HOLDERNESS, Diana. The Ritz and the Ditch: a memoir. £20
Although Diana Holderness's glamorous parents, Myrtie and Flash Kellett, hunted with the Prince of Wales, the family fortunes fluctuated wildly and sometimes her pocket-money was stopped. Her parents preferred these extremes to the humdrum middle. They liked 'the Ritz and the ditch'.
In 1947 she married Richard Wood, the youngest son of Lord Halifax, formerly Viceroy of India, Foreign Secretary , and wartime Ambassador to Washington. Richard was elected MP for Bridlington in 1950 and held ministerial office under three Conservative leaders.
Diana provides an insider's view of the Wood family, especially of her father-in-law with who she got on well; but ultimately it is her own personality that shines through. Spry, outspoken, enterprising, given to high-voltage likes and dislikes, occasionally lawless, she seems to have feared nothing except air travel and horses. These qualities make for a lively read.
WAKEMAN, Paul. A Boy at the Whittington Press. £12.50
The Whittington Press is best known for producing the typographical magazine Matrix, an ongoing celebration of letterpress printing and book illustration, masterminded by John Randle.
Paul Wakeman was recruited in 1986 when the Oxford University Press was in the process of discarding its Monotype equipment and installing computers. With his help Randle ferried car-loads of printing machinery to Whittington. He did not then know that Paul was keeping this diary - it has only recently come to light. The interaction between John and his assistant provides a fascinating counterpoint to the various activities of the Press.
BASSETT, Richard. Last Imperialist: A Portrait of Julian Amery. £21
Son of Leo Amery, the Fellow of All Souls who denounced Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons and paved the way for Churchill’s wartime leadership; son-in-law of Harold Macmillan; younger brother of John Amery, hanged for treason after the war—Julian Amery inherited his father’s positive vision of Great Britain’s role in the world, recasting the imperialist philosophy in terms of opportunity and ‘influence’.
Julian fought in Albania among the shifting guerilla factions and learnt some early lessons in diplomacy there. First in the Balkans and later when he became an MP, his career was marked by independent, unscripted interventions which could discomfit both Whitehall and his party. Nevertheless he served as a Minister in three administrations and had some notable successes.
Richard Bassett has produced a fascinating account of a rare and distinctive political personality.
2015. Hardback, 266 pages, fully illustrated.
PRYCE-JONES, Alan. Devoid of Shyness: From the Journal 1926-1939 £20
Alan Pryce-Jones ( 1908- 2000) was a late Bright Young Thing, as gregarious as any of that coterie and among the brightest (in later life he was Editor of the Times Literary Supplement).
In the early Thirties he published two travel books but his journal, deposited at Lloyds Bank in Marlborough at the outbreak of war, is more revealing.
It is almost immaterial where Pryce-Jones travels - Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Syria, Jordan, Greece, South and Central America and on the country house circuit- because he is cheerfully self-absorbed, determined to enjoy life, and not notably observant, except of people.
Although homosexual, when he meets the vastly rich Fould-Springer family he courts and marries Poppy, one of the daughters. As they tour the spectacular Fould-Springer houses in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, it occurs to him that the life of a grand seigneur may not be conducive to the writing of a work of art. As a psychological self-portrait Devoid of Shyness is curiously disarming.
Edited by John Byrne. Introduction by David Pryce-Jones.
2015. Hardback. 230 pages, illustrated.
BATTERHAM, David. Among Booksellers; tales told in letters to Howard Hodgkin. £9.95
2011. Reprint of 2012. 118 pages. Paperback with a Hodgkin cover (the colours truer here than in previous printings).
‘Lucky Hodgkin to have been the recipient of these letters.’ Alan Bennett
POWELL, Violet. A Stone in the Shade. Last memoirs. £20
147 pp. Illustrations, with pages from the author’s travel sketchbook-diary reproduced in facsimile.
Henry James's Waistcoat. Letters to Mrs Ford, 1907-1915. £18
Edited and introduced by Rosalind Bleach. Foreword by Philip Horne. 2007.
An edition of 600 copies.
80 pp. Illustrated. Hardback, with dustwrapper.
HENDRY, James. Tillie Bardon; a tale of Walmgate, York. £3
23 pp. Pictorial card wrappers by Juliet Ramsden. Narrow 8vo.
Low-life drama, set in the nineteenth century, narrated by a born storyteller.
RAMSDEN, George. LEITH; Scotland’s Independent Art School. Founders and followers. £20
2009. 144 pp. Illustrated. Hardback, pictorial dustwrapper.
‘Copies of this book should be on every art educationist’s desk’
ANDREW LAMBIRTH in The Spectator
CHRISTOPHER LOGUE; a Bibliography, 1952-97. £25
1997. Compiled by George Ramsden.
Numbered edition of 250 copies in hardback, with pictorial dustwrapper.
Includes colour tip-ins to illustrate the poster-poems. 172 pp.
Christopher Logue; a Bibliography, 1952-97. 1997. Compiled by George Ramsden. £75
Includes colour tip-ins to illustrate the poster-poems. 172 pp.
Special edition, one of 35 numbered copies signed by Christopher Logue, bound in quarter calf with cloth boards after a Vorticist design.
[ SYMONS, A. J. A. (1900-41) ] £10
An anniversary catalogue. With notes and comments by Julian Symons. 1991. 400 copies. Paper boards with a device by Eric Ravilious. 44 pp. Illustrated.
Author of a brilliant and original biography, The Quest for Corvo (1934), Symons also co-founded the Wine and Food Society.
The items in this catalogue illustrate his short life.
GEORGE LYTTELTON’S COMMONPLACE BOOK. £15
With a foreword by Humphrey Lyttelton. Edited by James Ramsden (2002). Third edition, 2005. Hardback, in dustwrapper. 162 pp.
‘Some of the entries are memorably funny . . . its glint is far more attractive than X or Y’s compilations.’ THE TIMES
BOSWELL, Stephen. Boswell’s Life of Boswell; the farcical opinions and peculiar life of Stephen Boswell. £7.50
With a foreword by Michael Codron. 2014. 87 pp. Illustrated. Paperback.
Uninhibited theatrical memoir by Bates, the butler in the musical Top Hat.
EDITH WHARTON’S LIBRARY. £75
Compiled and introduced by George Ramsden. With a foreword by Hermione Lee. 1999. An edition of 350 numbered copies. Hardback. dw. 153 pp.Illustrated. With the addenda leaf loosely inserted.
PUSHKIN, Alexander. The Bronze Horseman. £10
Introduced and translated by Robert Powell-Jones. With a foreword by John Bayley. 1999. Hardback, with pictorial dustwrapper. 91 pp.
‘The translations are very well done, particularly ‘The Shot’ and ‘The Bronze Horseman’ (the most difficult) . . . a remarkable achievement.’
SHEEPSHANKS, Mary. Wild Writing Granny. £15
A memoir (with some poems).
Foreword by Bamber Gascoigne. (2012). Reprint, 2013. 285 pp. Illustrated. Paperback. Cover by Graham Rust.
‘ . . . all the way it trembles on the brink of laughter’ ROSAMUNDE PILCHER
‘. . . hugely enjoyable’
KATE GREEN Country Life
‘. . . shot through with love, anguish, light, darkness and fun’
YSENDA MAXTONE GRAHAM Spectator
[STERNE, Laurence]. Bust of Laurence Sterne (1713-68). £340
A freehand copy of the Nollekens bust at Shandy Hall, made in the tercentenary year (2013) by Royston Jones. Ten copies were cast in plaster.
21 inches high including the plinth.
Price: £340, plus delivery.
An acknowledged expert on Neo-classical decoration and plasterwork, Royston Jones recently exhibited his watercolour drawings of James Wyatt’s ceiling-designs at Colefax and Fowler in London.
WARRENDER, Alice. An Accidental Jubilee. [Account of a solo walk from Canterbury to Rome while recovering from brain surgery] £15
Paperback. 202 pages. Illustrations.
‘A book about courage, a long string of tiny courageous steps. It is also about hope and faith and love. It is modest, careful and joyous.’ SARA MAITLAND
WOOLLEY, John. Walking to Hagetmau. [Autobiography with some of JW’s poems.] £15
2014. Paperback with cover illustration by Barnet Rubenstein. 165 pp.
As a young Whitby-born English teacher in Aix-en-Provence with a French wife, the poet John Woolley is occasionally called upon to lend a hand in the family’s fine old hotel in Vichy. Evocative writing, well marinated in Francophilia. Not much walking.