Barry McKay

Antiquarian Bookseller and Independent Scholar


Research Interests

Barry’s area of interest is in all aspects of the production and distribution of print in the far North-West of England, his main current subjects of research are the Shepherds’ Guides of the Northern Counties (1817 - current), Chapbook printing and distribution in the Lake Counties (late-18th-mid19th century), and the accumulation of material for a dictionary of members of the book trades in Cumbria.



Patterns and Pigments in English marbled papers. An account of the origins, sources and documentary literature to 1881 (Oxford, 1988)

Marbling Methods and Receipts from four centuries with other instructions useful to booksellers (Oxford & New Castle, 1980)

An Introduction to Chapbooks (Oldham, 2003)

Edited Books

A Pretty Mysterious Art: a lecture by C.W. Woolnough to the Royal Society of Arts (Wakefield, 1996).

with Peter Isaac, Images & Texts: their production and distribution in the 18th and 19th centuries (Winchester & New Castle, 1997).

with Peter Isaac, The Reach of Print: making, selling and using books (Winchester & New Castle, 1998).

with Peter Isaac, The Human Face of the Book Trade: print culture and its creators (Winchester & New Castle, 1999).

with Peter Isaac, The Might Engine: the printing press and its impact (Winchester & New Castle, 2000).

with Peter Isaac, The Moving Market: continuity and change in the book trade (New Castle 2001).

with John Hinks & Maureen Bell, Light on the Book Trade: Essays in honour of Peter Isaac (London & New Castle, 2004)

Chapter contributions

'Books in two small market towns: the book trade in Appleby and Penrith' in The Bibliotheck; a Scottish journal of bibliography and allied topics, Volume.20, (1995)

'Three Cumbrian chapbook printers: the Dunns of Whitehaven, Ann Bell, and Anthony Soulby of Penrith' in Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (eds), Images & Texts: their production and distribution in the 18th and 19th centuries, (1997)

'Cumbrian chapbook cuts: some sources and other versions’, in Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (eds), The reach of print; making, selling and using books, (1998)

'Niche Marketing in the nineteenth century: the shepherds’ guides of the northern counties', in Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (eds) The human face of the book trade: print culture and its creators. (1999)

'John Ware, printer and bookseller of Whitehaven: a year from his day-books, 1799-1800’, in Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (eds) The mighty engine the printing press and its impact, (2000)

John Atkinson’s ‘lottery’ book of 1809: John Locke’s theory of education comes to Workington’ in Peter Isaac & Barry McKay [eds] The moving market: continuity and change in the book trade, (2001)

'John Aubrey’s Palladio', in Andrew Kerr (ed), Lord John: An Album Amicorum, (2002)

'Books in Eighteenth-century Whitehaven' in Barry McKay, John Hinks & Maureen Bell (eds) Light on the book trade. Essays in honour of Peter Isaac, (2004)

'Foxe’s ‘Book of martyrs’: the Appleby copy', in Bookbinder: the journal of the Society of Bookbinders, vol. 18. (2004)

with Caroline Archer, ‘A Black Letter Volume from the Home of the Roman Letter: a Venetian Missale Romanum of 1597', in Caroline Archer & Lisa Peters (eds), Religion and the Book Trade, (2015)

with Diana Patterson, John Baskerville’s Decorated Papers (Forthcoming 2017)


Associate Members