Christopher Columbus and the Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books

A new book by Edward Wilson-Lee, Fellow of our neighbouring Sidney Sussex College and a regular reader in the Wren Library, tells the scarcely believable – and wholly true – story of Christopher Columbus’s bastard son Hernando, who sought to equal and surpass his father’s achievements by creating a universal library. Here we take a …

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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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From the Crewe Collection: Works by Richard Francis Burton

The explorer Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was best known for his travels in Africa, Asia and the Americas.  His observations, which he recorded in numerous books and articles, provided a remarkable insight into the lives and habits of the people he encountered. There are five works by Burton in the Crewe collection, of which two …

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Spring Vegetables

A brief account of the Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy was written in 1614 by Giacomo Castelvetro (1546-1616) and dedicated to Lucy, Countess of Bedford. Trinity holds three manuscript versions, now digitised, and a copy of the gorgeous 1989 translation, The fruit, herbs & vegetables of Italy: an offering to Lucy, Countess of Bedford …

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Dürer and perspective

Albrecht Dürer (b. Nuremberg, 21 May 1471; d. Nuremberg, 6 April 1528) Painter, draughtsman, printmaker and writer. Now considered by many scholars the greatest of all German artists, he not only executed paintings and drawings of the highest quality but also made a major contribution to the development of printmaking, especially engraving, and to the …

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The instructive picture book; or, Lessons from the vegetable world

Charlotte M. Yonge, Edinburgh, 1857 (Q.13.32) The text of this educational book on botany is by Charlotte M. Yonge (1823-1901), better known as a novelist.  She had a strongly religious upbringing and spent most of her life in her native village of Otterbourne, near Winchester.  The greater part of the book consists of 31 hand-coloured …

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Karl Marx Inscription

Capital, Volume I (1867) is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy.  The first of three volumes of Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Capital: Critique of Political Economy) was published on 14 September 1867, dedicated to Wilhelm Wolff, a close friend, and was the sole volume published in Karl Marx's lifetime.  This copy …

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