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Our first book was The German Ambassador’s Residence, commissioned on behalf of the German Embassy to mark the completion of the refurbishment in 1989–1991 of the official residence of the German Ambassador to the Court of St James’s. First published in 1993, a revised edition came out in 2003 with some new photography by Fritz von der Schulenburg to capture the redecoration of the reception rooms undertaken by Alec Cobbe and David Mees in 1998.
In 1993 John Adamson also set up a new imprint, St Malo Press, with Dr Eric Watkins, whom he had met in Jeddah, to publish books with a Middle Eastern theme. The first of these, Gateways of Development, done to high standards of design and production was published with parallel text in English and Arabic on behalf of Canadian Occidental Petroleum (now Nexen). A slip-cased limited edition was made in a morocco half-binding with marbled paper, as well as paperback and cloth versions, the former with a reproduction of marbled paper on the cover, the latter in a buckram cloth with a reproduction of marbling on the end-papers. Click here to see a close-up of the paperback cover.
Under the St Malo Press imprint Eric Watkins skilfully edited selected papers from a conference held in Durham by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Entitled Middle Eastern Environment the book was produced to a high standard and published to wide critical acclaim.
When John Adamson was still head of publications at the National Portrait Gallery, London, a friend from the University of Pisa had given him a black-and-white print of the title-page of a book she had been consulting at the British Library. It was from a volume of Mémoires secrets, a journal account of cultural and scientific life in Paris just before the French Revolution. What had tickled Ines Aliverti was that the book had been published in the 1780s ‘A Londres, chez John Adamson’. Only years later, when searching for titles under the John Adamson imprint in library union catalogues to check the effectiveness of our marketing, were we reminded of the output of this eighteenth-century publisher. Besides the many-volumed Mémoires secrets, we learned that our namesake had brought out other books, always it seems in French, one of the most enticing titles being L’espion anglois; ou, Correspondance secrète entre Milord All’Eye et Milord All’Ear.

We could not resist taking the header of our web pages from the title-page of John Adamson’s Mémoires secrets. Click here to see a close-up of the title-page.