Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

Abstract only
Laura Moure Cecchini

The introduction explores the Italians’ love–hate relationship with the idea of the Baroque, which evoked both a shameful past in which the peninsula was divided and occupied, and a style hailed as a precursor of modernism. Although many studies have analysed the Baroque revival in the German- and Spanish-speaking contexts, the introduction argues that it is urgent to do for Italy as well, as Italian theoretical and visual reinterpretations of this style were in conversation with canonical authors on this topic. The introduction also outlines some key moments in the Baroque reception: from its dismissal in the eighteenth century to its rediscovery in nineteenth-century France and Germany.

in Baroquemania
Poetic History (In memory of William Mark Ormrod, 1957–2020)
David R. Carlson

The article presents a previously unpublished long version of an Anglo-Latin poem on Henry IV’s executions of Archbishop Richard Scrope and others at York in 1405. It is argued that the poem was not part of the well-known hagiography of Scrope that grew quickly up for funding rebuilding programmes at York Minster, also exemplified in the paper; rather, it is a poetic contribution to the contemporary secular historiography of the York Rebellion against the Lancastrian regime, implicating the archbishop in active leadership of it.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
The Testimony of Late Seventeenth-Century Library Auction Catalogues
Lawrence Rabone

In this article on book circulation, I survey twelve English library auction catalogues from the period 1676–97, in order to show how interest in the writings of the Amsterdam rabbi Menasseh ben Israel (1604–57) continued after his death. I do this by identifying the circulation of his works in Puritan personal libraries. I focus particularly on the library auction catalogues of leading Puritans, notably Lazarus Seaman, Thomas Manton, Stephen Charnock and John Owen. I also show that of all Menasseh’s books, De resurrectione mortuorum libri III was the one most frequently owned by Puritan divines. This article demonstrates how books helped to catalyse the boundary-crossing nature of the Jewish–Christian encounter in seventeenth-century England.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Trevor Russell Smith

This article reconsiders the value of ‘shorter’ chronicles written in fourteenth-century England through a case study of the most popular of these, the Cronica bona et compendiosa, which survives in more manuscripts than most of the chronicles frequently used in scholarship. It examines the text’s authorship and narrative to show what it can reveal about history writing and ideas of the past, especially as they relate to medieval readers. It demonstrates the text’s influence on contemporary writers by showing how it was slightly adapted by the important chronicler Henry Knighton, which use has so far gone unnoticed. This article also includes an appendix listing twenty-three ‘shorter’ histories and their manuscripts, nearly all of which have not hitherto been identified.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
A. D. Morrison

The letter collections of Greco-Roman antiquity dwarf in total size all of ancient drama or epic combined, but they have received far less attention than (say) the plays of Euripides or the epics of Homer or Virgil. Although classicists have long realised the crucial importance of the order and arrangement of poems into ‘poetry books’ for the reading and reception both of individual poems and the collection as a whole, the importance of order and arrangement in collections of letters and the consequences for their interpretation have long been neglected. This piece explores some of the most important Greek letter collections, such as the Letters attributed to Plato, and examines some of the key problems in studying and editing collections of such ancient letters.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
An Unpublished Manuscript Illuminated by the Master of the Haarlem Bible
Natalija Ganina and James H. Marrow

This paper analyses an unpublished Dutch-language Book of Hours in the John Rylands Library, focusing on unusual core texts the manuscript contains and distinctive features of its cycle of illumination. The miniatures and the richly painted decoration of the manuscript can be attributed to the Master of the Haarlem Bible and dated c.1450–75. The inserted full-page miniatures include iconographically noteworthy examples, and the placement of some in the volume is anomalous, suggesting that they may not have been planned when the volume was written. Our analyses of distinctive texts and images of the manuscript lead us to offer suggestions about the religious status or affiliations of its patron and to propose possible monastic settings in which it might have been used. We discuss the disparate character of its textual and illustrative components in relation to current reappraisals of the organisation of manuscript production in the Northern Netherlands.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Martin Thompson

This article proposes that Manchester, John Rylands Library, Latin MS 165 was an ‘accessory text’ produced and gifted within the Tudor court and passed down by matrilineal transmission within the influential Fortescue family. It proposes that from the text’s conception, the book of devotions participated in various projects of self-definition, including Henry VII’s campaign for the canonisation of his Lancastrian ancestor, Henry VI. By analysing visual and textual evidence, it posits that later female owners imitated the use of marginal spaces by the book’s original scribe and illuminator. Finally, it traces the book’s ownership back from its acquisition by the John Rylands Library to the viscounts Gage, in whose custody the book underwent a transformation from potentially subversive tool of female devotion to obscure historical artefact.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Living and working in a precarious art world
Author: Kuba Szreder

The book addresses – in 66 accessible entries – the global circulation of contemporary art in the moment of its fundamental crisis. By using the term ‘projectariat’, the book detours the classical Marxist concept to talk about the life and work of artistic freelancers – artists, curators, critics, academics, writers, technicians and assistants – who, in order to survive, have no choice but to make one project after another and many at the same time. The majority of projectarians do not own much beyond their own capacity to circulate. Thus, they are torn between promises of unrestrained mobility and looming poverty, their precarity only amplified by the global crisis caused by COVID-19.

The book is intended as both a critical analysis and a practical handbook that speaks to and about the vast cohort of artistic freelancers worldwide, people who are currently looking for ways of moving beyond the structural conundrum of artistic networks, where everything that is solid melts into flows – and where nothing is certain except one’s own precarity. The book’s narrative is based on a carefully crafted balance between its three constitutive strands: an uncompromising critique of the cruel economy of global networks of contemporary art; an emphatic, non-moralistic understanding of the perils of artistic labour; and systemic advocacy for new modes of collective action aimed at overcoming the structural deficiencies haunting the global circulation of contemporary art.

Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin

This chapter explores the interrelationship of knowledge, text, and artisanal identity in early modern London. The focus, unusually, is not on literary representations of craftsmen, or the archives produced by craft companies, but on materials that were independently authored by artisans. This examination of early seventeenth-century artisanal writings includes a master mason’s account book and notebook composed for his workshop and household (authored by Nicholas Stone and his sons), a manuscript treatise on metallurgy written by goldsmiths for a select civic audience, and a printed text of practical mathematics authored by a carpenter for a far-reaching commercial public. The chapter begins with these artisanal-authored texts because in their discussions of household, commercial, and civic activities, they illuminate key features of a broader epistemological culture, which will be examined in greater depth in subsequent chapters. First, the ideal master craftsman has both extensive practical experience, and an understanding of the theoretical principles underpinning his labour; experiential and propositional knowledge are intertwined. Second, artisanal expertise was a charged concept, intersecting with social and political stratifications within civic culture. A third shared theme is that workshop production and assessment of material quality are represented by artisans as collaborative processes, subject to social negotiation. Legitimate judgements about material quality and craftsmanship were made collectively, within select civic spaces, such as the assay house, or company parlour. A fourth shared element is that none of these artisanal texts were meant to be understood in isolation; they all point towards corresponding material cultures and urban spaces.

in Crafting identities
Kuba Szreder
in The ABC of the projectariat