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”
The Cuala Press operated from different premises during its existence. Initially, under the Dun Emer Press imprint, it was part of Dun Emer enterprises in Dundrum from 1902 until 1908. Elizabeth and Lily Yeats split from Dun Emer and Evelyn Gleeson, in 1908 and moved their printing and embroidery operations to ‘a four roomed cottage’ on Lower Churchtown Road in July of that year. It was housed in William and Georges Yeats home on 82 Merrion Square from August 1923 until February 1925. Cuala then moved to Baggot Street and sub-rented upstairs rooms from the building’s main tenants, Norman Allen Ltd. They remained at Baggot Street until January 1942, by which time W. B. Yeats (the Press’s editor) and Elizabeth were both dead. After 1942 the Press, now managed by George (W.B.’s widow), moved to her house on Palmerstown Road. The thirty-two years in Churchtown and Baggot Street were the most productive. Photographs with decorative and historical detail exist from all locations and are rich sources about Cuala Press life, industry, output, location, and much more.
This blog looks at one photograph taken in the Cuala Press Baggot Street premises in 1932, and the avenues of research that image invites and the questions it asks.
Continue reading “Cuala Press Research. Anatomy of a photograph”
This year the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of the book now known as Shakespeare’s First Folio. Trinity College Dublin Library is proud to own the only copy known to remain in Ireland. While not exactly a rare book – slightly under a third of the print run of about 750 copies are still extant – it is not easy to come by, either. Very few remain in private hands and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC alone has collected over 80 copies! When it was printed, a copy cost about £1 – a great deal of money at the time. It was definitely a luxury item – in real terms costing about the equivalent of a high-end, brand new iPhone today. Even so, it had presumably sold out in under ten years as the “Second Folio” was printed in 1632, followed by a third in 1664 and a fourth in 1685.
Continue reading “Trinity’s “First Folio””
Elizabeth Corbet Yeats’s private press was an important cultural and social enterprise, it operated under the Dun Emer imprint from 1903-1908 and thereafter as The Cuala. The last book was published five years after ECY’s death in 1946. The Press frequently exhibited their publications at home and abroad in arts and crafts exhibitions and these positioned their output among other members of the international private press and the wider Arts and Crafts movement.
Continue reading “Cuala Press among friends”