Alan Isaac Rare Books



Waters Rising: Letters from Florence

Now published by The Legacy Press

In Waters Rising, renowned calligrapher Sheila Waters recounts the story of the role that her husband Peter Waters (1930–2003) played as the person in charge of organizing the monumental efforts to save severely damaged books in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Library, Florence) after the devastating flood in 1966 fifty years ago. To give the most complete picture of the events that occurred initially in the recovery mission, Sheila presents nearly 50 of Peter’s letters written between the end of November 1966 and April 1967, in which he described day-to-day happenings, and her letters back, which kept him informed about things at home and boosted his confidence when problems seemed to be overwhelming.

In addition to these letters and Sheila’s narrative diary and timeline of events, Randy Silverman, Head of Preservation, University of Utah, has written a thought-provoking introduction that puts those conservation efforts into the context of today’s practices. Also, Valerii P. Leonov has written an appreciation of Peter’s assistance in the aftermath of a fire in 1988 that rav

aged the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The accompanying DVD features a digital remastering of Roger Hill’s film Restoration of Books, Florence, 1968.

Waters Rising is dedicated to the people whose names appear herein and to those unnamed Mud Angels who salvaged the books that the flood waters left behind.

496 pages  •  283 colour/black & white photographs (many of which Peter took)  •  hardcover  •  DVD  •  2016  •  ISBN: 978–1–940965000  •  £35

The book can be ordered through the Bookshop page. Book price £35 (including UK carriage)





 Essays on Fine Binding – With an Introduction by Sam Ellenport

 Bernard C. Middleton

Published: Oxford, Alan Isaac Rare Books.

114p, 225 x 158mm, illustrated with line drawings and coloured plates, sewn, cloth gilt, hardbound.

An edition of 500 copies.  £25 [post & packing – UK £2, Europe £7, Rest of the world £9]

Enquiries – Alan Isaac Rare Books – 15, Polstead Road, Oxford, OX2 6TW

Tel: 01865 516449, Email:,

Please ORDER through the Bookshop page.

Also published:

FINISHING – Herbert & Peter Fahey 

Herbert and Peter Fahey 

TRACEY ROWLEDGE – Award Winning Design Binder and Instructor, says ‘This is a wonderful book which I have strongly recommended to my students as a great way to learn and develop confidence in tooling.  I am delighted to see it reprinted as it has long been hard to find and costly.’ 

TREVOR LLOYD – Period Finisher and Bookbinder  says ‘I have only recently discovered this book, but I can honestly say it is a little gem.  There is something for everyone in it from the ardent professional to the budding amateur.  I can highly recommend it’

An EDITION LIMITED to 500 copies. Hardbound, purple cloth, gilt. 227 x 152mm, portraits frontis, xviii, 82p, vi.5  mono. plates. 2 additional colour plates.  £20 (plus £2 UK carriage)

Please ORDER through the Bookshop page.

Welcome to Alan Isaac Rare Books

We offer  a  wide range of Bookbinding Services including the restoration and rebinding of damaged or well used books, presentation bindings, fine bindings and bespoke items. We also carry out paper repairs. To find out more about these services follow the links or click on Oxford Bookbinders.

In addition to our binding services, we also offer a Bookshop where you’ll find details of books for sale. Our catalogue centres on the book arts with an emphasis on bookbinding but it also includes a good selection of works on printing, book illustration and book production in addition to Oxford books! Why not have a browse? Our stock is updated frequently so do please check again soon if you can’t see what you are looking for, or Contact us if there is something specific you would like – we would be pleased to locate a copy for you.

We are always happy to consider books for purchase whether individually or in quantity!

Blue Notes is our blog where you can read about our recent acquisitions or other news items and leave your comments or questions on items you think might be of interest.

Do get in touch if you have a book related question or think we may be able to help in any way.

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