It is difficult to choose a favourite item in Trinity College Library’s collections but one of mine is the Kelmscott Chaucer, shelfmark Press B KEL 1896 2. It is not particularly colourful – red and black are the only inks used, and the former only sparingly – but despite the unpromising binding of Trinity’s copy it is a beautiful book. How can you not admire the sheer amount of work involved in designing and creating it?
On Tuesday morning the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections had the pleasure of showing rare items from our Research Collections to members of the Grolier Club. Exquisite fine bindings from the Quin and Claudius Gilbert collections were displayed alongside sumptuous hand-coloured books from the Fagel collection.
On Tuesday 8th March, Dr Rosie Lavan from the School of English held an undergraduate class in the reading room. The students were examining twentieth-century material relating to Seamus Heaney, partly for their course work and partly in preparation for one of the first student-curated small exhibitions in the Long Room. This exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Death of a Naturalist, Seamus Heaney’s first collection of poetry.
On Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April 2016, the Department of Italian here in TCD is hosting the Society for Italian Studies Interim Conference ‘Turning Points: Cultures of transition, transformation and transmission in Italy’. To coincide with this, Professors Corinna Salvadori-Lonergan and Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, in conjunction with the Department of Early Printed Books, have prepared an exhibition in the Long Room of some of our Italian treasures.
April 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, both of whom are the best-known writers in their respective countries of birth. They died, in fact, on consecutive days: Cervantes on the 22nd April, Shakespeare on the 23rd. The former was probably 68 years old, the latter younger at 52. The Library holds many editions of their works, both in their native languages and in translation, dating from the 16th century to the present day. Three editions of “Don Quixote” have been chosen to go on display at the entrance to the Berkeley Library, in celebration of the quatercentenary of the Spanish writer’s death and the enduring popularity of his great novel.
We recently received an enquiry from Dr Ian Doyle, former Keeper of Rare Books at Durham University Library, about two printed books from our collections with an intriguing provenance. The volumes form parts two and three of a six-volume set of a Latin Bible with the commentary of Nicholas de Lyra (c. 1270-1349), printed by Johann Froben and Johann Petri de Langendorff in Basel in 1498. Our two volumes, at shelfmark FF.dd.4-5, are recorded as having once been connected to a cell of Durham’s Benedictine cathedral priory of St Cuthbert by evidence of an ownership mark belonging to a monk of one of its religious houses.1 The volumes bear the inscription of Christopher Wyllye, monk of Durham, transcribed here from the first leaf of FF.dd.5: Liber dompni Xtoferi Wyllye monachi Dunelmensis.
Two of our regular visiting researchers, Professor Andrew Pettegree (a Long Room Hub Fellow) and Arthur der Weduwen, both from the University of St. Andrews School of History, have been living in the reading room for the past fortnight, working their way through about 2,500 pamphlets in the Fagel Collection and identifying, with a hit-rate of 12-13%, unique copies for the Universal Short Title Catalogue, of which Andrew is director.
Long before the Internet was invented, an English economist named Vincent Cartwright Vickers (1879-1939) wrote and illustrated The Google Book. This charming children’s book features a colourful assortment of imaginary Google birds described in humorous verse.
Charles Dickens: ‘A Christmas Carol’, London, 1843. OLS POL 1034
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, is closed 24 December 2015 – 3 January 2016 inclusive.
The reading room will open as usual at 10am on Monday 4th January and, as we are immediately in term-time hours, will remain open until 8pm on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. We look forward to welcoming you back.
Christmas is a time for homecomings and in EPB we are delighted to welcome back a copy of William Wittich’s ‘A lexicon to Homer …’ (London, 1843). The volume, originally part of the old lending library, has been away for some time.
In September we received an envelope containing the book, a note and a cheque for €34 from Arthur Pritchard in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Arthur, who graduated from TCD in 1965, had visited the College for the August alumni celebrations this year and thoughtfully brought along the volume which he had recently discovered when clearing out his loft! Unfortunately the Library was closed when he attempted to return the work in person. His humorous note includes a photograph of his valiant effort to return the overdue text. Arthur’s generous cheque more than makes up for any accrued fines!