Bookish Banksy's 'novel' sculptures up for auction in Edinburgh

Rare book sculptures created by an anonymous artist dubbed the “Bookish Banksy” are about to go under the hammer at an online auction.

The five unique sculptures, which literally spring from the pages of books, were especially created for Scottish Book Trust. The sculptures were originally commissioned in 2012 by the charity to mark the first ever Book Week Scotland – and are up for auction from this Tuesday to Tuesday, February 1.

Book lovers and art enthusiasts alike will be invited to place their bids with fine art auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, which is selling the paper creations on behalf of Scottish Book Trust.

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The unique sculptures - including this intricate depiction of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island - are about to go under the hammer at auction

The sculptures’ mysterious creator – known to be a woman – first came to the public's attention when she secretly deposited her book sculptures around cultural venues in Edinburgh throughout 2011.

During Book Week Scotland in 2012, the commissioned sculptures – each of which represents a Scottish literary classic – were discovered in a different location around the country by members of the public.

The classics turned into sculptures – and now up for sale – are Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns, Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Lanark by Alasdair Gray, and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The elusive artist has sanctioned the sale of her intricate sculptures to help the Scottish Book Trust, which promotes the enjoyment of reading and the importance of literacy, fund its ambition to make books available to all.

The creations have a starting bid of £800 and guide price of between £1,000 and £1,500. They will be available to view by appointment at Lyon and Turnbull's Edinburgh sale room in Broughton Place in the days leading up to the online auction.

The unknown book sculpture artist said: "I always felt the sculptures were a poor attempt to communicate the transformative magic that happens when a book is read. I couldn't be more delighted that by auctioning them off, they might be turned into real books."

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “Many children are growing up without access to books or owning their own books at home, and since the pandemic the situation has worsened. Without books, children are missing out and we know the impact of this lasts a lifetime.

"The works featured in these incredible creations all speak of magic, adventure, daring and Scotland’s vital place in the history of world literature. The auction is part of a major and long-term fundraising campaign launched late last year.

"Over Christmas, this focused on giving books to families in need through food banks, local authorities and other charities."

It is hoped the sculptures will create a lot of interest and lead potential bidders and collectors to dig deeply into their pockets.

Cathy Marsden, sale organiser and rare book specialist at Lyon and Turnbull, said: “Books are essential for the development of imagination, self-awareness and giving a sense of escapism, all of which promote good mental health and well-being.

"We hope that each sculpture offered for sale can help Scottish Book Trust provide the gifts of reading and literature which can change lives."

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