Last Friday evening President Michael D. Higgins opened the sumptuous new exhibition in Trinity’s Old Library. The exhibition, A great many choice books: 300 years of the Old Library, was curated by Felicity O’Mahony of The Manuscripts and Archives Research Library, assisted by her colleagues in M & ARL, and Lydia Ferguson of the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections. The exhibition includes many absolutely stunning “treasures” of the library, both manuscript and printed.
A fuller account of the exhibition opening is available on TCD library’s main blog.
The exhibition is part of the celebrations marking the tercentenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Old Library. Further information about these can be found on the Tercentenary website.
Staff in the Department of Early Printed Books were concerned to learn that the Women’s Library and the Trades Union Congress Library face an uncertain future following the decision by London Metropolitan University (LMU) to seek new homes, custodians, or sponsors for them. The libraries’ collections are an important resource for researchers in the areas of social history, social justice, and of course trade union and women’s history.
“I am lately enterd into my Citadell in a disconsolate Mood, after having passd the better part of a sharp & bitter day in the Damps & mustly [sic] solitudes of the Library without either fire or any thing else to protect Me from the Injuries of the Snow that was constantly driving at the Windows & forceing it’s Entrance into that wretched Mansion, to the keeping of which I was this day sennight elect’d under an inauspiciary Planet.”
– George Berkeley, shortly after having been appointed to the office of Librarian in Trinity, as quoted by Peter Fox in his essay “They glory much in their library”, in Peter Fox (ed.), Treasures of the Library, Trinity College Dublin, (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1986).
As part of our remit, the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections mount regular exhibits in the foyer of the Berkeley Library. Generally the single case exhibit ties in with anniversaries or local events. As today is ANZAC Day, staff member Helen Beaney has displayed the third volume of John Gould’s The mammals of Australia, shelfmark: Fag. HH.3.8.
Gould used to make rough annotated sketches which were worked up to finished images by artists, including his wife up to her death in 1841, and also Edward Lear, William Hart and Henry Constantine Richter. The production of the plates for this three-volume set was spread out over eighteen years, beginning with the Goulds’ travels in Australia in 1838-40 and with new material being sent over to Gould at frequent intervals after their return home. In his preface, Gould emphasises the opportunities to discover new species through exploration of unmapped parts of the world.
He became an authority on the birds of Europe, Asia, Australia and America as well as the mammals of Australia. The beautiful illustrations are still of scientific importance and provide great aesthetic pleasure.
Celebrated every year on April 25th, ANZAC Day originally commemorated the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who died at Gallipoli during World War I and now recognises all New Zealand and Australian soldiers who have given their lives in military operations for their countries. So which of the images seen here did Helen choose to display? Why not pop along to the Berkeley Library and find out?
This morning staff from the Department of Early Printed Books were pleased to facilitate a workshop on Early Italian Printings organised by Dr. Clare Guest of TCD’s Long Room Hub and Department of Italian.
Subjects covered were varied, with Dr. Guyda Armstrong of the University of Manchester speaking about the Manchester Digital Dante project and Veronica Morrow, a former Keeper of Collection Management in TCD library, speaking about the Bibliotheca Quiniana (a particularly beautiful collection now in the care of the Department of Early Printed Books). As Dr. Helen Conrad O’Briain of TCD’s School of English was unfortunately unable to attend in person, Professor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin gave Dr. O’Briain’s paper, entitled “Grammar and gardens: a pirate’s garden in the commentary tradition, Georgics IV, lines 125-48”. The final paper of the workshop, “The development of the modern classic: format and criticism”, was given by Dr. Clare Guest.
Following the papers there was an opportunity to examine the books discussed by the speakers in more detail. Here’s a few pictures of some of the treasures that were on display.