Thursday, 7 February 2013

Adventures and explorations

Hello everyone - apologies for the long silence, it has been a busy few weeks, for a change... Just to prove that it is not all nose-to-the-grindstone stuff, here are some exciting things I have done recently that, luckily for me, count as work:

1. A trip to the beautiful St Davids cathedral, in the world's smallest city, St Davids, in West Wales. This was to check if any Jesuit books had made their way westwards to this cathedral library, via the Vaughan family of Gelli Aur who are closely related to the Vaughan family of Courtfield. Although I didn't discover anything new (connected to the Cwm library), it was a gorgeous day in beautiful surroundings, and the combination of old books and sea views (in separate places, don't worry!) was pure heaven for me! The cathedral itself is lovely, particularly with the newly restored shrine of St David, and well worth a visit if you are ever in West Wales!

2. Provenance masterclass with David Pearson, in Cambridge University Library. This was an AMAZING opportunity to speak to a world-renowned expert on provenance history and queries, and to learn lots of useful things, such as dating anonymous bookplates and identifying different types of marginalia. David Pearson is the author of the brilliant 'Books as History' (pictured), a book designed as an introduction to the field of book history, and to the many many avenues of exploration there are to consider when analysing a book, or a library, or a collection of printed works. He was very willing to answer questions (and to sign my copy of 'Books as History'!), and didn't run screaming from the room when faced with a barrage of my questions about the Cwm collection and Jesuit provenance! I also enjoyed the creative approach to bollards adopted by the library (pictured)

3. The British Library, to check out a book with beautiful binding and some 17th century manuscripts from Hereford that had ended up there over time. A lovely building with room upon room of books, manuscripts, music and random sculptures dotted about the place (including a printing press!), plus an amazing shop - need I say more? No photographs allowed sadly, but you get the general idea :-)

4. 'Unlocking the Private Library' conference in Winchester College. A separate post to come on this soon, as there is lots to be said!

5. The National Archives in Kew, London. The aim of this trip was to scour the Privy Council minutes during the Popish Plot for any references to the Cwm, Hereford and the Cwm library. A very fruitful visit (more in due course on this) plus my visit coincided with the Italy-Wales rugby match, so the combination of rugby and 17th century records was another form of heaven for me (pictured)

Lots more trips and updates to come, plus my thoughts on writing the thesis so far, which has proved an entirely different kettle of fish to researching it! Watch this space...

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