Throwing a bit of light on the subject

Light 2The celebrations in Trinity Week, which is a week of celebration of Trinity in Trinity, are normally sponsored and themed by one of the faculties. This year it’s the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science which is hosting the programme of events, beginning on 11 April, and the theme is ‘Light’.

The Library, which is so central to so much of the work afoot in College, will remind people of this important fact by staging a number of events on the theme of light during Trinity Week.

Harry Clarke, for example, used light as part of his palette, and his role in Irish cultural history will be acknowledged by the installation of a reproduction, from the Library’s Harry Clarke Studios archives, in one of the windows of The Trinity Long Room Hub. The image chosen is a glorious drawing of three roses set in a starburst.

The Library also presents itself as an ‘illuminary’ – that which illuminates – since that is what the Library does to the research mission of the College. To bring home this point, images from the Library’s historic collections in the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library and the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections will be projected onto the wall above the Nassau Street entrance to College and also above the entrance to the Berkeley Library.Light 1

Allying this theme with the centenary of the First World War has inspired another Library installation; ‘The lamps have gone out all over Europe. We will not see them lit again in our lifetime’ – a well-known and resonant phrase, dating from the eve of First World War, which was understood from the beginning as a threat to enlightened civilization. It is proposed to project, onto the East face of the 1937 Reading Room, the names and portraits of the Trinity engineers and medics who fell. The images from the Medical School are part of the Library’s archival collections, while those of the Engineers still grace the walls of the Museum Building.
All of the images being projected are accessible through Digital Collections

Early Printed Books and M&ARL have taken a bit of liberty with the word ‘light’ in the titles of an exhibition and of this present blog post: ‘…and there was light’ is the title of a small exhibition, curated by EPB in the Berkeley foyer, which explores the theme through texts on religion, science and literature.

The website for the Library’s projects within Trinity Week is accessible here

Jane Maxwell

Ireland’s dead enigma: Francis Ledwidge

To coincide with the visit of the World War I Road Show to Trinity College on Saturday 12 July, there are new exhibits in the Berkeley Library foyer and the Ussher Orientation Space.

The Berkeley display case contains two holdings related to the war poet Francis Ledwidge. Born into a poor, rural family in Slane, Co. Meath, Ledwidge had to leave school at the end of the primary cycle to help earn money for his family – his father having died when he was five years old. From the age of thirteen he worked as a farm labourer and began to write poetry. His writing came to the attention of Lord Dunsany, who gave him great encouragement and wrote an introduction to each of his three volumes of poetry including Last songs which is now on display. Described as ‘our dead enigma’ by Seamus Heaney, Ledwidge held strong nationalist views with the events of the Easter Rising having affected him greatly. He fought with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was killed at Flanders on 31st July 1917. In Two songs and Una Bawn, Ledwidge describes the way he felt when called to fight in the War.

The second exhibit shows the entry for Francis Ledwidge in Ireland’s memorial records 1914-1918. In July 1919, the Irish National War Memorial Trust was set up to establish a permanent memorial to the Irishmen killed in the First World War. A national fund-raising campaign generated donations of £42,000, of which about £5,000 was spent on collecting the records of those who had died and publishing their names in a monumental eight-volume work. The volumes were printed by Maunsell & Roberts in Dublin in a limited edition of one hundred copies, and the stained-glass artist Harry Clarke was commissioned to design decorative borders for each page, which are repeated throughout the volumes.

Ireland's memorial records
Ireland’s memorial records 1914-1918, Dublin: 1923

The World War I theme continues with a display of Irish fiction by Collection Management in the Orientation Space. Works on show by Sebastian Barry, Frank McGuinness and others, encompass the political climate of the time and the emotions of guilt and duty felt by the protagonist and their families. Equally illustrated by the authors are stories of friendships, love, lost ones and disjointed families against the backdrop of the continental and home divide.

 

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‘Drawn to the page: Irish artists and illustration 1830-1930’ – A new exhibition in the Long Room

Continuing our Tercentenary celebrations, we are pleased to draw attention to a new exhibition in the Long Room, ‘Drawn to the page: Irish artists and illustration 1830-1930‘. It has been curated by Dr. Angela Griffith and Dr. Philip McEvansoneya with assistance from staff in the Department of Early Printed Books, especially Dr. Lydia Ferguson. The exhibition emphasises the important contribution made by Irish artists in the period known as the heyday of European book and periodical illustration.

‘Origin of John Jameson whiskey …’ Dublin, 1924. Shelfmark: OLS L-1-296 no.12

It is the first exhibition of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland, drawing together a broad range of published designs by Irish artists. The works in the exhibition have been selected entirely from the rich and varied holdings of the College Library.

Among the artists included are: Daniel Maclise, George Petrie, William Mulready, Charles M. Grey, F.S. Walker, Margaret Stokes, Robert Goff, Myra K. Hughes, Jack B Yeats, Elizabeth C. Yeats, Harry Clarke, Joseph Campbell, Robert Gibbings, Mabel Annesley, and E M O’Rourke Dickey.

Ireland. ‘Saorstát Éireann: Irish Free State official handbook’, Dublin 1932. Shelfmark: 62.e.148

The exhibition shows the use of colour in illustration, from the meticulous application by hand by the staff of the Cuala Press to technological developments that gave Goff the artistic freedom to create richly coloured, painterly designs. The exhibition runs until 21 April 2013. For more information on this and past exhibitions please see our Exhibitions & Events page.

Harry Clarke: Darkness In Light

The television station Sky Arts has in the past devoted air time to programmes related to Ireland and its literary heritage, most notably Mariella Frostrup’s ‘The Book Show’ which broadcast from Kinsale Arts Week in 2011. This week the station is showing a documentary on one of our favourite artists, Harry Clarke. The documentary entitled ‘Harry Clarke: Darkness In Light’ goes out on Saturday 5th May at 2.25 a.m. and again at 9 a.m. It is repeated on Sunday 6th May at 5 a.m. For readers who do not have access to Sky, the Library shop has copies of the dvd for sale priced at €29.99.

Promotion image used by Sky Arts for the Harry Clarke documentary
Promotion image used by Sky Arts for the Harry Clarke documentary