In the past year I’ve seen cultured approaches to collectors and collecting presented in magazines both by Freeman’s of Philadelphia and Christie's of everywhere else and thought this makes sense because creating a library around the personality and style of its organizer is often more the primary goal than the accumulation of valuable printed examples. Among the articles on collecting perspective, themes, taste and discernment a collector can find their place.
A few collectors will go on to collect complex subjects in multi-media [books, manuscripts, maps, ephemera, paintings and objects] forms. Many more will be attracted to, if not a turnkey library, then a beautifully turned out library that conveys their personal perspective. For them, the library is the statement and what’s in it need not be expensive. It simply wants a well-executed theme expressed in a clear way.
For those, for whom the statement, not the value, is the point, how does one approach a focus on impression and personal relevance? Well, you could go to a Goodwill to take the first of many, many trial and error steps.
Or, it turns out, there is a book about this to help understand the library as a personal statement: what and how best to subtly, on a budget, convey one’s approach to life and sophistication.
Thatcher Wine and Elizabeth Lane of Juniper Books have written such a book about shelves, halls, closets and dedicated rooms for displaying books and images with taste, style and focus in deeply artistic ways. And I’m reminded that, in my twenties, my libraries were statements of perspective long before they contained any important copies or original material. What they did convey was serious interest and determination and that’s one of the many angles this book covers. For me, building more valuable, focused collections wouldn’t begin until, by chance, I turned 45 and retired from career two.
In their book, For the Love of Books, the principal lessons to be learned are garnered from the hundreds of photographs and illustrations that show a range of approaches - from fitting books into any and many rooms as well as delivering lightning bolts of sophistication in the always hoped for private library. It turns out that building libraries a book at a time, while the long established path for serious collectors, is only one of the ways to build a library. You can also start with objectives and acquire various pieces to visually convey them. Among the many photographs in this very useful book are sets in matched dustcovers, others with matched bindings, and some with what I’ll call incremental bindings where a dozen or so volumes have different bindings that taken together, show a larger image that can only be understood when all volumes are displayed together in sequence.
For the inevitable differences in sizes of printed material they also show many ways to make such material feel included and relevant. It other words, it’s an art.
I can see real estate brokers wanting this book for they regularly consult sellers on turning homes into eye candy. As well, for the always robust market for young nesters creating first apartments and homes, projecting personality, scale and ambition is also a significant part of explaining themselves.
Collectors will also find this volume useful because subject collecting periodically wants to be reorganized on the walls and shelves and several hundred examples of how others have done it is a useful place to start.
It turns out that books are magic but only raw material. Attractive, well organized, visually appealing libraries are separate, distinct, and significant achievements, the outcomes of deep thought, luck and circumstance. Knowing your field of interest is not the same as knowing how to present and convey your material. For that, For the Love of Books will provide perspective and insight.
Juniper Books can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their phone number is 303.946.1494. The book is available on Amazon for $32.49 or can be purchased directly from Juniper. Their website is www.juniperbooks.com.