George Bayntun

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George Bayntun (4 August 1873 - September 1940) was an English bookseller, bookbinder, and collector.

George Bayntun was born and lived in Bath, Somerset, England where he served a book-binding apprenticeship with the Taylor family before starting his own book-binding business in Northumberland Place (Bath) in 1894. He took on a number of London binders in order to raise the standard of craftsmanship in his own bindery and soon afterwards moved the business into larger premises on Walcot Street (Bath). In 1906 it was stated that "He has brought intelligence into play as well as high craftsmanship".[1] In 1920 he purchased the bindery business of George Gregory, and in 1939 the Bayntun and Rivière binderies were incorporated into a new set of premises on Manvers Street (Bath), from where the business still operates today.

George Bayntun was described by Wilmarth Lewis in Collector's Progress:[2] "He wore a smock in the shop and after selling a certain number of books took snuff. The sneeze released fresh energies". He adhered to traditional book binding techniques and in responding to an enquiry as to why he is quoted as saying: "We work in the old way. Machine binding? Ah yes....but not for us." He built an especially good relationship with many pre-eminent American dealers, and Arthur Brenanto of Brentano's, Maurice Inman, Nat Ladden and Dr A. S. W. Rosenbach hosted a lunch in his honour on a visit to New York City in 1936.

George Bayntun died in 1940 at the age of 67, having built a world-famous book-binding business. Wilmarth Lewis wrote: "After twenty seven years his books are sound and with any kind of care they will remain so forever". George Bayntun's last years were crowned by the patronage of Queen Mary, who spent the 1939-45 war years near Bath. She granted the firm the royal appointment of Bookseller to Her Majesty in 1950.

After George Bayntun's death in 1940 the firm continued under a series of managers and George's only child, Constance, oversaw its continuation. In 1953 she was joined by her son, Hylton Bayntun-Coward, who took over the management in 1954. Hylton served twice as President of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, in 1980-82 and 1992–93, and as High Sheriff of Avon in 1993-94. Hylton's widow, Charlotte, owned the bindery business of George Gregory until her death in September 2016.

George Bayntun is now owned by Hylton's son, Edward Bayntun-Coward who is George Bayntun's great-grandson. Educated at Marlborough College and University College, Oxford Edward worked for five years at Maggs Bros Ltd in Berkeley Square, London.[3] He has served as Chairman of the Bath Preservation Trust and in March 2016 he was appointed as High Sheriff of Somerset.


  1. ^ Book Auction Records for 1906
  2. ^ Constable, 1964
  3. ^

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