The Stationers’ Company allowed me to spend a short but insightful week, in and around the Company’s building; and on Thursday, 13 July I spent the majority of my day in the Library and Archive. Whilst having a strong literary interest, I have never particularly had the opportunity to be at such close quarters to books that in their age, and in some cases rarity, between them and through the omissions and gaps in the documentation, begin to expose the interweaving social and cultural influences on the world from the times at which they were written. This opportunity gave me much to think about in terms of the place of these books in modern society and what that might mean to us.
Members might remember that in 2011 Freeman Richard Gilpin produced an article for Stationers' News about the Company’s garden and its history.
A lot of important things are going on at Stationers' Hall, many of which entail people passing through, and using, the garden; so we thought that it would be worth making that article available again (here) along with these extra ‘thoughts’.
Almanacs have existed for as long as people have attempted to interpret the seas and the skies. The Babylonians compiled star catalogues, and the early Greeks and Egyptians knew the importance of correctly predicting the weather. Medieval almanacs introduced elements of divination to their texts. And, as early medicine associated human physiology with astrology, almanacs soon carried health advice too, with an edict of the University of Paris decreeing, in 1437, that all physicians must own a copy of the latest almanac. To read a bit more about the history of early English almanacs and their role in the practice of medicine, check out this fascinating blogpost from the Wellcome library.
The Stationers’ Company exhibition at Guildhall Library is now open. Claire Scott, the organiser, has found some beautiful pieces to display, including a selection of paper lace – apparently British paper-makers were renowned for the quality of their output. The exhibition is designed to be quite interactive, and younger visitors are encouraged to try their hand at printing with ink stamps.
Ruth Frendo, Stationers' Archivist, writes:
For the exhibition accompanying our very successful 2017 Archive Evening, we were loaned some fascinating items from Cambridge University Library. These included a first edition of Robert Hooke’s
The Stationers’ Company records are now available on ROLLCO, a site providing records of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900. You can visit the site here: www.londonroll.org.
Robert Hooke - the man who measured London after the Great Fire of 1666 and claimed Newton stole his ideas about gravity - also observed the world through lenses and in his Micrographia of 1665 illustrated in the minutest detail the smallest things. Come and see his great book at the Archive Evening event 'Printing and the Mind: Seventeenth-Century Transformations' on Monday 24 April 2017.
Richard Bentley - the greatest classical scholar of his times and one of the most disputatious and vexatious of academics, constantly in litigation against his colleagues, but also the invigorator and re-organiser of printing in Cambridge who set the University on course to be a great academic publisher. Book now to see his work at the Archive Evening event 'Printing and the Mind: Seventeenth-Century Transformations' on Monday 24 April 2017.
Liber A is undergoing restoration and has been digitised. A previous restoration involving coating the pages has had to be removed as the coating had deteriorated through time.
The Bibliographical Society is intending to publish Liber A later this year.