Being the fourth Thursday in November, it’s Thanksgiving today; the handful of American customers well known to us who have been in today are still holding their heads and wondering what has happened to their world – our world too. It’s as if Constable Dobbs had coshed Jeeves on the back of the head, rather than the other way round, leaving Jeeves coming to and rubbing his head. And remaining polite. (vide Wodehouse’s The Mating Season.) But there are many things to be grateful for, including the incalculable contribution of Gillian Malpass to the slew of outstanding art and architecture books published in recent years by Yale University Press. She is to leave Yale, following a ‘restructuring’ (a knife in the back in the dark?), to be replaced by Mark Eastment, formerly director of the publishing wing of the V & A. Recent treasures from Yale, showing the breadth of editorial discernment that we have so relished at Sandoe’s, have included John Onians’ Neuroarthistory, Elisabeth de Bievre’s Dutch Art and Urban Cultures 1200-1700, books on Hardwick Hall, baroque Naples, Pergamon, the wonderful catalogues raisonées of William Hogarth, Richard Diebenkorn and Aubrey Beardsley, to name but a few.
And we are very grateful too to all three authors who have taken the time to speak to a very small audience upstairs at the shop this autumn: Minoo Dinshaw, Rory Stewart and Monika Linton. Minoo’s biography of the historian Steven Runciman is outstanding, Rory’s book about walking, identity and his father is both timely and thought-provoking. (I wonder how different the world would be if walking several thousand miles all over the globe were to become a necessary criterion for political leadership…). Monika, our final speaker before Christmas, was fabulous last night, talking about Brindisa: The Cookbook, named after the company she founded in 1988, about her experience of Spain and artisanal food production. Eloquent, entertaining and supremely in command of her material, ranging from cheese to transhumance, she also treated us to gastronomic delights made by her executive chef, Josep Carbonell. Food for thought indeed. (We are fortunate enough still to have most of a feather-weight almond cake to have with our tea today…)