5 May 2009

Grays May Issue

Dealer Highlight: Biblion & the re-launch of the Biblion Gallery


The Biblion Gallery is proud to present Slaughterhouse, the provocative first solo exhibition from Supine Studio’s Jonathan Batten. The suggestively titled exhibition will be the first show of the newly reopened Biblion Gallery and offers an opportunity to view the work of London based iconoclast artist Jonathan Batten in the uniquely intimate surroundings of the Biblion antiquarian bookshop.

The Biblion Gallery:

The Biblion Gallery offers a space in direct contrast to the strip lit ‘white cube’ gallery spaces of the recent past. The intimate space resonates with the atmosphere of institutions of learning, a world away from ‘art as commerce’. The Biblion Gallery is a unique space within the renowned antiquarian bookshop Biblion, where art resides amongst cabinets of important and rare works of literature, many of which are finely bound using skills that stretch back centuries. Within such a space the Biblion Gallery will display carefully selected exhibitions of contemporary art that strongly resonate with the gallery’s unique setting. At the Biblion Gallery we consider art of all forms as integral to the flow of knowledge and history through culture and as a vital tool for challenging the precepts of the modern age.

Gallery manager, Ben Houston says:

I am very excited about the relaunch and delighted to be working with Jonathan; the Biblion Gallery is privileged to host the work of such an exciting young artist. In his new exhibition/installation for the Biblion Gallery, Mr Batten explores notions of modernity and antiquity in an exciting and challenging manner. I look forward to the opening of such a uniquely atmospheric show.”

Slaughterhouse 8th May - 29th May 2009.
Monday - Friday: 10am-6pm.

For more information about the artist’s work, please visit www.whisperyouloveme.co.uk



Antique of the Month: Fine Bindings

Fine bindings or design bindings are treasured by collectors as books elevated to the status of objets d’art.


The book is unique in its simultaneous role as a functional repository of information and a beautiful, decorative object. The bookbinder will use his many skills and materials to help both maintain the longevity of a volume and make its appearance as desirable as possible. The principle function of a binding is to protect the more delicate paper leaves within, and to this end the most common materials for binding are hard wearing: leather, vellum, strong card and wood.



Leather is the most common and popular covering as it is highly versatile, tough but elastic and easily embellished by methods such as ‘tooling’. Of the many techniques involved in producing a fine binding tooling is one of the most pervasive. Tooling is the practice of inscribing the leather exterior by means of a heated metal stamp that leaves the impression of its design on the upper layers of the skin. These designs can then be gilded with a very fine goldleaf pressed into the mould.


Unlike modern first editions, the value of which are implied solely by the scarcity of the item and the reputation of the work and the author, a fine binding is a piece of craftsmanship in which the binder’s skill produces a work of high aesthetic quality, quite alone justifying the financial worth.


There are many binderies still in existence but a select few that are known by reputation worldwide. Zaehnsdorf, Sangorski & Sutcliffe (both now under the aegis of Shepherds of London) and the Bayntun-Riviere bindery in Bath have all produced work of extremely high quality since the late 1800’s. Look out for a binder’s stamp on the lower or upper edges of the front pastedown (where the leather of the binding and the paper of the endpapers is affixed to the boards)


Prices range from £75 for a half morocco leather binding with marbled boards and very simple gilt tooling by Bayntun-Riviere, to the high thousands for one off jewel encrusted pieces. As always in the collectable book market there is something here for everyone.



Showcase Spotlight - Gallery Kuga

Gallery Kuga is a new showcase dealer at Grays. Specialising in antique Japanese ceramics especially those surrounding tea ceremony, Gallery Kuga provides rare items that are both delicate and captivating. You can view more items here, or visit showcase V10 in Grays Mews.






Showcase your Collectables at Grays
- For further information on renting a showcase at Grays, please contact Jenna on 020 7629 7034 or jenna@grays.biz.


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