Sheila Markham

in conversation

The originality of Sheila Markham’s conversations with the antiquarian book trade is the privileged insight they give into the quirky yet fascinating world of rare books, demonstrating how very much alive it is today.

She allows every bookseller his or her own monologue to talk about what interests them in their job, how they fell in love with books, or their views on the current state of the trade. Each bookseller has an individual voice – be it modest, earnest, anxious, ironic, zestful, measured, proud, humorous, business-like, secretive or nonchalant.

- Michael Meredith

 

Sheila Markham’s role is that of a silent recording angel, benign and encouraging, bringing forth occasional glissandos of egotism and ambition, wistful memories of happier or more profitable times, and occasional revelations of life in the real world as Buddhist monk, fashion photographer, drystone waller, bus driver, actor or pedagogue.

- Paul Grinke

 

An invaluable mine of fact, anecdote, memories, few lies and no statistics. Thank God for all the persons that Sheila Markham has immortalized, and all the rest that she has yet to reach.

- Nicolas Barker

 

This sketch by the Victorian artist John Leech (Mary Evans Picture Library) appears on the dust-jacket of the two volumes of Sheila Markham’s conversations with the antiquarian book trade published in 2004 and 2014.

The sketch lends itself to a caption competition. If you would like to enter, please send your suggestion to sheilamarkham@hotmail.com

The Voice of Experience
I still have the standard bookseller’s fantasy of that telephone call, ‘Mr Hollander, my husband just died. He’s been collecting horrible old illuminated manuscripts. Can you come and take them away?’

Michael Hollander

Interview of the week Charlie Unsworth

Charlie Unsworth

 I do like to feel that our business not only pays the wages of our staff, but also increases access to knowledge.

Read on ...

Latest updates


New website

Posted on 30/06/2017 at 12:06

Welcome to the new design of my website. I hope that you will find it a more engaging experience, and that you will return from time to time as  I plan to introduce new features with the collaboration of my colleagues, to whom this website is devoted.

Why haven’t you interviewed so-and-so?

Posted on 30/06/2017 at 12:06

I’ve been asked this question many times, and usually the answer is that they don’t want to be interviewed, or that I should come back in a few years’ time. Meanwhile perhaps the best thing I can do is to let their catalogues speak for them, starting with Susanne Schulz-Falster’s outstanding catalogue on bookbinding and paper manufacture, produced jointly with Michael Banzhaf.

View the catalogue

A Poland & Steery Co-production