The aim of the event was to give people a chance to see some of the interesting finds that the student-staffed Lighting the Past team have made over the past four years. We’ve picked out a few of these items below for those who were unable to make it on the day:
This short item is an early eighteenth-century instruction manual on group dancing. The first half decodes the complex signs and symbols which make up the elements of choreography. Each plate is designed as the floorplan of a rectangular room so that the reader may practice the steps with the book in his or her hand and never become disoriented.
The manual is the last item in a volume bound with more sober works, including an English-Latin grammar and a treatise on the management of landed estates. We might imagine that the volume belonged to an eighteenth-century gentleman, striving to improve himself in more ways than one!
For the last four years of his life (1890-1894) the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) made his home at his plantation in Vailima, Samoa, beautifully situated 600 feet above sea-level, on the mountainside among thick woods, with fine views of the Pacific. These prayers were written for his household, both the family and Samoan people who shared his home, where prayers were said every evening, this being an integral part of Samoan life.
In layout the work instantly evokes mediaeval books of hours or psalters, with its beautiful illuminations. This is quite deliberate, the work being designed, written out, and decorated by Alberto Sangorski (1862-1932), an illuminator and calligrapher who specialised in illuminated manuscripts.
Have you ever read the biblical book of Genesis and felt desperately confused as to who all of those people are, which names belong where, and who exactly was the son of whom? Hopefully this volume might be able to clear it up a little! Renowned 16th-17th century cartographer John Speed is best known for his History of Great Britain (1611), but this smaller volume was also published in the same year.
Speed charts visually the biblical genealogies in over 30 diagrams, all painstakingly mapped out from Adam to Christ. It features not only the ancestors of Israel, but also many of the other Ancient Near Eastern nations mentioned in the biblical account. Speed’s efforts proved enormously popular, and by 1640 there were no less than thirty-three editions of his genealogical charts!
Thanks to the Lighting the Past team for putting together the Show and Tell, and in particular to Emily Savage for her research in to Feuillet’s For the Furthur Improvement of Dancing, and Kieran Cressy for his research in to Speed’s The genealogies recorded in the Sacred Scriptvre.
If you would like to come to one of our Show and Tells, the next event will be held in the Martyrs New Park Seminar Room at 2pm on 18 May, titled “Early Birds: A Selection of Bird Books and Resources”.
M Pilar Gil
Lead Cataloguer, Lighting the Past Team