Money matters: the discovery of an unpublished letter by Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)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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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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From the Crewe Collection: Goya Etchings

Among the greatest treasures in the Crewe Collection are three volumes of etchings by Francisco Goya (1746-1823), currently on display in the Library for the first time. It is likely that Richard Monckton Milnes acquired these in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. These volumes were accepted in lieu of inheritance Tax by H M Government …

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From the Crewe Collection: Books belonging to Robert Southey

The Crewe collection contains four items belonging to the British poet, Robert Southey, who was born in in Bristol in 1774 and died in London in 1843.  He lived much of his life in Keswick where he supported, in addition to his own family, the wife of Coleridge and her three children after the poet …

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From the Crewe Collection: Jonas Hanway and his bookbindings

Crewe 80.20 is a beautiful example of a ‘Hanway binding’, the name given to bindings specially commissioned by Jonas Hanway, an 18th century philanthropist.  Often bound in red morocco (goatskin) and decorated with distinctive tooling, these books were designed to catch the eye and to help circulate ideas and principles that were close to Hanway’s …

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From the Crewe Collection: Wilton Garden – ‘The greatest of English Renaissance gardens’

In the early 1630s Isaac de Caus created at Wilton near Salisbury a formal garden for the sophisticated, learned and hugely wealthy Philip Herbert, fourth earl of Pembroke. De Caus, a French Huguenot exile specialised in the design and construction of grottoes and waterworks and Lord Pembroke had been part of the embassy sent to …

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