“Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Kunstkabinett, Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms) were encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings), and antiquities. The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater.”
That’s the Wikipedia (God bless ’em) definition of The Cabinet of Curiosities.
That’s what Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities wants to be when it grows up. All things of interest; anything lost or forgotten, a smattering of classics and high points in all fields, pretty things, smart things, and some pretty smart things both old and new. Pirates, highwaymen, itinerant peoples, freaks and exiles, eccentrics and explorers, interesting associations, blistering stories, and the downright mad. Our interest lies in all those who travelled further than they should, saw what they shouldn’t, and didn’t necessarily live to tell the tale. This is clearly a disconcertingly wide brief, and we fully intend to cover as much of it as possible.
Jonathan Kearns has been working in the rare book trade for the better part of twenty years, from London’s Charing Cross Road to Adrian Harrington Rare Books in Kensington. We are associate members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and are co-directors of The York Antiquarian Book Seminar, an annual gathering where we and a number of distinguished faculty members attempt to offer insight, tuition and advice into the art and science of the rare book trade.
We buy and sell books, manuscripts, art and ephemera in all areas, and are happy to offer advice, often if we don’t know something we will certainly know someone who does. Please feel free to contact us with queries and requests.