On the Matter of Books and Records

CONFERENCE: On the Matter of Books and Records: Forms, Substance, Forgeries and Meanings Beyond the Lines, An International Workshop on the Materiality of Written Culture, London, The Victoria & Albert Museum, 23 November 2015.

On the Matter of Books and Records: Forms, Substance, Forgeries, and Meanings Beyond the Lines is an international and interdisciplinary workshop on the materiality of books and documents from Antiquity to the Modern Era. The workshop is aimed at junior scholars interested in the material culture of the written word, especially geared towards PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.

Papers will range chronologically and geographically, providing both methodological overviews and more specific case studies. Over the course of three sessions, we will look to answer different sets of questions, focusing on material supports, and subsequently on the binding and forgery of both books and documents respectively:

– How were writing supports created and employed, and what can they tell us about their users? What is the meaning of papyrus, parchment, and paper beyond their texts?

– How were written texts gathered and organised? What do structures and bindings communicate about the history of books and documents?

– How was the materiality of books and documents used as means of deception? How do physical elements of books and documents help us assess authenticity?

Historians, classicists, art historians, and conservators will give short presentations accompanied by a discussion of examples. Ultimately, the workshop will provide junior researchers from diverse backgrounds with the chance to engage critically with textual sources using the approach of material culture.


* Filippo de Vivo and Marta Ajmar, Introduction.

First Session. Supports: Papyrus, Parchment and Paper
* Danae Bafa (UCL), From Boats to Book-rolls: Unfolding the Materiality of Papyrus in Graeco-Roman Egypt 
* Jessica Berenbeim (Magdalene College, University of Oxford), What Parchment is, and What it Means 
* Maria Alessandra Chessa (V&A Museum), From the Nature of Paper to Meaning and Function.

Second Session. Binding Books and Documents
* Anna Gialdini (Ligatus, UAL) and Alessandro Silvestri (Birkbeck), Binding and Rebinding Records in Late Medieval Sicily. A Material Approach to Administrative History
* Carlo Federici (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Bindings, Parchments and Papers. My Pathway to the Archaeology of the Book.

Third Session: Forgery in Books and Documents
* Emily Taylor (British Museum), Book Forgeries: A Composite Fake and Egyptological Conundrum from the British Museum’s Collection 
* Alfred Hiatt (Queen Mary University of London), Forgery of Documents in the Late Middle Ages.

* Ian Sansom (University of Warwick), Closing remarks: The Paper Museum.

The workshop is jointly organised by AR.C.H.I.ves (Birkbeck, University of London), the Ligatus Research Centre (University of the Arts London), and the History of Design Programme at the Royal College of Art / Victoria & Albert Museum.

Registration will close on 15 November 2015.

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Beato Angelico ospite a Palazzo Cini


EXHIBITION: L’ospite a Palazzo. La Madonna di Pontassieve di Beato Angelico, Venezia, Palazzo Cini, 17 giugno – 28 settembre 2015. Chiuso il martedì.

La Galleria di Palazzo Cini a San Vio accoglie un nuovo ospite illustre: la Madonna di Pontassieve di Beato Angelico (Vicchio di Mugello, 1395 ca. – Roma, 1455), capolavoro del grande pittore toscano, proveniente dalla Galleria degli Uffizi di Firenze, probabile scomparto centrale del perduto polittico realizzato per la città toscana (1435 circa). La rassegna L’ospite a Palazzo, grazie a intese con importanti e prestigiose istituzioni italiane e internazionali, vede le sale della collezione permanente di Palazzo Cini accogliere periodicamente una speciale opera ‘ospite’, intrecciando relazioni visive, dialogiche e di contenuto con le altre opere della Galleria.

Il dipinto, arriva a Palazzo Cini il 17 giugno 2015 in concomitanza con l’apertura della mostra Piero di Cosimo. Pittore “fiorentino” eccentrico tra rinascimento e maniera (Firenze, 23 giugno – 27 settembre 2015) che vedrà esposti i due dipinti di Piero di Cosimo normalmente conservati in Galleria: la Madonna con Bambino e Angeli (recentemente esposta anche nella mostra Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence alla National Gallery of Art di Washington) e la Sacra Famiglia con San Giovannino.

Per saperne di più

Borsa di studio alla Fondazione Cini (6 mesi)

FELLOWSHIPS: Venezia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Bando per una borsa di studio residenziale di sei mesi in memoria di Bruno Visentin.

La Fondazione Giorgio Cini, per ricordare Bruno Visentini (1914-1995) a vent’anni dalla sua scomparsa, ha istituito una borsa di studio residenziale di sei mesi del valore di 12.500 euro per trascorrere un periodo di ricerca presso il Centro internazionale di Studi della Civiltà italiana “Vittore Branca” (qui).

La borsa di studio è destinata a dottorandi, per il compimento di una tesi, o a post-doc interessati allo studio della civiltà italiana – e in particolare veneta – con un orientamento interdisciplinare in uno dei seguenti ambiti: storia dell’arte, storia di Venezia, letteratura, musica, teatro, libri antichi, civiltà e spiritualità comparate.

Data di scadenza del bando: 15 ottobre 2015.

Leggi il bando per intero.

Job: Houghton Library, Head of MS Section

JOB: Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, Head of Manuscript Section, Full-time Position, Salary Grade 058 (minimum $ 71,500).

Founded in 1638, Harvard has a rich legacy of libraries that continues into the 21st century. In total there are over 70 libraries at Harvard that comprise the Harvard library system, with combined holdings of over 16 million items. More than 11 million of those items are part of the collection of a centrally administered unit within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences that is referred to as the Harvard College Library (HCL). It is comprised of Widener, Lamont, Birkhoff Mathematical, Cabot Science, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Fine Arts, Harvard-Yenching, Houghton, Loeb Music, Physics Research, and Tozzer libraries and the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Map Collection, and the Harvard Theatre Collection.

Duties & Responsibilities:
Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Technical Services, the Head of the Manuscript Section leads, manages, and supports Houghton Library’s efforts to accession, describe, preserve, and provide access to archival, manuscript, photographic, born-digital and other non-print holdings in all formats and across Houghton’s curatorial areas. The incumbent will bring a progressive, flexible, and innovative approach to this work and will be responsible for developing and/or implementing strategies, technologies, and standards that facilitate researcher access to Houghton’s holdings. The Head of the Manuscript Section supervises section staff, plans and manages projects, and collaborates with staff and departments throughout Houghton Library, and participates actively within the broader Harvard special collections and archives community.

* B.A., M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required.
* Five years of professional experience with increasing responsibility in special collections and/or archives
* Extensive experience arranging, describing, and preserving archival, manuscript, photographic, and other non-print materials, including experience processing large collections.
* Demonstrated knowledge of DACS, EAD, EAC-CPF, MARC, Library of Congress/PPC rules and authority control practices. Demonstrated knowledge of bibliographic and collection management systems.
* Supervisory and managerial experience required.
* Demonstrated project management experience.
* A broad knowledge of American and European history and literature is essential.

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Influential Illumination: BL Loans to Lens


ARTICLE: Influential Illumination: British Library Loans to Lens, by Hannah Morcos.

Three of the British Library’s medieval manuscripts are currently on loan to an exhibition at Louvre-Lens. D’Or et d’ivoire: Paris, Pise, Florence, Sienne, 1250–1320 explores the artistic relations between Paris and Tuscany. Over 125 exhibits illustrate the creative exchanges taking place in architecture, sculpture, ivory carving, metalwork, and painting in the 13th and early 14th centuries. The British Library manuscripts offer three superb examples of the opulence and innovation of Parisian manuscript illumination in this period.

Two of the manuscripts are associated with the Sainte-Chapelle, the incredible royal chapel built by Louis IX of France (r. 1226–1270) to store his relics. The first, Harley MS 2891, is a missal with several historiated initials, and two glorious full-page miniatures of the Crucifixion and Christ in Majesty on diaper grounds.

The second Sainte-Chapelle manuscript, Add MS 17341, is a lectionary probably made for Philip IV (r. 1285–1314). It is almost an exact copy of a manuscript made twenty years earlier (now Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 17326). However, its artist displays a greater interest in naturalism and spatial illusion, whilst replicating the content and position of the illustrations in its exemplar. Over 260 exquisite historiated initials depict biblical scenes, the majority of which are ‘ladder initials’, encompassing multiple compartments.

The extraordinary illuminations in Add MS 17341 have been tentatively associated with the most celebrated of Parisian artists, Maître Honoré (fl. 1288–1318). The name of this influential illuminator is known from a note in a manuscript he illuminated of the Decretum Gratiani (Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 558; miniatures from the manuscript can be found here). Maître Honoré’s name also features in a number of Parisian tax registers.

The large tax bills he paid reveal the significant sums this high-end illuminator demanded for his services. His style marks a key development in Parisian illumination, in particular his shading and use of colour. It has been suggested that the delicate and rounded features of his figures reflect the influence of Italian (Sienese?) painting. The innovations of Maître Honoré and his workshop were at the centre of a renaissance in Parisian illumination, and one which took inspiration from artistic styles beyond the confines of northern France.

Maître Honoré has also been linked to the third manuscript on loan to Louvre-Lens, Add MS 54180. It is another manuscript likely to have been made for the French king, Philip IV (r. 1285–1314). Add MS 54180 contains a copy of Brother Laurent’s La Somme le Roi, a moral compendium originally compiled in 1279 for Philip’s father, Philip III of France (r. 1270–1285). Two illuminated folios removed from Add MS 54180 are now Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 192 and MS 368.

For the exhibition’s curator Xavier Decrot, the three British Library manuscripts are ‘seminal in showing the importance of Paris as a centre for luxury production, and especially, the exceptional quality of the illuminators at this time, not only evident in liturgical manuscripts like the Missal and the Fourth Lectionary of the Sainte-Chapelle, but also in other types of book, such as the extraordinary version by Maître Honoré of Brother Laurent’s La Somme le Roi, probably the most beautiful manuscript produced in the period.’

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History Assistant Professor in Medieval Europe

JOB: History Assistant Professor in Medieval Europe, Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor in Medieval Europe, field and period open. The candidate will participate in the undergraduate and graduate teaching mission of the Department. Receipt of the PhD is expected by the time of appointment.

Please include letter of application, curriculum vitae, writing sample, and the contact information of three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation. Recommenders will be contacted by the University with instructions on how to submit letters to the website. If the writing sample is part of a dissertation or other major project, include an abstract explaining the sample’s relationship to the larger work.

Review of applications will begin 2 November 2015 and continue until the position is filled. Preliminary interviews will take place at the American Historical Association annual meeting in Atlanta.

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The Book Trade in the Italian Renaissance


BOOK: Angela Nuovo, The Book Trade in the Italian Renaissance, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Leiden 2013 (Brill), €139,00.

This work offers the first English-language survey of the book industry in Renaissance Italy. Whereas traditional accounts of the book in the Renaissance celebrate authors and literary achievement, this study examines the nuts and bolts of a rapidly expanding trade that built on existing economic practices while developing new mechanisms in response to political and religious realities.

Approaching the book trade from the perspective of its publishers and booksellers, this archive-based account ranges across family ambitions and warehouse fires to publishers’ petitions and convivial bookshop conversation. In the process it constructs a nuanced picture of trading networks, production, and the distribution and sale of printed books, a profitable but capricious commodity.

Originally published in Italian as Il commercio librario nell’Italia del Rinascimento, Milan 1998 (Franco Angeli; second, revised ed., 2003), this present English translation has not only been updated but has also been deeply revised and augmented.

CFP: Artists on the Market (Berlin)

CALL FOR PAPERS: Artists on the Market, International Workshop of the Forum Kunst und Markt, Institute of Art History and Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technische Universität Berlin, 13 – 14 November 2015. Convenors: Dr. Dorothee Wimmer, Prof. Dr. Bénédicte Savoy and Dr. Johannes Nathan, assisted by Lukas Fuchsgruber M.A.

The fourth Workshop of the Forum Kunst und Markt at the TU Berlin will focus on the strategies of artists operating on the art market. Historically, the decreasing dominance of the patronage of the courts and churches did not automatically lead to an increase in artists’ autonomy as it also augmented their dependence on a quickly growing and increasingly diversified art market. By following this development over several centuries, we aim to investigate the respective strategies and ranges of action available between artistic freedom and financial success.

What are the conditions of work that artists have established by setting up production bases such as the artist’s studio, the factory, or the “out-sourcing” of manufacture?

How do they market themselves and their goods in order to achieve regional, national, or global recognition on the market?

What are the roles played by “modern” commissioners (dealers, collectors, state institutions, etc.) and mediating institutions (galleries, art associations, museums, projects spaces, mass media, etc.) in creating and establishing new artistic practices, genres, or stylistic trends?

What is the impact on the art market of alternative forms of operation when artistic strategies are in conflict with the framework of a pre-established, complex system?

The convenors are not only calling for contributions on recently completed research but are expressly looking for reports on research-in-progress that can shed light on the various aspects of interest, also from a comparative perspective or as relevant case studies.

The workshop will open on November 13, 2015, with an evening lecture by Dr. Christian Huemer from the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Conference languages are English and German.

Please send proposals (maximum 2000 characters), and a brief curriculum by to artistsonthemarket@gmail.com.

Deadline: 31 August 2015.

Source: H-ArtHist