Our first new exhibit of 2018 officially opened this week and in case you haven’t had a chance to come in and see it yet for yourself, here are a few select items from “Going Once, Going Twice: An Exhibition of New Acquisitions in the Redwood’s Special Collections.” The exhibit includes a Clagget Clock, replacement volumes to the Original Collection, a 16th century printed book of hours, donations to the Hamilton collection and for reference on French prints, oil paintings, and a sample of manuscripts, pamphlets, and printed materials acquired at an auction held this past fall.
[Horae in Laudem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae as Usum Romanum], Paris: Charles l’Angelier, 1556[?]
This Renaissance book of hours was printed in Paris in the 1550s. It is richly printed in red and black ink and copiously illustrated, with woodcut miniatures and effusive woodcut borders decorated with floral, animal, and heraldic motifs. It was produced at the tail end of the period when personal prayer books were fashionable. We were lucky to be able to purchase it at an online auction as a companion piece to our manuscript book of hours, illuminated in 1440. Taken together, these books tell a story of continuity and change in the prayer book genre in the face of radical changes in technology.
Each item in the case on the far wall of the Gallery was acquired from an auction of the “Dan Schofield Collection of Political Memorabilia” at Eldred’s auction house in East Dennis, Massachusetts. Schofield was a history teacher in Stonington, Connecticut, who lived in Westerly, Rhode Island, and was an avid collector of political memorabilia throughout his life. He had a particular interest in the Dorr Rebellion, as is reflected in many of the letters, pamphlets, and books presented here, as well as a score of other political events in New England and across the country. Some of the things he collected were less politically motivated, such as the story titled “The Clam Bake” by Mr. J. Comstock of East Greenwich about a day when school was cancelled and everyone gathered for a clambake of clams taken straight from the Narragansett Bay.
The Clam Bake, undated, East Greenwich, Mr. J. Comstock
Tambourine Player, ca. 1850, Thomas Sully (1783-1872), Oil on panel
One of the paintings on display was given to us by Jeremy Fogg, in honor of his friend and patron Frank McMillan Wooten. Tambourine Woman was painted around 1850 by Thomas Sully (1783-1872), an American portrait artist who was born in England, but spent most of his life in America. His parents immigrated to the United States in 1792 when he was only 9 and Sully spent his youth with his family in Richmond, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina. In 1807 he moved to Philadelphia where he remained for the rest of his life. Along with his portraits of political and military figures, he is particularly known for his portraits of high-society women.
The entire exhibit highlights the many ways through which we build our special collections: online auctions, rare book sellers, auction houses, and generous donations in all areas. To see the entire exhibit and learn more about how the Redwood Library grows its collections, visit our Peirce Prince Gallery between now and March 23, 2018.