Library Display: 550 years of the printed book

A new display of objects that highlights an extraordinary collection of antique books from book collector Peter Op’t Land is now open at Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor.

Book CollectionThe items on display go as far back as some of the very first printed books also known as Incunabula. Visitors will see a display showing how the book printing progressed from the late 15th Century to the late 18th Century and all the changes that occurred to the typefaces and page layout.

Peter was brought up in a family where printing was prominent; his father had a letterpress printing business in the backyard including an 1880’s Chandler and Price Press amongst some other large 1950’s printing presses. His parents had emigrated from Holland and brought several old books with them some of which were well over 300 years old and as a child he found these fascinating. Over 10 years ago, Peter acquired some of his mother’s antique books and so his book collecting commenced.

As part of his fascination with antique books, Peter has also explored book conservation and has studied traditional hand bookbinding techniques. He initially focused on collecting 17th and 18th Century books but he now also has items dating back to the early medieval period. A highlight of Peter’s collection is a range of items dating back to the 17th Century which reference early European exploration of the Pacific and of the Australian Continent.  Various antique printing items will also be on display.

The display can be viewed at Hawkesbury Central Library, 300 George Street, Windsor during opening hours. The opening hours are currently Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm.

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