Divers Manuscripts both Antient & Curious: Illuminated Treasures from the Harley Collection.
A Conference at the British Library, London 29-30 June 2009
One of the finest private libraries in Europe was formed in the eighteenth century by Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford and his son, Edward. Consisting of 7,639 manuscripts, 14,000 charters, and countless printed books, the collection was kept by the Harleys’ librarian, Humfrey Wanley, whose humble origins and lack of academic qualifications did not prevent him from becoming one of the most celebrated antiquaries of his day. After its purchase for the British nation in 1753, the Harleys’ private library was transformed into an unparalleled public resource; today it forms one of the most important foundation collections of the British Library. Access to the extraordinary riches of the Harley collection is now greater than ever courtesy of a generous Getty Foundation grant funding the creation of an online catalogue of illuminated Harleian manuscripts. By the end of the project, in June 2009, descriptions and digital images of over 2000 magnificent manuscripts, once thumbed only by a privileged few, will be available to all at the click of a mouse.
To celebrate and advertise this achievement, on 29-30 June 2009, the British Library is hosting an academic conference on illuminated Harleian manuscripts. Scholars from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for twenty-minute papers, but historians of visual culture are particularly encouraged to apply and preference will be given to presentations that include images. Papers that treat renowned Harleian holdings and those focusing on lesser known manuscripts are equally welcome. All potential contributors are encouraged to consult the British Library’s online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, which is rapidly expanding and currently supplies information relating to over 700 Harley manuscripts (here).
If you would like to take part, please send a one-page abstract and a concise CV to Deirdre Jackson at:
The British Library, 6 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB firstname.lastname@example.org