Rare Book Sale

John Chancellor’s Renaissance Pavillion Library


 Most of us know that Anna Chancellor is a world class actress who starred as ‘duck  face’ in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and who is presently receiving rave reviews in the hit revival of Noel Cowards’ Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.

What you may not know is that her father, John Chancellor, is a ‘man about town’ in the literary world and a prolific collector of rare and out of print books.  He has been on the literary scene his whole life, writing, publishing and selling books. He founded Kew Books in 1973.

Now 8,000 books from Chancellor’s library are being offered for sale for two days (September 21 – 22) at West Pavillion, Stoke Park, his faboulous historic Renaissance Pavillion in Northhants, which was built in 1629 by Inigo Jones.

Originally Stoke Park was a 400-acre deer park acquired in 1541 by Henry VIII, who used to come hunting here with his second wife, Anne Boleyn.  It remained crown property until Charles I.

The medieval hunting lodge at Stoke Park was replaced with an impressive new country house, the first in England built in the Italian Palladian style, being linked by colonnades to two pavilions, one serving as a chapel and the other as a library. The design is generally attributed to Inigo Jones, a fellow courtier and celebrated architect who went to Italy and became an enthusiast for the neo-classical style pioneered in Europe by the great Venetian architect Andrea Palladio.

Charles I was entertained here in 1635. The great scientist Isaac Newton wrote a number of letters from this address.

Disaster struck in 1886 when the house was burnt down “through the carelessness of servants” (according to the owners named Vernon). Five years later, the Vernons replaced it with a new house in the “Jacobean” style, strangely sited not between the pavilions, as the previous house had been, but attached “in a most unfortunate way” (Nikolaus Pevsner) to the back of the east pavilion.

Robin Chancellor, a London publisher, bought the pavillons in the 50s and demolished the house of 1891. Answering an appeal in Country Life and with the help of a government grant, he restored the pavilions to their former appearance. He later made them over to his nephew, Alexander Chancellor, who now lives there.

John Chancellor’s book sale covers a wide range of subjects in many categories:  literature, history, science, botany, gardening, architecture, art, travel, philosophy, religion, linguistics, etc.   It is also a chance to spend the day in the gardens of the park and view the splendour of these Renaissance gems.

Ranging from Dickens’ first editions to early Penguin paperbacks, Chancellor’s collection includes books in foreign languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish.  For those who can’t bare to miss a bargain, this is a rare opportunity to snap up rare books at incredibly cheap prices.  In fact, this may be the only chance you’ll ever have to buy these kind of books at these kind of prices.

As an additional bonus refreshments and food will be available.

— Mrs M

Book Sale
West Pavilion
Stoke Park
Stoke Bruerne
NN12 7RZ


Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22
10am to 6pm

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