Days of the White King

Before novels such as Game of Thrones, extraordinary tales of kings and conquests could be illustrated from the pages of history. When Maximilian I ruled the Holy Roman Empire, Europe was made up of small principalities and kings strode about like pieces on a chess board playing out territorial wars. The cannons they trained on each other breathed dragon fire; aristocratic hostages were used for political bargaining, betrothals and betrayals were all part of their strategies for war and diplomatic games.

Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) of the house of Hapsburg was the King of the Germans and ruled the Holy Roman Empire, jointly with his father from around 1483 and alone from 1508 until his death. Maximilian’s days were marked by artillery fire: ‘at two years of age the infant Maximilian was shut up in Vienna besieged by his uncle. The first memories of the child thus cradled in the lap of war with cannon shots for lullabies, were of the hardships and perils of a soldier.’[1] He was a knight (of the Order of the Golden Fleece) and also an exceptional patron of the arts, an innovator who left an astounding body of printed works which tell us about his times.

One of these works is his saga Der Weisskunig (The White King), which is the allegorical name given to Maximilian the hero, and is an autobiographical epic. The work contains 251 illustrations by Hans Burkgmair and other notable German artists including Leonhard Beck. It is arranged in three parts: the history of Maximilian’s parents, Frederick III and Eleanor of Portugal; Maximilian’s birth and education; and the chronicle of his military campaigns. Other kings in the narrative are identified by colours or symbols. Owing to Maximilian’s death, The White King project which commenced in 1515 was not printed until 1775. Examples from the series may be found in the Baillieu Library Print Collection.

Print showing the Encampment of the White King before a battle

Encampment of the White King before a battle (1514-16); Hans Burgkmair, woodcut

The alliance of three kings against the King of Fish is a depiction of the League of Cambrai which was formed during the Italian wars. Here termed as the King with Three Crowns, is Pope Julius II, the Blue King (Louis XII), the Black King (Ferdinand II of Aragon) and the White King (Maximilian I) against the King of Fish who represents the republic of Venice.[2] The League of Cambrai, like many of the alliances made in Maximilian’s time, was based on interests that could dissolve or turn hostile at any moment. So that in The White King allies in one image may be at war in another.

Woodcut of Kings against the King of Fish

The Alliance of Three Kings against the King of Fish (1514-16); Leonard Beck, woodcut

Maximilian’s son and heir, Philip the Handsome would become the King of Castile through his marriage to Joanna of Castile. Philip’s unexpected death meant that it would be his son Charles V who would succeed Maximilian as the Holy Roman Emperor, and also rule the Spanish Empire. Philip and Joanna had six children and Maximilian arranged for an auspicious double marriage between two of them: Mary of Hapsburg to Louis II of Hungary and Ferdinand I to Anne of Bohemia and Hungary. This is encapsulated by the book written for him by Johannes Cuspinianus, Congress and meeting of Emperor Maximilian and the three kings of Hungary, Bohemia, Hungary and Poland in Vienna (1515) held in the Rare Book Collection.[3]

Woodcut of King Philip received at Castile and sworn to loyalty

King Philip received at Castile and sworn to loyalty (c. 1515); Leonard Beck, woodcut

Despite the scenes of military might in The White King, it was through marriage that Maximilian and his descendants created the most powerful alliances and conquests. His printed legacy ensures that the incredible stories about his deeds and his legend are remembered, and explain why Maximilian has also become known as the paper king.[4]

For more about Maximilian I and the University of Melbourne see ‘Mad Max and the Renaissance’ in Cultural Treasures Festival Papers 2012, University of Melbourne Library, 2014.

Kerrianne Stone (Special Collections Curatorial Assistant (Prints))


[1] Paul Van Dyke, Renascence portraits, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905, p. 264.

[2]  Larry Silver, ‘Caesar Ludens: Emperor Maximilian I and the waning Middle Ages’ in Cultural Visions: Essays in the History of Culture, edited by Penny Schine Gold and Benjamin C. Sax, Amsterdam, 2000, p. 194.

[3] Congressus ac conventus Caesaris Max. et trium regum Hungariae Bohemiae, et Poloniae in Vienna Pannoniae mense Julio anno 1515 facti brevis description, Wien: J. Singrienius, 1515.

[4] See Larry Silver ‘The “Papier-Kaiser” Burgkmair, Augsburg and the image of the Emperor’ in Emperor Maximilian I and the age of Dürer, edited by Eva Michel and Maria Luise Sternath, Albertina, c. 2012.

Posted in Prints, Special Collections | Leave a comment

The Gutenberg Bible on Exhibit in Melbourne

Next week sees the launch of the third annual Melbourne Rare Book Week (17 to 27 July). Bibliophiles from across Australasia and beyond will descend upon the city and enjoy an array of talks, demonstrations and exhibitions, ending with the Melbourne Rare Book Fair (25 to 27 July). Visitors to this year’s Rare Book Week will also be able to attend a range of events in the university’s biennial Cultural Treasures Festival (26 and 27 July).

The university will once again host the fair in Wilson Hall, but also add something very special to the 2014 Rare Book Week programme: A 10-day exhibition of the Gutenberg Bible.

 

Gutenberg Bible advert banner

 

The Bible, on loan courtesy of The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library, will be displayed from 18 to 27 July in the Dulcie Hollyock Room located on the ground floor of the Baillieu Library.

Like all Rare Book Week events, the exhibition is free and open to the public. Viewing hours are 11.00am to 5.00pm daily. Bookings not required.

A series of floor talks connected with the exhibition are also taking place. Details and how to book can be found on the Gutenberg Bible exhibition and Cultural Treasures Festival webpages.

A selection of incunabula and later religious texts from Baillieu Special Collections is also on display on the ground floor of the library in support of the Gutenberg Bible exhibit.

Whether you are local to Melbourne or just visiting, a chance to see a copy of the first substantial book printed in the Western world is not to be missed!

Posted in Exhibitions, Rare Books, Special Collections | Leave a comment

An 18th-century French drawing in the Baillieu Library

The most recent issue of University of Melbourne Collections magazine includes a detailed contribution by Marguerite Brown (recent graduate, Master of Art Curatorship) on a red chalk drawing of Prometheus being attacked by an eagle from the Baillieu Library’s Print Collection.[1]

Image: Prometheus being attacked by an eagle

Previously attributed to the Italian engraver Francesco Bartolozzi (1727–1815), Marguerite’s research has overturned this assessment in favour of the French sculptor René-Michel Slodtz (1705–1764). Her full analysis can be read on Marguerite’s blog Visual Pursuits:

http://visualpursuits.org/2014/06/25/an-18th-century-french-drawing-in-the-baillieu-library/

—-

[1] Marguerite Brown, ‘An 18th-century French drawing in the Baillieu Library’. University of Melbourne Collections, issue 14 (June 2014): 46–50.

Posted in Prints, Special Collections | Leave a comment

Bright & Hitchcock: Geelong Archives and the Apricot and Blue 19TH Century Dress

[Reposted from the UMA Business Archives blog]

 

Bright and Hitchcock dress

Bright & Hitchcocks, Geelong (1853-1968)
Day dress 1865-1870
Gift of Miss Bell, 1973
D243.a-c-1973, National Gallery of Victoria

I found out about the existence of the University Archives because of a dress. That may sound strange, but the full-skirted apricot and blue patterned silk dress, dating from about 1865 to 1870, has a small label stitched to the inside of its waistband. It reads “From Bright & Hitchcocks, Geelong”. The dress is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria and I came across it when I was curating an exhibition titled “Australian Made: One Hundred Years of Fashion”. It opened at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia in May 2010. This dress was one of the earliest items on display and it is remarkable, not only for its almost pristine condition, but also because it appears to be the oldest surviving garment bearing an Australian label. It was not usual for makers or retailers to stitch labels into garments until the twentieth century. The majority of nineteenth century garments therefore are unlabeled.

Knowing its origins means a context can be provided for the Bright and Hitchcocks dress. Research into the company’s archives, which are held at the University of Melbourne, threw light on the networks of trade and consumption in Australia in the second half of the nineteenth century. As I read through the original hefty volumes of letters from Bright and Hitchcocks’ London agent to the managers in Geelong, I began to get a sense of how items for the Australian market were selected, what sold well, and what the company didn’t find worthwhile stocking. This clearly wasn’t a passive commercial relationship where, as is too often assumed, the current fashions in British goods were simply shipped out to the colonies in support of a society that was transposed holus-bolus from one side of the world to the other.

Established in 1850, Bright and Hitchcocks was a drapery and general merchants business. It stocked a broad range of imported goods, including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, as well as dress fabrics and trims, blankets, carpets and household linen. It is commonly thought that ‘readymade’ fashionable dress (which could be bought over the counter) was not available at this time, however the company letters tell us otherwise. A letter from the London agent dated 24 August 1865 states, ‘By this mail I send assortment (25 dresses) new goods made for us … the prettiest goods I have seen…” Is it possible that the dress in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria was one of these twenty-five? Its styling dates it to the same era and if it is not from this particular group of imports, it certainly appears that the dress came into the country as a readymade item. Donated to the gallery in 1973, its provenance links it to the Bell family whosettled beyond Geelong on the Bellarine peninsula in the 1840s.

After more than a century of retailing to the residents of Geelong and further afield, Bright and Hitchcocks closed it doors in 1968. However its building still stands today on Moorabool street in the centre of the city as a reminder of this pioneering commercial venture.

For more information about the “Australian Made: One Hundred Years of Fashion” see

http://www.artabase.net/exhibition/1841-australian-made-100-years-of-fashion

http://media.ngv.vic.gov.au/2010/05/20/australian-made-100-years-of-fashion/

Australian Made: One Hundred Years of Fashion from the 1850s to the 1950s by Laura Jocic is available at the University of Melbourne Library.

Contributor: Laura Jocic, PhD candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne.

Posted in University of Melbourne Archives | Leave a comment

Provenance in Pictures: Tracking the Ownership of Three Early Printed Books

Last week a group of Melbourne bibliophiles were treated to a delightful talk by preeminent bookman Nicolas Barker, editor of The Book Collector, and whose bibliography records an impressive 1,000+ entries.[1]

Barker examined twenty or so works from Special Collections and talked to the salient points of each book. This post highlights three of the selected items that had multiple signs of ownership, all of which caught Barker’s eye.

 

Johannes Meder, Quadragesimale de filio prodigo et de angeli ipsius ammonitione salubri per sermones diuisum [Basel: Michael Furter, 1495].

 

Title-page of the Quadragesimale

 

Judging by the number of inscriptions on the title-page, this copy of Meder’s Quadragesimale certainly travelled, but not very far. All of them can be localised to the province of Limburg in the Netherlands. The earliest is the inscription by Johan van Kessenich, shown above in between two other inscriptions towards the head of the title-page. Kessenich was born ca. 1522, served as steward of the Augustinian cloister of St Elisabeth in Nunhem, and died ca. 1608. The book then passed to a Wilhelm Horst, whose tidy inscription notes that he was a pastor in the town of Haelen (just 1km south of Nunhem), and came into possession of the Quadragesimale the same year as Kessenich’s approximate date of death. The last two pieces of evidence recorded on the title-page puts the book in the library of the Augustijnenkerk (Church of the Augustinians) in Maastricht, about 55km southwest of Haelen.

 

Quadragesimale binding

 

The book was bound in a contemporary style by the twentieth-century French binder Roger Devauchelle (1915-1993), who preserved the original clasp catches, the paper spine label, and presumably the pastedowns: two fragments (according to the catalogue entry) from a thirteenth-century manuscript.

 

Manuscript pastedown

 

Affixed to the front pastedown is the book label of ‘B. Couissinier’, and Devauchelle’s stamp can be found in the upper-left corner.[2]

Purchased by the Friends of the Baillieu Library with funds from the George Shaw Trust.

 

Eusebius Pamphilus, [Greek title:] Evangelicae praeparatio lib. XV [with] Evangelicae demonstrationis lib. X. Paris: Robert Estienne, 1544-1545.

 

Signature of Rudolf Gwalther

 

The earliest sign of ownership on Estienne’s 1544 edition of Eusebius is an inscription dated just five years after its publication. It reads: ‘Sum Rodolphi Gualtheri Tigurini 1549′. The owner, Rudolf Gwalther (1519-1586), was a Reformed Protestant pastor in Zurich (‘Tigurum’) who married the daughter of Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531), one of the leaders of the Reformation in Switzerland. He became head of the Zurich church upon the death of Zwingli’s successor Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575).

 

Heidegger collection inscription

 

The book can next be placed in another Zurich collection, the ‘Bibliothecae Heideggeriana’. This collection was formed by Hans Heinrich Heidegger (1711-1763), whose son, Johann Heinrich (1738-1823), continued to expand the library. A slip pasted on the front free endpaper with the date ’1783′ written upon it suggests the Eusebius was acquired by the younger Heidegger that year. The Heideggeriana collection was sold in 1810 when Johann moved to Geneva.[3]

 

Stamp of Hachette and Co.

 

Sometime after the Heidegger sale, the Eusebius made its way to France and into the stock of the great bookshop and publishing house L. Hachette et Compagnie, whose acquisition stamp on the title-page dates to 1918.

 

E. Doheny book label

 

The volume next appeared in the library of Estelle Doheny (1875-1958), who amassed one of the great twentieth-century book collections in America. Doheny left her library, which included a volume of the Gutenberg Bible, to St John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.[4] In her bequest, Doheny stipulated that the collection must be kept together for 25 years after her death. In 1986, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Seminary Board of Directors made the controversial decision to sell the Doheny collection. The books were auctioned by Christie’s, New York, in a series of sales held between 1987 and 1989. The Eusebius was sold to Parsons Books in the 1 February 1988 sale (lot 559).[5]

Purchased by the Ivy M. Pendlebury bequest in memory of Gerald Frederic Pendlebury.

 

De recta pronunciatione Latinae linguae dialogus. Antwerp:  Christophe Plantin, 1586.

 

Stamp of Anton Fugger dated 1586

 

This copy of Plantin’s 1586 edition of Lipsius has a long connection to families that wielded financial power. The first being the stamp of Anton Fugger dated 1586. He was a member of a wealthy German banking and merchant family, their financial prospects secured by his namesake, Anton Fugger (1493-1560), whose trade empire extended to the Americas and the West Indies, and who also held mining interests in Scandinavia.

 

Bookplate of Zacharias Geizkofler von Gailenbach

 

This beautifully engraved bookplate is the most physically impressive piece of provenance evidence found among these three books. Measuring 17 x 14 cm, the ex libris belonged to Zacharias Geizkofler von Gailenbach (1560-1617), who had his name and that of his wife, Maria (nee von Rehelingen), along with her date of birth, engraved along the central oval frame. From 1597, Geizkofler served as Reichspfennigmeister (treasurer) of the Holy Roman Empire, and as an adviser to the emperors Rudolf II (1552-1612) and Matthias (1557-1619).

 

Lipsius title page

 

The Lipsius eventually travelled to what was Austria-Hungary. There it came into the possession of the noble Magyar family, Zichy, though which family member has yet to be confirmed. The title-page is stamped with the arms and name of Count Ödön Zichy. This may refer to Count Ödön (1809-1848), a governmental administrator who was executed as a result of a court martial, or Count Ödön (1811-1894), founder of the Oriental Museum in Vienna and a great patron of art and industry.

 

Bookplate of Jan Szasz

 

The second Hungarian collector to own this book was Jan Szasz, about whom I have been able to find very little.[6] It appears, however, that Szasz might have immigrated to the Antipodes, for a number of books with his bookplate are found in Australian institutional and private libraries.

Purchased by the Ivy M. Pendlebury bequest in memory of Gerald Frederic Pendlebury.

Anthony Tedeschi (Deputy Curator, Special Collections)

[1] See A.S.G. Edwards, Nicolas Barker at Eighty: A List of His Publications to Mark His 80th Birthday (New Castle, DE; London: Oak Knoll Press; Bernard Quaritch Ltd., 2013).

[2] Do you recognise the ‘B. Couissinier’ bookplate? If you know who he or she was, please leave a comment or email me at Special Collections.

[3] Selecta artis typographicae monumenta e bibliotheca Heideggeriana sive Catalogus librorum seculo XV impressorum … qui pro adjectis in margine pretiis publica auctionis lege divenduntur d. 18. Jun… (Zurich, 1810)

[4] The Gutenberg Bible volume was purchased by the Maruzen Co. of Tokyo for USD $5.3m (with premium) in the 22 October 1987 sale (lot 1). It was acquired by Keio University Library in March 1996.

[5] The Estelle Doheny Collection … Part III: Printed Books and Manuscripts including Western Americana (New York: Christie, Manson & Woods, 1988) 173 (lot 559)

[6] As with the book label of M. or Mme Couissinier, I would welcome any information on this collector named Szasz.

Posted in Rare Books, Special Collections | Leave a comment

Text, Drawing & Print: A Portrait of Joachim von Sandrart

Together with fellow artist historians Geogio Vasari and Karel van Mander, the works of Joachim von Sandrart I (1606–1688) helped lay the foundation for the art historical philosophies in the Western tradition. Unlike Vasari’s Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori  (1550) and van Mander’s Het schilder-boeck (1604), Sandrart’s dictionary of art and compilation of artist biographies, the Teutsche Academie (1675-1679), differs from its predecessors in that it is sumptuously illustrated and of practical appeal.[1]

The scope of Sandrart’s publication exceeded all previous examples of art historiography, but also includes some curious interludes such as translations from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a reference to the beer produced on his wife’s family estate in Stockau, Germany, and a lengthy autobiography.

 

The Ephesian Artemis

The Ephesian Artemis from the Teutsche Academie (image from BibliOdessey blog; Melbourne UL copy currently on exhibit).

 

The red chalk drawing of Sandrart in the Baillieu Library Print Collection, which had no previous artist attribution, was identified just last year by Sandrart expert, Assistant Professor Susanne Meurer (University of Western Australia), as a self-portrait.[2] Below the drawing is an inscription written in his hand, similar in appearance to those inscriptions which appear below printed portraits. Although he was widely travelled, as the inscription indicates, Sandrart identified himself as being from Stockau, which dates the drawing to after the time of his marriage in 1637.

 

Sandrart self portrait in red chalk.

Sandrart self portrait in red chalk.

 

This drawing parallels his painted self-portrait of 1641, which likewise depicts the same bust in the background.  A close match to the drawing appears in Dr Johann Jacob Volkmann’s ‘improved’ edition of the Teutsche Academie, which portrays Sandrart’s dignified mien, along with his inscription, in the full clarity of a print.[3]

Sandrart’s output of paintings and drawings is substantial, but while he oversaw the production of many prints, he produced few of his own. In the Baillieu’s impression of Sandrart’s Cupid pissing (1640), the wretch holding a urinal for Cupid has been described as both an old man and an old woman.

 

'Cupid Pissing' (1640); etching

‘Cupid Pissing’ (1640); etching

 

Often Cupid is depicted with Venus, his mythological mother, or another strong and beautiful woman. Sandrart’s intention seems to be ambiguous or subversive rather than erotic, although it may also have been an applied one, as the composition is reminiscent of models in an artist’s studio. The grid overlaid on the print suggests that it was copied and used as a primary source. The entry for the print in the Hollstein catalogue records three separate copies have been made after the print.[4]

These works of art provide insights into the discipline of art history and that of Sandrart’s working methods and his character. The Baillieu’s copy of the Teutsche Academie, its important chalk drawing and the overlaid print, all contribute to the construction of an intriguing portrait of Joachim von Sandrart.

Kerrianne Stone (Special Collections Curatorial Assistant (Prints))

 

[1] Baillieu Library Special Collections holds early editions of all three works: the 1550 first edition Vasari; a 1618 edition of van Mander; and the first edition of Sandrart’s Teutsche Academie (1675–79, four volumes bound in two)

[2] For more on Meurer’s prior research into Sandrart, see her article “‘In Verlegung de Autoris’: Joachim von Sandrart and the Seventeenth-Century Book Market” in The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 7:4 (Dec. 2006): 419-449

[3] Special Collections does not hold a copy of the Volkmann edition of Sandrart’s Teutsche Academie. The printed portrait, however, is reproduced in Princeton University’s Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology blog post “The ‘German Vasari’?” (accessed 7 April 2014)

[4] F. W. H. Hollstein, German engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, ca. 1400-1700 (Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1954-), 40:16

Posted in Prints, Rare Books, Special Collections | Leave a comment

Altering Shakespeare: An Interleaved Copy of Antony and Cleopatra

On 23 February 1855, the steamship Pacific docked in Melbourne harbour. Descending the gangway for his first tour of Australia was the Irish actor Gustavus Brooke, along with his wife Marianne, Brooke’s leading lady Fanny Cathcart, and his stage manager Richard W. Younge.

How Younge worked up a play for performance can been seen in his interleaved copy of Antony and Cleopatra, A Tragedy ([London?], ca. 1800), highlighted in this week’s post, along with some commentary on its provenance and use.

 

Half-title signed by R. W. Younge

Half-title inscribed by Richard Younge

 

The inscription shown above reads ‘R. W. Younge Theatre Royal Melbourne Feby 1856′. By ‘Theatre Royal’, Younge is most likely referring to Queen’s Theatre, also known as Queen’s Theatre Royal, where Brooke’s company opened with Othello to wide acclaim, and not the Theatre Royal owned by John Black. At the time of Younge’s February 1856 inscription, Black was in direct competition with the man responsible for Brooke’s Australian tour: the entrepreneurial actor-manager George Coppin, lessee of Queen’s Theatre and owner of the prefabricated Olympic. It was not until June 1856 that Coppin took over the Theatre Royal from his then insolvent rival, and so it is highly doubtful that Younge would have infringed upon his contractual obligations by being in the Theatre Royal before then.[1]

Potential confusion about the inscription aside, what makes this copy particularly interesting are Younge’s notes and textual edits.

 

Opening scene of play with annotations and notes.

Opening scene of play with annotations, notes, and a second inscription by Younge (p. [1])

 

Not a single page of printed text escaped his pen. Younge crossed out text, jotted down stage notes, cut entire scenes, changed characters, such as Demetrius and Philo being replaced by Enobarbus and Eros at the opening of Act 1, Scene 1 (see above image), and made numerous smaller alternations throughout the play in order to adapt the text to suit the production.

 

Younge's changes to Act 2, Scene 2, with a further inscription

Younge’s changes to Act 2, Scene 2, with a further inscription (p. 26)

 

Younge clearly made good use of the interleaving. His notes range from single lines to full pages of text, including many explanations and interpretation of phrases, definitions of words, musical accompaniment and stage directions, and even the occasional sketch of the set.

 

Sketch of set with stage notes.

Sketch of set with stage notes (p. 50)

 

Further stage notes (p. 51)

Further stage notes (p. 51)

 

Despite the amount of editing and annotation, no evidence could be found that Brooke and his company ever performed Antony and Cleopatra in Australia. Contemporary newspapers record the group performing scenes from Othello, Hamlet, Richard III, Macbeth, and Merchant of Venice. According to the Dictionary of the Australian Theatre, 1788-1914, Antony and Cleopatra was not performed at Melbourne’s Theatre Royal until 1867, six years after the actors returned to England.[2] 

 

Final page with notes.

Final pages (p. 141).

 

Perhaps Brooke and Younge found the existing repertoire sufficiently successful and did not feel the need to introduce scenes from another play.[3] Regardless of the reasons why Antony and Cleopatra was not used, this copy, with its copious notes and amendments, offers a fascinating study in nineteenth-century stage production and a fine connection with a booming Melbourne during Victoria’s early gold rush years.

Anthony Tedeschi (Deputy Curator, Special Collections)

—-

Antony and Cleopatra; A Tragedy by William Shakespeare; Accurately Printed from the Text of Mr Steeven’s Last Edition ([London?], ca. 1800); from the library of Dr John Chapman with his bookplate; purchased by the University of Melbourne from the Chapman sale, Melbourne, 24-25 February 2004 (lot 340)

[1] According to Brooke’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, when the juvenile lead Robert James Heir married Fanny Cathcart the pair left Brooke’s company for an engagement at Black’s Theatre Royal. They were brought back by a court injunction. See H. L. Oppenheim, ‘Brooke, Gustavus Vaughan (1818–1866)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brooke-gustavus-vaughan-3064/text4519, published in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 26 March 2014.

[2] Eric Irvin, Dictionary of the Australian Theatre, 1788-1914 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1985), 28.

[3] Along with the inscription, the fact the play went unused suggests Younge bought the book in Melbourne where he had it interleaved and bound. His working up of the text for a potential addition of Antony and Cleopatra to an already full programme seems more probable after the company’s arrival in Australia than having such plans in place at the start of the tour and then dropping them.

Posted in Australiana, Rare Books, Special Collections | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New Acquisition: L’Accusateur Public (French Counter-Revolutionary Journal)

Special Collections recently acquired a complete set of one of the most influential French counter-revolutionary journals: L’Accusateur public. Only a few issues are available on-line through Gallica (the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France), and the only other recorded set in the country is held by the National Library of Australia, making the University of Melbourne copy a valuable resource for students and scholars, and a fine addition to our holdings of material on the French Revolution.

 

Page 1, first issue

First issue, p. 1

 

L’Accusateur public was founded by the Jean Thomas Élisabeth Richer-Sérisy (1759–1803) shortly after his release from prison on 27 September 1794. Printed in Paris by Mathieu Migneret, the journal ran for thirty-five numbered issues until 1797 and brought Richer-Sérisy considerable popularity as a public writer.[1]

Such notoriety of course did not go unnoticed by Revolutionary factions, nor did the fact that Richer-Sérisy’s energetic and vehement writing barely hid his Royalist opinions. His L’Accusateur public even outsold some of the pro-revolutionary periodicals, such as the Journal universal.[2] The year after The Directory seized power in the Coup of 18 Fructidor an V (4 September 1797), Richer-Sérisy was sentenced to deportation to Cayenne, French Guiana. He escaped and eventually made his way to England where he spent his remaining years. The last issue he edited (No. 35), dated 1 Frimaire an VII (21 November 1798), was seized by the police.

 

The revolutionary Constitutional Circle (also known as Club de Salm)

Cartoon of the pro-Directory ‘Constitutional Circle’ known as the Club de Salm

 

The acquisition also included the two unnumbered, counterfeit issues that appeared after No. 35.[3] The first is dated 6 Thermidor an VII (24 July 1799). Unlike the numbered series, Richer-Sérisy’s name is nowhere to be found, since he had already fled from France. According to Brunet’s Manuel du libraire … (Paris, 1860-1865 ed.), the issue was instead edited by the pro-royalist general Louis Michel Auguste Thévenet Danican (1764-1848).[4]

Perhaps without Richer-Sérisy’s name the issue failed to sell widely, for when a single issue of a second series appeared, possibly edited by Danican, it closed with a reprinted letter by Richer-Sérisy dated ‘Berlin, 10 Mai 1799′. Richer-Sérisy, however, upon reading or hearing about the issue, declared it a forgery.[5] Its editor(s) presumably used his name as an attempt to give the new series credibility and popular appeal.

 

'Richer-Serisy' letter, 10 May 1799

The supposed Richer-Serisy letter, 10 May 1799

 

A final point about the Melbourne copy not mentioned in the sale catalogue. On the recto of the first issue half-title is a rather worn ownership stamp, that of the Comte Joseph-François de Kergariou (1779-1849), bibliophile, prefect of Indre-et-Loire, and Napoleon’s chamberlain.

 Anthony Tedeschi (Deputy Curator, Special Collections)

—-

[1] Although the final issue is numbered ’35′ there are actually thirty-four volumes in total. Issue No. 13, which was to contain an account of the battle between Revolutionary and Royalist forces in the streets of Paris on 13 Vendémiaire an IV (5 October 1795), was never published (perhaps not even Richer-Sérisy could spin the Royalist’s defeat). For more on its printer, Migneret, see Carla Hesse’s Publishing and Cultural Politics in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1810 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) available on-line through the UC Press E-Books Collection (accessed 13.3.2014)

[2] Kenneth Margerison, ‘P.-L. Roederer: Political Thought and Practice During the French Revolution’ in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 1:1 (1983): 117

[3] The two unnumbered issues appear to be quite scarce. I was able to locate just three copies worldwide of the issue dated 6 Thermidor an VII and only two copies of the second series issue. No other copies are recorded in other Australian institutions.

[4] Charles Brunet, Manuel du libraire et de l’amateur de livres … 6 vols. (Paris: Firmin Didot frères, fils et Cie, 1860-1865), 6:1869-1870

[5] University of Pennsylvania Libraries catalogue: http://www.franklin.library.upenn.edu/record.html?id=FRANKLIN_13561 [No citation regarding the forgery comment given]

Posted in Rare Books, Special Collections | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nullius in Verba: The Royal Society’s Two Earliest Books

Earlier this week the Royal Society announced the launch later this year of Royal Society Open Science, an open access peer-reviewed journal publishing scholarly research in all fields scientific and mathematical. The move is seen by the Society’s president, Sir Paul Nurse, as a necessary step to keep pace with the changing face of publishing in the twenty-first century.

Changes in the publishing field is something the Royal Society has seen a lot of throughout its long history. The august body received a Royal Charter to publish relevant works in 1662 (two years after its official founding in November 1660), and will observe the 350th anniversary of its journal Philosophical Transactions in March 2015.

With the recent open access announcement and next year’s anniversary of Philosophical Transactions in mind, this week’s post highlights the Royal Society’s two earliest books: John Evelyn’s Sylva and Robert Hooke’s Micrographia; first editions of each are held by Special Collections.[1]

Sylva

First printed in 1664, Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber was the first work sponsored officially by the Royal Society and the first treatise in English dedicated entirely to forestry.[2] Its author, John Evelyn (1620–1706), writer, intellectual and founding member of the Royal Society, is perhaps best known for his long-running diary kept from 1640 to 1706.

Evelyn initially presented Sylva as a paper to the Royal Society in 1662. The published text sought to encourage tree-planting after the destruction wrought by the Civil War and, it has been argued, to ensure a supply of timber for England’s developing navy and add a further boost to the economy. Evelyn’s book proved highly popular with its intended audience, namely the gentry and aristocracy, who took from it the idea of gardening as an aesthetic pursuit, and his discourse was positively received on the Continent where it stimulated new methods of forest management.[3] Today Sylva is recognised as one of the most influential works on the subject of tree conservation.

 

First ed. title-page with the arms of the Royal Society.

First ed. title-page with the arms of the Royal Society

 

The first edition of Sylva contained two appendixes: Pomona: or, an Appendix Concerning Fruit-Trees in Relation to Cider, one of the earliest English essays on cider, and the Kalendarium Hortense: or, Gard’ners Almanac: Directing What He is To Do Monethly [sic] Throughout the Year, which was often reprinted separately and proved to be Evelyn’s most popular work.[4]

 

Title-page of Evelyn's 'Kalendarium Hortense'.

Title-page of Evelyn’s Kalendarium Hortense

 

Micrographia

The second text printed for the Royal Society was Robert Hooke’s groundbreaking Micrographia, or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses, published in 1665. Hooke (1635–1703), a natural philosopher and polymath, perfected the compound microscope and put the instrument to good use. His observations touched on a number of subjects, from combustion and diffraction of light, to fossils and artificial silk, and his description of the honeycomb-like structure of a cork gave us the word ‘cell’ to describe the basic biological unit of living organisms.

Micrographia is perhaps most widely known today for its illustrations. The book includes 57 microscopic and 3 telescopic observations, describing for the first time ‘a polyzoon, the minute markings of fish scales, the structure of the bee’s sting [and wings], the compound eyes of the fly, the gnat and its larvae, the structure of feathers, the flea and the louse’.[5] These enlarged images of such minute creatures (Hooke’s louse measures 45.7 cm in length) are as startling today as they must have been for Hooke’s contemporaries over 300 years ago.

 

Compound eye of the fly (Scheme 24)

Compound eye of the fly (Schema 24)

 

A flea (Schema 34)

A flea (Schema 34)

 

A louse (Schema 35)

A louse (Schema 35)

 

Like Sylva, Hooke’s Micrographia was an immediate success. It was read by Samuel Pepys, who mentioned the book three times in his diary for January 1664/5 and called it ‘the most ingenious book I have ever read in my life’ (Pepys was also a member of the Royal Society).[6] The text, particularly Hooke’s observations on light and the spectrum, was also studied by Isaac Newton who drew inspiration from it for his Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light (London, 1704).

 Anthony Tedeschi (Deputy Curator, Special Collections)

[1] John Evelyn, Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber (London: Printed by Jo. Martyn and Ja. Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society, [1664]); purchased by the Friends of the Baillieu Library

Robert Hooke, Micrographia, or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses with Observations and Inquiries Thereupon (London: Printed by Jo. Martyn and Ja. Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society, [1665])

[2] Special Collections also holds copies of the 1670 second edition and 1679 third edition of Sylva, both of which were printed for the Royal Society

[3] http://royalsociety.org/events/2013/sustainability/ [Accessed 19.2.2014]

[4] Diana H. Hook and Jeremy Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine, 2 vols. (San Francisco: Jeremy Norman & Co., Inc, 1991), i:271

[5] John Carter and Percy H. Muir, eds., Printing and the Mind of Man … (London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1967 ed.), 88 (no. 147)

[6] Robert Latham and William Matthews, eds., The Diary of Samuel Pepys … 11 vols. (London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd, 1970-1976), vi:2, 17, 18

Posted in Rare Books, Special Collections | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Steps to Piranesi

The Piazza di Spagna, the location of the Spanish Steps, led directly to Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s printmaking and antiquities studio in the Strada Felice. Traversing the Steps were the predominately English Grand Tourists who sought to purchase his monumental and evocative etchings as mementoes of their experiences of the eighteenth century continental education. The Steps were also where these tourists would meet their cicerone or Italian guide who would explain the array of incredible Roman ruins, baroque buildings, antiquities and works of art to be explored in the ancient city. These are some of figures that people Piranesi’s streets and monuments. The Arch of Titus, located just outside the Colosseum, was one of the chief destinations of the Tour. Tourists would also rely on guidebooks, which offered not only personal narratives and maps of the best trodden tracks, but also instructions on where to purchase the necessary printed souvenirs.

 

View of the arch of Titus (Veduta dell'Arco di Tito)

View of the Arch of Titus (Veduta dell’Arco di Tito)

 

Piranesi was creating his Vedute di Roma (The Views of Rome) throughout his lifetime and they were purchased as single sheets, and sometimes bound together by their collectors.  The series comprises two folios of the Baillieu’s first Paris edition of Piranesi’s works which was issued by his sons Francesco and Pietro in 1800-07. This set journeyed to Melbourne by way of its first Roman Catholic archbishop, James Alipius Goold. When he accepted an invitation to leave Rome for Australia, ‘it was on the steps of Santa Maria del Popolo, across from the two mirror churches that Piranesi depicted in his view of the Piazza del Popolo.’[1]

 

View of the Piazza di Spagna (Veduta di Piazza di Spagna)

View of the Piazza di Spagna (Veduta di Piazza di Spagna)

 

Upcoming Piranesi events in Melbourne:

  • Rome: Piranesi’s Vision‘ an exhibition showing in the Keith Murdoch Gallery at the State Library 22 Feb to June 22 2014
  • The Piranesi Effect‘ an exhibition showing at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne 20 Feb to 25 May 2014

Kerrianne Stone (Special Collections Curatorial Assistant (Prints))


[1]  Colin Holden, Piranesi’s Grandest Tour from Europe to Australia (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2014), 161

Posted in Prints, Special Collections | Tagged , , | Leave a comment