Money matters: the discovery of an unpublished letter by Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)

Duchcov Castle, Bohemia, 2nd  December 1791. Giacomo Casanova, the famous 18th-century Italian adventurer, has just received a letter from his nephew Carlo, a would-be entrepreneur living in Dresden. In his letter, Carlo asked his uncle for money on behalf of Sala, a Dresden merchant, who was apparently claiming the payment of a debt previously contracted …

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Porcupines and Postage Stamps

Having recently blogged about the Grylls’ Collection, imagine our delight a few weeks ago when we uncovered one of the porcupine emblems from the top of the Grylls’ crest which originally adorned the bookcases specially-designed for his books. For reasons of space, these bookcases were decommissioned in the 1960s. The porcupine emblem led to some …

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William Grylls and the Grylls Collection

The Grylls Collection of around 7000 volumes was bequeathed to Trinity College by alumnus Revd William Grylls in 1863. A typical nineteenth-century gentleman's library, it came from his home, Polsloe Park, in Exeter and is estimated to require approximately 300 linear metres of shelving. The Collection contains incunabula (books printed before 1501), a Shakespeare First …

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Florence Nightingale’s Bicentenary

Florence Nightingale was born 200 years ago today while her parents were on a Grand Tour of present-day Italy. Frances and William Nightingale named their two daughters after the cities where they were born: Florence was named after the Tuscan city and her sister was called Parthenope, the Ancient Greek name for Naples. Florence Nightingale’s …

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Shelley Editions in the Crewe Collection

In an earlier blog we discussed the discovery in the Crewe Collection of the page from a hotel visitors’ book where Shelley declared himself an atheist in the fateful summer of 1815 which led to the writing of Frankenstein. This leaf had been tipped into one of the first editions of Shelley’s poems which Richard …

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Italian Books in the Crewe Collection

The Crewe Collection comprises books in several different languages. The works in Italian, amounting to just 121 volumes, represent a tiny fraction of the total, but are nevertheless of great interest, and provide a reliable insight in the collecting habits of Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885). Although several books bear the bookplate of Richard’s son, Robert …

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Pierre Belon’s Book of Fish

This small printed book  - La nature & diuersité des poissons, avec leurs pourtraicts, representez au plus pres du naturel  -  bound in white vellum arrived at Trinity Library as part of the Crewe Collection in 2016.  It is full of illustrations of fish and animals of the sea including some fantastical creatures.  Printed in …

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Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

One of the most important items held in the Crewe Collection in Trinity College Library is a first edition of Leaves of Grass, a collection of poetry by the American writer Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Whitman’s poems are a celebration of his philosophy of life and his love of nature, rich in both sexual and sensual …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (7)

This month we are featuring the French Art Deco bookbinder Rose Adler (1892-1959) and her binding for Theocritus' Idylls in French illustrated by Henri Laurens (Kessler.a.23).  Accompanying the book, which is part of the Kessler Collection of livres d'artistes and fine bindings, are three pages of notes in Adler's hand which relate to the details …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (5)

  Jean de Gonet (1950-) is one of the best-known modern French binders.  His work represents a revolution in traditional modern binding featuring visible sewing structures and the use of unusual materials, including metals, rubber and plastic.  On display are a number of examples taken from the Kessler Collection.  As an example of an unusual …

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