By Jenny Coulton
Jenny Coulton worked with the Fagel Collection during a month-long placement at the Library of Trinity College Dublin, as part of an internship with Durham University’s Archives and Special Collections Department. She will be starting a DPhil in medieval history at The University of Oxford in 2023.
When Trinity College Dublin purchased Hendrik Fagel the Younger’s (1765–1838) estimated 20,000 volumes in 1802, it was not a library of new, clean books. Some of the items had passed through numerous hands and institutions before finally arriving in the Old Library, and still today bear the marks of their previous lives on their leaves.
The names and signatures of previous owners in Fagel volumes were recorded in 1962 by the Dutch book historian Ernst Braches, in annexes IV and V of his report. As part of my placement with the Library of Trinity College Dublin, I supplemented Braches’ annexes with binding descriptions, images and transcriptions of inscriptions and associating named individuals with authority files wherever possible. Through this, I examined numerous forms of provenance evidence, and in this post, I detail the types of evidence I encountered, and reflect on how these marks might be used to explore the acquisition, use, and organisation of books by private readers.
Continue reading “Marking Books and Bookmarks: Evidence of Provenance and Use in the Fagel Collection”
By Emily Mattern
Emily Mattern completed an MPhil in the History of Art at Trinity College Dublin in 2022. The following text is based on the research for her dissertation entitled Materiality, Meaning, and Metamorphosis: The Work of Maria Sibylla Merian in the Fagel Collection at Trinity College Dublin (2022).
First Encounter with the Fagel Metamorphosis
Although the works of natural history found within the Fagel Collection are limited in number, they are some of the collection’s most visually striking objects. As a multi-generational library amassed by high-ranking Dutch citizens, the Fagel Collection demonstrates an interest in various subjects. Even so, the men who amassed and maintained it routinely favored items which would prove beneficial in upholding their official duties as greffier of the States General. Because the Fagels prioritized practical texts, it is no surprise that natural history volumes comprise only about 2.6% of the collection (Fox 89). More remarkable is the exquisite ornamentation of these books, as exemplified by one second-edition copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (Fag.GG.2.10 no.1).
Continue reading “On Display. The Fagel Family’s Copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s ‘Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium’ (1719)”
By Emily Monty
Dr Emily Monty was the Fagel Collection Visiting Research Fellow in autumn 2022 hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute. She will present her work at the symposium on Unlocking the Fagel Collection: The Library and its Context (June 21-23, 2023).
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Trinity College Dublin had the remarkable opportunity to purchase the entire library of Hendrik Fagel the Younger (1765-1838), Greffier, or Chief Minister, of the Dutch Republic. Drawing on funds provided by the Erasmus Smith Foundation, TCD acquired the Fagel Library in 1802. This purchase included over 20,000 volumes and increased the number of books in the Trinity College Library by about 40 per cent.
While these books came from the collection of Hendrik the Younger, many of the volumes have a longer provenance, or history of ownership, not only because they were passed down through generations of Fagel patriarchs, but also because they were purchased second-hand. In fact, the Dutch Republic was a centre of public book auctions in the early modern period, making it a place where one could readily find and acquire antiquarian and used books.
Continue reading “Used Books? Tracing the History of Ownership in the Fagel Collection”
by Emily Monty
Dr Emily Monty was the Fagel Collection Visiting Research Fellow in autumn 2022. She was hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute at Trinity College Dublin. You can view a conversation between Emily and Ann-Marie Hansen, Project Manager of Unlocking the Fagel Collection here.
The Fagel Collection holds important material history for the study of publishing and collecting in the Dutch Republic of the eighteenth-century. The map portfolios alone contain over 1600 sheets and represent an extraordinary collection of rare and unusually well-preserved materials. Such collections of loose print and manuscript images in their original portfolios rarely survive intact, making the Fagel examples all the more important from the perspective of material and cultural history.
During a three-month Visiting Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), I came across a series of illustrations for an eighteenth-century travel narrative of the Caribbean in Portfolio XXII. These precious fragments of a larger illustration project reveal material evidence about practices in book publishing and collecting in The Hague, and give insight into the other discoveries that are waiting to be made as scholars continue to study the portfolio prints and related books held in the Fagel collection. In the following blog post, I describe my research methods and conclusions in hopes of promoting future research on the contents of these portfolios.
Continue reading “Loose Book Illustrations in the Fagel Map Portfolios”
by Joe Nankivell
On the morning of 31st May 1622, exactly four hundred years ago, a terrible fire struck Cork city. It was sparked by an early summer thunderstorm. Many of the tightly packed dwellings within the city walls were built of timber or clay and had thatched roofs, and when lightning struck they quickly went up in flames. Between 11 o’clock and noon the fire tore through all parts of the city, leaving a trail of devastation.
One of the reasons we know about this fire is because it was the subject of a news pamphlet, A relation of the most lamentable burning of the cittie of Corke, in the west of Ireland, in the province of Monster, by thunder and lightning, which was printed in London on 20th June, barely three weeks later. It is a scarce work, with only three copies recorded in the English Short Title Catalogue. But a Dutch translation was printed in The Hague by Aert Meuris in 1622, and this translation is held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin among the 5,200 pamphlets in the Fagel Collection.
Continue reading “‘The most lamentable burning of the cittie of Corke’: A view on Irish history from a Dutch Collection”
The Unlocking the Fagel Collection project includes an opportunity for a visiting research fellow to work on the Fagel Collection for a three month consecutive period between 1 September 2022 and 31 March 2023 in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub. Applicants must be distinguished scholars (not resident or employed on the island of Ireland) of the highest standing in their respective fields, appropriate to their career stage. They must have fluent spoken and written English. The Fagel Collection fellowship is open equally to established and mid-career researchers and postdoctoral researchers.
Please click HERE for the terms and conditions and how to apply.
The deadline for applications is 5pm GMT on Tuesday, 19 April 2022.
Series of videos about the Fagel Collection at the Library of Trinity College Dublin
A series of nine videos is being launched today which will showcase some of the finest items from the Fagel collection. Trinity College Dublin academics and Library staff share their expertise and provide behind-the-scenes insight into the conservation, cataloguing and digitization of one of the jewels of the Library’s collections.
Continue reading “Announcing a Second Series of Fagel Videos”
A copy of Athansasius Kircher’s Mundus subterraneus is without doubt one of the most beautiful books in the Fagel Collection. The colouring is of an exceptional quality, initials and captions are heightened with gold throughout the book. Samuel Paterson, who compiled the Fagel auction catalogue for Christie’s in 1802, described it ‘a matchless copy, illuminated in the style of the ancient missals’. Time to take a closer look at this copy. Why did the otherwise so modest Fagels own such a lavishly decorated book?
Continue reading “Gems of the Fagel Collection: Athanasius Kircher’s Mundus subterraneus 1678”
Behind the scenes of a book conservation treatment in the Fagel Collection
by Angelica Anchisi
Conservation is an essential part of the project Unlocking the Fagel Collection. The twenty thousand volumes from the collection have been safely stored at the library since arriving at Trinity College in 1802 and many are still in good condition. However, now that all books are being catalogued and taken from the shelves, some older damages do come to light. Action is needed to keep these books available for consultation and perhaps in some years’ time also for digitisation. Conservator Angelica Anchisi treats a handful of books from the Fagel Collection every week and shows us what happens at the conservation department.
Continue reading “Hidden Treatments or “what lies beneath””
The Fagel Collection contains a copy of Alain Manesson-Mallet’s 1702 four volume work La géométrie pratique printed in Paris (shelf mark Fag.N.7.33-36). He was a French cartographer and fortifications engineer who served the armies of both France and Portugal and later taught mathematics in the court of Louis XIV.
Continue reading “Gems of the Fagel Collection: La Géométrie Pratique 1702”