David Batterham’s Among Booksellers

We love this book. David Batterham is a rare book dealer who specialises in books you don’t have to read – art journals, trade catalogues, 19th and 20th century fashion magazines. He’s been buying and selling all over Europe and sometimes the US, since 1965 and whenever he is abroad (and sometimes from home too) he has written to his friend, artist Howard Hodgkin, about his trips. It’s a slim book without a wasted line in it. Batterham’s portraits of his peers – booksellers in Paris and Barcelona, Venice and Madrid – are perfect sketches of a dying breed of particular eccentrics. And Batterham himself, never properly dressed, often on the hunt for a new pair of trousers as well as some rare, bound treasure, travelling by battered motor car, makes a wonderful armchair travelling companion. His observations are pithy and wry and funny, and tinged with a note of rather addictive despair. No wonder Hodgkin kept every letter he received from Batterham: they are gems. The book, with its cover by the artist, has been printed by Stone Trough Books, a small press, so you won’t find this at your local Waterstones, but it is really worth ordering from Amazon. A real pleasure.

Among Booksellers by David Batterham
— Daisy
15th March 2012