as his antiques game show continues, alan Titchmarsh tells us about his amazing library
Alan titchmarsh was over the moon when his idea for an antiques game show was taken up by ITV last year, and he’s back on our screens for a second series of Masterpiece, which continues this week.
‘I’m thrilled,’ says Alan, 68, who’s once again giving contestants a string of antique challenges at Britain’s most stunning stately homes.
‘The show was my own idea so when they told me they wanted another series I was delighted.’
Here Alan reveals his lifelong love of antiques and his own very special book collection…
Did you collect things as a child? I’ve still got the coin collection that I had when I was a boy actually. They were coins my grandparents gave me when I was little and they’re still in the same envelopes, with my childhood handwriting scrawled all over them.
Nowadays you collect first-edition books…
I have a very fat and very old copy of Gerard’s Herbal, a book of plants published in the early 17th
Century. It’s four inches thick and has woodcuts of wild flowers in it. I was thrilled when I managed to find a copy.
How many books do you have in your collection?
About 5,000 so far I think, so I’m running out of shelves. My wife keeps telling me I must have a clear out but I don’t like throwing books away! What would you say is your most prized first edition? Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
I read it for the first time when I was working in the parks department down on the bowling green. It was a terribly wet week and no one came to play bowls so I read Rebecca.
It was wonderfully atmospheric and I remember reading the book in this little shed while the rain beat down on the roof.
What’s your favourite
British stately home? Chatsworth in Derbyshire takes some beating. It’s so beautifully looked after and the library is to die for – some amazing books!
Bookworm: Early editions of Rebecca and Gerard’s Herbal
alan with antiques expert Rachel Houston-holland