Books, printing and wood engraving are I suppose in my blood in one form or another and I grew up, I think from quite an early age learning by design, but mostly by osmosis, about book design, illustrations and collecting. It stuck.

I like a well designed book. I love books with gorgeous illustrations, and if you can combine the two, all the better.

This volume, it has to be admitted was written by Dad.  It is in effect the celebration of Joan Hassall, a wood engraver of extraordinary quality.

It is, perhaps my favourite of Dad’s books that have been published by the Private Library Association. Probably because I love Joan’s work and this really is a beautiful volume of pictures, (over 470 of them) even if you are not interested in wood engravings or Joan.

The full title of the book is Joan Hassall Engravings and Drawings. It has an introductory memoir by Joan Hassall and an appreciation of her technique by George Mackley. The book contents also includes: Books and Bookplates / David Chambers, List of Illustrated Books, Lists of Illustrated Journals, Dust Jackets and Miscellanea, List of Bookplates, Select Bibliography, Book Illustrations, Occasional Blocks, Bookplates, and an Index of Books.

She is probably most well-known for her illustrations for Jane Austen’s books – and these are reproduced along with those from books of Perrault’s Fairy Tales, natural history, including The Strange World of Nature, collected poetry, Old Scottish Christmas Hymns and bookplates amongst a plethora of other works.

She died in 1988, thankfully a few years after this publication came out. It really is a beautiful celebration of a very special, self depreciating and talented lady.

Should you wish (and you should) to have a copy of this, please contact the Private Libraries Association who will be happy to supply details. Further, if you mention this you will receive a 10% discount on this gorgeous volume.

Private Library Association,Ravelston, South View Road, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3YD