a New Proof State of the Battle of the Romans and the Sabines
The John Rylands Library’s recently rediscovered Spencer Album 8050 contains a proof state of the Battle of the Romans and the Sabines, an engraving pivotal in the short-lived but ambitious collaboration between Jacopo Caraglio (1500–65) and Rosso Fiorentino (1495–1540) in Rome. This proof impression was first printed in black ink, and then densely covered with hand-drawn ink. A comparison between the new proof state and previously identified states of the engraving using a novel technical approach involving long-wave infrared light to isolate the printed lines optically indicates that the Spencer proof state precedes any other known state of the engraving. The use of penwork and printing on this early proof and subsequent proof states demonstrates how Caraglio and Rosso saw drawing and printing as intimately connected, iterative steps in the print’s production.
This article offers a survey of the recently discovered scrapbooks collated over a number of decades by the Yorkshirewoman Dorothy Richardson (1748–1819). The large set of thirty-five volumes presents an important collection of press cuttings relating to the history and consequences of the French Revolution, and also contains ‘historical and miscellaneous’ material of a more eclectic nature. I argue that the texts significantly improve our understanding of Dorothy Richardson’s position as a reader, writer and researcher working in the North of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, her set of albums raises important questions about the relationship between commonplacing and scrapbooking practices, and the capacity of such textual curatorship to function as a form of both political engagement and autobiographical expression.
This article reveals that the original owner of a first edition copy of John Calvin’s Commentarii in Isaiam Prophetam (Geneva, Ioannis Crispini, 1551) in the collection of the John Rylands Library (Unitarian Printed Q.1904) was not the unknown David Forrest of Carluke, Lanarkshire as asserted and recorded by Alexander Gordon, Principal of the Unitarian Home Missionary College, Manchester, from whom the library acquired the book, but was the recognised Scottish Reformer and compatriot of John Knox, David Forrest of Haddington. An investigation into Forrest’s background, gleaned mainly from contemporary documents, provides biographical details and an insight into the role this reformer played during the Scottish Reformation and demonstrates that Forrest’s ownership of the Calvin Commentary is historically noteworthy. A comparison of Forrest’s signature in the book with one made in a document during his position as General of the Scottish Mint proves his ownership beyond doubt.
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.
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.
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.
Mapping Dutch Identity in the First Dutch Envoy to Ceylon
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.
An Illustration of Otherness in John Nalson’s An Impartial Collection
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.
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.