‘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 will be 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

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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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A visit from the Grolier Club

Members of the Grolier Club viewing the display of booksOn 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.

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“Death of a Naturalist” at 50

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.

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Turning Points

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.

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Celebrating Cervantes, 1616-2016

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.

Cervantes: "Don Quixote" (London, 1756), ill. J. Vanderbank. Shelfmark: S.e.33

Shelfmark: S.e.33

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