Working on a donated collection of books can sometimes be a repetitive task – as collectors usually focus on one theme in particular, donations may consist of hundreds of books studying the same subject from slightly different angles. Occasionally though, we come across something entirely unexpected and sometimes amusing. I had such a moment a few days ago when I discovered, among the collection of art books donated by Professor Jean-Michel Massing, a 1906 illustrated Swiss manual of jujutsu. The Japanese martial art is here shown performed by two portly, mustachioed, middle-aged European men who have somehow decided that a three-piece suit with bow tie was the best outfit for this kind of activity. It makes for some amazing pictures :
In Collections and Academic Liaison, we work with many donations of books which add significantly to the University Library’s collections. While they chiefly inspire research amongst readers, they sometimes also inspire holidays amongst librarians. Thanks to Professor Nigel Morgan’s collection of books about North Macedonian churches, I spent an extraordinary week in Ohrid this autumn.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about the artist books donation of the Diane française publisher “Musée de Poche” collection to Cambridge University Library. One of the works I discovered in this series is that of Remo Giatti, an artist form Northern Italy who uses a variety of techniques (engraving, lithography, drawing and collage…), and whose prints often include elements in “relief”. His work featured on the cover of the catalogue (F201.a.4.1), accompanied in the numbered Cambridge copy by an original print. Giatti also contributed to four “Musée de Poche” books (three of them are double volumes containing up to eight prints).
Le plus beau poème du monde est un poème d’amour (2014) by the Italian poet Arturo Schwarz, translated into French by Raphael Monticelli and inspired by Lucretius is a tribute to the beloved woman and her body through the elements. In this context, Giatti’s first and last prints evoke the stains of biological elements enlarged through a microscope, and the cracks forming on an arid soil in shades of grey. In the central double print, a grey shape with lines, strokes and cracks, pops up dramatically towards the viewer. It is set on top of another print which acts as a colourful brown and green background for the other one, reusing patterns of bubbles, stains and lines, and creating a strange effect of alignment and perspective from the top to the bottom print. Continue reading
The generosity of Professor Nigel Morgan to the University Library has been written about before in our blog, in an April 2015 post. Since then, Professor Morgan’s donations have continued to come in, and the collection only yesterday of the latest batch of treasures provides a good reason for giving an update.
Each book donated by Professor Morgan, Emeritus Honorary Professor of the History of Art in the University of Cambridge and Sandars Reader in 2013-2014, contains a heading in the catalogue record for him as the donor. An advanced search in iDiscover which combines his authorised form (Morgan, Nigel J.) with the formula former owner and specifying the UL as the holding library brings up at the time of writing well over 900 results. The latest donation contains nearly 100 volumes, so before long the results will number over 1,000. Continue reading
Following an event and book display organised by Jean Khalfa at Trinity College Wren Library on 15 October 2018, Cambridge University Library recently received a donation of about 40 artists’ books published in Nice by La Diane française between 2004 and 2018.