CABS book of the month – July

Coinciding with the current London exhibition – Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library (17 May-23 July 2010) – July’s CABS book-of-the-month is a full-colour fascimile of the Lambeth Apocalypse (manuscript 209 in Lambeth Palace Library).

The Lambeth Apocalypse is a richly-illustrated copy of the text of the Revelation of St John, accompanied by extracts from the commentary of Berengaudus (9th century) on the allegory.

Apocalypses were amongst the most popular manuscripts used by the clergy and laity throughout the Middle-Ages. The Lambeth Apocalypse is one of about 20 apocalypse manuscripts still in existence that were produced in England in the 13th and 14th centuries.

It is believed to have been produced some time in the latter half of the 13th century and though its provenance is debated, one theory is that it was created under the patronage of Lady Eleanor De Quincy, Countess of Winchester, (c.1230 and 1274), presumed to be the kneeling figure beside the Virgin in one of the full-page images in the manuscript.

For a while the Lambeth Apocalypse was in the hands of the Elizabethan book collector, John, Lord Lumley (1534-1609). After his death, his book collection became part of the Royal Library, (which eventually formed the nucleus of the British Library), and it then passed on to become part of the founding collection of the Lambeth Palace Library.

The full-colour facsimile, in our CABS collection, was published in 1990 with an accompanying critical commentary by Nigel Morgan in a limited edition of 550 copies (which can be found on the open shelves at D2897.LAM MOR). Photographs of many of the images from the Apocalypse can also be found in the Conway Library.

As explained in the foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, Robert Runcie, interest in the Lambeth Apocalypse also threatened its preservation. To preserve the original manuscript and to make it available to a wider audience, the Lambeth Librarian, Dr. E. G. W. Bill, decided to have the facsimile made.

If you wish to see the original manuscript along with a range of other archives and manuscripts from Lambeth Palace Library, information on the exhibition can be found here:

Boryana Bojkova
Graduate Trainee

Hey big spender new expensive books in the library

In the last month or so the Book Library has acquired two significant complete sets of correspondence.

The first is van Gogh’s. Many of us will have enjoyed the recent exhibition at the RA, despite the crushed toes and strained eyes. We now have a more leisurely opportunity to peruse the 6
volumes that make up the complete letters, including reproductions of the fabulous illustrations.

Shelfmark: D653.GOG GOG

This week we have also acquired the complete correspondence of Dante Gabriele Rossetti. Well, almost complete: we are promised a final volume + index in the autumn. So far it stretches to 8 volumes. No pretty pictures this time but it is a work of great scholarship bringing order out of chaos. The history of its publication (spanning almost a decade) was fraught; even more challenging was the process of collating and editing (the original editor did not live to see it completed).

Rosetti’s correspondence currently in cataloguing

Last year saw the arrival in the Library of a facsimile of Leonardo’s “Leicester Codex”, previously known as the Hammer Codex. The original was bought by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30.8mn making it the most expensive book ever sold. Our limited edition facsimile wasn’t quite that pricey but it does have to reside in CABS – so you’ll have to order it up. Have a look though, it’s magnificent.

A couple of years ago, we changed our policy on catalogues raisonnés. We now actively seek to buy them as they come trickling out. Here are some of the artists (some quite obscure, some less so) whose cat rais we have bought in the last year: Munch, Renoir, Puvis de Chavannes, Zurbaran, Caravaggio, Auerbach, Ensor, Rockwell, Ribera, von Motesicky, Merano, Crotti, Vallotton, Baldassari, Bacciccio, Vaccaro.

Munch’s complete paintings. Shelfmark: D773.MUN WOL

Peter Wood
Acquisitions Librarian