Aestelology, anyone?

King_Alfred’s_Jewel
The Alfred Jewel, now in the Ashmolean Museum, from Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages by Henry Shaw, 1843 (public domain)

The world is filled with magpie minds and natures. You name anything that has the whiff of the mass-produced and there’ll be someone, societies even, collecting it enthusiastically. I was encouraged to collect stamps when I was a kid, steaming used ones off envelopes, affixing them to gridded album pages with special adhesive tabs. Many of them ended up stuck to a papier mâché tray I’d made and varnished over. I also had a thing about matchbox labels — Bryant & May’s designs for England’s Glory and Ship labels varied a lot, I seem to remember. Then there were the coins that my father collected from countries around the South China Seas — I’ve still got a box of them somewhere. I could go on …

But I digress. I’ve already posted about bookmarks, those simple devices for keeping the page reached when there’s a pause in reading a book; it so happens that three of the bookmarks I’m currently using advertise independent bookshops. One is for Seaways Bookshop in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire: it features a stylised lighthouse designed by Sarah Earl — referencing the nearby beacon on Strumble Head — and is mostly bilingual (for example ‘bookshop’ is siop lyfrau in Welsh). The second bookmark is from The Hours Café & Bookshop in Brecon, Powys, with an Art Deco logo and an extract from a laudatory Guardian review, which reads in full:

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