Skip to content

Vintage Book Profile Revue and Price Guide: Slightly Foxed – but still desirable, by Ronald Searle

Slightly Foxed - but still desirable, Ronald Searle's wicked world of Book Collecting, profile and review, value of this book.

Slightly Foxed - but still desirable takes a hilarious look at the book collecting world: This is a book which encompasses the sharp satirical wit and artistic appeal of Ronald Searle (1920-2011).

"Ronald Searle's wicked world of Book Collecting"

Ronald Searle was a British satirical artist who is best known for having created St. Trinian's School and its incumbents: His first such cartoon being published in Lilliput, an art magazine, in 1941. It was drawn while he was undergoing training with the Royal Engineers. In the same year he was drafted to Singapore but after Singapore fell he spent much of the rest of the Second World War in a Japanese labour camp. He continued to draw throughout this period, often hiding his work from the Japanese guards.

After the war years his artistic output became prolific, using a number of different mediums. He is best known though for his line drawn illustrations washed with watercolours.

Throughout his life Ronald had a keen interest in books and became such a prolific collector that his home in France was adorned with 'half a kilometre' of overflowing books. He was well placed therefore to be familiar with some of the jargon of the book trade.

Published by Souvenir Press, a humorous look at some of the unique language of the book collectors world

Slightly Foxed - but still desirable, Ronald Searle's wicked world of Book Collecting is all about the jargon. After a brief introduction it features over fifty full page illustrations with single line captions on the facing pages. For example: 'Old style calf' appears opposite an illustration of a cow in a dress, holding a book; while 'Lovingly thumbed by former owner' is illustrated with a scruffy and dirty looking man, a book hanging down by its pages in one hand and a beer can in the other.

To the rear of the book is a hilarious glossary where 'Desirable' is described as 'Just about worth the money, if you must have it' and 'Foxed throughout' is described as 'Needs only four legs and a tail to complete'.

There is also a serious side to this book. The implication from the introduction, the blurb on the flap and even the sub-title, is that the language of the book trade is often used to confuse and deceive. This is frequently true, sometimes deliberately and sometimes through ignorance. It can also be quite intimidating to those who have just a passing interest in second hand books. We've probably all been caught out from time to time, and learnt some expensive lessons, but if you can't look back at such incidents and smile, they will eat you up.

All in all there is something on every page of this book to make the collector smile.

You might also like:

Book Details:

A hardcover book with a dust jacket, 124 pages, including introductory text, a very funny glossary and brief captions to the colour illustrations by Ronald Searle

Published by Souvenir Press, (London), 2001, reprint edition

Size Approx: 224x305mm

Approx weight: 862g

Illustrated throughout with captions on the facing pages

Slightly Foxed - but still desirable by Ronald Searle, 2001 Reprint: Value

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

Slightly Foxed - but still desirable by Ronald Searle, 2001 Souvenir Press hardcover reprint edition, estimated value of the pictured copy which is in fine condition in a very good dust jacket, £20

Copies in lesser condition grades can be expected to sell for a lower amount, while first editions in a similar condition may attract a premium.