the Book Fair.

Purchase tickets for the Book Fair at Eventbrite. For more information, visit or call (800) 454-6401. Connect with the Book Fair at http:/ or


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