2012 is proving to be a big year for the Special Collections at the Courtauld Book Library. We now have two dedicated Special Collections Librarians – Erica Foden-Lenahan (Tues & Sat) and Hannah Thomas (Weds-Fri) – who will be working hard on a couple of big projects as well as being your day to day contact for all things Special Collections.
Erica, who has been at the Book Library for three years now, is working on The Shearman Collection. In 2004, the Book Library received the collection of the late Professor John Shearman, an eminent academic and former Deputy Director of The Courtauld. A leading scholar of Italian Renaissance and a Raphael expert, his library contains about 4000 items, including many off-prints, covering Renaissance and Baroque art.
Hannah, who started here in October 2011 and has experience working for the British Library and the National Trust, will be concentrating on The Seilern Collection. Received in 1978, the collection consists of Count Antoine Seilern’s extensive Rubens holdings; catalogues of private collections and sales; works on Tiepolo, Lorrain and Poussin; and extensive material on Dutch art of the Renaissance. There is a lot of material – well over 4000 volumes – some of which was added to the library’s computer system as part of a previous cataloguing project.
Thanks to generous funding from the Foyle Foundation, Erica and Hannah will be making these fascinating collections accessible to the Courtauld community and researchers all over the world.
The collections will be catalogued and united with the already rich and unique Special Collections of the Courtauld Book Library, including the libraries of Antony Blunt and Johannes Wilde. Ultimately this will create an unrivalled Renaissance and Baroque study collection available for students, scholars and visitors for generations to come. It also tells the story of the development of art history as an academic discipline in the UK and the network of art historians, as well as highlighting the contributions made by European émigrés to the subject. These libraries also often yield more personal insights like the note from one of John Shearman’s daughters found as a bookmark.
Erica and Hannah hope to keep us all updated on their progress via the Book Library blog but in the meantime if you have any questions about any aspects of our Special Collections then please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Descrizzione delle imagini dipinte da Rafaelle d’Urbino nelle camere del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, a work by Giovanni Pietro Bellori.
We are fortunate to have two copies of this work and the copy that was part of the John Shearman bequest bears the bookplate to the left and we would like to make reference to it in the catalogue record.
This volume was once owned by the bibliophile Gustavo Camillo Galletti and bears its stamp on the title page.
Can anyone recognize the bookplate and identify whether it is another provenance marking for the Biblioteca Galletti, or if it is one used by another library or collector? Any help would be appreciated.
CABS, Courtauld Book Library | Tags: bequest, biblioteca galletti, bookplate, Books, provenance | Comments Off
As a conservator you know why it is important to clean books, but sometimes it feels like you are not making any appreciable difference. Until you take a photograph half way through a cleaning job and you see the value of a whole day with a smoke sponge …
This is a book from CABS – Nouveau traité de toute l’architecture : ou l’art de bastir ; utile aux entrepreneurs et aux ouvriers, by Jean-Louis de Cordemoy, 1714 – that is being prepared to have its back board re-attached.
The first New Book Display of the term has an eclectic mix of material and we have chosen a few of the highlights to share with you. For those of you new to the concept, the New Books Display comprises of three stands: Books, UK Exhibition Catalogues and International Exhibition Catalogues. It is a show case of the newest editions to the expanding collections at the Courtauld Book Library.
On this month’s book stand there is a range of material from Photographs from the war in Afghanistan to Painting in nineteenth century Hungary. Two highlights from the stand are Colour Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay. This book “focuses not only on her art but also on the Avant-Garde fashion design from her own Atelier Simultane in Paris during the 1920s as well as textiles she designed for the Metz & Co. department store in Amsterdam in the 1930s.” This beautiful book showcases her drawing, painting and fashion designs through full bleed and cut to white reproductions of her work. The design of the book displays the clean cut graphic nature of her work and will be of interest to anyone looking at early to mid-twentieth century fashion and textile design.
On a more modern note, the widely recognised artist, Ai WeiWei’s latest book is also on the new book stand. Ai WeiWei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews and Digital Rants, 2006-2009. “For more than three years, Ai WeiWei turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings.” This book is a perhaps a view of things to come, when looking at the commentary on all subjects that artists are making, via digital technologies. The digital age is transforming many aspects of our lives and how we communicate and this compilation of writings from Ai WeiWei are a nice example of how we can examine the thought processes of artists expressed in the self-publishing world of blogging.
The catalogue for The Spanish line: drawings from Ribera to Picasso can be found on the UK exhibition catalogues stand. This small volume has prints of the variety of drawings by Spanish artists currently exhibited in the Courtauld Gallery. This stand also holds the catalogues for the other exciting shows taking place in London. Degas and the ballet: picturing movement takes a new look at the artist’s characteristic studies of dancers. The catalogue is illustrated with the drawings, pastels, paintings, sculpture and also – “establishing the importance of early visual technologies to Degas’s work for the first time” – photographs taken by the artist and samples of contemporary film.
Taking place at the V&A at the moment, Postmodernism: style and subversion, 1970-1990 continues their programme of ‘grand narratives’ of twentieth-century style and takes a look at all aspects of postmodernist design. The vibrant catalogue brings together architecture, fashion, film, music, interiors and urban planning, and demonstrates the complexity and contradiction of postmodernism. The catalogue’s 20-year span follows the movement from its beginnings on the periphery to being the dominant visual style before inevitably collapsing in on itself.
The new book display also shows the wealth of varied exhibitions taking place worldwide; we currently have three exciting catalogues from New York’s Metropolitan Museum alone. Infinite Jest: caricature and satire from Leonardo to Levine draws from the Metropolitan’s collections of drawings and prints to explore humour in art from the Italian Renaissance to the present. The catalogue examines how paper and printmaking allowed caricature to flourish and how the visual language of satire has “remained surprisingly consistent over time.”
Stieglitz and his artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe showcases and examines the collection of Alfred Stieglitz, a master photographer in his own right and a collector and promoter of some of the biggest names in the early twentieth-century art world. Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India 1100 – 1900 is a beautifully illustrated catalogue which “sets out to dispel the conventional view of Indian painting as an anonymous activity” by featuring 110 works by the most eminent Indian painters, many of whom are named for the first time thanks to recent scholarship.
There are many more interesting books and catalogues recently acquired by the Book Library on the New Book Display so take a look next time you’re in the library. The displays are changed regularly and we’ll keep you updated when this happens.
Graduate Trainee Library Assistants
“A unique and educational resource from the world’s leading source of fine art, cultural and historical images.” Bridgeman Education.
The Book Library has just set up a free trial for an online image resource called Bridgeman Education. Bridgeman Education enables the user to access approximately 36,000 images all of which are copyright-cleared for educational use. Users can create slide shows and download images for use in research, assignments, presentations and lectures. The free trial is available for all Courtauld staff and students and is active from Monday 17th October to Friday 11th November 2011. If you are on campus follow this link to start exploring. For off campus access please email email@example.com for username and password. Please let us know what you think of the resource by emailing thoughts and observations to firstname.lastname@example.org. General comments on the use of online images in art historical research are also welcome.Categories: Image databases, Online resources, Serials | Tags: Bridgeman education, Images | Comments Off
This is just a quick post to welcome everyone new to the Courtauld Institute of Art this academic year. On this blog you’ll find news and updates from the staff of the Book Library. We’re here to help you so please feel free to ask us any questions you might have whenever you’re in the Library or see us around the Institute. Find contact details for each department and member of staff in the Contact us page and put a face to the name in our Meet the Staff page.
Kilfinan Librarian, Head of Book, Witt and Conway LibrariesCategories: Courtauld Book Library | Tags: academic year | Comments Off
The Book Library and IT Centre will open on Saturdays this Autumn Term (Saturday 8 October 2011 to Saturday 10 December 2011 inclusive) from 10:00 to 17:00. We are offering a reference service only, which means you will not be able to borrow books, and a limited photocopying facility (this can only be provided on an ‘as is’ basis: if the machine breaks down then the service will not be available for the remainder of that day).
It is also worth remembering that we have a small number of books in the reference section at Z32, about good study techniques, and academic writing, which include:
Barnet, S., A short guide to writing about art. 7th ed., New York ; London : Longman, 2002. (Z32 BAR)
Chambers, E. and A. Northedge, The arts good study guide. 2nd ed., Milton Keynes : Open University, 2008. (Z32 CHA)
Categories: Courtauld Book Library, Opening hours |
Tags: saturday opening |
A couple of months ago I wrote a posting about repairs undertaken by Camberwell book conservation students. Well all the books have now been returned and I’d like to update you on some of the more complicated repairs.
One of the books, Eugène Müntz’s Leonardo da Vinci: artist, thinker, and man of science, had the most comprehensive treatment. My classmate Salvador Alcantara documented how he treated the book:
Rebacking – Pull off original spine, linings and (animal) glue. The latter by applying thick layer of wheat starch paste, letting it pull the glue for several minutes then clean with the help of a bonefolder trying not to disturb the original sewing. Operation repeated until almost completely clean. New linings – two strips of kozo-shi tissue, the size of the spine, applied with wheat starch paste. A hollow back was discarded. New linen cloth spine overlapping 1-1.5 cm on each board, to be covered with previously lifted original cloth. This is trimmed approx. 1-2 mm from the joint.
Split inner hinges – Narrow strip of wove paper. Wheat starch paste. The book resting in flat position, the cover must be opened at about 135º for the pasting of the hinge.
Worn (green) corners – Locally lift the minimal amount of covering material (original cloth and pastedown). To rebuild corners: millboard shavings mixed with wheat starch paste. Then cover/reshape with piece of kawanaka tissue. Paste down the previously lifted cloth and endpaper.
Book shoe – Provided to avoid further detachment of the text block while stored in upright position. Millboard of an appropriate thickness to match the width of the square at the tail, held in place by a U-shaped polyester film (Melinex) wrapping of the text block.
This book lives on the Oversize shelves at D623.LEO MUE.
Salvador also treated a quick reference book, Henry Liddell’s Greek-English lexicon from 1968. This has a substantial textblock, but the boards and spine were insufficient to support the weight of the block. In addition to some small repairs, the main improvment for the book is the addition of a protective blue manila wrapper. It has a polyester film (Melinex) window on spine to make title visible and it is tied at the fore edge with two cotton tapes integrated in the cover. This solution also allows a better upright storage of the book by means of a tighter holding of the text block.
Although not yet fully catalogued, this book lives in the Quick ref section (by the photocopiers) at shelfmark QUICK REF Z33.G
After much experimentation, Naomi found a way to use Japanese tissue to build up the corners, where the board had crumbled away. Katie also worked on the corners, before Naomi re-attached the spine covering, using Japanese tissue, and toned the repairs to maintain the same flesh.
This book is also awaiting full cataloguing, but will eventually be in B588 somewhere.
The last book has also been repaired with toned Japanese paper. Maudie Gunzi found that the Swedish Nationalmuseum catalogue of its Italien paintings and drawings had a solid sewing structure, but the leather on the spine and corners had rotted.
Once again, I’d like to point out that these repairs are not full conservation treatments, they are just to stabilize the items and to be able to use them. And, as a result, some of the aesthetic delicacy has not been prioritized.
Other books were repaired by Lizzie Courtney, Mary Garner, Lisa Knight, Olga Martinosi and myself.
Oxford University’s Open Spires project aims to make recordings of lectures and other events at the university available to a global audience. A wide range of subjects are covered, but most interesting for Courtauld Students are the range of history of art lectures that are available.
The podcast index includes 13 art history lectures covering a diverse range of subjects from Michaelangelo to Modernism and Chinese visual culture. Those with a particular interest in Surrealism are particularly well served by the eight lectures by Dawn Ades.
Contemporary practice is also covered by the inclusion of video and sound recordings of graduates from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art discussing their final year work. Architecture is covered in a lecture by Norman Foster which is followed by a symposium on the subject of the Future of Cities.
The collection is growing and it is worthwhile investigating other subject areas to find material relevant to art history. The philosophy lectures include one on aesthetics and philosophy of art, and if you need a crash course in general philosophy, the 41 lectures included here are a good place to start. The podcast index also includes recordings of papers relating to the study of Soviet states, which include discussions of visual art, film, theatre and music.
The podcasts are released using Creative Commons licenses. Many of them have Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licenses meaning they can be ‘reused and redistributed globally provided that it is used in a non-commercial way and the reuse is attributed to the person/people who made the recording. If a person derives a new work from the recording, the new work may be distributed provided it is released under the same license.’ (http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/openspires.html).
Image: Edd Morgan, 2008. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wzpr/2418778449/
Graduate Trainee Library Assistant.
What is an emblem book? It is a form that was tremendously popular during the Renaissance. It is believed that the Italian lawyer Andrea Alciato devised the first such book. The books themselves contained small illustrations (a bit like a modern thumbnail image) that were accompanied by “a brief title or motto, an edifying verse epigram, and often an additional explanatory text in verse or prose.” (Gordon Collection: Emblem Books http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/rmds/portfolio/gordon/emblem/)
These books were created by individuals and reveal their own outlook, but they also “communicate moral, political, or religious values in ways that have to be decoded by the viewer.” (Glasgow University Emblem Project. http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/) They often have classical or humanist sources, such as Erasmus’s Adages. (Gordon Collection: Emblem Books http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/rmds/portfolio/gordon/emblem/)
Alciato introduced the first Emblematum liber, published by Heinrich Steyner and printed in Augsburg in 1531. Scholarship suggests that Alciato himself had nothing to do with this series of editions, but that his associate and friend Conrad Peutinger commissioned the publications based on unillustrated epigrams, etc., that “had circulated among Alciato’s friends in manuscript” (Andrea Alciato’s Emblematum. Alciato at Glasgow. http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/alciato/books.php?id=A31a&o=). Several versions were printed in continental Europe and were collected widely.
This month’s CABS Book-of-the-Month is a version printed, we believe, in Leiden by Franciscus Raphelengius (son-in-law of Christoph Plantin) in 1608. We don’t know for sure because the title page is a hand drawn copy that was added at some stage, possibly to replace the original title page which was destroyed. But one inclined to conspiracy theories might think that it was a deliberate attempt to associate an inferior copy with a renowned publishing house and established edition of the book. Who knows?
This book is fascinating for a number of other reasons, mostly relating to its binding. First of all, the book has no writing on the spine, but Alciatus is written vertically on the fore-edge of the book, two letters per row. Anyone interested in library history will know that bookshelves as we know them only came into common usage well into the era of the printed book. Manuscripts and early printed books were usually laid flat on lecterns or shelves and were often chained to the furniture. It was only with the mass production of books that forced libraries to find a more space-efficient way of storing them. Initially they were shelved upright, fore-edge facing out. Blind-tooled decoration was common in northern Europe into the 17th century and that did not lend itself well to spine titles. With the spread of gold-tooling from northern Africa via Italy and Spain, which was a more visible way of marking the spine, books began to be shelved spine outwards.
We know very little about the book’s provenance other than it was given to the Courtauld in 1978 in accordance with the bequest of the art historian and collector Dame Joan Evans. But if the book was published in The Netherlands it was northern Europe and the binding tells us a bit more. The book has been sewn onto pasteboard boards using 4 parchment thongs, which are visible because there are no pastedowns. These are all features of that suggest the binding is contemporary to the publication of the book, if 1608 is correct.
The covering is brown calf, blind tooled with floral and compass motif stamps, one of which incorporates the initials RW. The initials could be those of the owner of the book, although they are more likely to have been those of the binder or the finisher (the person who decorated the binding). The initials also suggest a northern European origin, as the letter W appears in Spanish, Italian and French words usually only of foreign borrowings.
The book has a shelfmark of CABS Z7483 ALC. We have another edition (Emblemata ad quae singula, praeter concinnas insciptiones, imagines…) in the Anthony Blunt bequest. This was published in Lyon in 1626. Its shelfmark is BLUNT ALICIATI. The library has a other emblem books, including a copy of Ripa’s Iconologia, which is not an emblem book per se, but has similar elements, Jacob Cats’s Proteus ofte minne-beelden verandert in sinne-beelden, for an example of a Flemish emblem book, and an 1883 facsimile of Jean Cousin’s Liber: Fortunæ centũ emblemata, et symbola centũ, continens…, as well as a number of books about emblem books.
There are numerous emblem projects, so if you are interested:
OpenEmblem Project – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – http://media.library.uiuc.edu/projects/oebp/
Alciato’s Book of Emblems – Memorial University at St. John’s, Newfoundland – http://www.mun.ca/alciato/index.html
Glasgow University Emblem site – http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/
Alciato at Glasgow – http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/alciato/
The English Emblem Project – Penn State University – http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/home.htm
Emblem Project Utrecht – http://emblems.let.uu.nl/index.html