Farcical Fountains in the Fagel collection

Dr Maria Elisa Navarro Morales is a professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture. She and her students have this year been looking at the architecture titles in the Fagel Collection, although for obvious reasons they have not been able to see them in person. The students submitted blogposts, three of which will be published here. Although they included bibliographies in their essays, for brevity we have omitted them. This post is by Olivia Bayne.

*SPLASH* without warning, followed by a roar of shrieks and laughter.  There you were, innocently admiring the garden view from a gallery window when, suddenly, some strange figure hidden in the foliage threw a bucket of water in your face.  Equal parts damp and mortified, you scurry out of the room; away from potential further drenching, away from the laughter of other guests soon to be met with similar ironic fates. Down the hall you come across a mirror.  Stopping to rearrange your hair and wipe the water from your brow, you straighten up, smile, and *poof* another figure, this time hidden in the rafters, has emptied a sack of flour atop your head.  You are now wettened and whitened – just in time for dinner.  Your host must be a madman; surely this is nothing more than a madhouse.

Fig. 1: Guests run away under a cloak from surprise water jets. Giovanni Battista Falda, Le fontane di roma, Rome, 1691. Shelfmark: Fag. I.I.27 no.3, plate 10.
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Gratitude to the ladies

Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland, on 31st March 1844. He studied at the Universities of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected to an Open Fellowship at Merton College, moving there in 1869. Lang was prolific in a number of disciplines, such as pre-history, the relationship between myth and religion, and Scottish history, and was particularly prominent in the field of folklore, being a founding member, in 1878, of the Folklore Society, and its president during the International Folk-Lore Congress in London in 1891. He died on 20 July 1912. It is perhaps paradoxical, given the prevailing view at that time that children’s books were not real literature, that he is probably best remembered for his children’s books, particularly the ‘coloured’ series of fairy books. More ironic still, it was his wife who did the majority of the work on these.

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The Arch C. Elias bequest of Jonathan Swift material

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

This summer saw the completion of cataloguing of printed items from the Arch C. Elias bequest. This outstanding collection of material by and about Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was bequeathed to the Library in 2008 by Dr Archibald C. Elias, Jr (1944-2008). Continue reading “The Arch C. Elias bequest of Jonathan Swift material”

Contemporary Irish literary Culture…in Early Printed Books!

By Orlaith Darling, Ph.D. student, School of English

An oft forgotten aspect of the Department of Early Printed Books is its holdings of modern Irish and Anglo-Irish fiction, which can be consulted in the peaceful reading room in the Old Library. As a researcher of contemporary Irish short fiction, I was delighted to find the entire run of The Stinging Fly among the modern Irish holdings. As Shane Mawe, one of the friendly Early Printed Books librarians put it, a Sierra search for ‘Short stories, English Irish authors 20th century’ will return over 250 works held  by the Department , meaning that Early Printed Books is, in fact, a hotspot for contemporary Irish literary culture. Continue reading “Contemporary Irish literary Culture…in Early Printed Books!”

And when I looked … a book was therein

Sometimes it’s obvious that a book has a story to tell before you even look at the text. The volume at OLS X-1-60 is a good example. As soon as it is lifted from its protective storage box, the hand-made brown velvet case begs to be stroked. The initials TW are embroidered on the top; the pink felt lining protrudes; and the cardboard backing shows through where moths have made a meal of the felt. Continue reading “And when I looked … a book was therein”