Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Provenance research queries part 2

Second on the list of mysteries that the first year or so of the Cwm Library project is what appears to be a shelf mark, or listing reference of some sort

The letters JR (or possibly FR) appear on six books, printed between 1564 and 1606, again in a variety of places in mainland Europe such as Leiden, Lyon, Paris, Antwerp and Cologne.

Interestingly, only a few examples of this inscription survive, all written in the same hand, and examples found so far are:

JR10, JR16, JR36, JR55, JR58, JR68

The sequential nature of these inscriptions suggests that initially, there may have been more books with this same inscription, hopefully some that still survive in other collections or libraries! The initials could represent an individual, or an institution, or a motto or phrase: who knows!

Any information that can be provided on these inscriptions could help with developing our understanding of the Cwm library and how it was formed in the first place

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Conference on the meaning of early modern Catholicism - call for papers

An exciting new conference is planned for 28 June - 1 July 2013, at Ushaw College, Durham.

The title of the conference is 'What is Early Modern English Catholicism?', and the plenary speakers are Eamon Duffy (Cambridge), Brad Gregory (Notre Dame), Thomas McCoog SJ (Fordham) and Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge)

Celebrating the contribution of Eamon Duffy's work to changing notions of how Early Modern English Catholicism is understood, the aim of the conference is to attract an interdisciplinary range of speakers to discuss different 'sorts' of Catholicism in evidence, and to explore whether the term covers a broad spectrum of interest groups or is more narrowly defined. As such, it will change perceptions of the subject, the conference including those who approach the material for very different angles, questioning perceived notions of what is actually meant when Early Modern Catholicism is mentioned in the English context.

The period under consideration will be in the long term, from the 16th century break with Rome , the years of uncertainty and the Marian restoration, through the periods of recusancy, persecution and the Glorious Revolution, to the Jacobite movement and the Catholic survivalism of the 18th century.

A volume of essays drawn from the conference is planned.

Proposals of about 200 words are invited for 20 minute communications on any theme falling within this broad field, and should be emailed by 15 January 2013 at the latest to

For more information, please email James Kelly, or visit the Facebook group 'What is Early Modern Catholicism?' conference

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Provenance Research Queries

Hi everyone, and a happy new year to you as well!

2013 has arrived, bristling with resolutions and good intentions, and for me, I am determined to begin the new year by trying to answer some of the mysteries of the Cwm Library that the project has turned up in the first year and a half.

First on the list is identifying this particular example of blind tooling:

This 'SI' tooling has been found on some 14 volumes in the Cwm collection at Hereford Cathedral, tooled in the centre of both the front and the back covers. All the volumes with this provenance were printed between 1603 and 1622, in Lyon, Antwerp, Cologne and Munich, and all were bound in brown calf leather in the seventeenth century. More information about each volume can be found by searching the Hereford Cathedral Library Catalogue.

It is likely that it stands for 'Societa[ti]s Iesu' (the Latin form of the Society of Jesus), but it could also represent a motto or phrase that has fallen into disuse, or is not immediately obvious. I am spending the next few weeks looking into as many other rare books collections as possible to try and establish what this could mean for the Cwm library collection - is this a standard mark for Jesuit library books? Is this unique to the Cwm collection? What does it stand for? What can be learnt about binding practices? Where might these volumes have been bound?

Any suggestions or possibilities gratefully received - watch this space!