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.
Chapter 7 engages with the ideas coming out of the 1970s women’s movement and
their influence on the identities of women religious. Through the Nun in the
World and feminist theologians, nuns and sisters experienced a more thorough
grounding in theology that acknowledged their womanhood and sexuality and
linked it to a deeper understanding of their faith. They questioned the
‘charged symbols’ of religious life. Enclosed nuns opened their
non-cloistered spaces more readily, and some began to see the grille that
separated them from the world as an unnecessary impediment to their
ministry. The other loaded symbol of religious life, the religious habit,
was being modified and in some communities was seen as a barrier to new
ministries. For some, these unchanging symbols of religious life signified
tradition, security and the authenticity of religious life. For others, the
need for modernity, to meet the modern world in different ways offered a
‘renewed’ way to be an authentic religious. Women religious, like feminists,
claimed for themselves the right to define their own place in both secular
society and the Catholic world. This chapter demonstrates that both
religious and secular ideas shaped these women’s awareness of their
Chapter 1 provides a snapshot of the Catholic Church engaging with the modern
world in the 1940s and 1950s. It examines both the global and the national
Church and is the backstory to the remaining chapters, asserting a
significant prehistory to the Second Vatican Council. It surveys young
women’s place in the modern world of the 1940s and 1950s, considering their
opportunities and their decision to enter religious life through an analysis
of the ‘vocation story’. It links the specificities of their life histories
to the growing global, national and institutional awareness that fewer women
were saying ‘yes’ to religious life. The 1950s was often remembered as a
golden age ‘when novitiates were bursting’. The archives suggest a different
story that features the paucity of women crossing the monastic threshold.
This phenomenon was addressed in various ways. Pope Pius XII’s apostolic
constitution Sponsa Christi (1950) and subsequent international congresses
advocated a renewal of religious life. Modern approaches were employed to
develop a more sophisticated means of vocation promotion that was direct,
public-facing and professional. The new religious discourse on the ‘modern
world’ acknowledged that religious life must modernise to become more
relevant and attractive to Catholic women.
Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age examines the changes in religious life
for women religious in Britain from 1945 to 1990 identifying how community and
individual lives were altered. This work is grounded in three core premises:
women religious were influenced by and participated in the wider social
movements of the long 1960s; women’s religious institutes were transnational
entities and part of a larger global happening; and the struggles of renewal
were linked to competing and contradictory ideas of collective, institutional
identities. The work pivots on the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), but
considers pre and post Vatican II social, cultural and religious events and
social movements of the 1960s as influencers in these changes. It interrogates
‘lived experience’ by examining the day-to-day lives of women religious. Though
rooted in the experiences of women religious in Britain, the book probes the
relationships and interconnectivities between women religious within and across
national divides as they move from institutions embedded in uniformity to the
acceptance of cultural plurality. It also engages with the histories of the
social movements of the long 1960s. For too long, religion has been relegated to
its own silo, unlinked to the ‘radical sixties’ and depicted as ultimately
obstructionist to its social movements. To contest this, female religious life
is examined as a microcosm of change in the Catholic Church pointing to the ‘new
thinking and freer lifestyles’ that allowed for the questioning of institutional
The Conclusion encapsulates the changes enacted from 1945 to 1990,
considering both the voices heard and the voices not heard in this study,
and acknowledging the pain of change. It returns to the three core premises
– religious life as a social movement influenced by secular social
movements; transnational influences; and changing identities – setting these
in the more international frame of religious life, identifying what made
British religious life distinctive. In addressing the global nature of these
changes, it reminds us of the internationality of religious life and the
transnational encounters that informed women’s understanding of religious
change. It then links this historical study with the sustained complexity of
contemporary religious life: a time of continued diminishment and
innovations, revelations of abuse and new religious movements.