Shipboard Games

img_2161Found in The Ocean as a Health-Resort (A Handbook for Tourist and Invalids) by William S Wilson (London 1880) this guide to shipboard games. The author start by saying that study on board a ship is nigh impossible and recommends light reading. Is Cricket still played on cruise liners? Certainly there will no longer be shooting or climbing the rigging…

Those who expect to be able to study in the sense of reading hard will almost always be disappointed. There is something in a sea life that seems to be antagonistic to work of this kind, and it is generally seen that those who started with high resolves in this respect very soon subside into light literature or idleness. There are of course exceptions, but they are rare. The prevailing inability to study is, however, scarcely to be regretted in the case of invalids, who cannot do better than provide themselves with a supply of light literature, and direct all their energies towards deriving the greatest possible benefit from their voyage.

 
There are several open-air games which can be played on board ship, and which furnish a capital means of obtaining that exercise, the want of which is one of the drawbacks of being shut up within such narrow limits. Continue reading

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The fate of the Sangorski Omar 2

The second and last part of an article on Sangorski's  ill-fated Omar Khayyam binding. It was found in Piccadilly Notes: an occasional  publication devoted to books, engravings and autographs (1929).   A contemporary eyewitness account talks of Sangorski's Omar with its 'gold leaf blazing and the light flashing from hundreds of gemstones studding the tails of the peacocks on the cover..' Less commonly known is  the odious role played by New York customs officials in the affair and that the magnificent book was, in fact, making its second trip across the Atlantic when it was lost forever beneath the waves. J.H. Stonehouse writes:

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The fate of the Sangorski Omar 1

The Great Omar*
Found in an offprint from Piccadilly Notes (circa 1930) this article about (possibly) the most lavish binding the world had ever seen. The magazine billed itself as 'an occasional  publication devoted to books, engravings and autographs.' it was edited by J.H. Stonehouse and this article is by him…

It was in 1907 that I first met Sangorski, when he brought a letter of introduction from a church dignitary, and asked to be allowed to show me a lectern bible which the Archbishop of Canterbury had commissioned his firm to bind, previous to its presentation by King Edward VII to the United States in commemoration of the tercentenary of the established church in America. I recognised at once the justice of his contention that there was something more in the design and execution of the work than was usually to be found in an ordinary piece of commercial binding and that the appreciation of it which had been expressed in the press was fully justified.

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A Ship’s Library – Kinfauns Castle

Kinfauns Castle (Ship's Nostalgia site)

Found - a list of the entire inventory of a ship's library - Donald Currie & Co's Royal Mail Steamer "Kinfauns Castle"(South African Service). An interesting list, possibly intended to be comprehensive. There is a curious amount of William Black, then at his height, a sort of Victorian Dan Brown (so popular that in America his works were bootlegged.) Likewise there are 3 works of Norman Macleod, editor of the immensely successful Good Words and now so forgotten than he is not even known for being forgotten - although Sutherland covers him well in The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction. He is  part of a slight Scottish bias to these books (the list was printed by David Bryce & Son, Glasgow.) There is little for children, not many thrillers and not a lot of humour, although Twain and Brett Harte both make the list. Conspicuous by their absence are Trollope, Gibbon, Poe, Milton, Fielding, Wilkie Collins, Swinburne and R.L. Stevenson. Children had to make do with Froggy's Little Brother and possibly German Popular Stories. There is very little religion and no Holy Bible, possibly shipping magnate Donald Currie thought there was enough of that on land or that most people would have a bible if they needed one. The Kinfauns Castle started sailing in 1879 and this is probably from early in its life (it seems to have still been afloat in the late 1920s.) The list was pasted into book 10 Carlyle's Heroes and Hero Worship, attractively bound in full green leather lettered gilt at the spine with the words 'Castle Packets' at the foot -possible all the  library was bound thus..

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