Week One | 10 - 14 June 2024

Medieval Illumination | Professor Michelle Brown

Illuminated manuscripts are not just beautiful books, they provide a particularly rich source of exploration of the nature of individual projects and of the inter-relationship between word and image in both generation and reception. This course will introduce students to the components and vocabulary of illumination and to its techniques and will incorporate brief surveys of its development. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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The Italian Book: From Manuscript to Print | Laura Nuvoloni & Paolo Sachet

This course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the transformation of books in Italy from Late Antiquity to the Enlightenment. It will trace the transition from the peak of manuscript production to the establishment of books printed through a hand press as the chief means of communication, assessing the impact this epochal shift had on different genres, from the classics to scientific and popular literature. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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An Introduction to Book Collecting and Book Cultures | Cynthia Johnston

This course will pursue a panoptic view of the growth of book culture and the practice of book collecting. Beginning with the well-documented libraries of the ancient world in various media – including the cuneiform library of Ashurbanipal in Assyria and the papyrus scrolls of Alexandria and Pergamum, as well as recent discoveries from the ‘Villa of Papyri’ in Herculaneum – we will examine the role of libraries in the context of power and identity. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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The Early Modern Book in England | Giles Mandelbrote & Arnold Hunt

This course explores the history of the production, distribution and consumption of both printed books and manuscripts in England during this crucial period of change. Tracing the rise of publishing in English, it will examine some of the factors which stimulated the growth of the book trade, such as the Reformation, the English Civil War, the role of the Stationers’ Company and the spread of literacy. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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Provenance in Books | David Pearson

This course is primarily a training ground to give students a personal toolkit to identify and interpret the various kinds of provenance evidence found in books before 1900. The course will cover different manifestations of provenance – inscriptions, bookplates and book labels, armorials and other evidence from bindings – and include practical sessions on palaeography and reference sources. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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Artists’ Books | Gill Partington

This course looks at the artists’ book in the broadest sense, charting its evolution and critical history from the mid-twentieth century onward, following its various strands and examining the main figures and practices associated with it. The course aims to orient students in this lively, fascinating but complex field. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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Week Two | 17 - 21 June 2024

The Anatomy of the Book: An Introduction to the Study of Printed Books c.1450-1800 | Michael Durrant

This course offers an introduction to the study of printed books of the hand-press period (c.1450-1800). It aims to equip students with foundational knowledge of the intricacies of book production in the period, and of the material and mechanical circumstances that shaped the early printed page. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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European Bookbinding, 1450-1820 | Nicholas Pickwoad

The history of bookbinding is not simply the history of a decorative art, but that of a craft answering a commercial need. This course will follow European bookbinding from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, using the bindings themselves to illustrate the aims and intentions of the binding trade. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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The New Trade in Old Books | Angus O'Neill & Leo Cadagan

In this “introduction to the modern rare book trade”, two practitioners, one historically (but not exclusively) focussed on twentieth-century English books and the other on early modern continental books, will discuss: trade vocabulary; trends and ideas of collectability; provenance; diversity and inclusion; techniques of research in the trade (including trade bibliography); how marks of ownership change “the meaning of the book”; and fakes and frauds.

More information is available to view on the course page. 

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Art & Science: The Art of Natural History Illustration | Henrietta McBurney and Roger Gaskell

The place of natural history illustration is often overlooked in traditional histories of art and visual culture. But images of the natural world created by such renowned artists as Dürer and Leonardo, lesser-known figures Hoefnagel, Ligozzi, and natural history illustrators Catesby and Ehret, hold an important place in the intersection of art and science. This course offers new perspectives on the ways in which nature has been viewed, drawn, and illustrated in books from the early Renaissance to modern times and examines the making and function of such images.

More information is available to view on the course page.

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Using Publisher's Archives | Andrew Nash

This course offers a unique opportunity for students of book history, literary studies and related disciplines to experience at first hand surviving archives of the British book trade. Using the unparalleled resources available in libraries in London and Reading, students will work with a wide range of documentary evidence to explore the internal workings of a publishing house and understand the entirety of the publishing process from the submission or commissioning of manuscripts, to the marketing, distribution and retail of published products, and the life survival of texts.

More information is available to view on the course page.

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The Book Historian’s Digital Toolkit | Christopher Ohge

This 5-day course introduces a variety of digital methods and tools for book history research, in addition to a historical survey of digitisation and electronic books. The primary purpose of this introduction is to give students a view of the landscape of digital research in book history, including bibliographic data and content management systems, data visualisation, IIIF (the leading standard for image sharing and annotation in libraries and archives), computer vision, and 3D modelling and printing. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

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Short courses

Recognising and Dating English Bookbindings 1450-1850 | Dr David Pearson

10 - 12 April 2024 | Shrewsbury School

The aim of this London Rare Books Short Course is to equip participants with the skills necessary to identify and date English bindings on historical books of the handpress period. Every historic binding tells a story, not only around when it was made or repaired, but also around the choices and motives of owners. What are the key questions to ask, and what knowledge is needed in order to answer them? This course puts practical guidance on recognising bindings into that investigative framework. It will focus mainly on English bindings, but with reference to and comparison with binding work across Europe more widely. The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in historical books or who works regularly with them: librarians and curators; students and teachers of bibliography, book history, and library science; book collectors and dealers; and general enthusiasts. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

Course fees

  • Standard Rate: £450
  • Concession* Rate: £350
    *student/unwaged

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The Medieval Book | Professor Michelle Brown

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This online course held by Michelle Brown will provide an intensive introduction to manuscript culture during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The historical contexts for manuscript production will be explored and the landscape populated with some of those who commissioned and made these remarkable works. Techniques of production, terminology and methods of description and cataloguing will be examined and a brief survey of palaeography and codicology will be provided. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

Course fees

  • Standard Rate: £175
  • Concession* Rate: £100

*student/unwaged

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Medieval Book Production and the Collections of Hereford Cathedral | Professor Michelle Brown

27 September 2024 | Hereford Cathedral

 

Hereford Cathedral is home to one of the most ancient and significant collections of medieval manuscripts in Britain. Its treasures include the Hereford Gospels, made in Britain around 800, and the Hereford Mappa Mundi of c.1300 - one of the most famous of the medieval world maps. It also houses the finest surviving specimen of a chained library, a rare survivor of how institutional libraries used to be. 

This special study day offers a rare opportunity to explore these and other of the library's remarkable holdings, in the context of medieval book production, under the expert tuition of Michelle Brown and Rosemary Firman, the Cathedral Librarian.

More information is available to view on the course page.

 

  • Standard: £90
  • Concession*: £65

*student/unwaged

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Fakes and Forgeries | Dr Joseph Hone

15 May 2024 | Senate House Library 

This one-day course offers an introduction to the subject of book forgery. It is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to identify fakes, in addition to providing a historical overview of their production from the early modern period to the present day. Students will learn about false imprints, techniques of duplication, the doctoring of facsimiles, sophisticated and ‘made-up’ books, and the falsification of provenance. There will be a strong focus on using bibliographical evidence from type and paper to identify anachronism and undisclosed tampering. 

More information is available to view on the course page.

Course Fees

  • Standard: £175
  • Concession*: £100

*student/unwaged

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Movable Books | Dr Gill Partington

26 April 2024 

From Early-Modern anatomical flap-books and rotating ‘volvelles’ to Victorian children’s books with pull-tabs and twentieth-century pop-ups, the movable book has a long and fascinating history. Using the unique collections at Cambridge University Library, this one-day intensive course traces the evolution and diverseuses of these unusual objects, giving students an opportunity to see and interact with some rare and remarkable examples.

More information is available to view on the course page.

Course Fees

  • Standard: £175
  • Concession*: £100

*student/unwaged

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