Among the many favours afforded to me by the late John Blatchly, his recommendation to Brian North Lee that I would do a good job of cataloguing his Bookplate Reference Library, was perhaps the most generous. Knowing that he was not long for this world, Brian invited me to his house in Chiswick and together we pored over the many treasures which he had agreed would come to Suffolk after his death. I was aware of his friendship with the wood-engraver Joan Hassall, but it was not until I unpacked the BNL collection back home in Kelsale that I discovered the extent of the archive which he had inherited from her.
Part II of the North Lee catalogue (Claude Cox 178, Summer 2007) included a taster of forty or so books, manuscripts & art, and cat.195 five years later a dozen proof wood-engravings. But only now have I collected together the whole catalogue of proofs & books with wood engravings which the Hassall archive has inspired. I plan to make this an annual feature as I finally return to regular catalogue production after the distractions of leaving Silent Street. For this catalogue the artist is king (or more frequently queen) and dictates the order. We can send images of any of the engravings described, and in many cases we are holding far more work of the artist than is listed here. So please ask for further details of any engraver of particular interest.
If you are wondering why you didn't receive catalogues 204 & 205, they exist online only. This is not a future trend, but an inexpensive way of offering c1000 books at bargain price. All stock hitherto priced at up to £20 has been reduced to £8, or 3 books for £20.Our cover picture by Jane Lydbury is from item 162.