This medieval manuscript written in Scotland and used by the monastic community of Sweetheart Abbey, a few miles south of Dumfries, in the later Middle Ages. Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in circa 1273 by Dervorgilla de Balliol, mother of the Scottish king John Balliol. The first leaf of the manuscript bears a large inscription in a medieval hand: 'Liber sanctae Mariae de dulci corde [a book of St. Mary of Sweetheart]'. Only four other manuscripts survive from the library of this monastery, bearing similar inscriptions, but none of these volumes was apparently written in Scotland.
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The Muriel Spark archive is one of the largest held by the National Library of Scotland. Dame Muriel held onto almost everything on paper, so readers and researchers to delve into the collection, mining its abundant riches for new perspectives and a deeper understanding of one of Scotland's literary greats. This final tranche of the archive includes an unpublished poem, written at the age of 11 or 12; an early, unpublished story; the typescript of a radio play written in Africa; drafts and typescripts of essays; correspondence; annotated books from Dame Muriel’s library, together with the extensive and heavily annotated drafts and corrections to Martin Stannard’s biography.
This is Magdalen College Library's most significant purchase in recent decades, a volume containing all the major works of the English lutenist and composer John Dowland (1563?–1626). The volume was originally owned by Sir Charles Somerset (1587/8–1665), music collector, friend of Prince Henry Frederick (1594 –1612) and alumnus of Magdalen College. His close connections to the College give additional lustre to this acquisition. The acquistion was made possible thanks to a substantial additional grant awarded by the B H Breslauer Foundation.
Thomas Thirlby (circa 1500-1570) was the one of the last generation of Tudor bishops who were also diplomats in the service of the state. As bishop, successively, of Westminster, Norwich and Ely, Thirlby represented Henry VIII at the court of the Emperor Charles V, negotiated with the Scots on behalf of Edward VI and led an embassy to Rome following on from the accession of Mary I. The purpose of this mission, in 1555, was to gain papal confirmation for Cardinal Pole’s plans to reunite the English church with Rome. Their three months on the road saw the death not only of Pope Julius III, but also of his successor, Pope Marcellus II. By the time Thirlby arrived, he found instead the newly elected and pro-French Pope Paul IV. In spite of this, the negotiations were completed successfully.
One of only twelve manuscript missals for York use known to survive, and the only one left in private hands. It was written and illuminated in the early 15th century, although where it was actually made remains to be established. The volume bears interesting annotations and evidence of its use in the 15th and 16th centuries in the parish church of All Hallows, Broughton (near Preston, Lancashire), including some textual changes made in the course of the Reformation. It was rediscovered in Pleasington Hall, Lancashire, in the 1930s. It survives in its original (first) binding of tawed leather over wooden boards. Textually, it lacks its Canon miniature and a few leaves at the end, but is otherwise complete. It retains its York calendar, a crucial feature.
Rupert Brooke died on the eve of the battle of Gallipoli. His personal papers were divided between his mother and his friend Sir Edward Marsh. In 1930 Mrs Brooke bequeathed hers to his old Cambridge college, King’s College. Marsh’s papers about Brooke passed to his executor, who sold them to John Schroder, who continued to collect Rupert Brooke books and papers all his life. In acquiring the Schroder Collection, King’s College, Cambridge, has created single Brooke archive from the two largest and most significant collections.
Queen Mab, Shelley’s first major published poem, is part fairy tale, part political treatise, and totally enthralling. This is a first (and extremely rare) edition of this work, printed for Thomas Hookham in 1813. It is one of just seventy to have been distributed in a so-called ‘mutilated’ state and was handled by Shelley himself, who removed the politically radical work’s title page and dedication so as to conceal his identity and save himself from likely prosecution.
Keats-Shelley House is owned by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Assocation, which is a UK registered charity, hence its eilgibility for FNL grants.
One of the sets of the presentation issue of the official descriptive and illustrated catalogue of The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, from 1851, had become available on the market. It contains 154 mounted calotype photographs printed by Nicolaas Henneman (1813-1898), William Henry Fox Talbot’s assistant, from albumenized glass plate negatives and calotype paper negatives by Claude Marie Ferrier (1811-1889) and Hugh Owen (1808-1897).
A rare and poignant autograph letter written by Austen's sister, Cassandra, in the days following the author's death. The letter is addressed to Fanny Knight, the eldest child of Cassandra’s brother Edward. It documents the anguish faced by Cassandra as she returned to Chawton from Winchester, where she had for two months been nursing her dying sister, and on its second page describes the modest funeral of Jane Austen that had taken place a few days previously. As well as being written in Chawton, in the home Jane and Cassandra shared for eight years, Cassandra’s closing comments refer to the types of memorial jewellery now in the Museum’s collection.
Letter from President of the Royal Society, Joseph Banks to Astronomer William Herschel, praising the efficiency of his telescopes and offering him a pair of his old shoes. The letter is an important document for any museum or institution with an interest in William Herschel, as it represents one of the earliest pieces of correspondence between the eminent botanist and the amateur astronomer.