2022 articles

  1. A Sense of Place: The ‘London’ Cityscapes of BL, Royal MS. 13 A. III
    Betsy Chunko-Dominguez

    The British Library, Royal MS. 13 A. III, containing a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britannie, was likely produced in southeast England in or around London between the late thirteenth century and the first quarter of the fourteenth century. The only manuscript with an extended series of illustrations, it contains a number of bas-de-page cityscape drawings. Two such drawings are examined here: those found on folio 14r and folio 28v, respectively. The present article argues that the artist of these marginal illustrations was based in London, and that the two cityscapes under analysis most likely represent London itself and Caerleon as influenced by the artist’s own familiarity with London. The drawings are of particular interest in that they suggest at least some of the considerations artists of the era brought to the task of creating geographical and structural representations. As such, this article also explores the nature of these cityscape drawings to contextualize them as, alternately, real and ‘archetypal’ urban spaces.


  2. British Library Additional Manuscript 8537 as a Source for Florentine/Pisan University History
    Elena Rossi

    British Library Additional Manuscript 8537 contains a selection of statutes related to the university of Florence and Pisa from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The manuscript was originally produced to specifically document rulings between the institution and Florentine government, suggesting it may have been a personal vademecum of a Florentine official. Over time, it evolved into a referencing guide for other university and government administrators, as exemplified by updates to its contents and the inclusion of finding aids. There are also statutes included that have not been detailed elsewhere, including Armando Verde’s collection of documents related to the Florentine Studio. Through closer examination of its contents and context, the manuscript reveals itself to be an untapped resource for not only Italian university history, but also university archival practice. The present article sheds light on the treasures of Add. MS. 8537, facilitating its introduction into the broader history of the Studium.


  3. Selected English Masonic Bookbindings
    P.J.M. Marks

    Books as artefacts, as well as the texts that they contain, play a fundamental role in English freemasonry. The esteem in which they were held is shown in paintings. This
    detail comes from a portrait of freemason Dr Robert Crucefix (1797-1850) who is shown with significant items of regalia as well as the masonic bindings. Bound Bibles, masonic texts, minute books or accounts ledgers were often given lavish decoration and were frequently presented as gifts to brother freemasons and to the lodges themselves. Donors paid for the most costly leather they could afford (commonly grained goatskin or calf or cheaper leathers made to resemble them) and specified particular types of ornamentation, such as gold tooled masonic motifs or lettering with the donor’s and recipient’s masonic membership details.


  4. American Political Pamphlets 1917-1945 at the British Library
    Jodie Collins

    The twentieth century was a golden age of pamphleteering in America, especially during the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945. Pamphlets were vital tools for radical organizations in educating and communicating with their own members and persuading the public of the righteousness of their cause. Though some pamphlets could be obtained free of charge, they were usually sold at a low cost. Among the many modern pamphlets held by the British Library is a modest assortment of American political pamphlets, which have been collated to help researchers and the public to more easily discover and engage with this fascinating material.


  5. Orwell’s Political Pamphlet ‘Solar System’: A Network Interpretation of a British Library Collection
    Claudia Treacher

    This article examines the network of publishers, authors and topics included in George Orwell’s Collection of Political Pamphlets at the British Library (shelfmark 1899.ss.1-49.), some of which were catalogued as part of a Ph.D. placement in 2019. It explores how the pamphlets came to be held at the British Library, what cataloguing of the pamphlets has previously taken place, and how the pamphlets offer an insight into the political print culture of the 1930s and 1940s. Most importantly, this article will argue that Orwell’s collection reveals the networks of political print culture of the early twentieth-century in Britain.

Electronic British Library Journal articles

All articles of the Journal from 1975 to the latest volume.