Past Events

CONCERT: Russian music comes to Oxford

Sunday 23 November at 7pm
Holywell Music Room, Holywell Street, Oxford OX1 3SD

Thanks to the Oxford Philomusica promotion in association with the Bodleian Libraries, members of the Friends of the Bodleian are entitled to a 15% discount on the ticket price.

DANIEL GRIMWOOD (piano) with the Soloists of Oxford Philomusica (resident ensemble of The Queen’s College Oxford). Directed by Cayenna Ponchione

Two Pieces for string quartet
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

String Quartet no. 2, in D major
Aleksandr Borodin (1833-1887)

Piano Concerto, op. 16bis
Adolf von Henselt (1814-1889)
(chamber version – UK premiere season)

A concert to celebrate the donation to the Bodleian Library of a large collection of late 19th and early 20th-century Russian and European music scores and also to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the pianist and composer Adolf von Henselt who died 125 years ago this year.

The Richard Beattie Davis collection of rare Russian music and over 500 Russian books on the subject is being generously donated to the Bodleian by the collector’s widow. While pursuing a career in real estate, Richard Beattie Davis (1922-2008) was also a musician who tirelessly collected, researched and wrote about his many fields of interest, chief among them the music of the late romantic Russian composers. His lavishly illustrated monograph The Beauty of Belaieff (2008-9) is the standard work on this major Russian publishing house and an important contribution to music bibliography. His incomparable collection of Russian printed scores (many of which have extravagantly coloured, decorative title pages) will greatly enhance the Library’s collections of music from this period. Part of the collection, formerly in Florida Atlantic University Library, has already been received; the remainder is still in Mrs Davis’ home in Kent, awaiting transfer to Oxford, once the Bodleian Music Section is settled into its new home in the Weston Library.

Although German by birth, Adolf von Henselt (1814-1889) was one of the founding fathers of the Russian school of pianism. He spent much of his life in St Petersburg and his music, regrettably now largely forgotten, was enormously influential on subsequent generations of Russian composers. His monumental and once-popular Piano Concerto, op. 16 is being given in its chamber version (op. 16bis), and is being performed during the season of its UK premiere by pianist Daniel Grimwood and The Soloists of the Oxford Philomusica, the elite group of principal players from the University’s professional Orchestra in Residence.


John Milton and the Bodleian Library - and a new book from Milton's library

Dr William Poole, Galsworthy Fellow in English and Fellow Librarian, New College
Tuesday 18 November at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The poet John Milton did not attend Oxford and there is no record of him having ever set foot in the Bodleian Library. And yet Milton cultivated a relationship with the Library, sending books for its shelves and a poem to its Librarian. The Bodleian responded by guarding Milton's books, quietly defying two orders to burn the books in the Restoration. Today, several of Milton's own presentation copies survive here, as do two titles from his own library, an annotated Euripides, and a further book, Boccaccio's Life of Dante. This latter volume was only rediscovered very recently.


Le Cinesi: an opera about operas

Michael Burden, Professor in Opera Studies and Dean of New College
Tuesday 21 October at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Among the output of the great librettist Metastasio is the small comic azione teatrale, Le Cinesi (The Chinese Ladies). The text was first set by Anotnio Caldara in 1735. Christoph Willibald Gluck’s version was premiered at the festivities staged for a visit by the Empress of Austria, Maria Theresa in 1754. The only known surviving accounts of this opera are printed, but earlier this year, the Bodleian, with financial support from the Friends of the Bodleian, was able to acquire a previously unknown contemporary account of the wedding and related events. To mark the composer’s bi-centenary, Professor Michael Burden spoke about the manuscript and the original performance. The lecture was illustrated with live music.


The Great War: personal stories from Downing Street to the trenches

Mike Webb, Curator of the Exhibition
Monday 20 October at 5pm
Exhibition Room, Old Schools Quadrangle, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Experience the Bodleian Libraries’ exhibition (18 June - 2 Nov. 2014) through a one-hour gallery talk led by the exhibition’s curator, Mike Webb. As an introduction, he explained the ideas behind the exhibition. He then led a guided tour, discussing items representing the various topics on display. After the talk, guests enjoyed informal drinks with the curator at the King’s Arms pub.


Guided Tour of the Bodleian Book Storage Facility in Swindon

Departing from outside the Taylorian on:
Tuesday 15 July 2014, Tuesday 22 July 2014, and Wednesday 23 July 2014.

The Bodleian Libraries receive approximately 1,000 new books every week through Legal Deposit, purchases, donations and archive bequests. Every year the Libraries require an additional 3.5 miles of shelving. To ensure that Bodleian collections continue to have the home they deserve, a purpose-built Book Storage Facility was opened in Swindon in October 2010. To date 7.8 million volumes and about 1.3 million maps were ingested into the BSF. Items stored at the facility are available to readers by order, and are delivered to the reading rooms twice daily.

The BSF has the initial capacity to support the Library's projected collections' growth over the next 20 years. Floor area of the warehouse equates to 1.6 football pitches while the high-density shelving, if laid end-to-end, would stretch from Oxford to York. The facility meets the required preservation standards and uses the latest retrieval technology. The Friends of the Bodleian invite you to tour this state-of-the-art facility. Guests will travel to the BSF in Swindon by coach from St Giles (outside the Taylor Institution Library), and return to St Giles at the end of the day. Event cost of £35 per person includes transportation by coach to and from Oxford, and a rest stop at a riverside pub just outside Witney.


An unusual discovery in the Bodleian: the earliest known engraved musical plates

Peter Ward Jones, Former Music Librarian, Bodleian Library
Tuesday 10 June at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

In 2005, when the Clarendon Building was being cleared prior to renovation, a large box containing 91 old engraved music plates was discovered in the basement. Such plates are very rare survivals, and subsequent investigation revealed that they apparently included the oldest known examples in the world. This lecture will consider the origin of the plates, which all belong to one publication, and the reason why they ended up in the Bodleian. It will also place them in the context of the history of music printing.


The Pleasures and miseries of the digital novel

Dr Iain Pears, Art historian, novelist and journalist
Tuesday 27 May at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

In the last few years, Iain Pears has been writing and designing a novel which can only be understood if it is read through a specially-written piece of software. The experience has been rewarding, fascinating, but also occasionally traumatic and frustrating. In this talk, he will explain what he is doing, and offer some thoughts on the often under-examined link between the organisation of publishing and what actually turns up in bookshops.


SCILENCE IN THE LIBRARY! - Conservation Workshop

David Howell, Head of Conservation Research, Bodleian Libraries
Thursday, 3 April 2014 14:15
Pitt Rivers Museum, with refreshments at the Department of Earth Sciences

The Bodleian Library has always been at the forefront of conservation practice and innovation. It preserves and maintains vast collections, in particular the significant holdings of Special Collections. In recent years, the Bodleian Conservation and Collection Care Department has engaged even more actively in conservation research and developed a great number of pioneering approaches and technologies employing the latest scientific advances and the newest research media in the field. David Howell will explain some of the techniques and discoveries made. There was also an opportunity for guests to try out some of the equipment he uses, and to view a 3D scanner in action.


Sundials: a brief history of time-reckoning

Dr Frank King, Chairman of the British Sundial Society
Tuesday 11 March 2014
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

This talk will demonstrate how sundials elegantly illustrate the different ways in which people have thought about measuring the passage of time. Dividing the day into 24 equal hours from midnight to midnight did not become normal practice until the late middle ages. Several example sundials will be described, including the two in the windows of Convocation House.


Royalist Oxford: a city at war 1642-1646

Dr Vivienne Larminie, Senior Research Fellow (1640-1660), History of Parliament
Tuesday 4 February 2014 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

For a few years in the 1640s, Oxford became the capital city of England - or at least, the royalist capital. After the first, inconclusive, battle of the civil war King Charles established his headquarters here. As well as being transformed into a garrison city, Oxford hosted the royal court, a mint, and an administrative and judicial system which paralleled that presided over by Parliament in London. A printing press supplied - for the first time in the nation's history - weekly domestic news and royalist propaganda. Briefly there was a rival Parliament, which met in the Convocation House. Other parts of the Bodleian were put to new and unexpected uses. There was intimidation, violence, destruction, scandal, overcrowding, disease and fire - but there was also literature, music, art and scholarship.


'Printing in the infernal method': William Blake's method of 'illuminated printing'

Professor Michael Phillips (Emeritus Fellow if the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York)
Tuesday 12 November 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford#

In 1788 Blake invented a method of relief etching that he called 'illuminated printing'. This made it possible to print both the text of his poems and his images in illustration from the same copper plate in an engraver's rolling press. Blake's innovation, with which he produced his illuminated books such as the Songs of Innocence and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, will be described in relation to conventional eighteenth-century illustrated book production. Please see www.williamblakeprints.co.uk for background research.


Hand-Printing Workshop

Led by Dr Paul Nash, The Bodleian's Printing Specialist and a Private Press Printer
Saturday 3 August 2013 from 2:00-4:30pm
Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford

Due to the popularity of the hand-printing workshop which was held in August, we are offering our members a second opportunity to learn of the history and techniques of printing the in hand-press period, before having the chance to try the process for yourself. You will hand-compose some type, impose a forme and print it as a keepsake of the occasion, using one of the Bodleian's iron hand-presses.


'Observing the scribe at work: knowledge transfer and scribal professionalism'

Rev. Dr Nerses Vrej Nersessian (Former Head of Christian Middle East Section in the British Library)
Tuesday 29 October 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Armenian scribes habitually included a dated colophon at the end of manuscripts and this developed into a unique literary genre. Its primary purpose was to perpetuate the memory of those who were involved in the production of the manuscript. Not infrequently, it also recorded information on a broad range of subjects that are now of great interest to historians of the Middle East. In his recent publication Dr Nersessian provides a full examination and evaluation of the colophons present in the manuscripts of the British Library and thirteen other institutions. A selection of illuminated manuscripts from the Bodleian Library's Armenian collection will be on display.


Duke Humfrey's Night 2013

Saturday 12 October 2013 from 4:30-7:30pm
Bodleian Library, Oxford

Duke Humfrey's Night is the Friends' key fundraising event named after one of the first major donors to Oxford's University Library in the 15th century. The event creates an opportunity to sponsor a recently acquired special collections item(s) and material in urgent need of conservation. This year the items available for sponsorship range from ancient Egyptian papyri through Venetian incunables to contemporary literary manuscripts.


Hand-Printing Workshop

Led by Dr Paul Nash, The Bodleian's Printing Specialist and a Private Press Printer
Saturday 3 August 2013 from 2:00-4:30pm
Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford

A Practical and historical workshop, in which you will learn of the history and techniques of printing the in hand-press period, before having the chance to try the process for yourself. You will hand-compose some type, impose a forme and print it as a keepsake of the occasion, using one of the Bodleian's iron hand-presses.


The British as Art Collectors

Charles Sebag-Montefiore (Trustee of the National Gallery, Treasurer of the Friends of the National Libraries)
Tuesday 14 May 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The major subjects covered by the book that gives our lecture its title include Henry VIII, who harnessed the arts in the service of the crown; Charles I and the Whitehall Circle; the Grand Tour and the country house boom; the bonanza for collectors created by the Napoleonic Wars; the passion for French, Spanish and early Italian art; the new collectors spawned from Industrial Revolution, banking and shipping; and the reluctant embrace of Impressionism and modernism. Charles Sebag-Montefiore will speak about his book, written jointly with James Stourton, which was published in July 2012.


Letters from My Father

Lady Aurelia Young
Tuesday 23 April 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

For some time now Lady (Aurelia) Young has been researching the life of her father, Oscar Nemon, the Oxford-based and Croatia-born sculptor, who is best known for his public statues of Churchill. In 2011 she unexpectedly came across his 12-year correspondence with Lady Violet Bonham Carter among the political papers held by the Bodleian Library. They threw a fresh light on Nemon's friendship with Lady Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill and Sir John Christie. Lady Young illustrated her talk with images of some of Nemon's busts and will explain how the Macmillan papers in the Bodleian led her to the discovery of the missing bust of Lady Dorothy Macmillan.


Historical collections from European religious houses now in the Bodleian Library

Dr Cristina Dondi (Faculty of History and of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford)
Tuesday 5 March 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century Now in the Bodleian Library (2005) brought to light the extreme diversity of the sources of the Library's incunabula, with over 5000 provenance entries. A substantial amount of these books entered the Bodleian as an indirect consequence of the suppression of religious houses that affected Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries. We will look at some books from German and Italian monastic collections, and at tools that allow us to trace other parts of the same collections now in various European and American libraries.


William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

Saturday 9 February 2013 at 7pm,
Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Performed by Sovereign Arts, a theatre company comprising current students and alumni of the University of Oxford as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Open Stages project. Produced in association with Thelma Holt.
The performance was preceeded by a panel discussion chaired by Professor Laurie Maguire, Tutor of English at Magdalen College, with Professor Stanley Wells CBE, Honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Dr Paul Edmondson, Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Trust, Krishna Omkar, production Director, and Tess Ellison, Assistant Director.


Pretty Tales and Pretty Things: some neglected children's books from the second half of the long eighteenth century

Presented by David Hounslow
Tuesday 12 February 2013 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

A talk concentrating on the collection of small books assembled by Lydia Haskoll (1756-1826) for herself as a child and later for her children and placing the books in a social and cultural context and discuss their longevity and popularity in both Britain and America.


E. W. B. Nicholson (1849-1912): 'a great librarian' or 'Diabolus Bibliothecae'?

Presented by Mary Clapinson (Emeritus Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford, and former Keeper of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library)
Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

This lecture, marking the centenary of Nicholson's death, will offer an appraisal of his thirty years as Bodley's Librarian from 1882 to 1912. Was he 'almost the re-founder fo the Library' or the destroyer of its heritage? It will also take a closer look at his many ad varied interests outside the Library.


Surtees in a year of Dickens

Presented by Colin Franklin, MA, FSA
Tuesday 23 October 2012 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Joyce Carey wrote, of Surtees: 'His special quality seems to be quite ignored. I dare say this is because people think of him as a writer only for hunting fanatics'. Jorrocks, his best-known character, was the indirect cause of Pickwick. In Surtees, unsentimental, amoral and funny, we find mid-Victorian rural England. Original illustrations by John Leech (much admired by Ruskin) will be displayed at this lecture. Colin Franklin is former Honorary President of the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles and his new book is called Obsessions and Confessions of a Book Life.


Friends of the Bodleian London Lecture 2012

Dr Ian Archer (Fellow & Tutor in Modern History, Keble College, University of Oxford and Literary Director of the Royal Historical Society)
Friday 6 July 2012
British Academy, Carlton House Terrrace, London

Histories of early modern London: from Stow to Strype

In 1598 John Stow published the first edition of his remarkable Survey of London, a street by street perambulation of the capital, marking out its key structures and commemorating the individuals associated with them. Stow provided the template for later works with new editions in 1618, 1633 and 1720, in each case adding material and subtly transforming the book's message. This lecture looked at the evolution of the text, and at the evidence for its reception, particularly by examining other guidebooks to the city that drew on Stow.

The lecture was introduced by Professor Richard McCabe, Fellow of the British Academy and Chairman of the Friends of the Bodleian and followed by a reception in the Council Room.


Via Anglica - Latin Church Music from Renaissance England

Friday 1 June 2012
Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Performed by Alamire, directed by David Skinner. A special concert including works by John Taverner, Tallis and Byrd preceeded by a Pimm's reception outside the Christopher Wren Door, Divinity School. In support of Friends of the Bodleian.

A selection from the Bodleian collections of early sources of the music performed was on display in the Proscholium.

Visit the Alamire website at www.alamire.co.uk


The choice of Paris: picking historic film locations

Presented by Michael Pickwoad (Film Production Designer)
Tuesday 15 May 2012
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Michael Pickwoad is a Production Designer who has worked on numerous films and TV dramas, including Poirot, Lost in Austen, Withnail & I, Longford, and most recently Doctor Who. His talk will use the process of choosing and filming in historic and otherwise intriguing places - including Oxford and its colleges - as basis for expanding the nature of the various locations and what it took to find them, along with the stories behind the filming and indeed of the houses and their occupants.


The Bodleian Library and the scientific revolution

Presented by Dr William Poole (John Galsworthy Fellow and Tutor in English, New College, Oxford)
Tuesday 1 May 2012
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

A talk about the Bodleian and the 17th-century scientific revolution in terms of its contributions to Oxford and to British science in the period, and also the Bodleian as a repository of other Oxford institutional libraries central to this movement, namely the Savilian and Ashmole collections.


Haydn á l'anglaise. His songs in late 18th-century England, including some he did not know he had written

Friday 30 March 2012
Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford

A lecture by Dr Derek McCulloch to accompany a Proscolium exhibition of early Haydn editions and manuscripts, followed by a short concert by members of his ensemble, Café Mozart.
This event was supported by the Haydn Society of Great Britain.


Signs of life at the Bodleian: genealogical diagrams in Bodleian collections

Presented by Dr Giles Bergel (Tutorial Fellow, Faculty of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford)
Tuesday 28 February 2012
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Bodleian Library holds extensive collections of genealogical materials in manuscript, print and other media. The holdings date from the earliest written records to more recent times and represent both a history of genealogy and a life-history of the book in many of its forms. This talk will showcase a selection from this relatively unexamined legacy.


Reconstructing a remarkable 17th-century garden from John Aubrey's drawing of the Deepdene, Dorking

Presented by Sarah Couch (Architect, RIBA, and Visiting Lecturer, University of Bath)
Tuesday 7 February 2012
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Sarah Couch, architect and historic landscape specialist, will show how careful examination of Aubrey's drawing, now held in the Bodleian, reveals that much of Charles Howard's terraced Italian garden laid out in the mid-seventeenth century still survives. Sarah began her research into the Deepdene in 1992 and has produced historic landscape survey and management plans for the site, now the subject of a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Lost and Found: the Bodleian Shakespeare Folio

Presented by Dr Emma Smith
Tuesday 22 November 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

Dr Smith will discuss the story of how the Bodleian lost its First Folio of Shakespeare in the seventeenth century, and the efforts to get it back at the beginning of the twentieth. It's a story of personal rivalries as well as national ones, of a wonderfully amateurish and individual fund-raising campaign, and of the way Oxford was changing on the eve of the First World War - as well as about the value of the book itself.


Editing 'Huge Holinshed' for the 21st Century

Presented by Dr Felicity Heal
Tuesday 8 November 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

Dr Heal will talk about the two editions (1577 and 1587) of Holinshed's Chronicles, which was the definitive chronicle collection of the Elizabethan era, best known for providing much of the material for Shakespeare's English histories. She will look at the differences between the editions, and then discuss the on-line comparison of the texts that she and her colleagues have undertaken.


Visit to The Laskett Gardens

Wednesday 7 September 2011
The Friends of the Bodleian were allowed to roam through the varied horticultural rooms which compromise the garden of Sir Roy Strong's house, The Laskett.

Each part of the garden has a name apparently applied randomly to the four acres but commemorating a special event in the lives of Sir Roy and his wife Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman. Some parts of the garden mark the production of The Nutcracker at Covent Garden, others a book about the Elizabethan miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard. As such, the garden can be viewed as their unique joint autobiography.

A selection of photographs from the visit can be viewed in The Laskett Photo Gallery.


Visit to Merton College, Oxford,

Tuesday 5th July 2011, 2pm to 5pm

The Friends of the Bodleian were warmly invited to a private visit of Merton College, Oxford, the first fully self-governing College of the University of Oxford which boasts among its alumni Sir Thomas Bodley, T. S. Eliot, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Alan Bott, OBE, Bodley Fellow and historian, outlined Merton history toured the Friends through the College buildings and gardens.

Dr Julia Walworth, Research Fellow and Librarian at Merton presented some of the treasures in the College Library
Tea and homemade cakes were served in the hall.


A masterpiece of evolution: Newly discovered evidence for the making of the Gough Map of Great Britain

Presented by Dr Elizabeth Solopova
Tuesday 14 June 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

One of the greatest treasures in the Bodleian Libraries, the medieval Gough Map of Great Britain is the earliest extant depiction of the island in a geographically recognizable form, and it's cartographic accuracy, exceptional for its age, continues to puzzle scholars. Elizabeth Solopova has recently completed a new study of this enigmatic manuscript. In this talk she will examine the map as a repository of geographical knowledge, political aspirations and traditions of literacy from across several centuries of English history.


A writer's apprenticeship: reading the clues in Jane Austen's 'Volume the First'

Presented by Professor Kathryn Sutherland
Tuesday 17 May 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

The notebook entitled 'Volume the First' was bought by the Friends of the Bodleian in 1933. It is one of three juvenile manuscript books that contain Jane Austen's earliest writings. Here, we see habits of writing and quirks of style that persisted into the later works. Of the three, 'Volume the First' has the least straightforward chronology and, in the sheer range of its experimental forms (short fictions, playlets, verses, and moral fragments), it represents the longest creative journey. In addition, half the meaning of the manuscript lies in its appearance as a mock book. The lecture will address these issues.


William Wey: the King's pilgrim?

Presented by Francis Davey
Tuesday 8 March 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

William Wey, fifteenth-century Devon priest, Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, and Bursar of Eton, made pilgrimages to Compostella, Rome and Jerusalem between 1456 and 1462. Francis Davey's recently published translation and edition of Wey's 'Itineraries' explore late medieval religious faith and travel. In this talk he examines possible reasons for Wey's extensive journeys across Europe and beyond.


Bent Juel-Jensen, Munificent Friend of the Bodleian Library

10 January 2011 - 6 February 2011
The Proscholium, Bodleian Library

For almost fifty years, Bent Juel-Jensen, Medical Officer of the University, Fellow of St Cross, book-collector extraordinary, was an active member of the Council of the Friends of the Bodleian Library. During this time he enthusiastically supported the Friends' activities in acquiring books and manuscripts for the Library. He himself made a series of gifts of outstanding importance, concluding with the large bequests of the best of his collection and the provision that, should the Library want any other parts, it could have them for half their valuation. By these means the Bodleian has gained, in particular, peerless collections of poets Sir Philip Sidney and Michael Drayton, scientists Hugh Plat and Stephen Hales, Microcosmographie and Good Thoughts by the divines John Earle and Thomas Fuller, Ethiopic manuscripts, children's tales and literary works by fellow Danes Hans Christian Andersen and Johannes V. Jensen, and the contemporary publications of his friend the explorer Bruce Chatwin. This display celebrates the magnificent generosity of this exemplary Friend of the Library he loved.


Re-evaluation of the Malady of King George III; The Bland Burges Papers

Presented by Professor Timothy Peters
Tuesday 18 January 2011
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

In 1965 Ida Macalpine & Richard Hunter stated that the episodes of 'madness' of George III were due to the inherited metabolic disorder acute porphyria. In spite of objections raised at the time by porphyria experts, this diagnosis has become generally accepted. However, recent detailed review of the King's medical records, contemporary diaries and correspondence seriously challenge it. The private letters of James Bland Burges to his wife, now in the Bodleian Library, throw further doubt on the porphyria claims and indicate a preferred alternative. The lecture will also explore Macalpine & Hunters motives for making their porphyria claims.


Alfred Bestall, artist, cartoonist and illustrator of Rupert Bear

Tuesday 30 November 2010, 5pm to 7pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Friends of the Bodleian and Bloomsbury invited members of the Friends to an illustrated talk on Alfred Bestall, cartoonist and illustrator of Rupert Bear, and to the launch of The Life and Works of Alfred Bestall, a special anniversary edition celebrating 90 years of Rupert Bear.

The evening included an introduction by Professor Richard McCabe, Chairman of the Friends, and an illustrated talk by Caroline Bott. Guests were invited to view a small exhibition of original artwork drawn from the Bestall archive.


Illustrating Empire: images from the John Johnson Collection

Presented by Ashley Jackson & David Tomkins
Tuesday 16 November 2010
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Bodleian Library holds a significant collection of ephemera related to the British Empire as seen by generations of people in their everyday lives. This talk considers some of the themes encountered in studying the Empire and Britain's connections with the non-European world, using a selection of evocative illustrations from the Bodleian's John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera.


Norman Angell's 'The Great Illusion': The Centenary of a Flawed Classic

Presented by Professor Martin Ceadel
Tuesday 2 November 2010
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

In November 1910 Norman Angell published The Great Illusion, which argued that a modern great power could not gain from aggresion. Yet, though it launched Angell on a fifty-year career as a world-famous pundit who eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize, the book was deeply flawed in ways that have not been previously noticed. Martin Ceadel's recently-published biography also uncovers several of Angell's personal secrets.


Cavalli's Erismena performed by New Chamber Opera

Saturday 10 July 2010
New College Gardens

New Chamber Opera gave a special performance of Cavalli's Erismena for the Friends of the Bodleian. The opera was introduced in the presence of the manuscript in Convocation House in the Bodleian Library, followed by the opera performance in New College Gardens. Guests also enjoyed a picnic in the Cloisters during the interval.

The Bodleian Library was able to acquire the manuscript (the object of a temporary export ban) thanks to the generosity of many donors and the assistance of the Friends. The full score with a complete English singing translation was written in about 1670, 30 years before any other Italian opera is known to have been performed in Britian.

Cavalli is described as the greatest opera composer who worked between Monteverdi and Lully. Erismena is one of his romantic tragicomedies, originally produced in Italy in 1655.


Visit to Lambeth Palace Library, London,

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Members of the Friends of the Bodleian attended a private viewing of the fascinating new exhibition, Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library - 400th Anniversary Exhibition 1610-2010. The exhibition draws upon the Library's rich collections, with some items on display for the first time. The visit began with tea and biscuits in the Palace's Guard Room with an introductory talk by Giles Mandelbrote, Lambeth Palace Librarian and Archivist and member of the Friends of the Bodleian Council.


Copper Plate Pictures: Prints for the Juvenile Market

Presented by Jill Shefrin
Tuesday 8 June 2010
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

A rare volume of prints, bound privately as a trade catalogue and issued by William Darton junior, was acquired by the Bodleian Library in 2008. Jill Shefrin, author of The Dartons: Publishers of Educational Aids, Pastimes & Juvenile Ephemera, 1787-1876, discusses what it reveals about the juvenile print trade in the first decades of the nineteenth century.


New Library for the 21st Century - A special Friends of the Bodleian event

Friday 7th May 2010 at 3pm
Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Wilkinson Eyre Architects will unveil the plans for a multi-million pound refurbishment of the New Bodleian Library and Richard Ovenden, Associate Director and Keeper of Special Collections, will put them in context of the overall vision for the future Bodleian Libraries.

Followed by tea in the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Guided tours of the New Bodleian are available including the Bindery, Conservation, Imaging Studio, Gilbert Scott-designed reading room, and views from the Indian Institute.


Letter writing, reading, and the rise of the novel: Jane Johnson of Olney and Samuel Richardson

Presented by Dr Susan E. Whyman, F.R.H.S
Tuesday 4 May 2010
Convocation House, Boldeian Library, Oxford

Susan E. Whyman, author of The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers, 1660-1880 uses the Bodleian's manuscripts of Jane Johnson of Olney (1706-59) and the letters of Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) to explore reading, letter writing and the rise of the novel. The lecture will show the ties that bound the two writers: Richardson's influence on her works and Johnson's unexpected influence on his.


Archive Evening, Stationer's Hall, London,

Monday 12 April 2010
Members were invited to attend a joint event with music and verse celebrating the 400th anniversary of the agreement between the Stationers' Company and the Bodleian Library.

In 1610 the Stationers' Company agreed to send the Bodleian Library, in perpetuity, a copy of every book printed by its members. This important agreement was the forerunner of Legal Deposit and contributed to the development of copyright. It resulted in the Bodleian acquiring some of the most important printed books in the English language.


What the Papers Say: Evelyn Sharp, author, journalist, suffragette and diarist

Presented by Angela V. John
Tuesday 9 March 2010
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Angela V. John, author of Evelyn Sharp. Rebel Woman, 1869-1955, discusses the Sharp Papers in the Bodleian. They provide an unparalleled opportunity to explore the personal perspectives of a woman whose writings attracted considerable attention in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century press, yet who remains an elusive figure.


Library Philanthropy in the age of Thomas Bodley

Presented by Professor James Raven (Professor of Modern History, University of Essex)
Tuesday 23 February 2010
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

This lecture discusses some of the origins and implications of the foundation and development of 'public' libraries in the late 16th and early 17th century in England. What did 'publique' mean? What did some library founders and donors hope to achieve? What were their models and what were their expectations?


"An uninterrupted excess of satisfaction": Samuel Pepys' naval papers in the Bodleian collections

Presented by Justin Reay, FSA (Tutor in Naval History and Maritime Art, University of Oxford International Programmes)
Wednesday 4 November 2009 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

An illustrated lecture covering Pepys' career at the Admiralty with descriptions of unpublished folios and key documents such as the Tangier Journal


An Ark for the Nation

Presented by Robert J. Bruce (Former Bodleian Staff member)
Wednesday 21 October 2009 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

A story from the Second World War when the New Library was used as a refuge for important national collections under threat of destruction. From convoys of lorries to single parcels, more than 80 seperate deposits were received for safe-keeping between 1938 and 1945.


Representing Helen of Troy

Presented by Professor Laurie Maguire (Magdalen College, Oxford)
Wednesday 13 May 2009 at 1pm
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
How do narrative and drama face the challenge of representing the most beautiful woman in the world? This talk will look at solutions offered by poets and filmakers from Homer to Hollywood.


Lewis Carroll in Numberland

Presented by Professor Robin Wilson
Wednesday 29 April 2009 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Lewis Carroll's writings have inspired and entertained generations of readers, but now his forgotten achievements as a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church are finally brought to light. No knowledge of mathematics is assumed.
Professor Wilson will be signing copies of his book, Lewis Carroll in Numberland, in the Divinity School after the lecture.


Inside the Blackwell Collections in the Bodleian Library and Merton College: a new Decameron

Presented by Rita Ricketts (Blackwell's Historian and Bodleian Visiting Scholar)
Wednesday 4 March 2009 at 1pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Blackwell's Historian and Bodleian Visiting Scholar will explore Blackwell's association with reading and writing folk in Oxford and around the world, the lives and times of its characters and its interactions with readers, customers and each other.


Woolly beaks: birds in South-Persian tribal rugs and bagfaces of the 19th century

Presented by Dr Roger Tomlin (University Lecturer in Late Roman History, Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and the Society of Antiquaries, London)
Wednesday 25 February 2009 at 1pm
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

A lecture illustrated by a display of tribal weavings from a private collection.


Hallelujah! Reflections on a swansong exhibition

Presented by Peter Ward Jones (Bodleian Library)
Wednesday 3 December 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Peter Ward Jones, who is retiring after 40 years as the Bodleian's Music Librarian, offers an introduction to the new exhibition 'Hallelujah! The British Choral Tradition', with some musing on the process of its evolution.


Out of the labyrinth: Kafka's manuscripts

Presented by Professor T. J. Reed (Former Taylor Professor of German Language and Literature, Queens College, Oxford, and Fellow of the British Academy)
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

In the year of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Franz Kafka, the Friends of the Bodleian present a thirty minute lecture and a display of selected manuscripts from the Library's Kafka archive.


From the Fastolf Master to Jan van Hogspeuw: the Poetic Importance of Philip Larkin's Picture Postcards

Presented by Dr. Christopher Fletcher (Head of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library)
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Part of the 'Friends of the Bodleian Thirty-Minute Lecture' series.


Bodleian Library MS. Tanner 190 (Marino Sanudo, Secreta Fidelium Crucis, Venice, c. 1321-1324): Europe and the wider world in the 14th century

Presented by Dr. Christopher Tyerman (Fellow and Tutor in History, Hertford College, Oxford, who has published extensively on the Crusades)
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Part of the 'Friends of the Bodleian Thirty-Minute Lecture' series.


Schubert in a Cold Climate

An entertaining talk illustrated with music, with readings by Mervyn Pascoe, followed by a wine reception.
Presented by Dr. Elizabeth Norman McKay
Friday, 25 April 2008
The Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, Oxford

Dr. McKay, a musician and music scholar with an international reputation, has published widely on Schubert and his music, including Franz Schubert's Music for the Theatre and Franz Schubert: a Biography. A frequent broadcaster on Radio 3 and 4, her 1997 ""Composer of the Week: Schubert"" was repeated twice. In this talk she will explore the effects on Schubert's music of, among other things, a volcanic eruption.

At Dr. McKay's request, proceeds benefitted the Bodleian Library.


An Elizabethan Panorama in the Bodleian Library: Mr Sheldon's Tapestry Maps Re-United

Presented by Dr. Hilary L. Turner
Friday, 7 March 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

The Bodleian has now acquired a major section of the Sheldon tapestry map of Gloucestershire, to add to the fragments of the Gloucestershire map and the tapestries of Oxfordshire and Worcestershire it already owned. The maps, dating from the 1590s, commissioned by Ralph Sheldon for his home at Weston, Warwickshire, are of major significance for artographic history.

Dr. Hilary Turner has worked as a freelance researcher and translator since writing her doctoral thesis which introduced her to Elizabethan (and older) maps.


Lord Derby: Prime Minister and Chancellor of Oxford University

Presented by Dr. Angus Hawkins, FRHistS
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Cecil Jackson Room, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Dr. Hawkins is Director, International Programmes, Oxford University Dept. for Continuing Education, and Fellow and Bursar of Kellogg College. He has recently published the first volume of his biography The Forgotten Prime Minister: the 14th Earl of Derby, based upon Derby's own papers and extensive archive.

Lord Derby (1799-1869) was the first British statesman to become Prime Minister three times and the longest-serving party leader in modern British politics, leading the Conservative Party from 1846 to 1868. He succeeded the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of Oxford University in 1852.

Sheldon Tapestry
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