Manuscripts in the Making


Dates: 8-10 December 2016

Venue: Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
Lensfield Rd, Cambridge CB2 1EW (map)

The conference will accompany the Fitzwilliam Museum’s bicentenary exhibition COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts (30 July – 30 December 2016).

This interdisciplinary conference will aim to break new ground in integrating recent advances in the art historical and technical analyses of illuminated manuscripts with research in social and intellectual history.  While Western illuminated manuscripts from the 6th to the 16th centuries will form a major focus of discussion, the conference will also include papers on Byzantine, Islamic and Pre-Columbian material.

For further information, visit



to Elizabeth Savage, a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at the CMT and the Faculty of English, who has just been appointed Lecturer in Book History and Communications at the Institute of English Studies in London’s School of Advanced Studies. We wish her every success in this exciting new role.

Epistemic Images in Early Modern Germany and its Neighbours


10 November 2016 – 11 November 2016
Leslie Stephen Room, Trinity Hall

Convenors:  Dr Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge), Prof. Horst Bredekamp (Humboldt University), Dr Christopher Heuer (Clark Art Institute), Dr Pablo Schneider (Humboldt University).

This workshop is part of the Epistemic Images in Early Modernity Research Project, funded by the Cambridge-DAAD Research Hub and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The project seeks to examine how and why images came to play such a decisive role in the production of new knowledge in early modernity. It will do so by bringing together German and Anglophone scholars from art history, Bildwissenschaft, and history of science in a series of workshops to be held in Cambridge, Berlin and Williamstown.

Further details and registration available at

Ferrars exhibition



(closed Monday 5th)

2pm to 5pm daily.  Open to all, free of charge.

THE FERRAR FAMILY was influential in a broad sphere of seventeenth-century life, and beyond: they were Deputies of the Virginia Trading Company – they were Founders of the Anglican Community at Little Gidding (made famous again in the twentieth-century by T S Eliot’s Four Quartets) – they were
entrusted with the posthumous publication of the work of the great metaphysical poet, George Herbert – they designed and constructed Harmonies of the Gospels – and they were collectors of prints, artworks, books and music.

THE FERRAR FAMILY PAPERS, housed at Magdalene College, provide an intriguing and illuminating window into their world.

THE EXHIBITION takes place in conjunction with the conference, The Ferrars, hosted by Magdalene English Department and the Historic Libraries of Magdalene College, to mark the completion of the project to conserve the Ferrar papers and prints.

Further information:

Dr M E J Hughes

Lecturer, Fellow and Pepys Librarian
Magdalene College

Sandars Lectures 2016: Anthony Grafton


Professor Anthony Grafton, ‘Writing and reading history in Renaissance England: some Cambridge examples’

Tuesday 26 January: ‘John Caius: history as argument’
Wednesday 27 January: ‘Matthew Parker: history as archive’
Thursday 28 January: ‘Adam Winthrop: history as resource’

Talks start at 17:00 in the McCrum Lecture Theatre on Bene’t Street. Free admission.
The final lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.



Some material/textual history seminars coming up in Cambridge this term:

Modern Cultural History seminar

20 January, 5 pm, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius
Jessica Hope (University of Cambridge), ‘Picture Magazines and Visual Literacies in Britain
and the U.S. in the 1930s’

Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

27 January, 5.15 pm, Trinity Hall, Lecture Theatre
Greg Salazar (Selwyn), ‘Ecclesiastical Licensing, Religious Censorship, and the Regulation of Consensus in Early Stuart England’

3 February, 5.15 pm, Trinity Hall, Graham Storey Room,
Susan Brigden (Oxford), ‘Dangerous Liaisons at the Court of Henry VIII: Evidence from Marginalia’

24 February, 5.15 pm, Trinity Hall, Graham Storey Room
John Gallagher (Caius), ‘Learning Languages in Early Modern England’

Comparative Social and Cultural History Seminar

2 February, 5pm, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius
Elizabeth Evenden (Brunel)
‘Printers, exiles, and exchanges between England and Iberia’

Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminar

11 February, 5pm, History Faculty Room 12
Naomi Tadmor (Lancaster)
‘The settlement of the poor and the rise of the form’

The Paper Tools of Science


Boris Jardine has curated a small exhibition at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science. It’s called ‘The Paper Tools of Science’, and it brings together a range of paper technologies and printed instruments from the early modern period to the 20th century. The Whipple is located on Free School Lane and is open weekdays only, 12.30 to 4.30 pm.

Conference on the Ferrars of Little Gidding: CFP

Calls for Papers, News;

This conference on the Ferrars is timed to coincide with the completion of a major project in Magdalene College to preserve the Ferrar papers and prints which are housed in the Old Library.

Conference Dates:  10am on 5th September  to 5pm on 7th September 2016.

Venue: Magdalene College Cambridge (main venue Cripps Court)

Call for papers: proposals for papers should be sent to


Registration is open now and closes on 1st April 2016. Accommodation is limited; early booking recommended.

Updates to confirm the programme and speakers will be made in due course.

Language of Bindings Thesaurus


Ligatus is proud to announce the launch of the Language of Binding online thesaurus of bookbinding terms, which was celebrated with a one-day event in the Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London) in collaboration with CERL on 23 June, 2015.

Ligatus is a research centre of the University of the Arts London with projects in libraries and archives and with a particular interest in historic bookbinding. The Language of Binding thesaurus is the result of our long experience with historic bookbindings, but has been greatly assisted by contributions from an international group of bookbinding experts and book conservators. This work was made possible by a Networking Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK.

The aim of the thesaurus is to present a consistent vocabulary for the use of all those who work with early bindings, built wherever possible on existing resources, but adapted for use in an on-line hierarchical environment that will allow terms that are not known to a user to be found. It is constructed around concepts (such as different bookbinding components, features, materials or techniques) that can be expressed by a number of language terms (labels). The thesaurus allows one concept to have more than one label, which allows the same concept to be searched for by the different terms that may have been used historically to describe it. It will also allow the concepts to be expressed in different languages.

The Language of Binding thesaurus can be used as a reference online resource that can be searched by keyword or alphabetically. The concepts contained in the thesaurus are, however, also arranged hierarchically, based on a class/sub-class relationship, which allows concepts to be retrieved by navigating down the hierarchies even if their label (the term) is not known.

It is hoped that the thesaurus will enable all those who work with books in early bindings to arrive at more consistent descriptions of those bindings. By being based primarily on single concepts, it has tried to avoid the more familiar but sometimes frustratingly imprecise language that has often been used in the past. This means that some of these familiar terms will not be found as labels, though they may be referred to in the scope notes that define and describe the concepts (and can therefore be found by a simple keyword search).

At the moment, the thesaurus contains labels primarily in English, but work on its translation has already started, and plans for the addition of illustrations are also underway. The thesaurus can, in addition, be used as a look-up service for software applications that need to populate schema fields from thesauri.

An accompanying volume, Coming to Terms: guidelines for the description of historical bindings, which is based on the terms in the thesaurus, is to be published in the autumn.

The success of the thesaurus will to a large extent depend on contributions made to it by its users, either to add more concepts, refine existing scope notes or correct mistakes. Such contributions to the thesaurus will be welcomed, and can be made online following a registration process.

The thesaurus can be accessed at:

Male Devotional Practices

Calls for Papers, News;

Transforming Male Devotional Practices from the Medieval to the Early Modern

University of Huddersfield, 16-17 September 2015

This conference is co-hosted with the Universities of Reading and Liverpool Hope. It aims to explore the social, economic and spatial factors underpinning the changing way ordinary men demonstrated their commitment to God and the church(es) in a period of significant turmoil. Papers that address English male devotional experience from historical, literary, gender studies and material culture perspectives are welcomed. Suggested themes include:

Religion and Society: Domestic piety and lay/household Catholicism.

Material Culture and ritual objects.

The economy of piety: indulgences, relics and paying for piety.

Personal and public piety: Continuity and change over the medieval and early modern periods.

Devotional reading, writing and performance.

Geography, place and space in Catholic piety.

Please send proposals to: by 22nd June 2015.