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Friday, August 28, 2015

Marbled Papers

I’m Emily, a curatorial intern who has spent the spring and summer at the Rosenbach. As my internship comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the amazing array of books I’ve been able to see at the Rosenbach this year. I’ve had my eye out for interesting endpapers (the sometimes decorated papers found on the reverse of covers and first and last free leaves in books), and have certainly not been disappointed! My research focuses on marbled endpapers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and I’ll share two examples from the Rosenbach collection here.

Marbling is a paper decoration process where a craftsperson manipulates colorful pigments that float on top of a chemical bath. Paper is laid carefully on the surface of the bath and removed, the design absorbing and fixing onto the paper. Marbling has roots dating back hundreds of years to ink and paint floating methods, including suminagashi in Japan and ebru in the Ottoman Empire. The technique reached Western Europe by the early 1600s.

Marbling came in many forms, and marbling aesthetics extended to other techniques too, especially when the industrialization of book production caused many craft processes to be reconsidered. The 1800s and 1900s hosted a dynamic array of ideas on paper as marbling machines emerged and printed papers imitated marbled designs.

The collection of fine press books at the Rosenbach includes a copy of William Loring Andrews’s  A Choice Collection of Books from the Aldine Presses, printed in 1885.

William Loring Andrews. A Choice Collection of Books from the Aldine Presses. New York, privately printed, 1885. FP A572 885a The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Andrews was a book scholar, the first librarian of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a collector of rare English and American books. In this privately printed text, Andrews gives detailed descriptions of books printed in Venice by the Aldine Press and its descendants. The covers and endpapers of the book show a marbled pattern with many shades of blue and a gold vein. The two distinct patterns indicate separate processes, where the blue design was executed and set, and then the gold applied later. Both layers could be done by marbling or by lithographic printing.

William Loring Andrews. A Choice Collection of Books from the Aldine Presses. New York, privately printed, 1885. FP A572 885a The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Bookbinders considered how the marbled endpapers would work with the rest of the binding, whether the outside covers were marbled or not. In 1902, Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Lord Brooke was rebound by the Club Bindery. It belonged to Robert Hoe, a collector with an extraordinarily valuable group of books. The Club Bindery was set up in New York in 1895, with the aim of bringing high standards of bookbinding associated with Europe to the United States. Many talented bookbinders joined, and Hoe himself was involved in operations. The binding is marked with the name “Leon Maillard,” a prominent French bookbinder employed by the Club Bindery, and an “RH” refers to Hoe.

Fulke Greville, Baron Brooke.Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Lord Brooke.London: Printed by E.P. for Henry Seyle, 1633. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
The Club Bindery imported many supplies from France, and the marbled paper used in this book was probably no exception. The pigments were carefully moved with tools including combs to create the peaks and curves of the fine color lines. The bookbinder may have selected the paper because of how the mustard yellow in the marbling matched the tooled edges and cover of the book, and was set off by the other bright colors on the page. The pattern was neither too big and overwhelming nor too small and busy.

I hope that this exploration of the marbling in and around these books may inspire you consider the surprises that come before the story even begins!

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Emily Pazar just finished a curatorial internship at the Rosenbach and is a graduate student in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware. Her masters thesis research is focused on paper marbling in the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries in the United States, studying the ways that marblers reacted to industrialization and craft revival and how bookbinders used marbled papers in their work.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Saint Christopher and The Golden Legend

More and more information is finally being released about Philadelphia's plans for the upcoming papal visit in a month's time, but given all the swirling logistical questions and potential transit snafus, it seemed like an appeal to St. Christopher might not be out of order. The traditional patron saint of travelers, St. Christopher was supposedly a third century martyr under Decius, but little is known about his life or death and there is no solid evidence that he actually existed, which contributed to his being removed from the Catholic Church's universal calendar of feasts during 1969 reforms.

Despite a lack of solid facts about Christopher, the Roman Calendar states that "the existence of his cult is very old." The earliest sources focus on his martyrdom, but by the middle ages many colorful legends had grown up around Christopher and were preserved in books such as The Golden Legend.  

The Golden Legend was one of the most popular books of the medieval period. Written in Latin by the Dominican friar Jacobus de Voraigne around 1260, a thousand manuscript copies survive in a wide range of European languages. After the development of printing, Jacobus's book still topped the best-seller list; a 1471-2 edition by GΓΌnther Zainer was the first "printed book to be extensively illustrated" and between 1470 and 1500 there were over 150 printed editions, as compared with 128 editions of the Bible.

In 1483 William Caxton translated and printed an English edition of The Golden Legend, based on Latin, French, and English versions of the text.  It was his largest work, requiring at least 15 months to translate, running to 898 pages, and incorporating 70 woodcuts. Over four hundred years later  William Morris's Kelmscott Press produced a beautiful three-volume edition of Caxton's text, with new illustrations by Edward Burne Jones. Morris had actually wanted it to be the first book to come from Kelmscott, but the length of the work taxed him as it had Caxton and so it turned out to be the seventh, published in 1892.

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend. Hammersmith : Kelmscott Press, 1892.
FP .K29 892v. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This brings us back to St. Christopher.

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend. Hammersmith : Kelmscott Press, 1892. FP .K29 892v. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
The Golden Legend likes to start its hagiographies with a discussion of the saint's name, and Christopher is no exception. His introduction reads (in modern English taken from this transcription)

Before his baptism was named Reprobus, but afterwards he was named Christopher, which is as much to say as bearing Christ, of that that he bare Christ in four manners. He bare him on his shoulders by conveying and leading, in his body by making it lean, in mind by devotion, and in his mouth by confession and predication.

The idea that Christopher "bare [Christ] on his shoulders" is the most popular story about the saint and the one that gave him his role as the patron saint of travelers. Here is the version told in The Golden Legend.

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend. Hammersmith : Kelmscott Press, 1892. FP .K29 892v. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Christopher sought out a hermit to be instructed in the faith and the hermit asked him to serve God through fasting; Christopher asked if there was another way. The hermit suggested "wak[ing] and making many prayers," but Christopher didn't like that any better and so the hermit told the giant Christopher (who was 12 cubits--18 feet--tall) to serve God by carrying passengers across a dangerous river. This was acceptable:

And there he abode, thus doing, many days. And in a time, as he slept in his lodge, he heard the voice of a child which called him and said: Christopher, come out and bear me over. Then he awoke and went out, but he found no man. And when he was again in his house, he heard the same voice and he ran out and found nobody. 

The third time he was called and came thither, and found a child beside the rivage of the river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over the water. And then Christopher lift up the child on his shoulders, and took his staff, and entered into the river for to pass.

And the water of the river arose and swelled more and more: and the child was heavy as lead, and alway as he went farther the water increased and grew more, and the child more and more waxed heavy, insomuch that Christopher had great anguish and was afeard to be drowned. And when he was escaped with great pain, and passed the water, and set the child aground, he said to the child: 

Child, thou hast put me in great peril; thou weighest almost as I had all the world upon me, I might bear no greater burden. And the child answered: 

Christopher, marvel thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne him that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders. I am Jesu Christ the king, to whom thou servest in this work. 

So if you're planning on coming from New Jersey to see the pope in September and aren't up for walking over the closed Ben Franklin bridge, perhaps a ride from Christopher across the Delaware would be a better bet? Or of course there's always PATCO...

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Beach season is winding down as the end of the summer approaches and here at the Rosenbach we're starting to gear up for Alice-in-Wonderland season as we make preparations  for "Down the Rabbit Hole" a three gallery exhibit that will open October 14, along with a fabulous slate of programs ranging from a conversation with Maira Kalman, Alexandra Horowitz, and Maria Popova to tea and tarts with a tea connoisseur. Appropriately, today's blog object combines both the beach and Alice.

John Tenniel, "'I doubt it,' said the Carpenter." [1870 or 71].1954.27. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
This drawing of the Walrus and the Carpenter is one of fifty illustrations which Sir John Tenniel produced for Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. It depicts the pair tramping along the sand, which, strangely, upsets them.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
If this were only cleared away,'
They said, it would be grand!'

If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
That they could get it clear?'
I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear. 

The character of the Carpenter was Tenniel’s own invention--when Carroll gave Tenniel the manuscript he offered him the choice of drawing a carpenter, a butterfly, or a baronet, since any of these three-syllable words would fit the poem’s meter. Tenniel exerted significant influence over other aspects of Looking Glass as well; at his insistence Carroll dropped an entire episode, “The Wasp and the Wig,” because it was "altogether beyond the appliances of art.” 

In Looking Glass, the Walrus and the Carpenter poem famously ends with them devouring a group of oysters whom they have lured out for a walk.

It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,
To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
The butter's spread too thick!'

I weep for you,' the Walrus said:
I deeply sympathize.'
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one."

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

Interestingly, Lewis Carroll changed the poem’s ending for an 1886 operetta version of Alice, allowing the ghosts of the oysters to wreak revenge on the Walrus and Carpenter:

O woeful, weeping Walrus, your
tears are all a sham!
You're greedier for Oysters than
children are for jam.
You like to have an Oyster to give
a meal a zest--

Excuse me, wicked Walrus,
for stamping on your chest!
For stamping on your chest!
For stamping on your chest!
Excuse me, wicked Walrus,
For stamping on your chest!

Possibly the stamping on chests was a metaphor for indigestion?  In any case, according to Rebecca Stott's book Oyster, "The oyster uprising brought audiences to their feet, cheering."

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

Friday, August 07, 2015

Mary Queen of Scots Letter, Take 2

Hi everyone! This is another blog post by this summer's collection's intern, Allison! This time, I’m focusing on a letter from 1571 written by Mary, Queen of Scots. The Rosenbach has the first two pages of the letter in their collection and we wrote a blog post about it back in 2013. That post, however, mostly just provides a transcription of the letter and I wanted to explore a bit more about Mary. Most people have at least heard of Mary, Queen of Scots before and know she that she was Queen of Scotland and had a tumultuous life, but many people don’t know the full story. 

Born on 8 December 1542 at Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian (Scotland), Mary was the daughter King James V of Scotland and his French-born wife Mary of Guise. King James V died pretty soon after her birth, and Mary was crowned Queen of Scots. Originally, there was a treaty with Henry VIII in which Mary would wed his son Edward, however Henry angered the Scottish parliament and they stopped the marriage by sending 5-year-old Mary to France. A new marriage agreement was set up between Mary and Francis, the heir of King Henri II of France.

In 1558, Queen Mary I of England died; Henri II encouraged his 15-year-old daughter-in-law to assume the royal arms of England. The majority of Catholic Europe at the time believed that Mary of Scotland was the true heir to the English throne as her cousin Elizabeth I was protestant and illegitimate. Less than a year later, King Henri II of France died and Francis and Mary were crowned King and Queen of France. Tragedy would strike again soon after with the deaths of both Mary's mother and Francis, causing her to return to Scotland.

She returned to Scotland during a time of extreme religious turmoil. Scotland was protestant at the time, but Mary, a catholic, was determined that her Scottish subjects would be able to worship God however they saw fit. She also was determined to strengthen the crown against the Scottish nobility, who were notoriously difficult. She became popular among the common people, but, quite obviously, not among the nobility.

In 1565, she wed a noble cousin named Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. He was strongly disliked by the common people of Scotland. In March of 1566, when Mary was sixth months pregnant, Darnley and a number of other Scottish nobles stabbed her Piedmontese secretary, David Riccio, to death, claiming that he had undue influence over Mary’s foreign policy. It is suspected that they had meant Mary to suffer a miscarriage and die from watching the horrific crime, thus making Darnley King, but nothing is known for sure.

After Riccio’s death, Mary was kept prisoner at Holyrood Palace by members of the nobility. However, she managed to escape just a few months later with the surprising help of Darnley. Eventually, the future James VI of Scotland, Darnley's son, was born. Two years later, the nobles who Darnley had plotted with in the murder of David Riccio, had Darnley’s house blown up. Darnley was found strangled in the garden.

James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, was implicated in the murder. However, she consented to marrying him, hoping to finally stabilize the country, however it did not work. The nobles were still angry and waged war against Bothwell in 1567. Mary, to avoid bloodshed, turned herself over to the rebels and was taken to Lochleven Castle and forced to abdicate in favor of her son.

In 1568, Mary managed to escape Lochleven and began to make her way south to ask her cousin Elizabeth I for support. Elizabeth wasn’t exactly the most welcoming. She had been helping Mary’s enemies, promising them money and sanctuary in return for conspiring against Mary. Mary was the closest Catholic claim to the throne and Elizabeth, a protestant, didn’t really like that. When Mary arrived in England, Elizabeth had her guarded and then moved around from prison to prison.

Mary, Queen of Scots, autograph letter. Sheffield castle, [18 September 1571]. MS 569/12. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
It is during this time where our letter comes into the picture. Our letter was written in 1571 while Mary was interred in Sheffield Castle. In it, she is writing to friends who have been banished from her. She, in particular, mentions a Master Gordon and a Master William Douglas. William was said to have helped her escape from Lochleven Castle. She begs them to urge the King, the Queen and Monsieur to help her poor subjects in Scotland and says that if she were to die, she would wish the King of France to protect her son and friends according to the ancient league of France with Scotland.

On 8 February 1587, Mary was executed at age 44 in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay. She was executed under suspicion of plotting to kill Elizabeth and claim the English throne. Sixteen years later, however, Mary’s son became King of England and Scotland and moved her body to Westminster Abbey.

The Rosenbach’s letter by Mary shows her devoutness to her religion, and, especially, her devotion to those who she considered friends and family. Most of this side of Mary is overlooked in favor of her relationship with Elizabeth as well as all of the drama that surrounded her early life. The Rosenbach’s letter, however, gives us a chance to see a different side of Mary whose primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of those she cares about.

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Allison Darhun is a collections intern at the Rosenbach this summer and a History major at St. Joseph's University.