The Unwritten Book (General Seminar)

Yesterday, Yvonne Lewis shared the story of ‘The Unwritten Book’ – the evidence William John Bankes left behind him of his travels, and, in particular, a set of lithography stones intended for publication in a book that was never printed in the end.

There are many reasons that these stones are both interesting and mysterious, but the greatest mystery is why they exist in the first place. Lithography was invented in Munich in 1798 by Alois Senefelder, and as Michael Twyman points out in his core text on the topic, “the lithographed book is almost as old as lithography itself” (p. 15). One of its leading proponents in Britain, Charles Hullmandel, set up his press in 1819, and so Bankes’s travels (circa 1815-17) coincided with the very earliest period of English lithography. Hullmandel’s marks appear on the back of the stones, and, as Twyman asserted in a paper he gave in 2016, “Hullmandel can be linked with the stones now at Kingston Lacy in several ways. First and foremost he owned them all, at least initially. Secondly, he made the drawings on some of them himself. And, thirdly, wherever a printer’s imprint appears on a stone it is his.”

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Beginning Bibliography Scholarship Winner

The Library building, St Peter's Churchyard, Maldon

We are delighted that Dr Helen Kemp has been awarded the scholarship for Beginning Bibliography this year. Helen is the Librarian of ILA member Thomas Plume’s Library.

She is also a Community Fellow in the Department of History at The University of Essex, Special Collections Champion at the Albert Sloman Library, and Maddock Research Fellow 2019-2020 at Marsh’s Library, Dublin

Thomas Plume’s Library, in Maldon, Essex, was founded in 1704, and holds over 8,000 early printed books and pamphlets. Helen writes,

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