A Discovery in College Library
During the process of cataloguing early modern books in College Library, one of the librarians discovered a manuscript leaf tucked inside a printed book. It is a fragment from the Old Testament written in Samaritan Hebrew, and we are very excited to report that a specialist from Germany has identified it as a fragment from a surviving book, now at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, which is dated 1368-69. We plan to have it professionally photographed so that it can be digitally reunited with its ‘parent’ volume.
As the run of the current exhibition, The Nijūichidaishū, comes to an end, the Eton College community and visitors from farther afield are making the most of this window into Japanese culture through our collections. Eton boys learning Japanese heard about Waka poetry and how the themes of nature are presented in different ways; representatives of the Japanese Embassy, including Ambassador Hayashi Hajime, retraced the steps of Crown Prince Hirohito, whose visit and subsequent donation inspired the exhibition. Finally, over 400 people visited the Verey Gallery when it was open during the Eton Action Fair last weekend.
Pinning Down the Antiquities
Accompanied by a metals conservation student from West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Eton’s conservation team have been resetting and stabilising displays of antiquities in the Museum of Antiquities. Collections have been re-mounted with pins isolated with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coatings to prevent active corrosion of metal artefacts. The newly pinned exhibitions will also mean the odd hairclip or coin from the numismatics display will no longer be able to escape to the back of the drawers.
Islamic Manuscript Catalogue
Bibliographical records for manuscripts held in Eton College Library have been added to the Fihrist union catalogue of Islamicate manuscripts. The new records appear alongside those for manuscripts held at 20 other institutions. The inclusion of these manuscripts in the union catalogue makes them easily discoverable by researchers around the world.
A New Deposit in the Archives
The Archives have received a house book for J.D. Hills. This is the first house book we have for this house, and covers 1933 to 1945. With discussions about sandbagging, blackouts and patrols, it gives an insight into the impact of WWII on the boys of Eton. As the House Captain wrote in 1940, ‘The Home Guard undoubtedly did a great deal to persuade Hitler not to attempt an invasion, and Eton, & especially M’Tutors may be proud of the part they played’.
College Library hosted a group of student conservators from the City & Guilds of London Art School for a two-day module on library conservation and collections care, taught by the National Trust’s advisor on library conservation.
As part of the course, students designed and conducted small preservation surveys, the outcome of which will support the library’s wider conservation programme.