From 18 September to 2 November 2014, the Museum Plantin-Moretus exhibited manuscripts, old and modern printed works, bookbindings, prints, drawings, photographs and other rare documents from the private collections of members of the Association of Antwerp Bibliophiles.
Important Europeana included a Parisian Missal from 1499, the first edition of Johannes Secundus’ Basia (‘Kisses’) (1539) and an Italian portfolio from the 16th century. Among other noteworthy items were a portrait drawing of Galileo, a 17th-century print of tennis players and an example of four-colour printing from 1757: a rose drawn with the help of Pierre-Joseph Redouté by a French princess who subsequently became the first Belgian Queen. For typographers, a French pop-up alphabet from 2008 was a ‘must see’.
The Americana were also extraordinary. An original letter of George Washington from 1778 was the crown jewel. There was an account by a Flemish Jesuit of his stay with the Indians of the Rocky Mountains (1844), and a first edition (1930) of Ezra Pound from the private Parisian press of Mary Phelps Jacob, the American inventor of the modern bra. There was a first edition of Jurassic Park, in a binding with the head of a Tyrannosaurus rex, adorned with a real dinosaur tooth. There were also bulletproof book covers for American soldiers from the Second World War and the dedication copy of Clark Stillman’s Man on the Beach (1993).