On the Shelly Shores of Fagel

Exotic shells from the Dutch Colonies inspired many painters during the era of European exploration and discovery. The perfection and beauty of their forms and colours could be seen in shell cabinets and in wonderfully illustrated books on natural history such as those in the Fagel Collection. This library belonged to the Fagel family of the Netherlands and is now part of Research Collections in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Continue reading

Preservation book repairs – carrying out in-situ treatments in the Long Room

By Sarah Timmins, Preservation Assistant

Tool roll at the ready

Introduction

As Preservation Assistants, we help address some of the challenges and problems affecting the books of the Long Room in the Old Library. The collection of some 220,000 Early Printed Books range from the dawn of the printing press in the 1450s and incunabula, to the end of the Victorian era.  A systematic preservation project, beginning in 2004 as ‘Save the Treasures’, is ongoing today.  The focus of the project is on the cleaning of the books, and the recording of data for use by the Preservation & Conservation Department. We note key information about each book: where and when it was printed, the materials from which it is made, features of the bindings, and so on.  We also carry out a condition report, and note any stabilising treatments we carry out in situ. Continue reading

Celebrating 350 years since the birth of Jonathan Swift

A new display, ‘Swift350’, has opened in the Long Room of the Old Library to mark the 350th anniversary of the birth of one of Trinity College Dublin’s most famous graduates, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).

Engraved portrait of Jonathan Swift

Frontispiece portrait of Swift from ‘The Works of J.S, D.D, D.S.P.D. in four volumes’, Dublin, 1735. OLS L-11-396

Among the most widely read of all Irish writers, Swift is best known as the author of Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World (1726), now universally known as Gulliver’s Travels. His other works include A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books and as a political pamphleteer, Swift is particularly known for A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture, The Drapier’s Letters and A Modest Proposal. Continue reading

John Milton and his hand in our holdings

Among the collections in our Library sits a bound volume of tracts (Press B.4.16) by John Milton (1608-1674) with an interesting history. The title-page of the first tract in the volume, ‘Of reformation touching church-discipline in England …’ is complete with a dedication in Milton’s hand to Patrick Young (1584-1652).

press-b-4-16_title-detail

Milton’s title-page dedication to Patrick Young and the inscription ‘Stamford 1693’

The inscription can be reconstructed as –

‘Ad doctissim[um] virum Patri[cium] Junium Joann[es] Miltonius hæc / sua, unum in f[asci]culum conjecta / mittit, paucis h[u]/jusmodi lectori[bus]/ contentus.’/

‘To the most learned man Patrick Young John Milton sends these his things, gathered together in one little volume, satisfying himself with but few readers of this kind.’*

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‘a pin in the very quickest part of my body’

By Jack Quin and Tom Walker

Poster for Thomas Bodkin's book Hugh Lane and his pictures (1932)

Shelfmark: TCD MS 6911/16

This poster for Thomas Bodkin’s book Hugh Lane and his pictures (1932) is included in the exhibition ‘Writing Art in Ireland, 1890–1930’, currently on display in the Long Room. The advert reproduces William Orpen’s Homage to Manet (1909), a group portrait of the novelist George Moore reading from his pamphlet Reminiscences of the Impressionist Painters (1906) to an audience in London made up of the collector Hugh Lane, the painters Philip Wilson Steer, Walter Sickert and Henry Tonks, and D.S. MacColl, the Keeper of the Tate Gallery. Above them hangs Édouard Manet’s painting of another impressionist painter Eva Gonzales. Continue reading

‘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

‘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.

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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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“Upon the Wild Waves” — a new exhibition opens in the Long Room

"The Children of Lir" illustration ©PJ Lynch 2014 from "The Names Upon The Harp" by Marie Heaney, published by Faber

“The Children of Lir” illustration ©PJ Lynch 2014 from “The Names Upon The Harp” by Marie Heaney, published by Faber

A new exhibition has opened in the Old Library, Trinity College Dublin: “Upon the wild waves: a journey through myth in children’s books” explores some of the varying ways in which writers and illustrators have used myth down through the centuries to engage and excite younger readers. From Thomas Godwin’s “Romanae historiae anthologia” (1648) to “Hagwitch” (2013) by the contemporary Irish writer and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, the exhibition serves as a celebration of the wealth of children’s literature held in the Library.

Myths from around the world are represented in this display, although there is a particular emphasis on English-language books and on tales from Irish authors. The exhibition includes sections on Biblical, Classical, Norse, Arthurian and Irish myths. It is clear from all the works displayed that myths have always had an important role to play in providing guidance to children on how to deal with the great problems of life, as well as offering ways of understanding the past, present and future, and of explaining the inexplicable.

The exhibition was prepared by Dr Pádraic Whyte, co-director of the Masters programme in Children’s Literature at the School of English, TCD. It will be on view in the Long Room until April 2015.

An online version of the exhibition is available here.

A Day Spent In Dublin

Now in its ninth year, Culture Night will see 38 regions, towns and cities on the island of Ireland showcase exciting historical and cultural events. This year sees events planned in the Old Library and Long Room Hub. Devoting time to exploring Dublin is nothing new, as outlined in this humorous poem from 1747.

A day spent in Dublin, 1746-7 Shelfmark: Press A.7.20 no. 7

A day spent in Dublin, 1746-7, Shelfmark: Press A.7.20 no. 7

 

The annotations reveal the main protagonist as Lady Margaret Barrymore and the poem cheerfully describes her day, beginning with a hearty breakfast before a journey to town – taking in some culture along the way. We will return to Lady Margaret and her husband Thomas Crosbie, M.P. for Dingle and former High Sheriff of Kerry, in a future blog post.

The annotations also help to identify other individuals omitted by the anonymous composer. Reference is made to 18th century socialite Eleanor Palmer (Ambrose) and Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th earl of Chesterfield, the latter of whom Samuel Johnson describes as ‘a wit among lords and a lord among wits.’ In 1746 Chesterfield returned to England leaving Ambrose in search of a husband. In 1751 she married Mayo politician Roger Palmer and lived out her years in Henry Street until her death in 1818.

Other characters are not as easy to identify. ‘Or a new Manuscript of Maurice’ may well refer to a letter from Barrymore’s relation Sir Maurice Crosbie, whose correspondence is among the The Crosbie Papers in the National Library of Ireland and here in Trinity.

Does the line ‘My chair to Church, and next to Bindon’ refer to a work by Francis Bindon or actually to the portrait artist and architect himself?

Easier however is the reference to David Garrick, ‘Garrick sure’s the Prince of Players’. Garrick spent the early part of 1746 in Dublin managing and acting in Smock Alley with Thomas Sheridan and it was here, famously, that he first played the role of Hamlet.

Please get in touch if you can identify any of the other characters referred to in this work. Who for instance are Hogan and Grogan? Who or where was Rice’s?