Conservators working in the Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan Library & Museum undertake technical research projects relating to the objects they are treating for the Morgan's robust exhibition and loan program, for digitization, and for scholarly access in the Reading Room.
One of the first books printed in Italy is St. Augustine’s De civitate dei. It was printed at the Benedictine monastery of Subiaco on 12 June 1467 by Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz. A recent reference request took me to our copy of the Subiaco De civitate dei. As was traditional, the printers left space in the type-set page for the addition of hand decoration and painted letters. The style of painting often tells you were the book ended up after it left the printing press and hopefully who its first owner was. The Morgan’s De civitate dei left Subiaco and crossed the Alps to Salzburg, where the artist Ulrich Schreier decorated the book for Bernhard von Kraiburg (1412–1477), Bishop of Chiemsee (Bavaria).
Harington’s translation of Orlando Furioso is one of the great masterworks of English literature. It made this sprawling epic poem easily accessible in court circles where there was a constant demand for Ariosto’s stories of sieges, battles, quests, enchantments, damsels in distress, and feats of chivalry. Harington dedicated it to Queen Elizabeth, who is said to have commanded him to perform the task of translating nearly forty thousand lines of Italian verse as a punishment for having shown one of the ribald episodes to the ladies of the court.
Born of the commitment to offer the Morgan Library & Museum’s famed collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts as a resource to New York City schoolchildren, the Morgan Book Project aims to integrate book arts into Common Core State Standard-based curricula and the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts.
What would Halloween be without monsters, and what would monsters be without Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818)? The work has been cited as the most widely published English novel of all time—a book, written by a 19-year-old, that launched a thousand translations, imitations, and adaptations on stage and screen.
Spencer Finch's site-specific installation, A Certain Slant of Light was installed in Gilbert Court last summer, and the Morgan spent over a year in a technicolor glow. Check out this time-lapse video of the crew taking down this beloved installation.
In September 2014, I began an internship in the Department of Printed Books and Bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum while studying for a Master’s of Library Science degree with an emphasis on Special Collections. My academic background is in French literature and cultural studies. The department was looking for an intern to work on the Ramey Collection, and I was pleased to arrive in the right place at the right time.
While cataloging the latest gifts to the Carter Burden Collection of American Literature, we noticed and admired the prepublication hoopla for Go Set a Watchman, an earlier version of Harper Lee’s Civil Rights Era classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
Willem van Branteghem, Pomarium mysticum tum novorum tum veterum fructuum, animae Christianae. Antwerp: Willem Vorsterman, 1535. Purchased on the Curt F. Bühler Fund, 2014.
To enhance our understanding of the Crusader Bible, the Thaw Conservation Center performed non-destructive analysis including X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and digital imaging techniques to characterize the pigments in folios believed to be executed by different illuminators. This post will introduce the analytical methods used and the fascinating information that the data revealed about the Crusader Bible.