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Customer buys a used song book online & discovers grandfather’s signature inside


Every now and again, something remarkable happens in the used book business. Georgie Boddington from Western Australia made an online purchase of a book (pictured above) through AbeBooks called the Songs of Two Savoyards, a collection of Gilbert and Sullivan songs, and had a remarkable surprise when closely inspecting the book.

“In 2011, I ordered a copy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Songs of Two Savoyards which I had fond memories of from my childhood,” said Georgie. “It duly arrived and I plonked it in the bookshelf. Recently I pulled it out and to my absolute amazement my grandfather’s name was written there in his unmistakable script (pictured below) and the date of 1910, which was the year before he emigrated to Australia. What an amazing coincidence.

“My grandfather was born in the UK and he was the music critic on the West Australian newspaper here in Perth for about 50 years. “

Georgie’s grandfather was called Albert Kornweibel (1892-1980) and the book was supplied by the Good Book Place in Ambleside in Cumbria. Kornweibel became a well known figure in the music scene of Western Australia during his long stint as a critic. Educated in a convent school at Hampshire, and at St George’s College in Weybridge, Surrey, Albert suffered ill health and moved to the warmer climes of Australia at the age of 19.

David Wilkinson (a former Church of England priest who became a used bookseller in 2003), the owner of the Good Book Place, could not recall where he’d found the book.

Songs of Two Savoyards contains the lyrics and scores for more than 60 Gilbert and Sullivan Songs from their operas including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, Yeoman of the Guard and Iolanthe. Gilbert also provided illustrations. It was first published around 1890, and then republished in 1932 and again in 1948.

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