Ackermann’s Repository of Arts

Front Page 1825

This image is of the front page of one of the volumes dated 1825.

The Repository of Arts was an illustrated periodical which focused on art, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics. It was published by Rudolph Ackermann from 1809-1828. The Repository influenced fashion, architecture and literature during the Regency and late Georgian period.  The last issue of The Repository of Arts was published in 1828 before it was taken over by The Repository of Fashion. This new periodical did not last long as in 1829 it merged with La Belle Assemblée, a women’s fashion magazine.

Black Prominade Dress 1828.jpg

This is an image of a black promenade dress from a 1828 edition. 

Each edition of The Repository of Arts contains various images of architectural structures around Britain as well as beautiful illustrations of popular women’s fashions. In several of the editions small squares of fabric which have been attached to the page to display the popular new styles of fabric patterns in some of the illustrations. Some of these are colourfully patterned fabrics which are still in excellent condition despite some pieces being over 200 years old!

Fabric Patterns 1809

This is one of the many examples of fabric squares which have been advertised in The Repository.

The description which accompanies the above fabric samples is as follows:

‘No. 1 is a yellow printed Book muslin, ell-wide, admirably adapted for ladies’ evening dresses, and furnished by Messrs. Smith and Co. 43 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden.

No. 2, a striped muslin, or nainsook, 6-4ths wide, is an extremely elegant article for morning dresses, and was supplied by Messrs. Brisco and Powley, 103 New Bond Street.

No. 3 is a printed cambric-muslin, 9-8ths wide. It is a highly fashionable article, and uncommonly elegant, from the delicacy of its design and print, which have authority to assure the public to be a permanent colour. It was furnished by the same house as the preceding pattern.

No. 4. This chintz, or shawl pattern marcella, ¾ wide, is a truly elegant and fashionable article for gentlemen’s waistcoats. It was furnished by Messrs. Richard Smith and Co. 2 Prince’s Street, Leicester Square.’

Some editions also contain various fashionable furniture pieces as well as intricate interior designs. Several designs from The Repository focus on Gothic styled pieces which include chairs, beds, bookcases and fireplaces amongst other elaborate pieces. Each piece is highly detailed, beautifully illustrated and coloured in with brief descriptions on the design and function of each piece.

We hold a complete set of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts which have been bound into 40 Volumes. They are free for the public to view as long as you bring some form of ID with you. You can view our catalogue entry for The Repository of Arts here.

Red Prominade dress 1825

This is a red promenade dress from 1825. 

The above image taken from the Repository of Arts is part of our ‘Treasures of Guildhall Library’ Photowall, located in our John Stow Room, which celebrates some of our most iconic and interesting items.

By Lindsey Keeling, Customer Services Apprentice

Guildhall Library Collections: Photowall Exhibition

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On Thursday 3rd of October we unveiled our newest Photowall which celebrates some of the iconic items in our collections. Unlike previous editions of photo walls, this version is not attached to one of our current exhibitions. Instead this Photowall will become a semi-permanent feature in the library to showcase some of our most stunning and beautiful items.

With a wide variety of items which show the varied range of our collections, from the Nuremburg Chronicle to Sleeping Beauty and other Fairy Tales, this Photowall will be a must see feature in the library’s John Stow Room.

Among the 26 photographs are two items which are not readily available for public consultation and are therefore rarely seen by the public, these are Shakespeare’s First Folio and Edward Curtis’s The North American Indian.

Lindsey Keeling, Customer Services Apprentice.

 

The Vampyre Regency Ball 2019

Close Up 9

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of John Polidori’s novel The Vampyre. John Polidori was a London born writer and physician who famously accompanied Lord Byron on his trip through Europe in 1816, where they encountered Mary Wollstonecraft and her soon to be husband Percy Bysshe Shelly at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. It was this encounter which inspired Polidori to write his gothic novel The Vampyre.

First published in The New Monthly Magazine in April 1819, The Vampyre was falsely attributed to Lord Byron despite both Byron and Polidori denying that he was the author. Later in 1819 it was published in book form and called The Vampyre: a Tale. It was still falsely attributed to Byron and was only corrected in later editions. A first edition copy of this book is available to view at Guildhall Library. 

The Vampyre

This is the front page taken from our copy of The Vampyre 

 

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Vampyre, we invite you to attend The Vampyre Regency Ball which is to be held on Friday 6th of September. Discover for yourself what it might have been like to attend a Regency Ball in a historical setting with expert dance tuition from Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom and live Regency music from Fortuna Trio. Regency dress is encouraged.

 

Friday 6th September

7.30-10.30pm

Livery Hall Guildhall, Basinghall Street

London, EC2V 5DH

Tickets:

£40 plus booking fee.

£30 Full time students

To book:

ghlevents.eventbrite.co.uk or in person without the booking fee at:

Guildhall Library

Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH.

020 7332 1871 or 020 7332 1868.

ghlevents@cityoflondon.gov.uk

New Library Exhibition: Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy.

Gresham scan 1

Portrait Illustration of Sir Thomas Gresham Taken from The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College

Find out about Sir Thomas Gresham and some of the treasures from Gresham College library on display at Guildhall Library from Monday 3rd of June to mid-September.

Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-79) is possibly the best known of all sixteenth century English merchants and financiers. Gresham served four Tudor monarchs, managed to keep his head, and all the while made money. Sir Thomas helped to make London a great international financial centre by importing from Antwerp the idea of a ‘bourse’ or ‘exchange’ for items such as shipping and insurance. He installed the first English shopping mall or bazaar as the first floor in the Royal Exchange. His Will challenged the domination of Oxbridge in higher education at the time.

Gresham scan 2

Illustration of the original Gresham College taken from The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College

Part of the Library of Gresham College (founded in 1596 under the provisions of the will of Sir Thomas Gresham) the collections were deposited in Guildhall Library 17th December 1958 by the Joint Grand Gresham Committee, a joint committee of the City of London Corporation and the Mercers’ Company, and are held under an agreement of 6th January 1959.

The collections consist of two parts; one of miscellaneous works, mainly travel (circa 381 printed items); and one of music, mainly scores, parts, etc., based on a collection formed at the College by Edward Taylor (1784-1863), Gresham Professor of Music from 1837, and covering principally English and other European music, 16th-18th centuries (circa 324 printed books, plus 123 manuscripts). No new items have been added in recent years.

Purcell Close up

Close up of Henry Purcell’s book of solo songs which is on display at Guildhall Library

The Fletcher’s Company Library at Guildhall Library

Archery

An illustration of an archer from Archery its Theory and Practice by Horace A. Ford

First established by the Worshipful Company of Fletchers in 1973, this unique collection of items relating to archery is one of our lesser known collections. It comprises of a variety of items on the history and practice of archery. While most of the items focus on the history of British archery, books on Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Native American archery can also be found in the collection.

Royal Company of Archers David Earl of Wemyss

A copy of a painting of David, 4th Earl of Wemyss from The History of the Royal Company of Archers by James Balfour Paul

The word fletcher comes from the French word ‘fleche’ meaning arrow. Therefore, a Fletcher is a person who makes arrows, in particular the feathers attached to the end of the arrow which help keep it aerodynamic. A number of books in the collection contain illustrations of various arrow types in particular the different types of arrow heads.

Archery Its Theory and Parctice arrow heads

Illustrations of the various types of arrow heads from Archery its Theory and Practice by Horace A. Ford

The Fletchers and Longbowstringmakers of London by James E. Oxley is an account of the history of the Fletchers’ Company. There is no mention of the company until 7th March 1371 when the Fletchers petitioned to the Lord Mayor to separate the trades of Fletchers (arrow makers) and Bowyers (bow makers). With their petition granted, the Worshipful Company of Fletchers was founded. As far as we know the Company has never received a charter and is therefore a Company by prescription. A Grant of Arms was awarded to the company on the 12th of October 1467.

Fletchers Coat of Arms

The Fletchers Company Coat of Arms (MS 21116)

The military importance of the bow is a key theme running throughout the collection, in particular British battles in which archery played an important role. A good book to look at is The British Archer or, Tracts on British Archery by Thomas Hastings which lists some of the important battles which were won by British archers. It also lists some of the Monarchs killed by an arrow, such as William II who was accidentally killed whilst hunting in the New Forest and Richard I who was mortally wounded whilst besieging a castle in France, as well as a brief description of some of the monarchs who were noted to have had great skill in archery.

Book of Archery Henry VIII and Elizabeth I

Illustrations of Henry VIII and Elisabeth I from The Book of Archery by George Agar Hansard

Another theme which runs through the collection is the story of Robert Fitzooth. More commonly known as Robin Hood, his story mentioned in several different books in the collection. Anecdotes of Archery by E. Hargrove, for example, includes a family tree of Robin Hood and explains why his name changed from Fitzooth to Hood. In the Ballads of Archery by James William Dodd a number of songs about Robin Hood, Marian and Little John.

 

Robin Hood Family Tree

The family tree of Robin Hood from Anecdotes of Archery by E. Hargrove

 

By Lindsey Keeling

Customer Services Apprentice

Guildhall Library

Menus from the Newall Dunn Collection at Guildhall Library

One of the highlights of unpacking our new collection has been the discovery of these beautifully designed menus which complement our internationally important food and drink collections.

This menu was printed by the Parisian company Lemercier and produced with ready-made spaces for the shipping company to fill in the dishes of the day. This particular menu was completed for the 1st Class passengers aboard the mail boat “Yarra” for 29th April 1890.

This Norddeutscher Lloyd breakfast menu offers quite a feast. The dishes offered include Saratoga Chips – a nineteenth-century crisp. This menu, written in German and English, was eaten and hopefully enjoyed aboard the steamer “Jahn” on 17th July 1899.

In the twentieth-century the Union-Castle Line produced beautiful menus to reflect their destinations including series depicting South African flowers and animals. The collection also offers a variety of menus depicting birds such as the waxwing and the kingfisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Union-Castle employed artist Will Owen (1869-1957), of Bisto Kids fame, to design a series of menus for their tourist-class, fancy-dress dinners. These portrayed literary characters from Shakespeare and Dickens; those below depict Falstaff, Dolly Varden and Sam Weller.

We have four volunteers and Guildhall Library staff working on listing, cataloguing and conserving the Newall Dunn Collection to enable us to make it accessible to library users. In the meantime, you can get a preview of just some of the collection by visiting our exhibition “Merchant Navy Treasures” which continues until 24th May. This offers displays on Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Lines but the wider collection covers international cargo and passenger ships as well as smaller vessels such as tugs and fishing boats.

The Newall Dunn Collection was built by shipping historian Peter Newall and was gifted to Guildhall Library in 2018.

Jeanie Smith, Assistant Librarian.

Merchant Navy Treasures: An Introduction to the Newall Dunn Collection at Guildhall Library

The New Year finds us busy preparing our next exhibition and looking forward to showing you our new maritime collection. Many of you will have seen and consulted the Lloyd’s Marine Collection at Guildhall Library, a valuable source of information about ships, shipping movements and marine news and casualties. In the coming months, we will be able to offer shipping historians and enthusiasts a superb addition in the shape of the Newall Dunn Collection, which comprises one of the world’s richest photographic and ephemera resources for Merchant Shipping history.

This treasure trove offers material from about 1880 to the turn of the twenty-first century, featuring an extensive series of images of ocean-going liners, cruise ships, cargo vessels – in fact vessels of all types and sizes.

In addition, there are over three hundred information files consisting of press releases and cuttings going back to the early 1930s, shipping company brochures, menus & other ephemera representing a wide-ranging pictorial history.

The collection was built by shipping historian Peter Newall and was gifted to Guildhall Library in 2018. The resource he compiled includes material and photographs amassed by several previous shipping enthusiasts and writers. The most important of these was writer and artist Laurence Dunn but also includes work created by Captain Emile Sigwart of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and photographs of ships on the Thames by Jeffrey Curtis taken in the 1930s.

In the coming months and years there is a good deal of work to be done to catalogue and conserve the collection and gradually make it all accessible to users – volunteers welcome! The forthcoming exhibition will offer a flavour of what is to come, and we hope many of you will find time to drop by to take a look and come to the accompanying talk and workshops. While you are with us, we would like as many of you as possible to share stories and memories of your own journeys by sea or of Merchant Navy Service, and there will be space in the exhibition for you to sit and write these as well as look through some of the collectors’ publications which are held by Guildhall Library.

The exhibition opens on Monday 28th January 2019 and is on until 24th May. We haven’t space to highlight all the strengths of the collection but for this initial introduction we will be showing material on the Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Lines. We are honoured that Stephen Payne, designer of the Queen Mary II will be launching the exhibition with an evening talk on 29th January. His talk is on the subject of his recent publication, co-authored with the late Peter Newall, on “Orient Line: The Last Great Liners”. You will find further details and can book your place via www.ghlevents.eventbrite.co.uk or by contacting us on 020 7332 1871.

Jeanie Smith, Assistant Librarian