Russell Rare Books was founded in 1978, starting out as a stall on the Portobello Road. I was what was traditionally called a runner- driving the length and breath of the country visiting all the bookshops and then selling to the top London dealers. I toured the country bookshops with many colleagues who now sit in high places within the trade, and some who are dead.
In the early eighties, I expanded to the Continent with frequent buying trips to both shops and auctions in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia. I hung out at all the top London auctions waiting for lots to fall cheap. By then, I also had various stalls located in Chelsea Antiques Market, Chenil Galleries and Grays Antique Market.
In the nineties I began buying in the USA, greatly helped by my old friend Donald Heald. A 10-year loose partnership started with the late Tom Cherrington; we opened a shop in Queen Street in Mayfair and offices in Hay Hill and Grosvenor Street (managed by Sue Prigmore), and by 1996, we were participating in the USA book fairs.
With the dawn of the Millennium, I opened a book/ print shop in Knightsbridge. This was brought to a premature halt when the landlords threw me out after a year which carried my journey on to Old Church Street in Chelsea where I bought a little corner shop in 2001.
Nowadays, the internet phenomenon, age and energy have impacted perpetual movement. I still work continuously, and very much love the game, but now deal from home in Cirencester. I still exhibit at the New York and London bookfairs. My wife Wandee has been, and is still, my most valued asset- almost the only one not bought in an auction or bookshop!
I am a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, ILAB and PBFA.
An interview with Charles made in 1996, as part of Sheila Markham in conversation can be found here
I specialize in books illustrated with engravings- natural history, architecture, atlases, and travel. I also carry a stock of finely leather bound sets.