Collection: BC Safe.: Safe (Brotherton Collection)

Archive File icon Archive File: Travelling Library

Details

Title: Travelling Library

Level: File 

Classmark: BC Safe LIB

Date: 1617

Persistent link: https://explore.library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections-explore/397314 

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Description

A box resembling a single folio book, containing 43 small volumes.

This Jacobean travelling library is one of four of a similar kind, the others being in the British Library, the Huntington Library and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. When closed, it appears to be a single leather-bound volume measuring approximately 41 x 28cm, but when opened it is revealed to be a wooden box with three shelves containing 43 small books, vellum-bound and mostly printed in Leyden. A catalogue of the books faces them on the inside of the cover, painted in three columns surrounded by an arch design bearing a crest and five coats of arms. Each column relates to a shelf, one for Theology and Philosophy, one for History, one for Poetry.

The largest of the coats of arms is of an unidentified member of the Madden family, apparently the person to whom the travelling library first belonged. It was previously supposed that all four examples were made for Sir Julius Caesar (1558 - 1636), Master of the Rolls to present to friends, because his Roman namesake's name is given special emphasis in the catalogue, and Sir Julius did own the British Library example. However, it has been proven (Nixon, H. M and Jackson, W. A., 1979, 'English seventeenth-century travelling libraries', The Cambridge Bibliographic Society, 7 (294 - 304)) that they were all commissioned by William Hakewill (1574 - 1655), traces of his name and arms dated January 1617 being just visible at the back of the bottom shelf of this copy of the travelling library. Who made the boxes and bound their contents is unknown, but there is evidence of a common source and a connection with the King's Printer, John Bill.

Description taken from 'The Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds: Its contents described with illustrations of fifty books & Manuscripts' 1986, University Library, Leeds.

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1 Jacobean Travelling Library, January 1617

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Jacobean Travelling Library, January 1617
Image © University of Leeds

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