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Ephemera Events & Exhibitions

  • Ephemera Society Fairs 2016

  • Sunday · 22 May · 4 December
  • Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
  • Coram Street
  • London WC1N 1HT
  • United Kingdom
  • All are welcome · Entry £3 · 11am - 4pm
  • Members from 10am with membership cards



  • Bloomsbury Book Fair 2016

  • For the small fairs in 2016 the Ephemera Society will be joining up with the Bloomsbury Book Fair run by Kim Jeffery of Etc Fairs
  • Sunday · 14 February · 10 April · 10 July · 9 October
  • Above dates will have exhibitors from the Ephemera Society
  • Royal National Hotel
  • Bedford Way
  • London WC1H 0DG
  • United Kingdom
  • 10am - 4pm · Entry £2 until 12.30pm, free thereafter
  • More information:


Exotic Creatures

Until 6 March 2016

This exhibition explores animals in royal collections, menageries and early zoos, and political beasts in the period 1750 to 1850. Discover the fascinating story of the first living giraffe in the UK, given to George IV as a diplomatic gift in 1827, plus the history of travelling menageries performing in London and Brighton, and other exotic creatures.

Detail from print of dancing bear

Other works on show will include satirical prints, original menagerie bills, sculptural and ceramic pieces and paintings and archival material; the display includes historical prints depicting animals in menageries and circuses before the introduction of animal welfare laws.


Matthias Buchinger's Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay

Until 11 April 2016

Engraving of Matthias Buchinger

This installation of drawings, prints, and related ephemera by the German artist and performer Matthias Buchinger (1674–1739) explores for the first time the oeuvre of the so-called Little Man of Nuremberg.

Standing only twenty-nine inches high, and born without hands or feet, Buchinger was celebrated in his own time as a draftsman and calligrapher as well as a magician and musician. He boasted a clientele that included noblemen, kings, and emperors, along with members of the public who visited him at inns and fairs from Leipzig to Paris and from London to Belfast.

Buchinger's remarkably delicate drawings often exploited flowing lines of microscopic texts to build up figures and elaborate scenes, an ancient Jewish technique known as micrography. The vast majority also incorporate calligraphic inscriptions that describe his physical condition as well as his artistic and personal triumphs. His main subjects include family trees, coats of arms, the Ten Commandments, and portraits.

  • Gallery 690
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue
  • New York, New York 10028-0198
  • USA
  • Image: Detail from engraving. Anonymous, British, 18th century
    Portrait of Matthias Buchinger, dated 1705 by Buchinger in pen and red ink
    Copyright © Collection of Ricky Jay


The Royal Game of the Goose: 400 years of printed board games

23 February - 14 May 2016

Image of board game

This exhibition, based on Adrian Seville’s collection, brings together some seventy games on paper. All are of the simplest kind: throw the dice to race to the end of the spiral track – no choice of move, no skill possible.

The Game of the Goose is the prototype, to which all the games are related, some using it as a close template for thematic variation, some being only distant relations.

The exhibition begins by demonstrating the spread and endurance of the classic Goose game worldwide, and then shows how educational variants were invented in mid seventeenth- century France.

By contrast, British educational games are shown as developing a century later. Thematic sections follow these displays of the game’s history, and cover propaganda and polemic, science and invention, advertising, and some intriguing images of America as seen from across the pond.

The show concludes with games arranged for play: try your luck in progressing from Errand Boy to ‘respected Banker and a good citizen’!

  • The Grolier Club
  • 47 East 60th Street
  • New York City 10022
  • USA
  • Image: Jeu des manchons "la couronne"
    Paris: Etabs. Robert & Cie., 55 & 57 Rue Louis-Blanc, [c. 1900]
    Chromolithograph, 260 x 370 mm


Drawing on Childhood

Until 1 May 2016

Drawing on Childhood brings together the work of major illustrators from the eighteenth century to the present day, who have created powerful images of characters in fiction who are orphaned, adopted, fostered or found.

Image of Cinderella

The exhibition considers how illustrators of different generations have chosen key moments in stories from European folklore and fiction, and brought these child heroes to life.

Original drawings, first editions and special illustrated editions will be on display, featuring characters as diverse as James Trotter (James and the Giant Peach) who was orphaned as a young boy, Hetty Feather, who lived at the Foundling Hospital, and Rapunzel, whose parents gave her up as a child.

Two original illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert for the 1961 edition of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach will be exhibited, alongside Arthur Rackham’s original 1919 drawing of Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother. Major illustrators and artists whose work will be on display include Quentin Blake, George Cruikshank, David Hockney, Phiz (Hablot K. Browne), Arthur Rackham, Thomas Rowlandson, Nick Sharratt and Stref.


Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty

Until 20 March 2016

Mucha lithograph

Czech-born Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) is one of the most celebrated artists of the fin-de-siècle. Rising to international fame with his elegant designs for decorative panels, and stunning advertising posters, ‘le style Mucha’ became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement.

This exhibition explores the work of the artist, around the theme of beauty – the core principle underlying his artistic philosophy. The show will include over 60 works drawn primarily from the collection of the Mucha Trust, focusing on drawings, paintings, photographs and iconic posters, such as Gismonda, Mucha’s first poster designed for the actress Sarah Bernhardt.

Like artists of the British Arts and Crafts movement, it was Mucha’s belief that beautiful works of art should improve the quality of peoples lives. He wrote: I was happy to be involved in art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was inexpensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor families as well as in more affluent circles.


Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution

Until 28 March 2016

Detail from John Hayls's portrait of Pepys

Pepys was one of the most colourful and appealing characters of 17th-century Britain. Known as a naval mastermind, he was also a notorious gossip, socialite and a lover of culture, fine living – and women!

He also fought for survival both on the operating table and in the cut-throat world of public life and politics. He successfully navigated his way to wealth, power and status until his luck, intimately entwined with the King’s fortunes, finally ran out.

The emblem of The Ephemera Society represents Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), Secretary to the Admiralty and celebrated diarist.

Described by the society’s founder, Maurice Rickards, as “the first general ephemerist”, Pepys's collection embraced trade cards, board games and labels as well as ballads and other street literature.


Politics, Patriotism & Protest

WWI Postcard

17-20 March 2016

Mark your calendar for the Ephemera Society of America’s (ESA) thirty-sixth annual conference, “Politics, Patriotism & Protest,” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Old Greenwich, Connecticut. The conference examines the use of ephemera in promoting political, patriotic, and protest movements, emphasizing such issues as race, gender, and war.

The scholar-collectors who will present during our Friday conference will speak about creating collections and the knowledge that can be derived from them, including their use in teaching university-level American history. Topics cover a variety of topics including symbols of patriotism, political protest posters, 19th-century presidential election campaigns, black protest movements, and war-related greeting cards.

After the presentations, there will be an opportunity to meet some of the speakers at a book signing. Attendees who come early, on Thursday, may attend an important new Ephemera Society event, an afternoon presentation on the use of ephemera by college students in the classroom.

On Saturday and Sunday, ESA will present the widely anticipated Ephemera Fair, considered by many the best in America. There will be exceptional material from a wide spectrum of knowledgeable and experienced dealers, displaying their freshest and best ephemera.


Night Shift - London after Dark

Until 10 April 2016

Image of PosterWhen the sun sets and the moon rises over London the city gradually takes on a character and the Night Shift begins.

The introduction of gas and electric street lights at the end of the 19th century brought significant change to the night time streets of London and with it new opportunities for pleasure seekers and greater demands from night workers travelling to and from the city.

The Night Shift exhibition delves into the dark side of transport in London and explores the power of publicity and the world of the night shift over the last century.

Eye catching transport posters highlight the rise of the West End and the growth of the leisure economy, whilst archive photographs and films document the development of transport to meet the needs of Fleet Street and other night workers. Wartime Tube sheltering, the burgeoning nightclubbing scene and hard hitting safety campaigns bring the story up to date and cast new light on the contemporary 24 hour city.


War in London

Until 27 April 2016

Image of Bus conductress This new exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives reveals the effects of five conflicts on Londoners and their city, from the English Civil War to the Cold War.

In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Zeppelin air raids of the First World War, and the 75th anniversary of the London Blitz during the Second World War, this exhibition uncovers historical manuscripts, maps, photographs and films that tell us about the destruction of the city, the threat of imminent invasion and the heroism of ordinary Londoners.


Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women

Until 26 February 2016

Image of poster

Characterised by comically grotesque figures performing lewd and vulgar actions, bawdy humor provided a poignant vehicle to target a variety of political and social issues in eighteenth-century Britain.

Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women explores the deployment of this humorous but derisive strategy toward the regulation of female behavior. The exhibition presents satirical images of women from a range of subject categories including the royal family, aging members of fashionable society, disparaged mothers, political activists, gamblers, medical wonders, artists, performers, and intellectuals.


Fashioning Philadelphia: The Style of the City, 1720-1940

Until 4 March 2016

Image of US trade card
Trade card for J E Caldwell & Co - Jewelers, Silversmiths and Importers,
902 Chestnut St, Philadelphia. Easter 1880. Printed by Marcus Ward & Co.

Home to modest Quakers, prosperous free blacks, well-heeled international transplants, and working classes of all sorts, Philadelphia was once the country's most cosmopolitan city.

In addition to being known for stylish residents, Philadelphia gained a reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse by the 19th century. Called the “Workshop of the World,” the city supported countless manufacturers producing goods used in the fashion industry. Tanneries, ironworks, and mills made the leather, metal, and cloth that a thriving community of shoemakers, tailors, and milliners fashioned into parasols, hoop skirts, shawls, and hats.

To tell this particular story, Fashioning Philadelphia draws on the Library Company's rich collections of historical materials. Among many other items, it includes several portraits of Benjamin Franklin ("Philadelphia's first fashionista"), hand-coloured fashion plates showing men and women wearing the latest styles, tailoring patterns, contemporary views of Chestnut Street, interior views of the Stetson hat factory, architectural renderings of major department stores, and small artifacts such as 19th-century sunglasses and ladies' boots.

By showing depictions of Philadelphians from all walks of life, from prosperous free African Americans to the labouring poor, gang members to Quakers, the exhibition also presents a social history of the city, and of urban America in general, as it changed over two centuries.

  • Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Houghton Library
  • Louise Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery
  • 1314 Locust Street
  • Philadelphia, PA 19107
  • USA


Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life