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CERL Grant 2015

The grant was awarded to Francesca Rocchi, a graduate in Latin Palaeography of La Sapienza University, Rome, with previous internship experience at the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome, to work within the Special Collections Department of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

The purpose of her four-week project was to produce an electronic version of the card indexes of Renaissance manuscripts, scribes and illuminators, prepared by Prof Albinia ‘Tilly’ de la Mare (1932-2001), within the Special Collections Department of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

The Bodleian Library has been working on the preservation and promotion of the scholarly papers of Albinia ‘Tilly’ de la Mare, who was a librarian at the Bodleian, then Professor of Palaeography at King’s College London, and bequeathed her papers to the Library. After reorganising her archives and producing an inventory (the work, over many years, of Xavier van Binnebeke), the Bodleian has set up a project focused on the card indexes of Renaissance manuscripts, scribes and illuminators, in order to make them more easily accessible to scholars.

Over the years Prof Albinia “Tilly” de la Mare has produced a great deal of papers, within which it is possible to find the result of her researches. Her studies, during the years, have often been revised, corrected and updated, and this is clearly visible in her card indexes. Unfortunately much less than what she had written and studied in her life has been published. The card indexes can be considered as an example of the vast amount of information gathered and produced by de la Mare (i. e. names of places, dates, scribes), names that remain unknown to the public of scholars, professors and students.

Starting from this consideration and thanks to the CERL Internship and Placement Grant 2015, the project is promoted by Dr Cristina Dondi (Secretary of the Consortium of European Research Libraries), and Dr Martin Kauffmann (Head of Early and Rare Collections and Tolkien Curator of Medieval Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in Oxford), followed by Dr Irene Ceccherini (Lyell-Bodleian Research Fellow in Manuscript Studies). Its aims is to promote the work of de la Mare makinig it readily available to users on the CERL Thesaurus.

The card indexes show clearly the method of study and work used by de la Mare. In fact, each card is structured as follows: in the upper left corner are the shelfmark of the manuscript, the number of distinctive leaves, the author's name and work; in the upper right corner, data relating the provenance are reported as are the place, date, and sometimes name of the scribe. These last three elements can be at times accompanied by a question mark or crossed out only to be replaced by others dates, places or names. Thanks to these cards, it is possible to identify the different levels of study that have changed over the years and it is not uncommon to note that de la Mare fixes the name of a place, then replaces it with a different name, and finally returns it to the first name.

Finally, on the bottom half follows a short descriptions of the illumination, sometimes with cross-references to other manuscripts. The description of coats of arms (if present) were often hand drawn by her, pointing to the leaf and where the description was found and when possible the owner’s name or the name of the family represented by said the coat of arms. It follows a paleographical description, more or less short, and sometimes the name of the scribe; at the end it is signed with the colophon and its transcription. With a red pen, she always shows the folders, archived according to her criteria, such as the names of places or scribes. These folders are also considered a valuable resource of information waiting to be studied and organized in such a way as to make them available to scholars. Each card thus provides the opportunity to follow the development of studies and research of the de la Mare, but even more important and valuable are the links she was able to make between the different manuscripts studied. Her connections have often proved accurate and at times even enlighting, opening new and unexplored views for the scholars allowing for different interpretations.

These cards are inserted in an Excel file, created thanks to Dr Dondi and Dr Ceccherini, reporting accurately all information concerning the individual manuscripts and writing down in a special box marked also notes the work carried out previously or the alternatives provided by de la Mare. The importance of digitizing the rich heritage that makes up the archive of de la Mare is so clear. The purpose of the project was to include in the Excel file all the card indexes related to the Canonici’s collection, but for now the manuscripts corresponding to the following shelfmarks were inserted: Canon. Class. Lat. (Canonici Latin Classical), Canon. Ital. (Canonici Italian), Canon. Liturg. (Canonici Liturgical), Canon. Pat. Lat. (Canonici Latin Patristic). The manuscripts that remain to be inserted are as follows: Canon. Gr. (Canonici Greek), Canon. Misc. (Canonici Miscellaneous) and Canon. Bibl. Lat. (Canonici Latin Biblical).

It has been drawn on the guidelines that will be used, in the future, as a model from which to begin. A rather ambitious project that will allow all the information processed by de la Mare to emerge, not only about Canonici’s collection but it could be extended also to widen to all the manuscripts that she studied.

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 collaboration/internship/2016rocchi.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/22 10:25 by lefferts



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