Flights of fancy

Just a few days into our project to catalogue the eighteenth-century books in the Old Library and interesting things are coming to light already! As you might expect, considering the College’s foundation for the study of law, the first volumes we have catalogued are law books. Dry as dust you might think …

Perhaps a reader of “An institute of the laws of England” by Thomas Wood, London, 1745, thought so too!  In any event, he enlivened the back cover of the book by drawing a calligraphic bird in pen and ink (image below). The words “Trin. Aul. Bib.” adorn the body of this elegant bird and pen flourishes form its outstretched wings.

Detail of pen and ink drawing on back cover

Another reader (with rather less skill) passed a few idle moments drawing some caricatures on the reverse of the front fly-leaf of “A compleat collection of state-tryals”, London, 1719. Could these possibly be attempts a likeness of a lecturer or fellow scholar at Trinity Hall in the early eighteenth century?

Caricatures in pencil

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