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Revisiting a Chapter of Baretti’s Career
Francesca Savoia

This article annotates and publishes a previously overlooked letter in the Thrale-Piozzi collection of the John Rylands Library. The letter dates from the summer of 1774, and was addressed to Mrs Hester Thrale by Giuseppe Baretti, a member of Samuel Johnson’s circle, who had been teaching Italian to the Thrale eldest daughter for almost a year. The discovery of this forgotten document has offered an opportunity to reconsider the relationship that this Italian intellectual entertained with the Thrale family. The reassessment of the role Baretti played in their household, in the course of his three-year tutorage, is conducted also in light of a reappraisal of the Easy Phraseology, a collection of Italian-English dialogues created for and with his pupil, and therefore affording important insights into the writer’s domestic and educational experience at Streatham Park.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Holger Kockelmann

This article presents four pieces of textile decorated with Egyptian Book of the Dead texts and vignettes which are in the possession of the John Rylands Library, Manchester. As demonstrated, these manuscripts are forgeries made with the help of templates from the Description de l’Égypte. The article presents the evidence for this conclusion and traces the path of the hieroglyphic and hieratic texts on textiles into the library.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
An Annotated Bibliography
David Hayton

Sir Lewis Namier (1888–1960) was not only a major twentieth-century historian, a pioneer of ‘scientific history’ who gave his name to a particular form of history-writing, but an important public intellectual. He played a significant role in public affairs, as an influential adviser to the British Foreign Office during the First World War and later as an active Zionist. This article offers a new perspective on his life and work by providing, for the first time, as comprehensive a bibliography as is currently possible of his voluminous writings: books, scholarly articles and contributions to periodicals and newspapers, including many hitherto unknown, and some published anonymously. The annotation includes not only bibliographical information but explanations and brief summaries of the content. The introduction gives an account of Namier’s life and an assessment of his significance as a historian and thinker.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Mapping Dutch Identity in the First Dutch Envoy to Ceylon
Danielle Gravon

This article examines the various layered concepts of foreignness constructed by ‘t Historiael Journael, a travel account of the first Dutch envoy to Ceylon from 1602 to 1604. It focuses on a map of Ceylon included in the account and positions it in relation to other cartographic projects commissioned by leaders of the early Dutch Republic. It is argued that the Dutch conceived of religious and cartographic images as opposing types of representation and used the stylistic conventions and ideological concepts underpinning these different modes of picturing to construct divergent religious and political identities. It is also suggested that Johann Theodor De Bry’s popular India Orientalis, in which an abridged version of the travel account appears, smooths out the complex layers of political, religious and geographic difference constructed in the original text.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
An Illustration of Otherness in John Nalson’s An Impartial Collection
Helen Pierce

An Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State was published in London, in two volumes, between 1682 and 1683. Its author John Nalson was a fervent believer in the twin pillars of the monarchy and the Anglican Church. In An Impartial Collection he holds up the internecine conflict of the 1640s as an example not to be followed during the 1680s, a period of further religious and political upheaval. Nalson’s text is anything but neutral, and its perspective is neatly summarised in the engraved frontispiece which prefaces the first volume. This article examines how this illustration, depicting a weeping Britannia accosted by a two-faced clergyman and a devil, adapts and revises an established visual vocabulary of ‘otherness’, implying disruption to English lives and liberties with origins both foreign and domestic. Such polemical imagery relies on shock value and provocation, but also contributes to a sophisticated conversation between a range of pictorial sources, reshaping old material to new concerns, and raising important questions regarding the visual literacy and acuity of its viewers.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Neighbours, Strangers, Monsters
Anne Dunlop and Cordelia Warr
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Debra Higgs Strickland

Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Chronicarum (1493), better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, pictures and describes world civilisations and illustrious individuals from Creation to 1493. Although its sources and circumstances of production have been extensively explored, the cultural significance of its many woodcut images has received far less attention. This preliminary study highlights relationships between images, audience and the humanist agenda of Schedel and his milieu by examining selected representations of cultural outsiders with reference to external illustrated genres that demonstrated the centrality of Others in German Christian culture. I argue that the Chronicle’s images of ‘foreign bodies’ harnessed their audience’s established fascination with monsters, wonders, witchcraft, Jews and the Ottoman Turks to advance the German humanist goal of elevating the position of Germania on the world historical stage and in so doing, contributed to the emerging idea of a German national identity.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Clothing’s Impact on the Body in Italy and England, 1550–1650
Elizabeth Currie

Studies of early modern dress frequently focus on its connection with status and identity, overlooking clothing’s primary function, namely to protect the body and promote good health. The daily processes of dressing and undressing carried numerous considerations: for example, were vital areas of the body sufficiently covered, in the correct fabrics and colours, in order to maintain an ideal body temperature? The health benefits of clothing were countered by the many dangers it carried, such as toxic dyes, garments that were either too tight or voluminous, or harboured dirt and diseases that could infect the body. This article draws on medical treatises and health manuals printed and read in Italy and England, as well as personal correspondence and diaries, contextualised with visual evidence of the styles described. It builds on the current, wider interest in preventative medicine, humoral theory, health and the body in the early modern period by focusing in depth on the role of clothing within these debates.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Liturgical Gloves and the Construction of Public Religious Identity
Cordelia Warr

Within the Catholic Church from around the tenth century onwards, liturgical gloves could be worn on specific occasions by those of the rank of bishop and above. Using a pair of seventeenth-century gloves in the Whitworth as a basis for further exploration, this article explores the meanings ascribed to liturgical gloves and the techniques used to make them. It argues that, within the ceremony of the mass, gloves had a specific role to play in allowing bishops to function performatively in the role of Christ.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Artists’ Printed Portraits and Manuscript Biographies in Rylands English MS 60
Edward Wouk

Rylands English MS 60, compiled for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century, contains 130 printed portraits of early modern artists gathered from diverse sources and mounted in two albums: 76 portraits in the first volume, which is devoted to northern European artists, and 54 in the second volume, containing Italian and French painters. Both albums of this ‘Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters’ were initially planned to include a written biography of each artist copied from the few sources available in English at the time, but that part of the project was abandoned. This article relates English MS 60 to shifting practices of picturing art history. It examines the rise of printed artists’ portraits, tracing the divergent histories of the genre south and north of the Alps, and explores how biographical approaches to the history of art were being replaced, in the eighteenth century, by the development of illustrated texts about art.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library