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Posts Tagged ‘Supporters of the Old Library’

Bateman's seal

This year’s Supporters of the Old Library event “Past Impressions: seals as an insight into medieval life”, a talk by Dr Elizabeth New will take place on Saturday 24 September. The talk will look at some of Trinity Hall’s seals (including the seal of Bishop Bateman pictured here) and give an insight into the “Imprint” project. The speaker is a medieval historian, an expert on British seals and Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the Department of History & Welsh History at Aberystwyth University. She is also co-investigator on the “Imprint” project, which is a forensic and historical investigation of fingerprints on medieval seals. There will be a display of seals in the Chetwode Room before the talk.

Supporters of the Old Library are also invited to the preview of “Women in the Special Collections of Trinity Hall”, an exhibition in the Old Library to celebrate 40 years of admitting women to Trinity Hall.

Date: Saturday 24 September 2016
Time: 1:30-2:30pm Old Library Exhibition and seals in the Chetwode Room | 2:30-3:30pm Talk ‘Past Impressions: seals as an insight into medieval life’
Location: Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Cost: Free of charge | booking required

This is an open event for both Trinity Hall and non Trinity Hall members.

Booking: Online booking is available or alternatively, please contact the Alumni and Development Office on 01223 332550. Please book by Monday 18 September. Places are limited so book early.

If you have any enquiries, please contact the Alumni Office on alumnioffice@trinhall.cam.ac.uk or 01223 332550

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Professor Nigel Morgan

Professor Nigel Morgan

On Saturday 18 April the Supporters of the Old Library enjoyed a fascinating talk on “The illuminated medieval manuscripts of Trinity Hall”. We were exceptionally fortunate to have such an eminent speaker in Professor Nigel Morgan, Emeritus Honorary Professor of the History of Art at the University of Cambridge and formerly Head of Research of the Parker-on-the-Web Project on the medieval manuscripts of Corpus Christi College.

Professor Morgan selected five of our most significant illuminated medieval manuscripts, gave an introductory description and then looked at each one in greater detail with regard to production, artistic methods and provenance. Here we will take a look at the first three manuscripts.

Josephus Historia MS.4

Josephus Historia, Trinity Hall MS 4

MS 4 Flavius Josephus’s Historia Antiquitatis Iudaice

Josephus was born in Jerusalem and was a first-century historian. His History of the Jews is based on the Hebrew Bible, beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve. The inscription at the front of this wonderful 12th-century manuscript tells us that it belonged to Brother William of Monkland in Herefordshire, which was a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Conches in France. Professor Morgan compared our manuscript to other manuscripts from Herefordshire and revealed stylistic similarities in the decoration (including the decorative use of small circles) which is typical of Herefordshire production in the second quarter of the 12th century.

MS 2

Historiated initial, illuminated by the “Simon Master”. Trinity Hall, MS 2

MS 2 Ralph of Flavigny’s Commentary on Leviticus

The instructions of Leviticus contained, amongst other things, moral teachings on marriage and divorce. The fact that Henry VIII had no less than three copies is hardly surprising considering his need to find moral justification for his divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn! This manuscript dates from the second half of the 12th century and was made for Simon, Abbot of St Albans (1167-1183). The illumination of this manuscript is very distinctive and can be linked stylistically to other work by the artist known as the “Simon Master”, identifiable through the style of the figures and facial types in his historiated initials and his use of green outline for the initial frames. The “Simon Master” was probably a professional, lay illuminator who travelled as a team with a scribe as far as France and perhaps even Denmark to produce manuscripts on commission. There are four manuscripts by the “Simon Master” in Cambridge libraries, including ours.

The east end of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. Trinity Hall, MS 1

The east end of St Augustine’s Abbey. Trinity Hall, MS 1

MS1 Thomas of Elmham’s Speculum Augustinianum

This manuscript, which is a history of the Abbey of St Augustine’s in Canterbury written by Thomas of Elmham, dates to about 1410. There are two full-page images. The map of the Isle of Thanet shows the lands belonging to the Abbey and depicts the legend of the pet deer of Queen Domne Eafe which traced out the boundary of the lands of the Abbey’s manors. The map has the East at the top (instead of the North) and has recognisable place names, including Margate and Broadstairs.

Detail showing the white hart of Queen Domne Eafe. Trinity Hall MS 1

Detail showing the white hart of Queen Domne Eafe. Trinity Hall MS 1

The plan of the East end of St Augustine’s Abbey is a remarkable record of an important place of pilgrimage. It shows the High Altar with two doorways leading to the chapels behind which contain the gold and silver shrines of saints associated with the Abbey, including St Augustine of Canterbury himself. On a ledge above the high altar we can see the relics of saints and six books in the centre. The Latin inscription above tells us that these were “Books sent by Gregory to St Augustine”.

Books above the high altar. Trinity Hall MS 1

Books above the high altar. Trinity Hall MS 1

It is almost certain that one of these books was the Abbey’s great treasure, the Gospels of St Augustine (now in the Parker Library, Corpus Christi Cambridge). This manuscript therefore has the earliest known depiction of St Augustine’s Gospels!

The Gospels of St Augustine, Parker on the Web

The Gospels of St Augustine. Parker on the Web

In Part 2 we will look at our other manuscript treasures which featured in the talk.

References

Supporters of the Old Library Trinity Hall on Facebook and on the Trinity Hall website

Wikipedia for Josephus, the Book of Leviticus, the Benedictines, St Augustine of Canterbury, Thomas Elmham, and Domne Eafe.

Parker on the Web http://parkerweb.stanford.edu/parker/actions/page.do?forward=home

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Forthcoming Supporters of the Old Library Event

Professor Nigel Morgan will give a talk to Supporters of the Old Library on “The Medieval Manuscripts of Trinity Hall” in the Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall,  at 2:30pm on Saturday 18 April 2015.

After the talk there will be an opportunity to visit of the Old Library to see its treasures. There will also be an exhibition of the “Medieval Manuscripts of Trinity Hall” in the Chetwode Room, featuring some of our rarely seen manuscripts.

Mary

Trinity Hall Cambridge MS.3

This manuscript “The doctrines of the Church against the blasphemy of Wycliffe” by Thomas Netter (Trinity Hall MS.3) contains a lovely illuminated initial showing the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child. Mary’s mantle is held up by an angel and kneeling on the left is the author, Thomas Netter, who is depicted as a Carmelite in white and black robes. This fifteenth-century manuscript was written in Ghent and is among the manuscripts which will be described in Professor Morgan’s talk.

The talk is free, however spaces are limited. If you are interested in attending the talk and would like to book a place, please contact Emma Bennett

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On the day after the Royal Wedding, Trinity Hall hosted its own festivities – a celebration of benefaction. Members of the Nathanael Lloyd Society were joined by Supporters of the Old Library for a delightful afternoon.

Lunch and talk in the Graham Storey Room

Drinks in the Master’s Lodge and a convivial lunch were followed by Dr John Pollard’s fascinating talk on the history of benefaction at Trinity Hall – starting at the very beginning with our founder, Bishop Bateman, who financed the establishment of the College in 1350 and also donated a number of his own books to the College library. During the talk, Dr Pollard showed us  the Founder’s Cup (brought out of the silver vault especially for the occasion and handled carefully with white gloves). It was a real treat to see this great treasure!

Nathanael Lloyd

Nathanael Lloyd

Nathanael Lloyd was another great benefactor of Trinity Hall and his generosity left a permanent stamp on the College. Through his sponsorship, the medieval buildings of Front Court were brought up-to-date by re-facing them with ashlar blocks. Lloyd’s benefaction is responsible for the pleasing aspect of Front Court as we know it today.

Front Court - General Admission 2010

We also have a number of books in the Old Library given to us by this former Master (1710-1735) identified either by the librarian’s inscription or by Lloyd’s distinctive signature.

Not easy to read - but this really is Nathanael Lloyd's signature!

The afternoon continued with a visit to the Old Library, an exhibition of recent gifts and conservation work in the Chetwode Room and was rounded off by a relaxing tea on the terrace outside the Old Library. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the afternoon was the chance to talk to the rare books conservators, Melvin Jefferson and Edward Cheese of the Cambridge Colleges’ Conservation Consortium. They answered many questions and also brought along a variety of conservation materials for people to touch and see: from vellum and Japanese paper to native dyed Nigerian goatskin and examples of medieval binding structures.

Exhibition

Exhibition in the Chetwode Room

On the day we were particularly fortunate to receive donations of rare books from two Supporters of the Old Library. Alumnus Dr Philipp Mohr (TH 1990) brought us three superb (and by no means light) volumes of Papal Bulls all the way from his home in Germany.

Papal Bulls

Heavy tomes

They complement the volumes on Papal Councils already in our collection and are a valuable addition to our collection of canon law (historically a speciality of the College). The earlier volumes of “Magnum bullarium Romanum” were published in Lyon in 1655 and are illustrated with engraved portraits of the Popes.

Pope Clement

Impressively powerful fellow

The later volumes, published in Luxembourg between 1725 and 1730, have a pleasing view of the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome on the title page.

Rome

A breezy day in Rome

At one point in the past this set of volumes belonged to B. Vanden Boom – whom I have been unable to identify. If anyone can help do let me know!

Vanden Boom

Stencilled mark of ownership

Two years ago we were fortunate to be the recipients of a magnificent three-volume work on theology by the great lawyer Hugo Grotius, also given to us by Dr Mohr. These books joined the Old Library’s existing volumes on law by Grotius that have been in the collection for centuries. It is nice that this previous donation has been joined by a further donation of books from Dr Mohr’s library.  Some book collectors start young and Dr Mohr is no exception. He purchased his first rare book at the age of twelve!

The other donation on the day was of four books from alumnus, the Reverend Bill Cave (TH 1973). One of these was found at the bottom of a box in a Cumbrian junk shop and is now valued at over £2,000. Of these books, more anon!

Credits:

Thanks are due to Glen Sharp, Joss Poulton and Trinity Hall for the photos of Front Court, the exhibition and Nathanael Lloyd respectively.

And to Wikipedia for additonal information.

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