A singular obsession

October 13, 2021

Penrose 1964-73

Sitting in the back of a taxi nursing a dozen or more Penrose Annuals I was smitten

It all started in Charing Cross Road

Most weekends I'd spend wandering in and out of the second-hand bookshops scouring for that hidden gem. Like most designers I was an inveterate collector of books, magazine and pretty much any interesting piece of printed material. And, it was on one of the excursions I came across a shelf full of Penrose Annuals.

The sweet spot.

I was lucky enough to land in my original stash of Penrose several issues from the Herbert Spencer era and while I continued to collect other annuals from other years I realized this was, in my eyes, the absolute sweet spot.

"How much if I take them all" I asked the bookshop owner who was only too pleased to offload the lot at a discounted price... result! He went off to source three stout cardboard boxes, while I feverishly carted the books from the shelf to the counter making sure no one else swooped in on my new prized acquisitions. Out on the street a cab was hailed and the bookowner bundled me and the boxes into the cab. "Clapham Common please" not caring my taxi fare was going to probably be as half as much as I'd just spent on the mother lode.

And that's where it all started. And while I've managed to track down other priceless gems in the interim (such as a prized copy of Wim Crouwel's Mode En Module) I don't think I've ever repeated that same absolute sense of giddy excitement lugging those annuals home.

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Penrose 1964-73