The Best Bear in All the World

Winnie-the-Pooh, the storybook by A. A. Milne about the eponymous, much-loved teddy bear and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, first appeared in hardback on 14th October 1926. The bear himself, although at that stage unnamed, had made his debut in the 13th February 1924 issue of Punch, in a poem which was included later that year in the collection When we were very Young.

Punch, February 13,1924

Punch, February 13,1924 (Shelfmark 32.o.95)

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‘Writing Art in Ireland’ — online exhibition launched

Following on from our blog post on 29th September about the new ‘Writing Art in Ireland’ exhibition which is on display in the Long Room of the Old Library, we are delighted to announce that the online version of this exhibition is now available to be viewed here.

AE: 'Jack B. Yeats', in "The Book-Lover's Magazine" v.8 (1908). Shelfmark: 65.a.71

AE: ‘Jack B. Yeats’, in “The Book-Lover’s Magazine” v.8 (1908). Shelfmark: 65.a.71

Cecil Salkeld: 'The principles of painting', in "To-morrow", August 1924. Shelfmark: 202.u.1 no.1A

Cecil Salkeld: ‘The principles of painting’, in “To-morrow”, August 1924. Shelfmark: 202.u.1 no.1A

Bedlam in Belgium

‘Documents et particularités historiques …’ Shelfmark: Gall.6.i.39

Bibliophile Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon was born in Mons, Belgium in 1802. A keen numismatist, his interests clearly extended beyond books and coins as he was also the instigator of the Fortsas Bibliohoax, one of the greatest pranks in the world of book-dealing. His hoax was a thing of beauty. Continue reading

A gift we Kant refuse

At the beginning of term, a student, Catherine Costello, presented us with a copy of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of pure reason, translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn and published in London in 1887. Although we are always happy to consider donations when they are offered, we are not always in a position to take them. However, the connection with Trinity meant that there was no hesitation over accepting this one. Continue reading

‘Writing Art in Ireland’ — a new exhibition opens in the Long Room

A new exhibition has opened in the Old Library, Trinity College Dublin. ‘Writing Art in Ireland, c.1890–1930’ explores the ways in which the visual arts were written about during a period that saw a surge in cultural activity take place against a backdrop of tumultuous constitutional change. From Margaret Stokes’s emphasis on the aesthetic value of medieval Irish artefacts in Early Christian art in Ireland (1887) through to Mainie Jellett’s defence of abstract painting in the magazine Motley in 1932, the exhibition also serves as a celebration of the wealth of material relating to the visual arts held in the Library.

Page from Margaret Stokes, Early Christian art in Ireland (1887) containing reproduction of initial from the Book of Kells.

Page from Margaret Stokes, “Early Christian art in Ireland” (1887) containing reproduction of an initial from the Book of Kells.

The texts and images displayed highlight how commentators looked to the achievements of the past as well as to continental innovations in debating how best to forge a distinctly modern national artistic identity. Also outlined are the links between the visual arts and the emerging Irish state, as vigorous discussion took place around the role art should play in the economy, in educational institutions, and in the Church.

The exhibition was prepared by Dr Tom Walker, with assistance from Jack Quin, from the School of English, TCD, as part of the Irish Research Council New Horizons research project ‘W.B. Yeats and The Writing of Art’. It will be on view in the Long Room until January 2017.


An online version of the exhibition launched on 7 October.

A symposium related to the exhibition and wider research project will be taking place at the Trinity Long Room Hub on Saturday 8 October.


I remember that summer in Dublin

frontisAnne Plumptre was a writer of fiction and non-fiction, both with considerable political content, and a translator of drama, correspondence, travel writing and more. She was born in Norwich in 1760 and died there in 1818 but spent much time in London and three years in Napoleonic France. Her A Narrative of a three years’ residence in France … 1802–5 (1810) is a political enquiry into the views of Napoleon held by the French people, particularly those outside Paris. Plumptre came to the conclusion that he was not a monster but generally popular within France and was being misrepresented in Britain. She refuted with detailed descriptions many of the claims made by contemporary writers and advocated making peace with Napoleon, a view which was not popular at home. Continue reading

Study of a quarter parchment laced-case binding from the Fagel collection

By conservation intern Julie Tyrlik

Image 1: Fag.H.2.65

Image 1: Fag.H.2.65

As part of my six-month internship in the Preservation and Conservation Department of the Library of Trinity College Dublin, I recently conserved a book from the Fagel collection, Fag.H.2.65 (image 1).

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An 18th-century presentation binding produced in the Dublin bindery of Ann Leathley

By conservation intern Julie Tyrlik


Image 1: Left board

As part of my six-month internship in the Preservation and Conservation Department of the Library of Trinity College Dublin, I recently conserved a book, The siege of Tamor: a tragedy by Gorges Edmond Howard, printed in Dublin in 1773, which was probably bound in the Dublin bindery of Ann Leathley (Shelfmark: Armoire R.ll.63). Continue reading

Tennis: “The Game of Kings”

charlesNow that this year’s tennis tournament at Wimbledon is well under way, we would like to draw attention to a recent purchase in the Library, a 17th-century book about King Charles I of England and his family. Entitled The true effigies of our most illustrious soveraigne Lord, King Charles Queene Mary, with the rest of the royall progenie, the small volume consists of eight etched portraits of Charles and his wife Henrietta Maria, along with portraits of their six children who had been born by the end of 1640, the last child Henrietta being born in 1644, after this work was printed. Each portrait is accompanied by an anonymous poem describing the subject of the facing image. Continue reading

The Kelmscott Chaucer

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?

first opening

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