Winners of the 2023 Anthony Davis Student Book Collecting Prize
By Erika Delbecque, on 4 July 2023
We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize, which is open to students from any London universities. The prize is intended to encourage students who collect books, printed and manuscript materials. We received over thirty submissions from a total of nine institutions, with collections ranging from manuals on insect collecting, Penguin editions and books on the Tudors to 1890’s London and theatre programmes.
Because of the high standard of the finalists’ presentations and collections, the panel decided to split the award between the two top-scoring candidates. Emma Treleaven, a PhD candidate at the London College of Fashion, is this year’s winner. Her collection, entitled My Own Two Hands: Books and Ephemera About Making Dress and Textiles Before 1975, focuses on learning materials on making clothes and textiles in domestic settings. Her collection is a way of preserving skills that are at risk of being lost, and she uses her collection to teach herself to make clothing in ways that aren’t taught anywhere outside of these historical printed materials. As the winner of this year’s competition, Emma will represent London at the ABA National Book Collecting Prize 2023.
The runner-up candidate is Ben Baker, whose collection Artistic and Literary Networks of Fitzrovia: 1920-1948 impressed the panel with its ambition and clear focus. His collection explores the eclectic concentration of the so-called bohemian authors and artists who lived and worked in the region surrounding Fitzroy Square in London in the interwar period. Benjamin is studying for a BA Classics at UCL.
Tessa Roynon, a MA Library and Information Studies student at UCL, received a special mention for her collection The Formations of Toni Morrison, 1955-1980, which focuses on the pre-celebrity work of the African American Nobel Laureate.
The other finalists were:
- Grant, Jenny – ‘Read this – and tell others’: Inscriptions and the gifting of Polish books to British friends by the Polish Armed Forces, 1939-45
- Gray, Victoria – Prized Possessions: a collection of 19th- and 20th-century school prize books
- Mitra, Sudipto – Barefoot Ballers: Books on Football in India
- Shanker, Louis – My library, after David
Meet the finalists and see their collections
All seven candidates will be presenting their collections to the public in our UCL Rare-Books Club series over the next few weeks.
On Wednesday 5 July, Victoria, Jenny and Ben will present their collections in person at the UCL Bloomsbury campus. Book your place on Eventbrite and drop in any time between 12.30pm and 2pm.
On Wednesday 16th August, Sudipto, Emma, Tessa and Louis will present their collections. This is likely to be a hybrid event, which you can either join in person at the UCL Bloomsbury campus or online on Zoom. Book your place on Eventbrite and drop in any time between 12.30pm and 2pm.
In addition, Anthony Davis, the benefactor of the award, will be presenting his collection of fine bindings on Wednesday 19th July. He will talk about how he started collecting and show a selection of his book bindings, alongside bindings from UCL. This event is taking place in person at the UCL Bloomsbury campus. Book your place on Eventbrite and drop in any time between 12.30pm and 2pm.
We would like to thank all the applicants and wish them good luck and many years of joy in their future collecting. Our thanks also go to the judges for generously giving their time and, most of all, to the benefactor of the award, Anthony Davis, for helping nurture the collectors of the future with his encouragement, expertise and enthusiasm.