Handwritten note in black ink in brown paper.

“It doesn’t matter what you think of me. I know you love me-” – Erskine Childers’ goodbye

“It doesn’t matter what you think of me, I know you love me.” So wrote Erskine Childers to his friend Ivor Lloyd-Jones on 24th November 1922, hours or even minutes before he faced a firing squad. Robert Erskine Childers was executed at Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin, in the recently formed Irish Free State. Before his …

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Title in gold lettering

Last Poems after a Century

  Nicolas Bell considers a new edition of A. E. Housman’s second poetry collection 2022 is a year of literary centenaries: on 2 February 1922 Joyce’s Ulysses first went on sale at Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and the October issue of the magazine Criterion included another modernist masterpiece, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. …

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Cambridge (and Oxford) Blues in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries

A guest blog by Richard Gameson and Andrew Beeby The sensational discovery of Egyptian blue in Trinity’s magnificent early tenth-century copy of Hrabanus Maurus’s De laudibus sanctae Crucis (B.16.3) was reported in earlier blog, and the manuscript remains exceptional for the quantity of this extremely rare pigment that was deployed in its artwork. On-going work …

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Prior Wibert’s Waterworks Plan

A guest blog by Professor Paul Bennett, Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust from 1984 to 2020. In the mid-1160s, when Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury, a map was drawn of the Cathedral and its surrounding Benedictine Priory buildings to show a newly built aqueduct and its structures within and outside the city walls. This …

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Cake, Caraway and Commemoration

A commonplace book typically includes notes and passages from literature compiled as work of reference. Manuscript R.2.45 is an example of this kind of memoranda and was probably put together by the printer William Bowyer (1699–1777) sometime in the 1750s. This is a very personal miscellany including many ‘stories’, description of the parts of a …

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Conservation of a Pocket Bible

Conservator Edward Cheese has recently completed the repair of a medieval pocket Bible (B.10.21) in a project which, owing to its complexity and the Covid lockdown, took over three years to complete. In this blog he describes the meticulous conservation process. Prior to conservation the manuscript was in an extremely fragile state: the opening leaves …

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