A new acquisition: the Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war by Percy Cruikshank (1870)

We are delighted to be able to shed light on the recent purchase by Cambridge University Library Special Collections of a satirical Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war. Illustrated by Percy Cruikshank, it probably dates from the end of 1870. It relates to both the exhibition of the Cambridge collection of 1870-71 caricatures held at the University Library this spring, and the academic conference on the Memory of 1870-71 held at Wolfson College by Marion Glaumaud-Carbonnier and Nick White last month.

Unfolded panorama in the Rare books reading roomThe Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war, published in London by F. Platts & Mann Nephews, was “painted by PC from the sketches of Messrs. Smith, Brown, Jones & Robinson”. The full signature of Percy Cruikshank (1817-1880) appears repeatedly within the images themselves. Percy came from an illustrious family of caricaturists: he was the son of Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), the nephew of George Cruikshank (1792-1878), and the grandson of Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811). He contributed caricatures of the Franco-Prussian war to the British satirical humour magazine Judy or the London Serio-Comic Journal (named after Punch and Judy). The highly collaborative nature of the panorama is interesting given the reference to no less than four sketchers. Continue reading

The visitors’ album of María Luisa Aub : a hidden treasure

The visitors’ album of María Luisa Aub came to the University Library in 2018. María Luisa (1927-2013), affectionally called “Mimín” by family and friends, was the eldest daughter of Mexican-Spanish writer Max Aub. She had close links to Cambridge, having lived in the city for over 25 years, but she also lived in exile in Mexico for many years. 

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Vpered, Ukraïno! = Forward, Ukraine!

This brief blog post looks at a publication produced in France which we hold in the Library in the Peter Yakimiuk collection.

Vpered, Ukraïno! (note the vocative form of the country name) was published in Paris by the group Ukrainian National Unity in France, in their Library of Self-Enlightenment, and describes itself in its sub-title as a narodnyĭ deklamator, a folk reciter.

The book contains Ukrainian poems by Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Oleksander Olesʹ, and many more.  Lesi︠a︡ Ukraïnka (1873-1913) has the greatest number of poems in the compilations.  Brief biographical notes of the authors follow the body of poems, and looking at these more closely today, I see that the approximate date of publication given to the book (1945) must be wrong – the writer Leonid Mosenda’s entry refers to his death in 1948 – so I will update it it in the catalogue now.

The book has come up in connection with preparations for a small exhibition we hope to curate in the autumn with the local Cambridge refugee community – more details when we know them! – which will celebrate Ukrainian culture and history.  The cover is fairly eye-catching, but it’s the encouragement of the title that understandably attracts us in 2022 as Ukraine fights on.  Vpered, Ukraïno!

Mel Bach

Slovakia’s Museum of Ukrainian Culture

The Ukrainian-Slovak border is 60 miles long and lies largely in the Carpathians.  Communities near the border on both sides often reflect in their demographics the ethnic history of the area, with Ukrainians, Slovaks, and Rusyns present.  There are also more institution-based signs of this diversity; another 60 miles or so on the Slovak side of the border is the village of Svidník (Свидник/Svydnyk in Ukrainian), where the Museum of Ukrainian Culture is to be found.

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