Glasgow Incunabula Project and Exhibition update (14/1/15)

2015 promises to be an exciting and busy year for the Glasgow Incunabula Project. Not only will the cataloguing of all our 1050 books be completed over the next few months, but our allied exhibition Ingenious Impressions opens to the public in The Hunterian Art Gallery on 27 February. We are really looking forward to introducing these fascinating books to a wide audience, and plans for lots of talks and events are well underway.

Detail from Greek works

Detail from Greek works (Sp Coll Hunterian Bh.3.21)

Contents page in Greek ad Latin

Contents page in Greek and Latin (Sp Coll Hunterian Bh.3.21)

2015, however, also marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius, one of the most ground-breaking early printers. We have featured books by this celebrated printer in several earlier blogs, and our current batch of books includes an edition of Theocritus’ Idylls (and other Greek texts) that was both edited and published by Manutius.

Manutius is chiefly remembered for publishing a number of first editions of classical texts in both Greek and Latin. He also developed the first italic and Greek cursive typefaces, and produced portable and comparatively inexpensive books in pocket-sized ‘octavo’ formats. Thanks to an avid personal interest in Greek, Manutius focused on printing predominately unpublished Greek manuscripts, as well as editing and improving previous printed works in Greek. He also printed grammars and dictionaries and founded a ‘New Academy’ based on Plato’s Academy for the study of Greek. Influential Hellenists such as Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas Linacre were members. Although Manutius died in 1515, his family continued the Aldine press. It is estimated that over 1,000 editions were produced by the Aldines between 1495 and 1595.

 

colophon

Colophon of Lascaris (Sp Coll Hunterian By.3.40) where Aldus is shown as the printer

Opening page of a Jamblichus (Sp Coll Hunterian By.2.18)

Opening page of a Jamblichus (Sp Coll Hunterian By.2.18)

The Manutius Network 2015 will celebrate the life and legacy of Manutius in an international set of conferences and exhibitions, organised by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL). As a contribution to this (and to kick start our year of exhibiting incunabula!), our former graduate trainee and current volunteer Michelle Craig has put together a small display of Aldine incunables. This will be on show in our foyer in Special Collections on level 12 of the library from today until April 2015. Michelle has chosen three books that highlight Aldus’ major contribution to print culture: his first book, Constantinus Lascaris’  Erotemata (1495); Jamblichus: De mysteriis Aegyptiorum, Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum (1497) – one of the many Platonic works that Aldus published; and a Psalter (1498) printed using one of Manutius’ Greek cursive typefaces.

You will have to wait until our main exhibition in February to see Aldus’ most famous book, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. But in the meantime, we hope that this display will whet your incunabular appetites!

The latest ten books to be added to the project website are:



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  1. Glasgow Incunabula Project update 4/12/15 | University of Glasgow Library

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