A Bookshop or a Library?

Kumar’s bookshop, if it could be called so, as it spread over several rooms in his residential house and looked more like a personal library housed in a well-appointed living room, was a hub for book lovers. In the early 1940s, rare book collection was in a dismal, class-bound rut. The famous rare book shop Cambray, who provided Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee with 90% of his books, was already fading, Thacker & Spink the well known bookshop was alive, but there were hardly any rare books, more or less you had to hunt your way in College Street Bookshops to add rare books to your collection.

Kumar helped to change all that. His enthusiasms included, the then unheralded British Painters Thomas and William Daniel to be re-introduced to Calcutta once more. He bought the rare Elephantine Folio of 144 Views of T&W Daniell from Sotheby’s, to sail it to Calcutta. That it got damaged in the way and a bitter battle was fought with the then Macanon McKenzie is history. Much of the Folio remains today with The Victoria Memorial in Calcutta. He had agents to buy books for him at auctions abroad and purchased books and prints from such well-known establishment as Foyles. Bernard Quaritch and others.He was the first in India to publish catalogues of books in his collection , much in the style of the British.

Images : KUMARS . The Bookshop in the style of an Indian Drawing Room