The above is what kicked off my love of architectural prints. My sister, Tammy, and I were in a tiny little village, Puddletown (I'm not making this up) in Dorset County, England. We walked in (carefully since the entrance was directly on the main road, no sidewalk, no buffer between the door and the road!) to a miniscule used bookstore and I found this print of an obelisk that sits high upon one of the Cambridge colleges. It was 10 pounds which at the time was around $14. That was 1995.
Since then I have a collected a few more. I found the trio above in London at a junk shop on Portobello Road on my 40th birthday, December 31st. These three beautiful prints were in a french architectural book dated in the late 1700's and cost 20 pounds each--around $30 at the time.
I found this old print last summer in New York for $15. Isn't it pretty? I was touring the Kips Bay Designer Show House and this was in the gift shop, ripped out of a book from the 1800's.
Digging around in a shop in Rome I came across this water-stained print and loved the lines despite the brown, crinkly paper. It was also super cheap, just can't remember anymore. But I do remember the shop owner arguing with her husband in rapid-fire Italian.
And these three were found on separate trips. The top is of a fountain on a bridge over the Tiber River in Rome. The second, I found for $5 in York, it is an intricate drawing of a gate. And the last I found in Oxford--a drawing of a ceiling. Wouldn't you love to be looking up at that ceiling?
Some of these prints are fragile and don't travel well so I now carry a mailing tube with me which protects the art.
All of these pieces are some of the reasons I love traveling. To walk in to some tiny little dusty store, dig around in boxes and come up with a little gem while chatting with the shop owner enriches my experience. And to bring it home to display visually reminds me of a great trip.