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Treasures from UCL

Treasures from UCL OPEN ACCESS

Gillian Furlong
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: UCL Press
Pages: 192
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1g69xrh
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  • Book Info
    Treasures from UCL
    Book Description:

    UCL has one of the foremost university Special Collections in the UK. It is a treasure trove of national and international importance, comprising over a million items dating from the 4th century ad to the present day.Treasures from UCLdraws together detailed descriptions and images of 70 of the most prized items. Between the magnificent illuminated Latin Bible of the 13th century and the personal items of one of the 20th century's greatest writers, George Orwell, the many highlights of this remarkable collection will delight and intrigue anyone who picks up this book.

    eISBN: 978-1-910634-36-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History
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  1. Foreword (pp. 11-11)
    Michael Arthur

    The holdings in UCL Special Collections form one of the hidden treasures of UCL (University College London). These materials, their content and their provenance have a great deal to say about the history of the university. UCL is the third oldest university in England after Oxford and Cambridge. As such the collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives which UCL holds have a lot to tell us about the way modern universities and their syllabi developed from the beginning of the nineteenth century. The history of education in Bloomsbury has been brilliantly captured by Professor Rosemary Ashton in her book...

  2. Gillian Furlong

    Founded in 1826, as the original University of London, UCL has acquired magnificent collections of manuscripts, rare books and archives dating back to the 4th century AD. These collections form an important international resource for teaching, learning and research.

    Special Collections in UCL Library Services reflect not only the traditions and history of the institution. They also reveal the changing interests and innovations of its teaching and research, both areas for which UCL is renowned. Many of the most important early collections were donated or bequeathed by ex-students or professors, a practice that continues into the present digital age. The...

  3. This handsome manuscript volume containing books of the Bible in Latin is remarkable for two main reasons. Firstly, it is an outstanding example of well-preserved medieval painted edge decoration. It is highly unusual for coloured ornate decoration to be so clearly defined in an item of this age. Secondly, the story of what happened to the original binding is a fascinating tale in itself, and the reason why the book is exceptional and unique to UCL. The volume is now re-bound in half-red goatskin, with oak boards and a large ornate brass clasp. A delicate floral design is stamped on...

  4. Castilian Haggadah

    Originating in Spain, this Haggadah is an exquisitely decorated manuscript volume in ink, gouache, silver and gold leaf on parchment. In Jewish homes it is central to the rituals enacted to commemorate the Israelite redemption from Egypt in biblical times. A compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns and rabbinic literature, the Haggadah was probably assembled sometime during the Second Temple period in Palestine (between 538 BCE and 70 CE) and was meant to be read during the Passover Seder, a ritual feast.

    Illuminations represent biblical scenes as well as scenes from rabbinic legends. Many illuminated Haggadot, most of which were...

  5. This tiny, delicate manuscript comprises fragments of two different texts: aBreviarium, or breviary (fols. 1–18), written for Frandscan use and including hagiographical texts, and aMissale,or missal (fols. 19–27). A member of the clergy or a devout lay person would have been the proud owner of this very personal and pleasurableLectionarium,or reader, from which he or she could read scripture extracts on appointed saints’ days, holy days and festivals.

    The Latin text is written in ink by three different hands. All is in minute, neat Gothic minuscule on very fine vellum, rubricated throughout with...

  6. Fredertck Bearman

    An account of Christ’s Passion, in two hands, this uses a Gothic cursive script, with red ornamented initial letters throughout. This is a fine example of a late medieval ‘chemise’ binding that has survived the destruction of libraries and books during the Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church which swept across Europe in the early 16th century.

    As a result of this political and religious turmoil most chemise bindings, which quickly become part of the symbolism of the old Catholic Church, were either deliberately damaged or had their chemise coverings removed so the books could be re-bound. The chemise style...

  7. Rabanus Maurus

    This early edition of theDe Sermonum proprietateof Rabanus Maurus is the oldest printed book owned by UCL. It is itself a fine example of a very important stage in the history of early printing. Roman script, eventually the standard throughout Europe, was not universally accepted at first (very few books were in this form of script before 1480), representing as it did the move away from the ornate ‘medieval’ styles to embrace the new ‘humanist’ form. Leaders of this movement, emanating from Italy, saw it as giving a more classical appearance to printed text. Adolf Rusch, based in...

  8. David D’Avray

    ‘Ricardus Dux Eboracensis desponsavit filiam ... domini Westmorland’ (‘Richard Duke of York married the daughter ... of the lord of Westmoreland’).

    Ms. Angl. 3 belongs to a genre of genealogical chronicles well established in the later Middle Ages. This roll is potentially a most valuable source for 15th-century attitudes to Britain’s past, tracing the lineage of England’s Plantaganet rulers right back to Adam himself. It is also a visually attractive object.

    The illustration shown appears at the end of the roll. Prominent in it is the second and largest roundel, to the left, which features a crown top and the...

  9. This exquisite illuminated devotional text, beginning with theOfficium Beatae Mariae Virginis,would have been a privately treasured possession when it was first created. The fore-edges of the leaves are embellished with gilt. Written in a humanistic script, with beautifully decorated initials in blue and red, the text would have been in daily use by its owner. Eighteen of the initials have illuminated miniatures, in red, blue and gold on patterned coloured backgrounds. The scribe is known to be a Venetian, Marcus de Cribellariis or Marcus de Vincenze. The extraordinary feature of this tiny Book of Hours, however, is the...

  10. Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer

    Also known asHexen hammer,orThe Hammer of Witches,this work has been called ‘the most important and most sinister work on demonology ever written’. A handbook for witchfinders, it was first printed in 1486 and went through 13 editions before 1520. The work owed its authority to several factors, not least the scholastic reputation of its authors, both Dominicans: Jakob Sprenger (1436-95), Dean of Cologne University, and Prior Heinrich Kramer (c.1430-1505). It relied heavily on Innocent VIII’s Papal Bull of 1484, which declared disbelief in witchcraft to be heresy.

    The Library also holds a 1615 edition of...

  11. John Gower

    This charming manuscript fragment, the earliest in the Library written in English, belonged to the baronet, antiquary and bibliophile Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872). His collection includedc.60,000 manuscripts of various kinds-among them some relating to the administration of Swiss towns, manuscripts which UCL also holds. Many manuscripts were sold after Sir Thomas’s death, some to the German government, and were dispersed to several libraries.

    In this verse piece, part of Book V, summaries in Latin are inserted in the same script, a neat Gothic minuscule. The parchment is thick and well-preserved, and the mauve-decorated gold leaf of the...

  12. Andrew Chertsey

    Guides to the good Christian life, and especially the good Christian death, were extremely popular in the late Middle Ages. This very handsome copy of a typical handbook of the age, which starts withHere foloweth a right devoute medytacyon of the soule the which thynketh on his departynge from the body for to have socours,is lavishly illustrated with fine woodcuts. It is also the earliest English printed book in the Library. An English translation by Andrew Chertsey ofL’art de bien vivre et de bien mourir,this edition is a fairly close reprint of the Paris edition of...

  13. Miles Coverdale and Paul Ayris

    Miles Coverdale’sBibleis one of the most important works ever published in the English language. It was produced in the context of a movement towards reform in the England of the 1530s.

    The Vulgate, the Latin text of the Bible (editio vulgata) most widely used in the West, is largely the work of St Jerome (c.342–420). Following Jerome’s translation of the text, Erasmus issued his own edition of the GreekNew Testamentin 1516. TheNovum Instrumentum Omneof Erasmus is a version of theNew Testamentcontaining a newly collated Greek text and an updated Latin...

  14. The MocattaMahzoris the second most highly-prized Jewish item, after the Haggadah (p. 26), in UCL Library Services. It is a richly illuminated festival prayer book for the whole year according to the Italian rite, including some additional prayers and ceremonies. TheMahzoris beautifully executed in fine Hebrew script, with the superscriptions and initial words painted in gold. Possibly dating from around 1400, but generally recorded as early 16th century, the manuscript is in immaculate condition. The title page is particularly exquisite, featuring gold and a variety of other colours such as red, blue, black and green. It...

  15. Mocatta was an accomplished scholar in his own right and this exquisitely crafted fragment, one of the many religious texts accumulated by him, is a valued part of UCL’s small Mocatta manuscipts collection. This short fragment is written in the Muhaqqaq script, one of the six main types of calligraphic script in Arabic. The Arabic wordmuhaqqaqmeans ‘consummate’ or ‘clear’, and originally was used to denote any accomplished piece of calligraphy.

    Often used to copymasahif(singularmushaf), meaning loose sheets of Qur’an texts, this majestic type of script was considered one of the most beautiful, as well as...

  16. TheTractatus de Sphera,composed around 1233, one of the greatest scientific textbooks of the 13th century, formed the fundamental work on astronomy in the medieval period. Based on Ptolemaic principles, it discusses the terrestrial globe, the rising and setting of stars, and the orbs and movements of the planets. Manuscripts of the mathematician and astronomer Johannes de Sacrobosco (also known as John of Hollywood) circulated throughout the Middle Ages, but very little is known about the author; he is thought to have been born in Yorkshire, settling in Paris around 1220. Sacrobosco’s other great text is theAlgorismusor...

  17. The first printing of one of the most important texts from the Middle Ages, and one of the very earliest mathematical works to be printed, posed a challenge to the new technology, requiring ingenuity, skill and innovation to replicate the all-important diagrams. Erhard Ratdolt (1447?–1527/8), who printed works in Augsburg, his birthplace, and in Venice succeeded spectacularly, and this first edition is the result-a true masterpiece of early printing technique.

    The first printing to use colours and and a title page, this 1482 edition of Euclid’sElementais technically brilliant in integrating the diagrams with the text. The inclusion...

  18. This work, such a valuable and popular pharmacopoeia that it went through a number of editions, is known under many titles, for exampleHerbarius in Latino, Aggregator in simplicibus, Herbarius MoguntinusandHerbarius Patavinus.It was first published as a small quarto in 1484 by Peter Scoeffer in Mainz. Other early editions and translations appeared in Bavaria, the Netherlands, Italy and France, still using the same plants that were native to Germany. Among the most familiar are garlic, basil, camomile, ivy, gentian, lily, marjoram and mandrake. Rarer plants are also featured, such as artemisia or mugwort, a plant used in...

  19. Bernat de Granollachs

    TheLunarium,orLunarias it was known, of the Barcelona-born Bernat de Granollachs (c. 1400–87) was a bestselling work of astronomical literature in the first decades of early printing. It was first published most probably in 1485, in Catalan as well as in Latin. The Catalan edition is considered to be theeditio princeps,of which only one copy survives, in the Biblioteca de Catalunya in Barcelona. UCL’s copy of De Granollachs’ work is the Library’s second rarest book after its Milton first edition (p. 130) – it is one of only three recorded copies in the world, the...

  20. Guy de Chauliac

    TheChirurgia Magna,orCyrurgia,was the most important and influential medieval manual of surgery, illustrated with woodcuts of surgical instruments. Its author, Guy de Chauliac (c.1300–68), was the most famous surgeon of the Middle Ages. He had studied medicine at the universities of Toulouse, Montpellier and Bologna, becoming a Magister in 1325, and rose to the position of personal physician to the Avignon Popes Clement VII (1342–52), Innocent VI (1352–62) and Urban V (1362–70).

    De Chauliac’s chief work was theInventorium sive collectorium in parte chirurgicale medicne, usually referred to simply as Chirurgia or...

  21. Cesare Cesariano and Adrian Forty

    Cesariano’s Vitruvius is a showy book. Its claim to fame lies in being the first translation into a modem vernacular language of the only surviving text from antiquity on architecture. For Latin versions of Vitruvius’sDe Architedurahad started to appear in print soon after the development of printing, the first in 1486. The most authoritative of these, collating the various manuscript versions of Vitruvius, was Fra Giocondo’s, published in Venice in 1511 (UCL has a copy of the pocket-size octavo edition, published in 1513).

    Cesare Cesariano (1475–1543) was an architect and engineer from Milan. He formed part of...

  22. Haly Abbas

    In the 16th century, Persian and Arab authorities in medicine were referred to largely at the same time as the classical medical texts of Hippocrates and Galen. The latter based their theories on the idea of the human body’s four humours and the importance of prognostication, which remained dominant until William Harvey’s discoveries in the early 17th century (p. 102).

    Very little is known about Haly Abbas (d. late 10th century), the Persian author of the original text of this work, but theKamil al-Sina’ah al Tibbiyyah (‘The Complete Medical Art’) was an important medical book. It was known as...

  23. Hans von Gersdorff

    For centuries the main advances in practical medicine were the achievements of the despised, ‘unlearned’ army doctors and surgeons. Gersdorff (c. 1455–1529) was a practising surgeon who perlormed over 500 amputations, and this book describes his own experiences, based on his original work in the field. It proved to be so popular a manual that it went through about a dozen editions between the date of first publication (1517) and the early 17th century.

    TheFeldtbuchwas widely quoted, referred to and plagiarised as a handbook of military surgery. It was illustrated throughout with woodcuts by Johannes Wechtlin, some...

  24. Nicolaus Copernicus

    This first edition of the most famous scientific work of the 16th century is undoubtedly another of UCL Library Services’ most treasured possessions. In the 15th century Europeans were beginning to explore the earth’s surface, and sea-going navigation relied solely on accurate observation of the heavens. Accuracy for both latitude and longitude was also crucial to successful connnerce, but before the invention of the spring-dock the position of the stars was the only tool available. Ptolemy’s theory of the geocentric universe, expressed in hisAlmagest,ruled. Then in 1543 came the publication of a book that turned this theory on...

  25. Pier Andrea Mattioli

    One of the most famous works of the 16th century, this edition of the translation with commentaries of the largest pharmaceutical guide of antiquity, theDe materia medicaof Pedanus Dioscorides, is largely regarded as the masterpiece of Pier Mattioli (1500–77), first published in 1544. The text ofDe materia medicawas hugely popular and influential from its first printing in Latin in 1478. By 1544 approximately 35 editions of Dioscorides’ translations and commentaries had been produced, with Mattioli’s being the most popular. Intended for daily use by physicans, herbalists and others, the work provided Greek and Latin synonyms...

  26. Andreas Vesalius

    First published in 1543, Vesalius’s work was the greatest medical book of the 16th century. It heralded the beginning of true scientific anatomy: Vesalius did his own dissections and the illustrations come from his direct observations. This second, much expanded and improved edition dates from 1555. UCL has three copies of this edition.

    Vesalius (1514–64) enjoyed imperial patronage and a steady supply of bodies for dissection. In this, hismagnum opus,he spared no effort or expense, hiring the best draughtsmen, engravers and printer. Both drawings and woodcuts were executed in Venice. There is recent debate about the exact...

  27. UCL Library Services is fortunate to possess some of the most splendid early editions of Dante’s great work. The first printed edition of La Com media was produced at Foligno in 1472–a century and a half after the poet’s death, but less than a decade after the introduction of printing into Italy. Vendelin de Spira of Venice produced one of the copies now at UCL in 1477, as well as the first Florentine edition of 1481.

    The latter has an interesting background to its history and origin. A product of the cultural drcle surrounding the Signoria of Florence, Lorenzo...

  28. Baldassarre Castiglione

    In early 16th-century Florence Niccolo Machiavelli was reviled for his brutal exposition of human nature inThe Prince(1513). In contrast Baldassare Castiglione’sII Libro del cortegiano(first published 1528) argued for the civilising processes of manners, conversation, dancing and dress–in it the author abhors the idea of princes showing valour, rather than ignorance of warrior skills. Castiglione’s work was essentially an etiquette book for courtiers and one of the, if not the most, popular self-help guides of its day. It was used as a political and social manual throughout Renaissance Europe.

    UCL possesses one of the most complete...

  29. Thomas Trevelyon

    The Trevelyon Manuscript is a very rare manuscript volume of the late 16th/early 17th centuries. It was only recently identified as being, in all probability, a previously unknown third and only other copy of the so-called Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608. The most celebrated copy of this work is held in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC.

    This fascinating collection of contemporary textual and illustrative material is thought to have been compiled by Thomas Trevelyon, or Trevilian (bornc.1548), a London craftsman of whom little is known. Probably completed in the early 1600s, it consists of richly coloured illustrations...

  30. Albrecht Dürer

    Durer (1471–1528) was a true ‘Renaissance man’: a mathematician, painter, goldsmith, engraver and author. Born in Nuremberg, the son of a goldsmith, he learned his father’s craft. He became fascinated by the Italian Renaissance in art, visiting Italy in 1494 and 1505-7. He studied mathematics, geometry, proportion and art theory, and became convinced that sdence must be the basis of all true art.

    Dürer produced three major theoretical books. HisUnderweysung der Messung mit Zirckel und Richtsceyt in Linien ebnen und gantzen corporem[’Treatise on mensuration with the compass and ruler in lines, planes and whole bodies’] was published...

  31. William Harvey

    This has been called the most important book in the history of medicine. In this small, poorly printed book, William Harvey announced his discovery of the circulation of the blood. By this discovery he revolutionised physiological thought, inspired a new generation of anatomists and contributed to the enthusiasm for science that dominated European intellectual life during the second half of the 17th century.

    Harvey (1578–1657) studied at Cambridge and received his medical doctorate in 1602 at the University of Padua under Fabrici (Hieronymous Fabricius ab Aquapendente,c.1533–1619), Professor of Anatomy from 1565. Fabrici’s most significant work was...

  32. Robert Hooke and Eleazar Albin

    Robert Hooke (1635–1703) was one of the most accomplished experimentalists of 17th-century science. He masterminded the technology behind a string of sdentific discoveries at the Royal Society, where he was appointed Curator of Experiments in 1662, only two years after it was founded. Hooke was renowned for his competitiveness and tendency towards intellectual disputes, famously arguing with Isaac Newton over credit for his work on gravitation, the planets and light; but he was also prolifically practical, responding to any sdentific problem by inventing a piece of equipment to resolve it.

    Hooke provided London’s clock-and instrument-makers with a stream of...

  33. Isaac Newton

    Isaac Newton’sPhilosophiae natura/is principia mathematica, orPrincipiaas it is widely known, was first printed in 1687. The work has been called ‘the greatest work on exact science that the human mind has ever conceived’, and it established a conception of the universe that remained unchallenged until Einstein.

    The subject of the book is the ‘mechanics of ponderable bodies’, and it sets out the three laws of motion. Two were derived from Galileo and the third was Newton’s own, with some help from others. The nucleus of the work was Newton’s series of lectures at Cambridge in the years...

  34. This delightful rare, possibly unique work is most striking for the numerous intricate and detailed hand-coloured ink drawings it features. Predominantly red and green, all are neatly executed. Bound in pale yellow vellum, theRechenbuchsets out mathematical problems and gives their solutions, often written in verse. These included such calrulations as finding the age of the world, the date of Judgement Day and the Golden Number, together with astrological information. One section, theRegula Millitie[sic], covers military diagrams, and others are entitledRegula Radix Quadrate, Regula sorti vel societatis, Regula Longitudo et Latitudo, Regula CUbicaandProgressio Geometrica....

  35. Giovanni Battista Piranesi

    The small collection of works by Piranesi (1720–78) contain some of the finest examples of engraved plates ever executed. They include a complete set of loose plates of theCarceri(6 plates, 1751) and theVedute di Roma(44 plates, 1762), originally in a magnificent large red leather box. The 13 large folio bound volumes include theAntichita d’albano e di Castel Gandalfo(1764),Le antichita Roma(1756),Diverse maniere d’adornare(1769) and Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne et ornamenti antic hi (1778), all in large folio volumes. David Roberts (1796–1864), the painter and Egyptologist, was a...

  36. Athanasius Kircher

    Dr Henry James Johnston-Lavis was a geologist and volcanologist who studied at UCL in the 1870s. He became a leading expert in volcanology and an internationally recognised authority on Vesuvius and Etna.

    Like all geologists, Johnston-Lavis amassed a wide range of specimens. He collected over 600 rare and antique books and an enormous collection of paintings and woodcuts, describing and depicting volcanic eruptions. The volatile and dramatic landscape fasdnated and inspired Johnston-Lavis, and it is vividly captured in the woodcuts and paintings. It is easy to understand his fascination with the subject when you take in the glowing and fiery...

  37. William Hamilton

    The Johnston-Lavis Collection consists of some 600 volumes, of which 129 are pre-1700, and many offprints and periodicals. The majority are concerned with Italian volcanoes and geology, particularly Vesuvius and Etna. The earliest works are by Censorinus,De die natali(1503 ), Beroaldus,Opusculum de terremotu et pestilentia(1505) and Elisius,De balneis(c. 1510). There are several descriptions of Naples, Pozzuoli and the surrounding area, the earliest dating from 1538. No less than 44 books, dated 1632-5, deal with the eruption of Vesuvius in December 1631, the first serious eruption since AD 79.

    One particularly interesting early book, featured...

  38. Solomon ben David de Oliveyra and Mír shams al-Dín Faqír Dihlavi

    This wonderful object, which comprises an early calendar of the tables of the sun and the moon in Portuguese bound together with an early printed Hebrew Bible, must have been a prized personal possession of its original owner. In all probability it belonged to a wealthy Portuguese Jew, perhaps a merchant. A showpiece of its time, it displays the wonderful craftsmanship to be found in fine bindings of the 17th century. The whole volume has a magnificent Dutch binding of red morocco, elaborately tooled and gilded, with gauffred gilt edges. It features a hand-painted and gilded title page and silk...

  39. Frederick Bearman

    Tortoiseshell has been used and admired as a decorative material for centuries. The type of tortoiseshell used in this next treasured item, another example of individual, custom-made binding, is most likely derived from the hawksbill marine turtle. With its thermoplastic properties tortoiseshell became a favoured luxury book covering for the Jewish community in Amsterdam during the 17th and 18th centuries, also no doubt owing to the shells’ abstract patterning. Rabbinic strictures against idolatrous images led to the flowering of imaginative substitutes, highly ornamental as well as practical, for decorating the covers of such books.

    This fine example of a tortoiseshell...

  40. John Milton

    One of the Ogden Library’s greatest treasures, this is an extremely rare edition of John Milton’s famous work. Over time it became one of the most important books in English ever to be published, though at first it did not sell particularly well. The epic poem tells the story of the Fall of Man, with the principal characters being God, the Son and Satan; the prominence of the last led to Satan being regarded as an anti-hero by the Romantic movement. Milton may have begun his greatest work as early as 1640, but it only took final shape between 1658...

  41. Samuel Johnson

    C K Ogden was a scholar of languages as well as a bibliophile. He collected books on all aspects of communication, including unwritten languages, cryptography, shorthand, emblem books, linguistics, phonetics and literature. A sub-genre on which he was particularly keen was dictionaries, vocabularies and word lists, and the works of the first great compiler of an English dictionary, Dr Samuel Johnson, were of course included. Two of the early editions are featured here.

    In 1746 Johnson was commissioned by a group of booksellers, headed by Richard Dodsley, to produce a new definitive English dictionary. He signed a contract in June...

  42. The three items featured here are from the vast Bentham archive. Jeremy Bentham’s name, and indeed his clothed skeleton, are so closely associated with UCL that it is small surprise that the Library houses his corpus of intellectual outpourings. The Bentham manuscripts, which consist of over 60,000 sheets, were given to UCL in 1849 by Sir John Bowring, Bentham’s literary executor, closest associate and next-door neighbour. Also editor of theWestminster Review, Bowring had inherited the archive on Bentham’s death in 1832.

    Covering the whole range of Bentham’s writings, the manuscripts consist mainly of drafts and notes for published and...

  43. Samuel Rogers and George Gordon Byron

    Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) was a rich patron of the arts and a minor poet. He established a London literary salon in 1793, where he entertained writers, artists, actors and politicians.The pleasures of memorywas his most noted work; published in 1792, it went through 15 editions before 1806. Rogers liked to present inscribed copies of his work to his friends, one of whom was the poet Lord Byron. UCL’s copy is inscribed to ‘The Right Hon.ble The Lord Byron, from his obliged & faithful friend The Author’.

    However, this is not the most remarkable feature of this little volume,...

  44. 42 A musical note (pp. 142-144)
    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Collecting autographs, either as a signed letter or a signed name, has always been popular. This gem is a good example of the genre, and a prize for UCL. It was a very unexpected find, as the correspondents in the rest of the collection are mainly European sdentists of the late 18th or early 19th century, including Nikolaus Joseph and his son Joseph Franz, Freiherr von Jacquin, both of whom were at different times Professor of Chemistry and Botany at Vienna University. Other names include the zoologist Leopold Fitzsinger and the botanist Istvan Laszlo Endlicher. Topics of discussion range from...

  45. Robert Carswell

    Born in Paisley in 1793, Carswell studied medicine at the University of Glasgow. Here he was distinguished for his skill in drawing, and employed by Dr John Thompson of Edinburgh to make a collection of drawings illustrating morbid anatomy. To pursue this work, he went to France in 1822, working in hospitals in Paris and Lyon for two years. He then returned to Scotland and took his MD at Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1826, before returning to Paris. In about 1828 he was nominated by the Council of University College London (then known as the University of London) to be...

  46. John Gould

    The plates contained in these two works, among the finest natural history images of the 19th century, constitute a high point of illustrative technique. Gould was not directly responsible for the illustrations himself, although he supervised their production closely. His talent lay in drawing rough sketches, having an uncanny eye for capturing the characteristics and differences of each species. A keen observer, he had an extraordinary faculty for quickly recording in a rough sketch the characteristics of any bird that he saw. It was from these sketches that his artists made the beautiful finished drawings. These were re-drawn on stone...

  47. Like many of the items from the Ogden collection, this little gem has UCL historical connections as well as shining a spotlight on Victorian sodety. The signatures were collected by Mary Talfourd (1828-1901), daughter of the author and judge Sir Thomas Noon TaHourd, who hosted famous dinner parties with his wife at their Bloomsbury home. The signatures in this book, often accompanied by sketches and written dedications, belong to a number of well-known people who frequented the house at 56 Russell Square, a stone’s throw from the site of the new London University (now UCL). Talfourd’s regular guests included Robert...

  48. Robert Liston

    The handwritten notes in this volume from the archives of University College Hospital Medical School are a poignant reminder of the first experiment on a patient under ether in England, which took place on 21 December 1846. This was also the first operation under anaesthetic conducted in Europe, and it represents one of the greatest-ever medical breakthroughs – eliminating the suffering of patients undergoing painful amputations and other severely traumatic procedures. The discovery of the use of anaesthetics during surgical operations also put a welcome end to the somewhat distasteful sense of theatre and glamour that surrounded the performance of some...

  49. Charles Darwin

    If ever a scientific work deserved to be called a landmark book, this must surely be it. Charles Darwin (1809-82) served as a naturalist on the voyages of HMSBeagleacross the Atlantic Ocean to South America from 1831 to 1836. Inspired by what he saw during the expedition, Darwin began collecting facts about different species, culminating in the publication of this book some 20 years later. While others, notably the Australian naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, had also started thinking along the same lines,On the Origin of Specieswas both ground-breaking and highly controversial at the time. The work...

  50. Born in Paris in 1840, Emile Zola rose to become one of France’s most respected and revered novelists, publishing many novels, short stories and essays in his lifetime. In 1862 he was employed by Hachette and Co, and he later worked on theL’Evénementnewspaper. This neat volume of handwritten correspondence gives a fascinating and important snapshot of a 20-year period of Zola’s literary career.

    The letters provide a colourful backdrop to the author’s everyday life. All are from Zola to his friend Marius Roux, who collaborated with him in the playLes Mystères de Marseilles. A number of letters...

  51. José Manuel Groot and Nicola Miller

    In this arresting portrait of British merchant Joseph Brown, rather selfconsciously sporting Colombian riding dress, we have an extraordinarily rich visual source. It captures a good deal about the manners and mores informing Britain’s relations with Latin America during the early 19th century. Britain was then the main imperial presence in the region, facing some competition from France but not yet from the United States. Many British entrepreneurs, engineers and speculators of various kinds went to try their luck at creating wealth in the newly-independent former colonies of Portugal and Spain. Some got badly burned and returned home in disillusionment,...

  52. Rosemary Ashton

    An attractive feature of UCL today is its renowned Flaxman Gallery, a domed gallery of the sculpture models of John Flaxman (1755–1826). Having worked in the English Department from 1974 to 2012, I passed through the gallery almost daily on my way to the Library. In 2007 leading a research project on reforming institutions in 19th-century Bloomsbury disclosed to me more of the story behind the acquisition of Flaxman’s models for the university. In particular it revealed the heroic role performed by one of the institution’s early supporters on its foundation as the University of London in 1826-8.

    Henry...

  53. Victor Horsley and William Ramsay

    Out of the numerous individuals whose papers are held in UCL Special Collections, several scientists stand out in their own fields. Each has in some way forged new paths and received many accolades, including Nobel Prize awards and Royal Society fellowships. Their work represents the important link between academic research and innovation in the world outside academia, be it in industry or medicine. UCL is pre-eminent among university libraries in the UK in having its history reflected through the acquisition of many personal as well as research papers. These provide invaluable resources, not only for the study of each particular...

  54. Leonora Tyson, Frederick and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence

    These delightful items are part of the collection amassed and largely produced or created by Laurence Housman (1865-1959). He was an extremely versatile artist and book illustrator, writer and social reformer, whose output covered all kinds of literature, from socialist and pacifist pamphlets to children’s stories. Brother of the better known poet and scholar A E Housman, who was Professor of Latin at UCL from 1892 to 1911, Laurence Housman was himself a committed socialist and pacifist.

    The collection at UCL houses many of Housman’s prose and fiction works as well as non-fiction, totalling 620 individual items. It contains books...

  55. The 1914–18 Collection is an unexpected archive to discover in UCL Library Services, bequeathed by a former student. To describe it in plain terms as a collection of contemporary publications relating to the First World War does not do justice to the fasdnating, visually stunning range of material it covers. At its heart is a 24-volume series of theDaily Review of the Foreign Express, chronicling the events as they unfolded in the countries engaged in the campaigns and were reported by European media. Allied propaganda from the United States is also included, and the views of neutral countries...

  56. James Joyce

    This is a copy of the first edition of a modern classic.Ulysseswas first published in book form in a limited edition of 1,000 copies, printed for Sylvia Beach, under the imprint Shakespeare & Company in Paris, by Maurice Darantiere in Dijon. Of these, 100 signed copies were printed on Dutch hand-made paper and numbered from 1 to 100; 150 copies were printed on ‘vergé d’ Arches’ (a high-quality, air-dried paper from Lorraine) and numbered from 101 to 250; and 750 copies on hand-made paper numbered from 251 to 1000.

    Ulyssesappeared in print on Joyce’s 40th birthday, 2...

  57. Henry James and Mary Collins

    These days ‘lab rats’ rarely visit libraries: the scientific literature arrives online. Indeed the UCL electronic subscription list is now so comprehensive that I cannot remember the last time I had to go to the UCL Science Library. When invited to write a short piece about an item from the UCL Special Collections I was on holiday, and had just finished readingRoderick Hudsonby Henry James – a memorable day, as I had been carrying a battered copy around for at least three years, with many false starts. A perusal of the UCL Special Collections revealed that they held ten...

  58. George Orwell and René Weis

    When Sonia Orwell, Orwell’s second wife, approached David Astor, the proprietor of theObservernewspaper, for help in finding a suitable home for the residue of the writer’s papers, he turned for advice to Sir If or Evans, one of his circle of friends. Evans was then Provost of UCL and former Professor of English Language and Literature. UCL had already established a reputation for forward-thinking collecting policies in the field of literature (having acquired, for example, the Ogden Library, James Joyce collection, Poetry Store and Little Magazines collections), and it was a natural choice for her to make, creating...