New Japanese Maps Added to Our Digital Collections

Following our blog entry in October 2015, Digitisation of Japanese Maps at the John Rylands Library, we are pleased to announce the completion of phase three of the Japanese Maps digitisation project. Over the course of the year 28 maps have been digitised as part of 3 small-scale projects, the images are now available for viewing in LUNA.

Phase one – 24th September 2015 – Japanese Maps Project : 18 maps, 48 images. This project was supported by the University of Manchester Library Digitisation Steering Group.

Phase two – 4th January 2016 – Japanese Maps Project – Part II: 4 maps, 28 images. This project was generously funded by the Japan Foundation.

Within this group of material selected for digitisation one unusual item stands out to me the most; Tokaido bunken ezu – The Road Atlas was published in five volumes in 1690. This is vol. 4 and is only 26.5 cm wide, but has a total length of 7.8 m, and is folded like a concertina screen (26 folds), a common format in Japanese works of art at that time.

Japanese 211 – Tokaido bunken ezu: animated view of 26 folds, 88 images.

Japanese 211 – Tokaido bunken ezu: animated view of 26 folds, 88 images.

Phase three – 11th April 2016 – Japanese Maps Project – Part III: another 6 Japanese Maps, 39 images were made available online. This project was generously funded by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Several of the maps selected for this project are very large (approx. 1.5 m x 1.4 m), fragile and contain enormous amounts of fine detail. Some of the maps were so large it was not possible to capture the entire map in one photograph in our digitisation suite.

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Japanese 103 as it is unfolded for digitisation, and refolded

These maps were photographed in sections and have been digitally stitched back together in Photoshop, to allow readers to view a composite image of the entire map. Due to the combination of fine detail and the folds of the map, some of the composite images are not 100% accurate, and we invite readers to cross reference with the single images if there are any areas which are difficult to read.

Animation of single photographs of Japanese 103 that make up the composite image.

Single photographs of Japanese 103 that make up the composite image.

This project was initiated by Dr Erica Baffelli – Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Manchester and supported by external contributors the Japan Foundation and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. The completion of the project was celebrated at The John Rylands Library on Thursday 14th April, 2016 with an excellent lecture from Professor Kornicki, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge. Professor Kornicki produced the catalogue of our Japanese Collection which was originally published in the Bulletin of The John Rylands Library in 1993.

We hope that this project helps to bring some of the treasures of this collection to light and we look forward to collaborating with researchers on some of the other riches of this rare collection in the future.

                                               Ourania Karapasia & Gwen Riley Jones

 

Happy Birthday William Morris

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opening of Latin MS 53 ‘Proliani Astronomia’

Today marks the 182nd year since the birth of William Morris, English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist.

The John Rylands Library holds a number of different items relating to Morris, including the above spectacular Latin Manuscript.

The Proliani Astronomia was written in c1478 by Christianus Prolianus, and illuminated by Joachinus de Gigantibus. The Manuscript which combines precise astronomical diagrams with exquisite white-vine borders, exemplifying the synthesis of art and science during the Italian Renaissance.

The Manuscript was formally owned by William Morris., you can quite clearly see similarities between the illumination and Morris’ beautiful work.

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A detail of the illumination of folio 24r showing 2 parrots

The full Manuscript is available online to browse here.

 

On The Hedgehog

I had the pleasure of attending an event last night as part of the Manchester Kino Festival, O!PLA, Across the Borders, Polish Shots.

The event showcased some incredible short animations from Poland. One in particular caught my eye. DE HERINACIO, ON THE HEDGEHOG by Ala Nunu Leszyńska.

 

The short animation is inspired by the Rochester Bestiary, held in the British Library, a very similar volume to the Aberdeen Bestiary we photographed and blogged about only 2 days ago.

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Rochester Bestiary Royal MS 12 F XIII f.45r British Library

The Rochester text reads;

‘The Physiologue says that a hedgehog has the shape of a suckling piglet. On the outside it is entirely covered with spines. During the grape-gathering season the hedgehog enters the vineyard. And when it sees a good grape, it climbs up the vine and removes that grape in such a way as to make all the clusters fall onto the ground. Then it climbs down and rolls itself over them so that that all the grapes get caught in its spines This is how it brings food to its offspring.’

In the Aberdeen Bestiary, the same is written, in a slightly different manner (also note the mole, one of my favourites from the manuscript);

‘The mole, blind and condemned to darkness underground. Hedgehogs, covered in bristles and prone to roll up in a ball, carry grapes back to their young by impaling them on their spines.

Illustration: the mole is viewed from above, blind and with conspicuous pink paws for digging. The hedgehogs are seen climbing the vine, shaking it and rolling in the grapes in order to transport them home to their young.’

The image also differs slightly, but again shows the same actions, you can clearly see the grapes on the spines of the hedgehogs.

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The Aberdeen Bestiary f.24r

 

Both manuscripts are available online in their entirety, Aberdeen here and Rochester here, with a transcription for the Aberdeen Bestiary available by clicking the page marker on the right.

The Aberdeen Bestiary

Last year CHICC travelled up to The University  of Aberdeen Special Collections to digitise their incredible 800 year old Bestiary.

The fully digitised version is now available online via Turning the Pages. I’ll let the manuscript speak for itself, it is one of the finest we have digitised to date, with some fantastically illuminated creatures and beasts.

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Opening of the Bestiary

Earliest attempts at colour printing in the West on display for the first time

Imaging techniques developed by CHICC have underpinned research in to the earliest attempts at colour printing in the West. Selected prints are now on display at the British Museum as part of a new exhibition curated by British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Elizabeth Savage,  until 27 January 2016.

On the basis of microscopic analysis at the British Museum’s World Conservation and Exhibition Centre and photomacrographs taken by Gwen Riley Jones (CHICC), it has now been confirmed that the British Museum Charles V is the sixth known woodcut – and 20th impression – issued with gold printing ink before the 18th century.

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Attr. Hans Weiditz, Portrait of Charles V (1519), woodcut on vellum from two block (gold, black) with hand-colouring, 35.6 x 20.3 cm. Printed by Jost de Negker, Augsburg. The British Museum, London, 1862.0208.55. Image courtest of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care, University of Manchester and © The Trustees of the British Museum.

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Detail of Portrait of Charles V (1519), image courtesy of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care, University of Manchester and  © The Trustees of the British Museum.

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Detail of Portrait of Charles V (1519), image courtesy of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care, University of Manchester and © The Trustees of the British Museum. 

 

The exhibition will examine the earliest attempts to incorporate colour into printmaking in the 1400s and 1500s in the German lands—where colour printmaking began in the West. It brings together 31 prints and one drawing, many of which are unique and have never been displayed together before, to present a representative survey of the first century of colour printing in Germany, where the technology developed.

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Dr Elizabeth Savage examining prints at the British Museum during image capture.

Curated by Dr Elizabeth Savage as a result of her British Academy funded research project, it is the first exhibition dedicated to the early history of colour prints in Renaissance and Reformation Germany. Before 1700, colour prints were thought to be extremely rare, if not technically impossible. The few outliers, like Italian chiaroscuro (tonal) woodcuts, are celebrated as visionary and exceptional. But new research has revealed hundreds of previously unknown colour prints. Circulating in thousands (if not tens of thousands) of impressions, colour prints decorated furniture, imitated expensive woods on ceilings, illustrated ideas in books, clarified religious iconography, and, of course, were admired as art.

By tracing technical developments and artistic and market trends across the sixteenth century, ‘German Renaissance Colour Woodcuts’ demonstrates that colour printing was part of daily life in Renaissance and Reformation Germany.

Dr Savage, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, said: “The history of prints is usually in black and white, but early prints were vibrant. Late medieval and early modern German printers pushed the emergent technology of the printing press to its limits in their quest to print colour. They, not the artists, controlled this artistic effect. The British Museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of early colour prints, so this is a unique opportunity to see how printers manipulated different palettes and achieved a range of stunning visual effects 500 years before Photoshop.”

The exhibition is arranged in five sections. Highlights include three of the six woodcuts printed with gold in early modern Europe.

Visiting Admission: Free and open to all.

Opening hours: 10.00–17.30 Saturday to Thursday and 10.00–20.30 Fridays.

Location: Room 90, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG.

Tracts for the Times – Vanity Fair 1877

Newman Archive

We have digitised a number of portraits of Cardinal Newman but this one is a little different from Batch 9.

A chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 20 January 1877. Men of the Day. No. 145. “Tracts for the times.” Caricature by Sir Leslie Ward.

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I found this reference to Ward’s caricature in the publication Forty years of “Spy”.

Page 133 – Forty Years of ‘Spy’ – Ward, Leslie – First Published 1915

“Cardinal Newman quite unconsciously placed me in rather an awkward dilemma. At the time when I was anxious to stalk him I heard he was in Birmingham; so I went to Euston Station, and had actually bought my railway ticket when suddenly I caught sight of his Eminence upon the platform. Here was an opportunity not to be missed! I saw him go into the buffet and followed him. He sat down at a small table…

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University Photographs – a Fascinating Snapshot!

CHICC’s latest completed digitisation project has made public a significant number of images from the University Photograph Collection. The images are now available in a new discrete Collection, the ‘University of Manchester Archives Collection’

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The Photographic Collection itself, which is part of the University Archives, consists of several thousand fascinating images of University people, buildings and events, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.  The images provide a rich visual resource for the history of the University and its surroundings.

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This project which was proposed  by Dr James Hopkins, the University Historian and Heritage Manager, will support the University’s History and Heritage Programme which is working to promote the University’s history both to its members and to the wider public audience.  The digitisation of this selection of photographs will enable greater access to, and use of, the University’s historic images for research and engagement purposes.

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Early Medical Printed Illustrations

This month sees the commencement of the ninth annual Manchester Science festival and by happy coincidence we are unveiling in our digital collections images from a recently completed JRRI Seedcorn project ‘Illustrations in the Early John Rylands Medical Collection ’.

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The John Rylands Library holds over 3,000 medical books printed before 1701, however, the catalogue gives minimal information on visual material within the holdings. This digitisation project was instigated by Dr Cordelia Warr to improve the information available on illustrative material within the Rylands early printed medical collections, in order to facilitate teaching and further research.

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The images selected for the project represent a range of disciplines; midwifery, anatomy, surgery and the medicinal use of plants. Research assistant on the project, Dr Hannah Priest, has supplied detailed metadata which accompanies the digital images to further enhance the information available.  The work of Cordelia and Hannah on these fascinating early printed texts will undoubtedly inspire greater interest in the early printed medical collections held by Library. More importantly, it will further a better understanding of the place of illustrative material in medical publications generally, many of which, up to the nineteenth century, were not illustrated or were only minimally illustrated.

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All images Copyright of the University of Manchester.

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Early Medical Printed Illustrations

This month sees the commencement of the ninth annual Manchester Science festival and by happy coincidence we are unveiling in our digital collections images from a recently completed JRRI Seedcorn project ‘Illustrations in the Early John Rylands Medical Collection ’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The John Rylands Library holds over 3,000 medical books printed before 1701, however, the catalogue gives minimal information on visual material within the holdings. This digitisation project was instigated by Dr Cordelia Warr to improve the information available on illustrative material within the Rylands early printed medical collections, in order to facilitate teaching and further research.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The images selected for the project represent a range of disciplines; midwifery, anatomy, surgery and the medicinal use of plants. Research assistant on the project, Dr Hannah Priest, has supplied detailed metadata which accompanies the digital images to further enhance the information available.  The work of Cordelia and Hannah on these fascinating early printed texts will undoubtedly inspire greater interest in the early printed medical collections held by Library. More importantly, it will further a better understanding of the place of illustrative material in medical publications generally, many of which, up to the nineteenth century, were not illustrated or were only minimally illustrated.

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All images Copyright of the University of Manchester.

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Mary Hamilton Papers – NEW COLLECTION!

We are thrilled to be able to announce the creation of an entirely new collection in the University of Manchester Image Collections for digitised material from the Mary Hamilton Papers. Over the past few years, significant portions of the archive have been digitised and made available; now for the first time they are able to be viewed together in a dedicated collection of Mary’s correspondence and diaries.

Mary Hamilton (1756-1816), was a courtier and diarist, who stood at the nexus of several interlocking royal, aristocratic, literary and artistic circles in late eighteenth-century London. The Mary Hamilton Papers themselves include almost 2,500 letters, 16 meticulously detailed diaries, and six manuscript volumes. Together these form a rich resource providing a window into the intellectual and social world of Hamilton’s day, particularly the Court of George III (Hamilton was governess to his daughters), and the Bluestocking circle. Among the major figures represented in the archive are members of the royal family and other courtiers, members of Hamilton’s own family (including her uncle, the diplomat Sir William Hamilton), and prominent members of the Bluestocking circle, such as Elizabeth Montagu, Frances Burney, Frances Boscawen, Elizabeth Vesey and Mary Delany.

JRL1307497, Censored Letter to Mary Hamilton

Censored Letter to Mary Hamilton, Image number: JRL1307497

The most recent digitisation project has made available correspondence to Mary from Princess Elizabeth, daughter of George III, who occasionally addresses Hamilton as ‘My dear Hammy’; from Martha Carolina Goldsworthy, sub-governess to the Royal family and from William, 7th Lord Napier, Mary’s guardian.

 My dear Hammy.. Image number: JRL15070040

My dear Hammy…. Image number: JRL15070040

The papers are already hugely popular with scholars and the availability of these documents online will undoubtedly facilitate new research opportunities and interdisciplinary collaboration for the study of the language and socio-cultural history of Georgian England.

All images are Copyright of the University of Manchester.

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