Charles Darwin’s great-great-grandson has created a “treasure trove” of rare, first edition and antiquarian books from the archives of his emporium store in Somerset.
William Pryor, co-owner of Bookbarn International, will unveil the ‘Darwin Room’ on 29th June with a literary performance from Bristol-based theatre company Closer Each Day.
He said: “My great, great grandfather would be pleased that one of his descendants should establish a book emporium selling beautiful, rare and antiquarian books in his name. It took him 40 years to publish On the Origin of Species, so he would forgive me for taking another 150 to establish Darwin Rare Books - a shrine to the very lifeblood of his science.”
Pryor is encouraged by the growth in sales of print titles. He said: “With sales of physical books up 8% in the last year and Kindle sales continuing to dwindle, there couldn’t be a better time to launch the Darwin Room as a celebration of all that we hold dear about books – both old and new. We are planning an exciting and fun celebration of the book not just as an object of physical beauty but of real social importance.”
The Darwin Room will bring together the “most beautiful, wonderful, and weird antiquarian books” selected by staff over the last two years. All the titles will be for sale and categories include children’s books, religious manuscripts, history (both local and national), sport, classic fiction, biography and factual books.
Darwin's On the Origin of Species was been voted the most influential academic book in history in 2015. In March Puffin announced plans to publish a picture book edition of the 1859 study, which founded evolutionary biology, retold by qualified molecular biologist Sabina Radeva, after the book raised more than £49,000 through a Kickstarter campaign.
For more information, visit bookbarninternational.com.