The George Garnsey Cricket Bookplate

Published: 2022
Pages: 12
Author: Cardwell, Ronald
Publisher: The Cricket Press Pty Ltd
Rating: 3 stars

This is one for hardened bibliophiles only, so if it is the game of cricket itself that is your passion then it won’t be of any great interest. On the other hand if the literature of our great game gives you as much pleasure as watching it being played then this one might just be worth a look.

George Garnsey, unusually for a cricketing bibliophile, wasn’t a bad cricketer. He played 18 times for New South Wales between 1904 and 1907 and his returns his leg spin and lower order batting were sufficiently impressive to lead Ronald Cardwell to conclude he wasn’t too far from being selected for the Australians 1905 tour of England.

But the greater interest in Garnsey is that he became the first major Australian collector of cricket literature and, as in the case of all of us so afflicted, in time his collection has passed into the hands of others, all of whom will know they have a ‘Garnsey’ because of his distinctive bookplate. Many collectors use bookplates, few of them terribly exciting in appearance. For my part I have items from some well known collections, by way of example those of Tony Winder, Judge Wakley and Anthony Woodhouse all appealing in their way but, unremarkable.

Cricket collectors’ bookplates, including those I mention, not unnaturally have a cricketing theme, but only occasionally are they genuinely attractive items in themselves. Garnsey in fact had two different bookplates, one that he used for a couple of years only and which is rarely seen, and the other, which does turn up from time to time, is a work of some artistic merit and certainly rivals that of UK collector Roger Hancock (the brother of famous comedian Tony), whose bookplate is certainly the most spectacular of which I have an example.

Ronald Cardwell, fortunate enough to own items from Garnsey’s library, provides a biographical sketch of the man and his collection together with a couple of photographs of Garnsey the cricketer together with, of course, images of each of the bookplates.

Produced in a limited edition of just fifty copies with production standards in keeping with all that emerges from this publisher The George Garnsey Cricket Bookplate is a bit niche to say the least, but those to whom it does appeal will not be disappointed with their purchase.

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