The Christmas Story
An Exquisite Pop-Up Retelling
The Annunciation, Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus, the angel appearing to the shepherds, Magi travelling from the East, and the Holy family in the stable surrounded by kings, shepherds and animals: the nativity story is told here in simple words and six magnificent scenes, created in white and gold against coloured backgrounds by the pop-up artist Robert Sabuda. Age 7+
A Christmas Carol
Dickens's Christmas story of the ‘covetous old sinner’ Ebenezer Scrooge, his meetings with the ghosts of Christmas and the fate of Tiny Tim has gripped the imagination of readers and artists since it first appeared in 1843. This fine edition has been carefully designed and imaginatively illustrated by the American artist Yelena Bryksenkova. Gilt-edged pages and red silk marker.
The Rupert Annual
First appearing in the 1920s, the enduringly popular Rupert the Bear comic strip still features in The Daily Express today, and this is his 82nd annual. The stories include an adventure from 1939, as well as a brand new tale, ‘Rupert and the Christmas Birds’, and there are games and instructions for making Christmas decorations. Age 7+
A Boy Called Christmas
Young Nikolas lived in the second smallest cottage in Finland, his life was hard, and his only toy was a doll carved out of a turnip, but Nikolas believed in magic and grew up to be Father Christmas. Matt Haig’s wonderful book, with pictures by Chris Mould, tells the story of young Nikolas and his journey to the realm of elves where ‘an impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet’. Age 7+
The Art of Winnie-the-Pooh
How EH Shepard Illustrated an Icon
Forming one of the earliest author and illustrator partnerships, Milne and Shepard worked closely together in the 1920s to create some of the world’s best-loved children’s characters. This illustrated volume reveals the depth of that partnership, and incorporates many of Shepard’s previously unpublished sketches, letters, photos and even a personal Christmas card. The real inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh is revealed to be Shepard’s son’s teddy bear, Growler, still owned by granddaughter Minette Shepard, who provides the introduction.
Plague, Fire, Revolution
Samuel Pepys was born in London in 1633 and died there in 1703, having lived through revolution and Restoration, the Dutch raid, notable scientific advances, plague and fire. All of this he recorded in his diary and letters; a National Maritime Museum exhibition brought it to life in 2015. Presenting 158 objects and paintings, and with essays by contributing scholars, this accompanying volume explores Pepys’s career and varied interests while illuminating aspects of 17th-century London life ranging from surgical procedures to Stuart portraiture.
The Fabled Coast
Legends & Traditions from around the Shores of Britain & Ireland
Along the shores of the British Isles legends and traditions flourish: sailors' yarns and the songs of sirens, mythical beasts and mystical islands, drowned cities with tolling bells and ghost ships on Goodwin Sands. With erudition and engaging enthusiasm, the renowned folklorists Jennifer Westwood and Sophia Kingshill retell the stories heard along the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish coasts, and explore their imaginary geography, fantastic zoology and historical origins. This edition is exclusive to Postscript.
A Natural History of the Hedgerow
And Ditches, Dykes and Dry Stone Walls
From where I sit writing Postscript entries, I look out on an old Devon hedgerow and an ancient stone wall; John Wright's Natural History has rendered them both very much more interesting. The book covers the origins and history of such boundaries; the present condition of hedgerows and the need to preserve them; the amazing array of fauna and flora they support; and other ways of making boundaries, from movable hazel hurdles to dry stone walls (mine, I've learned, is the 'random rubble' type).
Where to See Wildlife in Britain and Ireland
Over 800 Best Wildlife Sites in the British Isles
The 10,000 acres of saltmarsh and 65,000 acres of tidal sandbanks and mudflats around the Wash on the east coast are a haven for wildlife, with about 500,000 wildfowl wintering there and common seals breeding there in summer, when the saltmarsh is abundant with wildflowers. This practical guide focuses on 800 wildlife-rich locations in the UK and advises on what to see, when to visit and how to get there, with detailed mapping and over 500 photographs.
A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable
From da Aald Rock (Shetlanders’ name for their native islands) and all things Aberdonian, to Zeenty-teenty (an old children’s rhyme that involves slicing and frying mice), Ian Crofton presents a miscellany of colourful and interesting words, phrases, names and stories that together offer a kaleidoscopic view of Scottish legends, customs and culture past and present. Above all, the Dictionary is wonderfully diverting, with cross-references, and hundreds of quotations from prose, poetry and song.
A goose that didn’t get roasted; the nativity play that banished Princess Serafina’s sadness; a letter for Christmas from the First World War; one young shepherd boy’s astonishing meeting with the Angel Gabriel; and mother and baby Mountain Dragon reunited on Christmas Day... These five timeless stories by one of today’s greatest storytellers are illustrated by equally renowned children’s illustrators, including Sophie Allsopp, Michael Foreman and Quentin Blake. Age 4+.
Vintage Paper Toys
64 French Models to Make at Home
First made popular in the 19th century, designing paper toys can be likened to an art form; and putting them together can be enjoyed by both children and adults. These vintage cut-outs include circus acts, a merry-go-round, dress-up dolls and a church with wedding guests. Follow the instructions on the design, cut out the pieces with scissors and a craft knife, then glue together.
Cookery Postcards from Penguin
100 Cookbook Covers in One Box
John Hamilton is an art director at Penguin and a dedicated collector of cookbooks. Chosen as much for the artwork on their covers as the recipes inside, his collection spans around 60 years of book jacket design and includes many classics of cookery writing, with cover illustrations by artists such as Edward Bawden, Osbert Lancaster and David Gentleman. The 100 jackets are reproduced here on 100 semi-matt postcards in a sturdy presentation box.
Classic Children's Tales
Published to mark the 150th anniversary of Frederick Warne & Co, this volume contains classic works by four of the greatest authors and illustrators originally published by the company. Reproduced as they would have first appeared, the six books are Beatrix Potter’s The Sly Old Cat; Sing a Song for Sixpence by Randolph Caldecott; Kate Greenaway’s A for Apple and Mother Goose; and Edward Lear’s Nonsense Songs & Stories and The Book of Nonsense. There are short introductions to each author-illustrator and their work.
The Curious Map Book
The creation of maps is often a serious business in which accuracy takes precedence over the imagination. This delightful book offers 100 unusual maps, from the British Library collection, in which the equation is reversed and fantasy comes to the fore. Here are nations portrayed as humans or animals: the British bulldog, the ‘Lion of the Low Countries’, the Russian bear. Many satirize the politics of their time; some depict fictional countries; while others are board games or jigsaw puzzles.
World Railway Journeys
Across five continents, Julian Holland travelled on some of the world’s most remote and rugged railways, such as the Ferrocarril del Sur, climbing from Peru’s Pacific coast into the high Andes, but he also sought out less well-known railways kept alive by enthusiasts, tourists and heritage-minded governments. Here, he describes 50 journeys – under steam, diesel or electric power – along lines as varied as Le Petit Train Jaune in the French Pyrenees and ‘The Ghan’, crossing Australia from Adelaide to Darwin.
Arranged by region from North West to South West, this selection of over 1,300 photographs from the Historic England collection presents a visual narrative of the built environment and people's lives within it, from the age of horse-drawn trams to that of trolley buses. Introduced and captioned by Philip Davies, the images show a vast range of English life in town and country – from the commercial grandeur of Liverpool's 'Three Graces' to a blacksmith at work in a Cornish village.
The Haunted Beauty
Isolated monastic settlements such as Skellig Michael off the coast of Ireland; the closed cities of the former USSR; enclaves of elites and ghettoes of minorities; Cold War bunkers; and places remote even today, such as the Berber towns of the Maghreb: with superb colour photographs, Julian Beecroft’s book is a pictorial tour of the world’s least visited places, inaccessible for reasons ranging from military secrecy and political paranoia to the sheer difficulty of getting there.
A History of Britain From Above
Founded in 1919, Aerofilms Ltd married the art of photography to the new technology of powered flight to capture Britain as it had never been seen before: from the air. This volume showcases hundreds of the pioneering firm's aerial photographs, many of them rare or previously unseen, and tells how it survived the Great Depression, helped the war effort at the direct request of Winston Churchill, and charted the reconstruction projects of the 1940s and 1950s.
The Complete Book of Photography
The Essential Guide to Taking Better Photos
Although digital technology has simplified some aspects of photography, an understanding of lighting and composition is still necessary to take good images, and familiarity with the concepts of exposure, aperture and shutter speed is required for the more ambitious photographer. This highly illustrated guide advises on the relative merits of different types of cameras and considers digital file types, file management, retouching and printing as well as exploring photographic techniques for all types of subject matter.
Earth is a desert planet. Nearly half its land area is either cold or hot desert, but these areas are rarely seen by residents of the outside world. Documentary photographer Michael Martin has ridden his motorbike across the Sahara and Atacama deserts, and traversed the ice-fields of Greenland and Spitsbergen by dog sledge. This volume charts his travels through more than 400 photographs, gripping reportage, scientifically exact maps and environmental analysis from contributing experts.
Simon Jenkins describes our medieval cathedrals as 'the most spectacular and lasting accomplishment of the English people', and they take pride of place in this engrossing volume. A companion to his bestselling England's Thousand Best Churches, the book comprises illustrated architectural histories and personal, keenly observed appreciations of 42 Anglican diocesan cathedrals in England, plus Westminster Abbey and a selection of Roman Catholic cathedrals. The buildings are arranged alphabetically, with one or more colour photographs accompanying each entry.
Monasteries and Monastic Orders
2000 Years of Christian Art and Culture
The history and culture of Europe have been shaped by monasticism, which has left a rich legacy of religious art and architecture. This magnificent volume charts the history of monasticism from late antiquity through its peak in the Middle Ages to the present day. Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs, paintings and illuminated manuscripts, the book describes the traditions, regulations and daily life of the different orders, profiles famous abbots and abbesses, and celebrates the continuing appeal of the contemplative life.
An Architectural History
The Benedictine Abbey of Downside in Somerset is one of the glories of the Gothic Revival, its mighty tower a landmark for miles. Written by leading architectural historians including Gavin Stamp and Alan Powers, this handsome book traces the story of its creation from Pugin's conception to its completion by Giles Gilbert Scott. Richly illustrated with drawings, plans, archive photographs and dramatic new colour images, this study is both an architectural record and a celebration of an inspirational place.
William Morris & His Palace of Art
Architecture, Interiors and Design at Red House
Designed by William Morris’s friend and collaborator, the architect Philip Webb, in 1860, when they were both young men, Red House became the realization of Morris’s vision of a home unified in its architecture, decoration, furniture and garden. Richly illustrated with reproductions of original artworks and photographs of the house as it is today, this study of the architecture and contents of Red House shows how Morris and his circle of Pre-Raphaelite friends together created his ‘Palace of Art’.
Medieval & Renaissance Interiors
In Illuminated Manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts are an invaluable resource for understanding medieval and early modern life in castles, palaces and ordinary households, both urban and rural. Reproducing 140 little-known illuminations, mostly from the British Library’s collections, this book shows how these miniatures reflect medieval domestic interiors and how they provide information on topics ranging from the security of dwelling places to creature comforts such as heating and lighting, hygiene, beds and bedrooms, and the display of wealth and treasured possessions.
London Hidden Interiors
Philip Davies's selection of 180 London interiors, all beautifully photographed by Derek Kendall, reveals the architectural riches – and eccentricities – hidden behind inscrutable London facades or tucked away in sidestreets: houses such as 11 Bedford Row, with its magnificent Georgian painted staircase; hidden gems such as the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in Malet Street; and the complete 18th-century dining room by Robert Adam, removed from Bowood House in Wiltshire and reconstructed on the ninth floor of the Lloyd's Building.
Visions of Fuji
Artists from the Floating World
Mount Fuji, with its majestic cone and snow-capped summit, has inspired artists and writers for centuries. This lavish volume, with an embossed foil cover, discusses its continuing influence, and focuses on the series of views of the mountain by the giants of Japanese woodblock art, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858). Hundreds of reproductions show this emblem of perfection, symmetry, spiritual balance and endurance in all its many guises, while the text follows the evolution of the artists' work.
Masterpieces of Art
Social commentator, illustrator, cartoonist and landscape artist, William Heath Robinson (1872–1944) was gifted in many fields, but his fame today rests on the cartoons poking fun at human foibles and his marvellous contraptions, such as The Pilsner Pump for Tapping the Enemy’s Beer (1916). In this volume from the Masterpieces of Art series, Susan Grange introduces Heath Robinson’s life and many-faceted artistic career, and presents around 90 full-page reproductions of his literary illustrations, cartoons and contraptions.
The Story of the World
A much-travelled historian, WB Bartlett is firm in his conviction that 'history matters' and that nations across the globe are shaped, and sometimes haunted, by their history. Following the grand sweep of events – yet noting in passing such landmarks as the first Sherlock Holmes story – Bartlett eschews the Eurocentric approach and introduces many forgotten cultures, movements and events in this lively and thoughtful introduction to world history.
Our History of the 20th Century
As Told in Diaries, Journals and Letters
From Queen Victoria’s journal entry for 1 January 1900, (‘full of anxiety & fear of what may be before us!’) to MP Oona King’s lament at spending the end of the millennium in a queue, Elborough’s compilation presents personal, contemporary and candid responses to world history as it happened. The book features over 100 diarists and provides one or more writers’ reaction to every major event or trend, whether a world war, the 1975 Europe Referendum or the latest Star Wars movie.
Inventions that Didn't Change the World
It’s no wonder the ‘Combined Umbrella Handle and Railway Carriage Door Key’, or the ‘Continuous Stream Enema Fountain Syringe’, were never made, yet Victorian designers were ever hopeful of relieving life’s burdens. This fascinating collection of 240 illustrations, reproduced from the National Archives, features drawings of gadgets and appliances submitted to officialdom for copyright purposes but never realized as products. Domestic needs and health concerns are among the many aspects of Victorian life revealed by the quirky ingenuity on display.
The Struggle for Power, From the Dark Ages to the Jacobites
Beginning with the era of warring Celtic tribes and legendary heroes such as Cúchulainn, Queen Maeve of Connaught and Finn McCool, this study traces Ireland's early history of conflict and invasion. It shows how invading Vikings, Anglo-Normans, English and Scots shaped Irish social, political and military history in the centuries of struggle that culminated in the decisive defeat of the Jacobite armies by William of Orange at the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim.
Treasures of British History
The Nation's Story Told Through its 50 Most Important Documents
Beginning with the Vindolanda tablets, written by occupying Romans around 90 CE, this treasury tells the story of Britain through 50 of its most important documents. As well as milestones in political and military history, such as Churchill’s ‘Finest Hour’ speech, the book covers the arts, literature, science and industry with entries such as Stephenson’s steam-engine patent and Mary Quant’s miniskirt design. Accompanying the informative and illustrated accounts of each document, the book includes ten facsimiles in ‘memorabilia’ envelopes. Slipcased.
The English and Their History
In this much-acclaimed work, Robert Tombs traces England’s development from ‘an idea’ to a kingdom, a country, a people and a culture, and he makes collective memory an inherent part of the story. Emphasizing the role of memory creators and carriers such as language, literature, law, religious and political institutions, and historical writing, Tombs focuses on four ‘themes’: the aftermath of the Norman Conquest; the English Civil War; empire; and the recent sense of the nation in decline. American cut pages and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge. Off-mint.
The Complete Book of Mothers-in-Law
After a history of the role through the ages, Luisa Dillner describes all manner of mothers-in-law, including the motherly, racy and fairy-tale types, royal and presidential mothers-in-law and the mad, bad and scheming variety, ending with a guide to being a good mother-in-law.
Cleaning Hints and Tips
'A neglected home becomes a chaotic and unhappy place,' writes Cindy Harris. In this practical guide she provides information on the tools you'll need, the know-how, and the routine that will keep you in control of the chaos. Housekeeping, for Harris, is a state of mind, and the right attitude is every bit as important as the bicarbonate of soda.
A Book of Nonsense
The Centenary Edition
‘I cannot give the reasons, / I only sing the tunes: / the sadness of the seasons, / The madness of the moons.’ Magical, macabre and brilliantly off-beat, the creator of Gormenghast’s nonsense verse features a gallery of bizarre creatures such as the Dwarf of Battersea and Aunty Mig who became a pig. This centenary edition includes twelve previously unpublished drawings and a foreword by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Ride a Cock Horse
And Other Nursery Rhymes
Although best remembered today as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake (1911–1968) was also a brilliant and prolific illustrator. This collection of nursery rhymes, first published in 1940, brings his dark magic to such perennial favourites as 'Rub-a-Dub-Dub', 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' and 'Little Jack Horner'.
Foster's English Oddities
Beginning with Jack Ferry, who crossed the English Channel on a floating tricycle in 1883, and ending on a happy note with the remarkable Ann Green, who survived being hanged in Oxford in 1860 and even survived helpful bystanders’ attempts to finish her off, Foster’s collection of ‘oddities’ includes weird and wonderful people doing strange things, bizarre natural events (hedgehog living through a 40-degree washing machine cycle etc) and some spooky coincidences.
The English Spelling Book
A Progressive Series of Easy and Familiar Lessons
William Mavor’s very successful ‘Progressive Series of Easy and Familiar Lessons’ was first published in 1801 and this edition, illustrated by Kate Greenaway, gave it a new lease of life in 1885. This book is a facsimile of that edition. A far cry from the big, colourful early reading books of today, it has lists of one, two, three and four syllable words, simple stories, and a selection of moral tales, poems and prayers.
Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?
The Place Names that History Left Behind
Described by Alexander McCall Smith in his foreword as the pioneering work of a new discipline, 'nostalgic geography', this intriguing book tells the stories of 46 old names, their origins and their demise. Beginning with the bizarre history of Pleasant Island (now the Republic of Nauru), the tales of places that are no more include such evocative names as Hispaniola, Rangoon, Fernando Po and Skye (now officially Eilean a' Cheò).
Has the World Gone Completely Mad...?
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
A vintage year for readers' letters, 2015 offered up Poldark on TV (an excess of chest hair), Fifty Shades of Grey, Nicola Sturgeon vs the English, a royal birth and, to cap it all, a general election starring Labour's pink bus and David Cameron with his shirt sleeves rolled up – but not much gets past a Telegraph reader: '... the fact he has no breast pocket shows that he is truly a toff.'
Manners for Millionaires
Aimed at readers who still have fewer than 17 spare bedrooms, this satirical guide from 1900 explains the best ways to progress through the more elevated ranks of late-Victorian society. Its tips range from money-making schemes for paupers to the easiest means for the rich to rid themselves of those cumbersome spare millions. The book is surreally illustrated with woodcuts depicting (alleged) British fish.
London's Strangest Tales: The Thames
Some surprising tales of the Thames are already familiar, such as the frost fairs of the 17th and 18th centuries – one even featured in Doctor Who. This book is a collection of anecdotes and trivia from the river's history, from the horrors of prison ships moored in the estuary to the delights of Handel's Water Music, played to the king on barges in 1717. Portico's Strangest series.
From Pre-Raphaelites to Punk
London has always been home to outsiders, people who can't – or won't – abide by the rules of respectable society. This entertaining, anecdotal history charts two centuries of Bohemianism, including such colourful characters as Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the Bloomsburyites and Bright Young Things, and Dylan Thomas boozing through the Blitz. It is also a guide to the places where Bohemia flourished: the Café Royal, the Colony Room and the Gargoyle Club.
Ode to London
Poems to Celebrate the City
Many poets, from Wordsworth and Byron to Betjeman and Motion, have celebrated – and sometimes excoriated – the sights and sounds of England's bustling capital. All the above can be found in this anthology, along with work by Auden, Blake, Donne, Eliot, Kipling and many others. Illustrated with vintage London Transport posters, the selection will entertain Londoners and visitors alike.