An important series of letters which add detail and colour to the life and times of a significant British writer, in whom there is a resurgence of interest by academic and other researchers. Townsend Warner spent the greater part of her life in rural Dorset with her same-sex partner Valentine Ackland. They were committed communists who supported the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War (describing in one letter the ‘strange, fairy-tale hospitality’ they received at a Writers’ Congress) and are studied for their political beliefs, literary output and what was, by contemporary standards, unorthodox relationship. Warner wrote a series of novels including Lolly Willowes, Mr Fortune’s Maggot and The Corner That Held Them as well biography and poetry, some of which was co-authored with Ackland..
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The letter is part of a sequence of correspondence with Hayley, written from Cowper’s house at Weston Underwood near Olney. Cowper was then sixty. In March 1792 Hayley wrote to introduce himself. Both men had been commissioned by rival publishers to work on John Milton. Thanks to the success of The Task, published in 1785, Cowper’s poetry was well known, and so too his melancholy and his rural lifestyle. Cowper had already had several breakdowns, and was nursed back to health by his companion Mary Unwin.
In the latter part of the year 2019 the Cornwall Archives and Cornish Studies Service (Kresen Kernow) was offered, by private treaty, a number of archival items relating to the Cornish estate of the Earl of Kimberley in the Falmouth area.
The Chippendale Society is extremely grateful for the support of the Friends of the National Libraries, which has enabled it to add a group of previously unknown drawings to its collection. They were discovered in a collection of architectural drawings bearing the bookplate of Alexander Manning (1819-1903). Manning was an Irishman who arrived in Toronto in 1834. A carpenter by training, he became one of the most successful builders and property developers in the city.
A full purchase grant from FNL has secured for us a really fine copy of the 1929 first edition of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, with line engravings by David Jones. It was published by Douglas Cleverdon, who later became famous as a pioneering radio producer, responsible, most notably, for the production of Dylan Thomas’s radio play Under Milk Wood. This is a particularly appropriate acquisition, as Jones was for a long time a friend of Campion Hall, a small Jesuit College in Oxford, sending cards and small works of art, and advising on the decoration of the painted chapel. His artist’s proofs for the Ancient Mariner engravings came to us after his death, but we have never had a copy of the book until now.
A newly discovered book from the library of the Cambridge scholar and bibliophile Gabriel Harvey (1552/3–1631), extensively and engagingly annotated throughout, has recently been acquired by Cambridge University Library through the generosity of the Friends of the National Libraries. This polemical pamphlet on Catherine de Medici attracted enormous attention immediately upon its publication, its anonymous author clearly a witness in Paris to the political and religious upheavals that agitated the capital during the first half the 1570s. Modelled satirically on a saint’s life, the Discourse purports to expose the devious and perverse character of Catherine, which threatens to lead to the destruction of the French kingdom. At once an anti-Italian and misogynist assault on the Queen Mother, it represents one of the foundational texts behind the notorious image of Catherine as the Black Queen.
This exceptionally rare book of Orthodox liturgy and theology in Old Church Slavonic is an exciting addition to the collection of early Slavonic books found across collegiate Cambridge. It contains 31 chapters covering all aspects of the Orthodox tradition, including polemical treatises against heretics, Catholics, and traitors to the Orthodox faith. Much of the content is derived from the earlier writings of Zakhariia Kopystens’kyi, Archimandrite of the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery, which discuss the state of religion and belief in Orthodox Eastern Europe, the differences between the Eastern and Western churches, the significance of icons, apostolic power, churches, the role of the Patriarch, and more. The publication was sanctioned by the Orthodox Church and printed by Stefan Boniface (Stefan Vonifat’ev), a prominent protopope.
This image of Brunel, in front of the giant chains used to control the launch of the massive SS Great Eastern, was to become one of the most important photographic images of the era, and of Brunel himself - one of the towering geniuses of the Victorian age.
At the time of this photograph, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was one of the most celebrated men of his age, known for landmark engineering projects such as the Great Western Railway, numerous bridges, tunnels, stations and dockyards, and ground-breaking steamships.
In childhood, Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) and her siblings created a rich imaginary world, sparked by a set of toy soldiers given to Branwell by their father, and chronicled in tiny handwritten books. Their minute scale and miniature details such as title pages and advertisements, make these little books the most memorable and iconic items in the Museum’s collection. They also chart Charlotte Brontë’s development as a writer and reveal how many of her early themes carry over into her published novels.
In March 2020 the Britten-Pears Arts purchased the Archive of Lennox Berkeley Papers to form part of the Britten Pears Archive held at the Red House, Benjamin Britten’s home in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.