Thorolds Modern and Antiquarian Africana Books, Prints and Maps
Since its establishment Thorolds Modern and Antiquarian Booksellers has remained a most significant source of valuable, rare and exciting books, prints and maps (more than 100 000 titles) dating back to the 1700’s and even earlier. Sincere gratefulness is owed towards the people who have preserved this heritage for generations to come. One recalls with respect the original founder, Frank R. Thorold, who established the Company as far back as 1904. Its main source of income at the time came from Singer Sewing Machines, for which Mr. Thorold had the South African agency. He found space in the corner of his shop for some books as well and gradually grew this into Thorolds Booksellers.
Following the death of Mr. Thorold in 1962, Thorolds was bought by Mr. Robin Fryde, a world authority on Africana and who, for over 50 years successfully maintained what is considered a gem of its kind by scholars, librarians and collectors worldwide. One is especially grateful towards Neillen van Kraayenburg who, after Mr. Fryde’s death, saved all the valuables from being scattered all over the place. Neillen bought the Thorolds collection towards the middle of 2012 and created a Thorolds Book Farm in northern Kya Sands to safely accommodate the treasures in various rooms. These rooms, filled with antiquarian Africana books, old maps and art works, became the centre piece of an exquisite environment with added sculptural and natural décor. There is none other like this in South Africa.
After Neillen’s unexpected passing in 2015, his partner, Merwelene van der Merwe, well-known photographer, became the custodian of all these different valuables on the Book Farm. Merwelene is currently making the whole precious collection available to lovers of books, art and cartography by means of auctions and unique book-fairs. Antiquarian audiences from all over South Africa and the world are being invited to attend or to link in, and add to their own collections. This venture offers unique opportunities for all people to acquire precious items and, of course, to get a glimpse behind the enchanted door of an antiquarian world.