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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Cataloguing Careers: Yvonne Lewis

Yvonne Lewis

The lead feature in Beginning Cataloguing Monthly is our series of interviews with people who work or have worked as cataloguers.

This month, we’re delighted to feature our Associate Yvonne Lewis, who is the speaker in our November General Seminar on The Unwritten Book.

Now the longest serving National Trust book curator, Yvonne started out as a graduate trainee at Lambeth Palace Library before completing her MA at UCL. When she started work as a cataloguer, the state of the art was 5″ x 3″ catalogue cards, and in her interview she describes the progress she’s seen, through old-style library management systems and retrospective conversion to the online resources with which we are familiar today.

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