There are some books people should just not donate. Not in this day and, thankfully more politically correct, age.
In fact, quite a lot of the time, there are lots of books people should just not donate.
The donor told me she had taken the ‘unsuitable’ ones to the tip. I dread to think what state they were in, given the ones she gave us were quite unsaleable. So…..
But then, as a regular reader will know there are the mysteries which make the endless sacking – and I did four solid hours of it the other day, whilst also ‘tending’ the till and yes I did polish my halo – worthwhile.
Back in February, we had a mystery Russian painting donated and try as I might, I could not find out anything about it and though I liked it and wanted to keep it, I could hardly give Oxfam a few quid to find out that it was the early work of a collectable ( no doubt by an oligarch) master.
But Deepest Sussex harbours more interesting types than you might think and our village produced a lovely man who is a Russian and East European art dealer.
He was very kind but basically told me the picture was a daub and if I liked it, I should hold on to it and wait – one day, you never know, the artist might be discovered….
We have in the shop an Iranian book – large but slim – which is an illustrated version of Rumi’s poetry.
It is not old, in fact published in Teheran in the 1990s, but in a limited edition and I can’t find one for sale anywhere on the internet.
The illustrations are all paintings by well-known Iranian artists – I can find out that much – but that’s all.
So, if anyone knows an Iranian bookseller who knows his/her art and Rumi, do let me know.
As far as I am aware, there isn’t one of those in the village.
And then we had a book donated which was a kind of scrapbook of letters sent to a Mr Percy Wood.
A couple of the letters came from Osborne House and Buckingham Palace and turned out to be from Sir Henry Ponsonby who was Queen Vic’s private secretary.
This got me a bit excited but it turns out on closer examination that most of the letters were a polite declining of some invitation or another.
I found it very hard to track down what Mr Percy Wood was doing to get letters from Sir Henry.
Google was not helping – so he obviously wasn’t much in the news in his day – or any other for that matter.
Eventually, I found out he was a photographer and he went bankrupt in 1879 – so despite at least once taking pictures of Victoria, he is also still waiting to be discovered as an artistic genius.