During my first year on the Carnegie Project, I had the opportunity to work on a group of five 15th-century manuscripts, mostly antiphonaries (choir books), ranging in size from 40×30 cm (TCD MS 101) to 54x38cm (TCD MS 77).
Three of the manuscripts (TCD MSS 77, 78 and 79) presented themselves, as is the case of a large number of other manuscripts from this period, in a typical 18th-century binding that had been “Executed for the College in 1741-1744 by the shop of John Exshaw of Dublin in speckled calf”; whether the original contemporary binding had been discarded during this process, or if the manuscripts had already been rebound before 1741, it’s difficult to say.
What is certain is that the contemporary medieval binding was replaced with a typical 18th-century full leather structure with hemp sewing supports laced-into laminated boards. At a later stage all three of the manuscripts were rebacked in the early 1900s with the use of poor-quality leather.
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).
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.
Massive Open Online Courses are a 21st-century phenomenon and have become a popular means of learning, especially in the current worldwide lockdown situation. They are ‘massive’ and ‘open’ because there are no limits to the number of participants and no qualification requirements. With the development of technology, they are a natural progression from correspondence courses. Continue reading “Much ado about MOOCs”
Due to the current situation, we are all working from home, so we are unable to show you new images from our collections. However, we are keen to maintain our online presence, so do follow us on Twitter and enjoy looking back at previous blog posts. We are also available by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – but obviously there is a limit as to what research we can do to answer your enquiries. We will do our best, of course!
Bibliography, in the sense of the history and description of books, uses a number of words which are not common in everyday life, so we thought some of our followers might find this A-Z useful. Words in italics are further explained under their initial letter. Continue reading “A Bibliographical Alphabet”