Calling all printers: Shakespeare’s Sonnets in 2016

Composing sticks at the ready
Composing sticks at the ready

In a cycle of 154 short, 14-line poems first published in 1609, William Shakespeare meditated on themes of love, death, and desire. During 2016, the Bodleian Libraries will be producing and collecting newly printed copies of each of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The Bodleian is seeking examples from hand-press printers worldwide made in this, the 400th year since the death of William Shakespeare.

Contributions of individual sonnets by Shakespeare, whether in English or in translation, will be welcome from printers up to the deadline of 30 September 2016. These should be created by hand, using any means of relief printing. Selected submissions, forming at least one complete collection of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, will be added to the Bodleian’s permanent collection and the donors will be notified.

If you would like to join this effort, please see the Sonnets 2016 webpage.

Image of Sonnet 24 printed 23 Jan. 2016
Sonnet 24, a variant version with a comment by William Henry Fox Talbot, set and printed by Bodleian staff on 23 Jan. 2016

The Bodleian’s printing workshop in the Old Schools Quadrangle

The Bodleian’s Bibliographical Press is now located in the seventeenth-century Old Library, with an entrance from the Old Schools Quadrangle. Watched over by the statue of the Earl of Pembroke standing in the quad, the door marked ‘Schola Musicae’ opens onto a workshop housing five free-standing presses and the composing frames and type cases that support the teaching of hand-press printing. Here are a few of the things that have been going on since September —- ‘printweeting’: artist Tamarin Norwood composed 140-character messages, and we thought about the difference between characters and sorts — Oxford Open Doors on 12 September welcomed visitors to the room to see demonstrations of typesetting and printing — University of Oxford students learned to compose and print, working with Dickens and Martin Luther texts — at the Christmas Card printing session open to the public, participants were creative with lino cuts and with the display type and metalcut blocks in the room — the press produced a keepsake for the Bodleian’s 12 millionth book: a poem by Percy Shelley championing a free press.
For more information:; tweet @theBroadPress

Visiting Fellowships at the Bodleian Libraries, for 2016-17

The Bodleian Libraries are now accepting applications for Visiting Fellowships to be taken up during academic year 2016-17.

Fellowships support periods of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Fellows are hosted in the Visiting Scholars’ Centre at the Weston Library, where they join a lively research environment.

Details of the fellowship terms and application process can be found on our Fellowships webpage:

For six of the named fellowships, the deadline for applications is Monday, 14 December 2015:
Humfrey Wanley Fellowships
Sassoon Visiting Fellowships
Bahari Visiting Fellowships in the Persian Arts of the Book
Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships in the History of Science & Communications
David Walker Memorial Fellowships in Early Modern History
Albi Rosenthal Visiting Fellowships in Music

A new fellowship is now announced, with the deadline of Friday, 29 January 2016:
The Carr-Thomas-Ovenden Visiting Fellowship in English Literature

A list of current visiting fellows in academic year 2015-16 can be found here.

For further information, please e-mail Dr Michelle Chew at:

And so to Bod… Antiquarian Booksellers visit the Bodleian’s Weston Library

Guest post from Laurence Worms of Ash Rare Books, who visited with a group from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA)

As part of our ongoing series of exchange visits between booksellers and rare book librarians (our friends and colleagues in the Rare Books and Special Collections Group of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), a party of ABA members assembled in Oxford in mid November. Old haunts for me – parts of downtown Oxford almost unrecognisable after all these years, but beyond the city centre, up towards St Giles, things virtually unchanged in almost half a century. Far more young women students nowadays and far more bicycles (nothing less cool than a cyclist back in the ’sixties), but still recognisable Oxford types on every corner.
There were a dozen of us: ABA President Michael ‘Oscar’ Graves-Johnston; Brian Lake and Carol Murphy from Jarndyce; honorary member David Chambers; Sam Jonkers from Henley; Anke Timmerman and Mark James from Quaritch; Richard Wells from Teignmouth; Ann Gate (Waterfield’s); Tom and Sue Biro (Collectable Books), and myself. Slight chaos and confusion as we assembled in the Blackwell Hall at the Weston Library – two disparate tours scheduled to start at the same time. We were the quiet and well-behaved ones – no, really, we were – we couldn’t be much else in a hall named in honour of that great bookselling family, whose splendid shop still stands next door. Benjamin Henry Blackwell was ABA President in 1912, his son Sir Basil Blackwell in 1926.
The Weston Library is the new name of the New Bodleian Library on Broad Street, after its recent major makeover, rebuilding and refurbishment – renamed in honour of a £25 million donation given by the Garfield Weston Foundation toward its transformation (the Blackwell family chipped in £5 million too). The original 1930s book-stack has been moved down to the lowest basement level. The central stack has been rebuilt along with the installation of three floors of secure storage below ground level. The stone façade has been cleaned. New internal spaces have been created. There are now extra reading rooms and a fine public entrance hall. Above all, the Library is now equipped to store material in conditions laid down by the National Archives’ Standard for Record Repositories. This is critical in allowing the Library to continue to hold major archival collections accepted in lieu of tax and to receive vital funding.
Formally opened earlier in the year, we were to be given a guided tour behind the scenes. Rare Books Assistant Curator Lucy Evans led us first up to the Conservation and Collection Care Department . We were about to be impressed. At the first work-station, Sabina Pugh, the Senior Book Conservator, was working on a mediaeval manuscript of biblical exegesis rebound for Henry VIII – a manuscript presumably acquired and bound for the King at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1541). Rebound in a regal mustard-coloured velvet, but now in need of work to allow safe handling and study. “I like to think Henry once handled and studied this book himself”, says Sabina.
Elsewhere, someone was working on an original Shelley notebook – and not just any notebook, but the one with the original draft of that ode which starts “O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being”. In another corner, work was being carried out on an extravagantly and exquisitely decorated Koran now starting to disintegrate – the vibrant and enticing green of the verdigris pigment the culprit, as so often. Lots of experimentation going on here with relatively new, virtually weightless and virtually transparent-in-use backing papers, and various types of adhesive. A mountain of thought before the intricate and time-consuming work can actually commence.
Fascinating for us booksellers and the source of some animated conversation later in the day. The whole thrust of library conservation is now towards as little intervention as possible – to render the material safe in handling but no more. No thought of restoration, refurbishment or replication of original glory – the Henrician binding to remain lacking some of its velvet, to remain lacking its original metal bosses – the repairs all visible and reversible. It’s a line of thought easy to understand: none of us would wish to intervene too far or to get things wrong. We have all seen disastrous examples of ill-conceived work – on the one hand, the clunky and charmless utilitarian rebinding which makes it fairly sure the book will not fall apart again, but leaves it almost impossible to open and deprives us of all sense of what it originally was, or, at the other extreme, the ruthless shearing off of catchwords and marginalia to present the book in the most finished and fashionable binding of the moment. Booksellers are often in a quandary here. We want to do the right thing, but we also want (and need) to sell the book. Our customers have their own expectations. We don’t exclude restoration or purely cosmetic repair. We don’t – at least most of us – exclude a complete rebinding in ‘period’ style or in a fine binding worthy of the text. Commercial binders can be exceedingly good at this – and there is, I believe, a duty on us all to ensure that the traditional skills of the bookbinder are kept alive. Perhaps time for a conference for all parties to exchange ideas and to attempt to achieve some kind of consensus about best (or at least allowable) practice?
Our tour continued with a special display of ‘treasures’ – chosen by the curators on hand to talk to us about them – some of their personal favourites, some prize recent acquisitions, etc. I was soon lost in contemplation of a wonderful recent bequest to the Bodleian – the exquisite ‘travelling library’ given to the young Prince Charles, later to become Charles I, in the early seventeenth-century. Sixty or so pocket books, worthy titles, the best of learning suitable for a prince’s education, uniformly bound and evidently intended to be a portable companion. So many questions unanswered: is the set complete, who assembled it and when, who bound the books – are these English bindings? French? – and, not least, where have the books been for most of the last four centuries, until they were put into their present red leather cases, made in the 1970s by Sangorski & Sutcliffe? What a research project in prospect.Dragging myself away from these adorable little books, I was soon equally lost in wonderment at the Bodleian copy of Shackleton’s extraordinary “Aurora Australis”, famous as the first book printed in the Antarctic, designed as a project to while away the long polar winter – but also, what I had never realised – a superb piece of printing in its own right.
Our afternoon ended with a complete tour of the building – up on the roof to catch the dreaming spires in an unexpected burst of late afternoon sunshine, a glimpse into the reading rooms and study areas, some encounters with the restored glories of the original 1930s fittings, furniture and ceilings designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (he of the Telephone Box and Battersea Power Station). A pleasant end to a very pleasant afternoon – thank you so much to Lucy Evans and her colleagues for organising things and taking so much effort to entertain us. Our turn next.

Gazing on the moon

from Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections

‘We have watched this babe of four or five months, gazing on the moon with all the fixedness of attention belonging to an astronomer.’
Bodleian Libraries, Hopkins Mss
This note is written on the manuscript of a poem recently acquired by the Bodleian. Its author is Manley Hopkins and its subject his infant son, Gerard, who sadly saw little in print during his own short life but is now celebrated as one of our greatest poets. The poem was first published in 2010 in a special issue of the Hopkins Quarterly when the manuscript was still in private hands. It is now available for study along with another poem mourning the death in 1854 of Manley’s fourth son Felix and a letter of 1840 from Kate Smith (later his wife) to a member of their family. The manuscripts join the Bodleian’s extensive collection of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetical manuscripts.

Manley was at this time a prosperous twenty six year old, well established in insurance and fervidly developing his lack of formal education through reading, writing and music. His poetry is not technically distinguished but I find this hymn to his son moving in its mixture of fear, joy and humility. As it closes, the child becomes, rather recalling Wordsworth, a father to the man, thrilling his father’s soul with the purity of his devotion to light. The idea carries poignancy from where we stand, knowing that the son would die long before his parents, having blazed far beyond them in religious intensity and scintillating expression. The scene also curiously brings to mind Coleridge’s account of his son Hartley, hurt from a fall: ‘I caught him up crying & screaming—& ran out of doors with him.—The Moon caught his eye—he ceased crying immediately—& his eyes & the tears in them, how they glittered in the Moonlight!”

Manley’s verses of course bring to mind one of Gerard’s most ecstatic poems, sent as a present to his mother on her birthday in spring of 1877 when he was at his happiest, studying to become a priest at Beuno in Wales. That poem is ‘Starlight Night’. Was the son thinking of his father’s tender tribute, so carefully preserved in the manuscript?


To my child, Gerard Manley.
Christmas Eve 1844

Hail! Little worshipper of Light!
Most sunny is thy sunny face at noon:-
Why dost thou fix so earnestly thy gaze
Upon the wandering Moon, –
And thy young eyes upraise
Adoringly to her that melts the night? – *
Why do thine impotent hands
Seek, – seek for ever
To clasp the lamp-flame bright
And everything that flings thee lucent rays?
Why if it chance in darkness thou awaken
Utter thy earnest, plaintive cry
As tho’ the fateful bands
Of thy imprisoning gloom to sever, –
While fancy gives thee words – ‘Mother, I die
By light, and thee forsaken!’

Does thy quick-beating heart
Back with an instinct start,
And own the tyrant fear –
Lest life, whose tenure is so frail and new, –
With nothingness so near –
Has snapped beneath thy tiny weight,
And thou relapsed into thy former state,
Like a young flower
Snatched in its opening hour
From where, upon its stem, so joyously it grew? –

Or, is it, child, that beauty and that light
Are infancy’s true nourishment? – its eyes
As steel unto the lode-rock bend their sight
In sympathy , to all of pure and bright; –
That clouds are afterthoughts; – darkness a blot
That in creation is, – yet should be not.
And childhood, like the Huma, has no feet
To settle mid the shadows of the earth,
But hovering o’er it, still drinks in the dew
Of heaven, its land of birth;
While its wings catch the all-surrounding hue
Of liquid sapphire, where they ever beat?

If so, then worship on. No Gebir’s best wrong creed
Stains thee with error. Drink of light thy fill:
And tho’ thy feet in after-life may bleed
As whose do not? – upon Time’s stoney way,
The first warm impulse of thy heart obey,
And love it still!
Yes! Love it as it rises o’er the East,
Love it in all the glowing hues of Even
Love it reflected over Earth’s wide breast,
And trembling in the starry lamps of Heaven.
Seek it in gemmy caves, and snowy mountain tips,
In Friendship’s eyes, on sweet Affection’s lips.
Thou’lt often find it where thou dreamest not, deep hid
‘Neath surging waves, in mines, – in human hearts.
And many a ray
Will meet thee on thy way
Cherished in bosoms that the world has chid, –
And which that chiding world has mainly turned astray.

Oh worship on! See yonder orient gates
Whose half-oped leaves the streaky dawn disclose;
Where soft, diffusive light impatient waits,
And on the verge, with tender lustre glows.
Behold! The Light of Light – the Righteous Sun upsprings
With balmy healing dripping from his wings!
Before His beams, all other radiance pales.
Fountain and Source of light, and heat and love
The dim horizon lift thyself above,
And haste to our dark world, that thy bright Coming hails!

Gaze on, my child, thy fill.
Yet stay! – an instant turn on me thy innocent sight,
Pour thro’ thine eyes my heart full of delight,
And all my being thrill –
Thou Worshipper of Light!

*We have watched this babe of four or five months, gazing on the moon with all the fixedness of attention belonging to an astronomer.

The Starlight Night

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves’-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.
Buy then! bid then! – What? – Prayer, patience, alms, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Who were ‘The Troops’? An illustrated childhood Idyll

Bodleian Rec. e.465from Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections

“A little townlet on the coast under the lee of the Sussex Downs – this was Littlehampton. With its old-fashioned Harbour, its irregular network of streets, its quiet, conservative atmosphere, it represented to us at the time a miniature Paradise. Long stretches of sandy beach, sandhills and the surrounding Downs, all added to the charm of the place in which we lived and about which I have attempted to write.”

So begins ‘The Troops’, the Bodleian’s latest acquisition, hooked from the book trade. The book is a private production of June 1935. No other copy has yet been identified, though I suspect it was distributed to the seventeen or so childhood friends whose blissful existence it celebrates between 1923 and 1929. Crudely but lovingly produced, with no pagination or publisher’s imprint (unless one counts the embossed address, Warwick House, Littlehampton), it includes pasted in photographs of ‘the troops’ and provides a charming and moving narrative of their journey through childhood, from the ages of about ten to the late teens.

Bodleian Rec. e.465

The author, looking back in his early twenties, traces out the activities of the expanding ‘gang’ during Prep school holidays. They start as kids playing with mud pies, eating ‘sticky sweets’ and puzzling out Meccano before establishing a cycling club, organising races on the beaches and through the town: ‘bicycles and nothing but bicycles, with a concentration of which only children are capable.’ Then it’s hockey, followed by theatrical performances and even a cine film before grownups, interspersed with tennis, swimming, picnics and meetings in a club house, all enabled through the kindness and financial support of one parent in particular, ‘Mrs Mitchell (Treasurer and general big-noise).’ The personality of various members emerges sweetly. ‘Evan Hayes and Podge Porter were the mad men’, Austin Harmer is the sensible time-keeper, Jeffrey Quill turns out to be a natural actor and ‘Jane always insisted on being barmaid – this sounds awfully naughty but it was only Orange crush and cider.’ The poignancy of such innocent fun is sharpened when we realise that real troops  – those of the marines – would later use the beach at Littlehampton to train for D Day landings.
Bodleian Rec. e.465

An elegiac note develops towards the end: ‘we were growing up without realising it – awful business that growing up – the big cry was £s. d., and at that age the demand was greater than the supply.’ The author, I think one Tom Murphy, ‘started clerking it in London’ at the end of 1929 after a final dinner together. ‘I suppose’, he reflects with melancholy wisdom, ‘thousands of others have spent, and will spend, their youth in a similar way – similar but not quite the same – nobody could be happier than I was during that time.’ The group had agreed, earlier that year, to meet again on the 1 January 1939 with the proviso that ‘anybody bringing along a husband or wife should pay a fine towards the champagne.’ Our author notes, ‘at the time of writing that dinner is still four years away, and it looks as though there is going to be plenty of champagne.’

Bodleian Rec. e.465

That reunion seems to have happened. A sheet of paper enclosed with the book features a poem dedicated to Jane and signed by various members. The book is also inscribed to her and must have been her copy:

The Troops are gathered once again
To celebrate – but where is Jane?
While nursing someone else’s mumps
Herself has caught the horrid lumps,
Which proves, alas, that those who serve
Don’t always get what they deserve.
We’ll think of you and drink your health
Wishing you happiness and wealth,
And all hope you’re not feeling rotten
Assuring you you’re not forgotten.

Who were these troops who shared such lucky times together? One or two I think I have identified. Podge Porter, may have become head of French at Magdalen College School Oxford (and a friend to the author John Fowles and Marxist to boot). Jeffrey Quiller turned out one of our most celebrated test pilots of Spitfires – all that speed on the beach! But of the others, what trace? I list the names I have identified below. We’d love to know more.

Mrs Mitchell, Hon. Treasurer
Phillip Mitchell
Jane Mitchell
Stella Mitchell
Phyllis Mitchell
Stephen Clarkson
Jeffrey Quill
Austin Harmer
Stephen Harmer
Podge Porter
Clyde Barber
Biddy Barber
Sheila Murphy
Tom Murphy
Sheila Butt
Tony Bee
David Lea

Seminars, master classes and lectures at the Weston Library, Sept-Nov 2015, from the Centre for the Study of the Book

16 September: Catholic Legacies, 1500-1800: Uncovering Catholic lives and records

9:00 am-15:30pm, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, + 16:00-17:00 Special Display Session [registration required]
This one-day workshop will explore Britain’s rich early modern Catholic heritage through archival and material culture sources. The day will include examination of material in the Bodleian collections, as well as from the Vatican Library, the Archives of the Jesuit Province in Britain, the Archives of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, the Blairs Museum, the British Museum, and Stonyhurst College.
The programme begins with discussions of the collections of the Vatican Library, by Adalbert Roth, Director of Printed Books at the BAV; and the archives of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, by Hannah Thomas (Durham). Thomas McCoog, SJ, will describe The formation of Jesuit archives relevant to England and Lucy Wooding will speak about English Catholics and the Bible.
In the afternoon, a panel session ‘The material culture of early modern Catholicism’, will include Peter Davidson (Aberdeen), Dora Thornton (British Museum), and Jan Graffius (Stonyhurst College).

Attendance from 9:00-15:30 is free and open to all.

A special display session from 16.00-17.00 will feature material from the Bodleian and other collections.

Note, as space is limited you must be registered to attend the Special Display Session. Please see the programme and follow this link to register: Booking Special Display Session

21 October: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve: Stephen Greenblatt master class

10:00 am, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
Professor Stephen Greenblatt, Humanitas Visiting Professor, discusses representations of Adam and Eve, with material from Bodleian Libraries Special Collections.
Registration is required.

23 October: The New Boccaccio: Scholar, Scribe, Reader

2-6 pm, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
To celebrate the seventh centenary of Giovanni Boccaccio’s birth (1313–2013) several cultural activities took place around the world. Our seminar focuses on a set of articles collected in the journal Italia Medioevale e Umanistica and entirely devoted to the Italian ‘humanist’. The aim was to disclose a new profile of Boccaccio, who should now be recognised not just as the novelist of the Decameron, but as a scribe and a scholar as important as Petrarch devoted to the rediscovery and study of the Latin Classics.
Irene Ceccherini (Bodleian Library & Lincoln College, Oxford)
Matilde Malaspina (Lincoln College, Oxford & 15cBOOKTRADE)
Martin McLaughlin (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages & Magdalen College, Oxford)
Angelo Piacentini (Cattolica University, Milan & Bodleian Library, Visiting Scholar)
Michael Reeve (Faculty of Classics & Pembroke College, Cambridge)
Nigel Wilson (Lincoln College, Oxford)
Register for free tickets.

2 November: Mr Gough’s ‘curious map’ of Britain: old image, new techniques

9-5:15, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
A team of specialists report on the application of modern imaging technology to disentangle the Gough Map’s complexities and understand its creation and function. Convened by Catherine Delano-Smith (Institute of Historical Research, London) and Nick Millea (Maps, Bodleian Library).
Speakers will include: Peter Barber (formerly British Library), Andrew Beeby (Durham), Christopher Clarkson (Bodleian Library), P.D.A. Harvey (Durham), David Howell (Bodleian Library), Adam Lowe (Factum Arte), Nigel Saul (Royal Holloway, London), Bill Shannon (Lancashire), Marinita Stiglitz (Bodleian Library), Christopher Whittick (East Sussex Record Office), and James Willoughby (New College, Oxford).

There will be a registration fee for the Gough Map symposium. Please see event listing for details.

The Language of Bindings Thesaurus from Ligatus

Ligatus director Professor Nicholas Pickwoad sends this notice of the Language of Bindings Thesaurus, now online at

“Ligatus is proud to announce the launch of the Language of Binding online thesaurus of
bookbinding terms, which was celebrated with a one-day event in the Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London) in collaboration with CERL on 23 June, 2015.
Ligatus is a research centre of the University of the Arts London with projects in libraries and archives and with a particular interest in historic bookbinding. The Language of Binding thesaurus is the result of our long experience with historic bookbindings, but has been greatly assisted by contributions from an international group of bookbinding experts and book conservators. This work was made possible by a Networking Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK.
The aim of the thesaurus is to present a consistent vocabulary for the use of all those who work with early bindings, built wherever possible on existing resources, but adapted for use in an on-line hierarchical environment that will allow terms that are not known to a user to be found.”

Read the full announcement:
Language of Bindings Announcement

The Malone and Osborn collections

Marginal Malone_Programme. ‘Marginal Malone’, a symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book and the Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book

Malone’s Chronologizing of Aubrey’s Lives ( “putt in writing … tumultuarily”)
Keynote lecture by Margreta de Grazia, (Emerita Sheli Z. and Burton X. Rosenberg Professor of the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania). Introduction by Tiffany Stern, Professor of Early Modern Drama, Faculty of English, University of Oxford. [podcast]

Arch. G d.41

This quarto volume is part of the collection of Edmond Malone (1741-1812) whose legacy is celebrated along with that of James Marshall Osborn, at the symposium ‘Marginal Malone’, presented by the Yale Program in the History of the Book and the Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book. The symposium webpage is here:

Arch. G d.41

On the leaf facing the title page is a pen and ink drawing by George Steevens , beneath which is a note by Malone: “Mr. Stevens borrowed this volume from me in 1779, to peruse the Rape of Lucrece in the original edition, of which he was not possessed. When he returned it he made this drawing. I was confined by a sore throat, and was attended by Mr. Atkinson, the apocathary, of whom the above figure whom Shakespeare addresses, is a caricature. E.M. “. To read this note in full see: (SOLO record)

[link: ]

This volume contains seven items:

(1) The Rape of Lucrece, 1594,

(2) Sonnets, 1609,

(3) Tragedy of Hamlet (betw. 1619 and 1623?)

(4) Love’s Labours Lost, 1598

(5) Pericles, 1609

(6) The whole contention betweene the two famous houses, Lancaster and Yorke. : With the tragicall ends of the good Duke Humfrey, Richard Duke of Yorke, and King Henrie the sixt. 1619

(7) A Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608

Display of items selected by the speakers at ‘Marginal Malone’

Waterloo in the Curzon Collection

The Bodleian’s Curzon Collection includes a large number of political prints, both British and Continental, from the period of the Napoleonic wars and on the subject of the history and destiny of Napoleon I. Among these are both British and French cartoons depicting Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo.

Many of these items are available to view online at as part of the collection, Political Prints from the Curzon Collection.

Le Cesar de 1815. Bodleian Curzon b.32(23). Napoleon leaves behind the dead of Waterloo. La Haye Sainte is visible at the right-hand side.
Le César de 1815. Bodleian Curzon b.32(23). Napoleon leaves behind the dead of Waterloo. La Haye Sainte is visible at the right-hand side.

George Nathaniel Curzon (1859-1925), chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1907 to 1925, bequeathed his collection of Napoleoneana to the Bodleian Library. The books and printed cartoons form one part of this collection.

Most of the prints were bought by Curzon in bound volumes from the estate of the lawyer and journalist Alexander Meyrick Broadley (1847-1916), author of Napoleon in caricature (1911) who compiled extra-illustrated copies of his own work as well as J. Holland Rose’s Life of Napoleon I (1902), the Earl of Rosebery’s Napoleon: the last phase (1900), and Guillaume Craan’s Notice historique sur la bataille de Waterloo (the English translation, 1817).

Tricolour cockade. Bodleian Library, Curzon b.33(144)
Tricolour cockade. Bodleian Library, Curzon b.33(144). Image credit, Bodleian Libraries

The historical works are extra-illustrated with autograph letters and tokens including a tricolour cockade, which is described in the blog, The Last Stand: Napoleon’s 100 days in 100 objects.