Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Rehomed knowledge

I was back in Cambridge this morning to pop into a few shops (Lakeland, Bravissimo and the Apple store – temptation, temptation, temptation!) on the way back to my car I took this photo from Garret Hostel Lane footbridge – look! no punts! no students! no tourists!

On my way out of town I called in to see Robert Good's art installations 'shelved' at Plurabelle Books – and I hope you'll be patient while I get excited about some more vintage treasures . . .

Robert writes about his fascination with Pelican Books: "From an age of modernism and mass-education, their authors stare back at us, abandoned, their subject-matter outmoded, superseded."

It's an intriguing exhibition set among the maze of book stacks in the Plurabelle warehouse. Of course I had to browse the bookshelves too and found these two Pelican academics in need of a new home . . .

For 50p each I have now given the erudite works of Dr John Hutchinson and David Lack ScD, FRS a comfortable home in my studio.

On dark chilly evenings I can curl up on the sofa and read David Lack's wonderfully wide-ranging book 'The Life of the Robin'.

As well as thoroughly exploring every aspect of a Robin's life, there are also some beautifully observed illustrations.

And when I'm out walking and find a wildflower that is nearly like, but not quite like, one I think I know the name of . . . I have John Hutchinson's "Uncommon Wild Flowers" to help me identify it.

This little book is crammed with the author's meticulous botanical line drawings – and I'll certainly brush up my knowledge of botanical terms!

. . . back to work now, but I'm looking forward to having a tea break with my adopted academic authors and their books.


  1. Love the photo of the bridge. I know the area, as may have guessed from my comment on Rattee and Kett on yesterday's posting. Am loving the books too.
    Maggie at mrsrunofthemills.blogspot.com

  2. Gosh, I don't think I've ever seen the river that empty!

  3. What excellent finds and I am quite in agreement with Dotty-such a quiet river!

  4. What lovely old books. You are very naughty putting the link to buy more books!

  5. okay, now you are making me want to go back to Cambridge to visit... that is my old college garden, first on the left on your photo from the bridge!

  6. I shall be looking out now for that book about the robin. That's right up my street. I'm on holiday next week but Cambridge is too far away. However, Hay on Wye is only a couple of hours drive - sounds like a day is planned already! Lesley

  7. The books are so seductive, even th ecolours are gorgeous.

  8. How sad to think of these books as outdated and of little use, they are such treasures. Glad there are people who still appreciate them. Love the Robin book, beautiful photos.

  9. Now I know my instincts are correct-Ive been buying books from Plurabelle for over ten years but always strictly via their website. I have suspected ab initio that if I turned up at their premises I would be lost (or my bank balance would disappear without trace) and now you've confirmed all my suspicions!

    Julie X

  10. Celia, those books are such treasures...I am very envious of your being able to find such gems.

    I am wondering if my crazy eccentric anacronistic library might just have these books somewhere in their rich stacks.

    Must check!

    Your photos just make me yearn to see places I remember.

    Thank you. xo

  11. What treats... beautiful books, Cambridge so quiet and that tea break looks pretty tasty too!

  12. Loved this post, what a great exhibition that sounds. I realised that I don't really know what Pelican books were all about despite my parents owning several. How very interesting. I love those delightful illustrations, thank you for sharing this post :-)

  13. I love Lakeland! so happy now we have a branch at Brent Cross!
    Sir Allen Lane who founded Penguin books in 1935 intended Pelican books to be 'for the intelligent layman'. I just love the Pelican series.

  14. Can you hear me ooohhhing and ahhhing?

    The flower book is on my wish list, doesn't the cover look modern?

  15. oh, the lure of a lovely, older book with scads of biological knowledge and frequently lovely, borderline-poetic language. Plus, those marvelous fonts and drawings! Thanks SO much for sharing!

  16. Just a thimbleful....
    Oh, how we do love our books! Our house will never blow away with the weight of books it carries.
    I had a day in Cambridge on Wednesday, Lakeland and Bravissimo are favourite stops but so, fatally, is EAST !
    That looks suspiciously like lemon curd.......


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