Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Art Shop Review: Falkiners Fine Paper / Shepherd Bookbinders

Name of shop: Shepherd Bookbinding/Falkiners Fine Paper shop
Address: 76 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4AR.
NOTE: No longer at this address.  Moved in November 2012 to:
30 Gillingham Street, London SW1V 1HU (near Victoria Station)
Hours: Southampton Row sop now open seven days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10 - 6; Wednesdays 10.30 - 6; Saturdays 10 - 5; Sundays 11.30 - 4.30
Telephone: 020 7831 1151
Websites: http://www.bookbinding.co.uk/
Online Store: http://store.falkiners.com/store/
Of interest to: Bookbinders, printmakers and artists wanting fine quality papers
Highlights:
  • Probably one of the best - if not the best - fine paper suppliers in the UK
  • Truly amazing selection of fine papers - can be perused in binders
  • Comprehensive supply of bookbinding materials and supplies in the basement
  • Very good selection of archival tapes for mounting and mending
  • Printmaking press available
  • Knowledgeable staff
  • Online store http://store.falkiners.com/store/mail order supply
Think Again?
  • No media supplies (ie no paints, drawing media etc)
Summary: This shop is genuinely superior and is also a genuine "one off". I can't think of another shop which combines their range and quality of fine papers together with a comprehensive supply of bookbinding materials.

Last Friday I visited - and photographed - the Shepherd Bookbinding/Falkiners Fine Paper shop at 76 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4AR.

You can see a slideshow of the photographs I took on Flickr. Click the 'info' (top right) to see my description of every image.

This post is a review of what the shop has to offer. I'm never quite sure what to call them - and I've decided they're Falkiners on the ground floor where the paper is and Shepherd's in the basement where the bookbinding supplies are.

Fine Paper

It's getting progressively more difficult to find fine paper in a shop in London. A number of suppliers are switching to focus more and more on student supplies at the cheaper end of the range and/or are restricting their range. It is therefore a complete joy to go into a shop like Shepherd/Falkiners and find shelves and shelves (and shelves) of paper!

The way the shop works is that you review the selection on offer in the boxes at the browing cabinet. You make a note of what you want, hand that to one of the members of staff and they will retrieve the paper from the floor to ceiling shelves at the back of the shop.

(Left) A selection of boxes of paper samples
(Right) a member of staff retrieving paper from the paper shelves

all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

One thing they don't stock is illustration board. I'm still trying to find a shop in London which does!

Here are the links to the different types of paper that the stock (and a photo of their very large paper sizes diagram which was attached to one set of the paper shelves):
In addition there is also a wide selection of Decorative Patterned Paper

Interestingly while I was in the shop, there was a chap at the counter who was picking up a range of paper (pictured on the right). It turned out that these are all set to reappear on a television screen near you next year when they will downsized and used as the papers for various letters in an episode of Poirot on ITV!

Adhesives

This shop has the best range of effective and/or archival adhesives that I've seen in a very, very long time. Check out the adhesives page on their website - it's enough to make those who appreciate the differences between different types of adhesive drool! Downstairs in the basement are all the adhesives for bookbinding - together with the Japanese paste brushes. Upstairs are a variety of starch adhesives and a jolly good range of acid-free hanging tapes from LineCo which is an American company which does mounting and framing supplies (but which does not have an ecommerce site). It was great to be able to see the gummed Japanese Paper Tape which is amazing but almost impossible to find. I bought a roll of the Self-Adhesive Line Hanging Tape (see end).

Essentially the shop has just about anything you might need for document repair and conservation.

Bookbinding

The bookbinding supplies can be found down in a large and well lit basement - where there's also a very helpful guy who provides informative answers to questions.

(Left) Rolls of bookbinding tapes
(Right) Rolls of bookbinding cover materials

I'm not a bookbinder but I can imagine those that are going into raptures when entering this shop. Here's some of the things I noticed:
Interestingly the chap I talked to said they'd never been busier in terms of business demand. I gather the onset of the recession has led people to start making more things for themselves rather than paying other people to do it for them.

On the media front their only supplies seem to be pens, ink and printmaking presses. I picked up a couple of Zif archival lightfast pens - in sepia ink - which are quite difficult to track down.

Future reviews

I came away with a small haul of supplies which will be the subject of future reviews on this blog.

Summary

This is a shop which the paper and/or bookbinding fanatic should definitely visit if they live in or are visiting London. It has an excellent range of suupplies and very helpful staff - basically it's the stuff of dreams! For everbody else you'll just have to make do with the very well organised and well illustrated online store!

Art Supplies in the UK - Resources for Artists
Do you have problems finding art shops or sites providing artist supplies or just anywhere that has got that illusive item that you want. Do you forget who stocks which range? This site provides details about where to find fine art materials and art supplies in and around the UK. It shares details of online suppliers and the locations of retail shops and stores that you can visit as a retail or trade customer.
My Favourite Art Shops - Resources for Artists
As more and more sales move online, it's crucial that all artists continue to patronise and support our favourite 'bricks and mortar' art shops in our towns and cities. These are where we can find the specialist art materials which can be impossible to find online. This site contains:
(1) reviews of favourite art shops
(2) photographs of what they look inside
(3) details of how to find them.

5 comments:

Robyn said...

A gem of a find, thanks Katherine. How I'd love to be able to just walk in. Definitely next trip to London, meantime I'll be on the lookout for someone driving to Tuscany to transport my order.

Such a pleasure to browse the website.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I have a very capacious car Robyn! ;)

Shirley said...

Oh Katherine, I want to come back to London to see the bookbinding supplies and paper. Thanks for taking me there virtually.

Hannah Battershell said...

Thank you for your nice comments and for noticing our hard work to keep the fine paper ranges going. We are always glad to hear our customers are happy. Hope to see you in the shop again soon!

- Shepherds Falkiners team
(you are quite right about the names...)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Thanks Hannah!

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