Monday 9 January 2012

Brave New…Year

Yesterday I read an article about decluttering, which suggested the motto “ABC – Always Be Clearing” so full of good intentions, I decided today to sort out some more bookshelves. I climbed up a stepladder to check to top shelves. As usual I got sidetracked!

Leaning up against Winifred Holtby’s West Riding [How I love that book. Proper schoolteaching as it used to be]I found these two tomes

brave new worldDSCF3192

I read Brave New World at school, and a couple of time since. I do not recall ever reading Crome Yellow. So I decided that before consigning it to the Charity Shop Box, I should at least make an attempt. I lifted both books down.

The first one says [in my SIL’s immaculate handwriting] “R Almond June 1972” – so that one is obviously Bob’s book. The second says “OBD” and I have absolutely no idea where it came from [charity shop?] It is dated 1937, and the photo shows the book in its original paper dustjacket – did you realise that Penguin paperbacks once came with dustjackets? And only cost sixpence!

The other intriguing thing – inside Brave New World I found two postcards. The plot thickens – I remember that I found these inside another charity shop book purchase a few years back.


The top card is dated March 1959, and is the cathedral in Milan [where the card was posted] the lower one is Leonardo’s ‘St Anne’ [from the Louvre] and was posted in Paris, June 1950.  They were both sent to 31 Pond Street, Hampstead, to Julian Huxley. Julian the biologist [left] was the brother of author Aldous [right]


While the first card is addressed to Prof Huxley, the later Italian one is to Sir Julian [he was knighted in 1958] – and it came from Irma Antonetto, who was a respected Italian political journalist [below]

Irma AntonettoShe just says “Best greetings and remembrances also to Lady Juliette & Leonard”

The first card is signed R C Murphy. I thought that it would be harder to establish his identity.

robert cuhman murphyBut the card says “Many thanks for your letter and the word that you find the ‘Logbook’ entertaining” – a little bit of googling, and I deduced that the card is from Robert Cushman Murphy, a noted American ornithologist, who wrote ‘Logbook For Grace’ about his experiences on one of the last US whaling brigs, a hundred years ago [details here]

I do not imagine these cards have any monetary value, but it is fun to keep them as bookmarks.

Crome Yellow is set just after WW1 in a large country house [called ‘Crome’] For years I have believed that “Crome Yellow” was also a paint colour, named after the Norwich artist John Crome, but I have just found out is has nothing to do with him, and the paint colour is ‘Chrome Yellow’.

But I now must do some more decluttering before I start any reading!


  1. This is what I LOVE about second hand shopping, Ang. What a fantastic story and set of postcards. A little snippet of history indeed.

  2. Do you feel a trip to Antiques Roadshow coming on or a specialist postcard buyer????

    Sandie xx

  3. The postcards have to be worth something, even if it is sentimental worth.
    I have nothing so interesting tucked away!
    Jane x

  4. Antiques Roadshow was my immediate thought too! But how interesting to hold that little bit of history in your hand.

  5. How interesting that you could trace the postcards, a wonderfu addition to the books.

    Sue xx

  6. I think that is a very nice thing to find in the books.

    Someones elses clutter is always someone elses treasure.


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