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Author: Hugo Williams
Item date: 1942ff
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £5,000
Item cost: £30,000
Institution: Eton College Library
Town/City: Eton
County: Berkshire

Hugo Williams’ archive consists of the manuscripts of all his writing in poetry and prose: twelve volumes of poetry, two travel books and his journalism for the ‘Freelance’ column in The Times Literary Supplement. What makes it so special is its completeness. Williams, who has never used a computer, has kept all his working papers, from his schooldays at Eton to the present day. Williams has been called ‘Eton’s most important poet since Shelley’, and so it is particularly pleasing that we have been able to add his archive to the Library, where it will take its place beside manuscripts of Shelley, Thomas Gray, Winthrop Mackworth Praed and A. C. Swinburne. The archive is available to visiting scholars, interested members of the public and is also used in Eton's outreach programme.

Item date: 1940s-1950s
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £1,155
Item cost: £7,700
Institution: Edinburgh University Library
Town/City: Edinburgh

The Jabberwock was a literary journal at the University of Edinburgh in the 1940s and 1950s, at a key moment in the Scottish literary renaissance. This collection, compiled by the editor Ian Holroyd, includes manuscript work submitted by numerous literary figures and important correspondence. The collection has national significance in terms of modern Scottish literary manuscripts and is of great importance for the University of Edinburgh.

Author: Samuel Crouch
Item date: 1683-4
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £491
Item cost: £1,875
Institution: East Sussex Record Office
Town/City: Lewes
County: East Sussex

This survey, illustrated with maps, was made for Thomas Lennard, Lord Dacre, by Samuel Crouch. The tenements are described on the left-hand pages and on the facing pages are coloured maps which show buildings, acreages, some fieldnames, the names of neighbouring owners and roads. The descriptions give details of buildings, tenure, acreage, boundaries etc and references to the court rolls, many of which no longer survive. All entries are annotated with the names of subsequent owners to 1742, and (in pencil) to circa 1800.

Author: Albertus Magnus
Item date: 24 May 1488
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £7,500
Item cost: £15,000
Institution: Cambridge University Library
Town/City: Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire

A rare first edition of Albertus Magnus’ De meteoris, printed in Venice by Reynaldus de Novimagio, 24 May 1488, a folio of 98 leaves with seven woodcut diagrams. Albertus Magnus (circa 1200–1280) played a major role in introducing Aristotelian natural philosophy to the universities during the Middle Ages, and in this work, a commentary on Aristotle’s Meterologica, Albertus discusses the various phenomena produced by moist and dry exhalations from the earth, such as meteors, winds, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes

Item date: c1630
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: 2,000
Item cost: 5,000
Institution: British Museum
Town/City: London

The silver seal-die of the Providence Island Company, an English chartered company founded in 1630 to establish a colony on Providence Islands (Nicaragua). The seal was made in London around 1630. The circular face is engraved with a device of three islands in waves with a motto from Isaiah 42.4, LEGEM EIUS INSULAE EXPECTABUNT [the islands shall wait for his law], suggesting that a Christian mission will justify plantation. The citation links to the Stuart `Unite’ coinage, first introduced by James VI and I--and continued under Charles I--in its justification of colonization, nation-building and empire.

Item date: 1523
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £5,000
Item cost: £242,500
Institution: British Library
Town/City: London

This manuscript contains the earliest known translation into English of any work by the great humanist scholar and reformer, Desiderius Erasmus (d.1536). The volume, which had been the subject of a temporary export bar, is the only known manuscript of a contemporary English translation of Erasmus’s most popular work, the Enchiridion militis Christiani, or ‘Handbook of the Christian soldier’. It is possible that this is the 'lost' translation of the work made by William Tyndale.

Author: Oliver Messel
Item date: 1904-1978
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £5,000
Item cost: £100,000
Institution: University of Bristol, Theatre Collection
Town/City: Bristol
County: Avon

Oliver Messel (1904-1978) was an English artist and one of the foremost stage designers of the 20th century. He was born into a creative family of wealthy bankers and the family home, Nymans, was a great influence throughout his life. Messel left Eton early to study at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he became friends with Rex Whistler. His career as a world-renowned theatre designer continued into the 1970s, whilst his reputation also flourished in film, opera, ballet, interior décor and textile design. At the core of the archive are 38 boxes of correspondence from actors and artists, theatre and film directors, society figures and royalty. Messel was a member of the ‘Bright Young Things’ and developed friendships with many of the famous names of the day, including Cecil Beaton, Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud and Stephen Tennant. The Archive also contains thousands of photographs.

Author: John Locke
Item date: 1699
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £1,003
Item cost: £2,006
Institution: Bodleian Library
Town/City: Oxford
County: Oxfordshire

This is an ‘office copy’ of the letter, written by one of Locke’s amanuenses, Locke being careful to keep a record of both sides of his correspondence. Locke's correspondent was Thomas Molyneux (1661-1733), one of the most prominent doctors in Ireland, and a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Dublin Philosophical Society, whom Locke had known since they met in Leiden in 1684. The letter laments the death of Molyneux’s brother, William Molyneux (1656-98), a natural philosopher who, as founder of the Dublin Philosophical Society, is regarded as the founder of modern science in Ireland.

Item date: 15th century
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £10,000
Item cost: £62,889
Institution: Bodleian Library
Town/City: Oxford
County: Oxfordshire

This 15th-century Latin manuscript Psalter (with some added German vernacular prayers) from the convent of Medingen is a new addition to the corpus of surviving manuscripts from the Cistercian convent of Medingen in Lower Saxony, and joins the two examples (an Easter prayer book and a Manual for the Provost) already in the Bodleian.

Author: Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Item date: 1892-1898
Date acquired: 2015
Grant Value: £10,000
Item cost: £200,000
Institution: Ashmolean Museum
Town/City: Oxford
County: Oxfordshire

This important record of the Pre-Raphaelite artists has remained with May Gaskell’s descendants, consists of more than 200 letters dating from 1892 up to the year of Burne-Jones’s death: three albums of intimate letters from the artist to Mrs Gaskell; two albums of illustrated letters to Mrs Gaskell and her daughter, Daphne; and other ephemera such as the artist’s brushes which he used when painting the portrait of Amy Gaskell. The letters are one of the most endearing records of all Burne-Jones’s friendships. They recount both his innermost thoughts and feelings and feature a cast of humorous characters, fictitious and real.