the journal


The Art Lover – Baedeker’s London, 1911 – Part 2

Filed Under retrotravels.net

As you might remember me telling you, I recently acquired a 1911 edition of Baedeker’s London and its Environs. I collect well used guidebooks that have been written in by their traveling owners. Gutters filled with notations and underlined passages excite me more than a “plain” mint condition book. The notes tell the story of the book that is very interesting to me. Sometimes it is easy to assume where a book went with its owner and what the owner thought of the place (it’s all written in the book), but sometimes a well used book tells nothing about the owner. This book, however, is more like the latter. It is filled with underlined passages (almost every page) and all the notations are of artist’s names and works of art, but only very little clues are given about the author, whom I’ve nicknamed “The Art Lover”.

After carefully studying every page and the countless pieces of art that have been underlined and added, I have begun to wonder if this book was owned by a Baedeker staff member. Could it be possible that the owner of the book was hired to tour the museums of London, noting any additions or changes to the artwork in the London museums?  I have scanned additional pages from the book and have posted them below if you chose to help solve this 98-year old mystery. Click on the photos to be taken to Flickr, where you can view a larger version of the images.


The page above works against my theory that this was owned by a Baedeker staff member hired to revise the 1911 edition.  Why would text on the non-recent history of England need revising?


Notations on the left could indicate which museums the “Art Lover” visited or planned to visit.  Notice how they noted that the Charter house was closed, an indication that tells me that they actually traveled in London.


Note that the room numbers on the map had been possibly corrected.


I’m assuming that marginalia that had been crossed out (like on the page to the left), it had been transposed to a notebook.


Check out the notations at the bottom of this map. Possible visitation times to this museum?


Where the map shows the Jones Collection (far right, center), the book’s owner had written that it was closed, possibly more proof that they actually entered the museum.


Based on marks on other pages in the book, one mark through the room could mean it was closed while two lines (forming an “X”) means it was opened and visited.


Notes on artists and artwork.


An intriguing page of notes, possibly revealing a little more about the myserious author.  Could they have taken passage on the Holland Steamship to Amsterdam?  And what is that list below the steamship’s hours of operation – “actor, actress”?

Feel free to leave a comment.  Make sure to check out more info at my previous post.