Unlocking the Archive: Renaissance Book Discovery Days

Credit: Dave Guttridge (The Photographic Unit)

A previous Renaissance Books Discovery Day at Blickling Estate.

A special program of Renaissance Book Discovery Days will encourage the public to handle and find out more about rare books during October and November this year.

The Unlocking the Archive project was set up in 2015 by the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in England. Led by Dr. Tom Roebuck and Dr. Sophie Butler, its goal is to raise awareness of the county’s collections of Renaissance books in the east of England. At the hands-on events run in partnership with the Blickling Estate, a National Trust property, visitors will have the chance to handle the books and question experts.

At Blickling Estate (usual admission fees apply) on October 5, five examples from Blickling's important library of 12,500 books, largely collected by Sir Richard Ellys (1682-1742), will be presented including:

* an early edition of Josephus's Jewish War in Latin, printed at Verona in 1480 by Petrus Maufer
* the Alcala Polyglot Bible, published 1522, with the text printed in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and margins annotated by a Protestant reader
* Eleazar Albin's hand-illustrated Natural History of Birds (1731)
* the English translation complete with woodcuts of Johannes Scheffer's History of Lapland (1674)
* the revised 1721 edition of William Camden's Britannia, featuring Robert Morden's maps of Britain

On October 12 at the Norfolk Heritage Centre (part of the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library), the stage is given over to hand-press books and visitors will be able to inspect an early copy of Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives (1579) owned by a Renaissance noblewoman. A third event will be held at Kings Lynn Library on November 30. For more details about all these events, follow @archiveunlocked on Twitter and visit http://unlockingthearchive.co.uk/.