The Waste Land at 100

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, one of the most influential poems of the twentieth century. To celebrate the occasion, we present a selection of images from first and early editions of the poem. King’s College is very fortunate in hosting one of the largest collections of manuscript and printed materials by Eliot thanks to the bequest of his close friend John Hayward (1905-65), who shared a flat with the poet from 1946 to 1957. Hayward read English and modern languages at King’s from 1923 to 1927 and went on to become an accomplished editor and critic. He met Eliot for the first time while still an undergraduate at Cambridge in 1926.

Eliot’s correspondence suggests that The Waste Land was written between late 1920 and early 1922. Though the drafts were lost during his lifetime, they resurfaced in 1968 and were published in a facsimile edition by his widow Valerie in 1971:

Eliot’s pencil draft of the beginning of the fifth section of the poem, “What the Thunder Said” (The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts Including the Annotations of Ezra Pound, ed. Valerie Eliot [London: Faber, 1971], p. [70]; YIM ELI, ZWA 3XP 1).

The poem was first printed in the inaugural issue of the literary journal The Criterion, edited by Eliot, which, according to his bibliographer Donald Gallup, appeared around 15 October 1922:

Front cover of the first issue of The Criterion, October 1922 (HC2.1.1 21).

The opening of The Waste Land from The Criterion, pp. 50-51. The poem was published almost simultaneously in America in The Dial, LXXIII.5 (Nov. 1922), pp. [473]-485.

It was then published in book form in New York on 15 December 1922 in a limited edition of 1,000 copies:

Dust jacket of The Waste Land (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922). The colophon on p. [6] reads: “Of the one thousand copies printed of The Waste Land this volume is number 914” (Hayward.H.9.6).

It was in this volume that the epigraph and the “Notes” to the poem were first included. Eliot later reminisced in “The Frontiers of Criticism” (1956): “I had at first intended only to put down all the references for my quotations, with a view to spiking the guns of critics of my earlier poems who had accused me of plagiarism. Then, when it came to print The Waste Land as a little book – for the poem on its first appearance in The Dial and in The Criterion had no notes whatever – it was discovered that the poem was inconveniently short, so I set to work to expand the notes, in order to provide a few more pages of printed matter, with the result that they became the remarkable exposition of bogus scholarship that is still on view to-day” (The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker and Ronald Schuchard [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019], vol. 8, p. 127):

First page of the “Notes” to The Waste Land (Hayward.H.9.6).

The first English edition appeared the following year on 12 September 1923: it was hand-printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in Richmond. Virginia typeset the whole poem on her own between 23 June and 8 July 1923, writing to Barbara Bagenal on 8 July: “I have just finished setting up the whole of Mr Eliots poem [The Waste Land] with my own hands: You see how my hand trembles” (The Letters of Virginia Woolf, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978], vol. 3, p. 56):

Front cover of the first English edition (Richmond: Printed and published by Leonard and Viriginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, Hogarth House, Paradise Road, 1923; Hayward.H.9.8A). The printed label at the top is known to exist in three states. This is the first state featuring a border of asterisks.

Title page of the first English edition of The Waste Land. This copy was bequeathed by another Kingsman, Dadie Rylands (1902-99), who worked for six months with Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in 1924.

In the copy of the first edition which Eliot presented to Ezra Pound, the dedication (For Ezra Pound / il miglior fabbro) appears as an autograph inscription. It was first printed in 1925 in the collection Poems, 1909-1925:

Title page of The Waste Land as printed in Poems, 1909-1925 (London: Faber & Gwyer, 1925, p. 63; Hayward.H.9.10).

To mark this momentous centenary, the BBC broadcast the radio drama “He Do The Waste Land in Different Voices,” as well as a programme on the importance of The Criterion, which is still available here. A documentary on the poem broadcast on BBC2 on 13 October can also be viewed here.

IJ

Livery: ‘In charitate mutua fortius copulentur’

If the Marie Hartwell blog piqued your interest in the College livery, read on for a snapshot of the livery provision in her time.

The 22nd Founder’s Statute[1] allows for a clothing allowance, or livery.

The beginning of statute 22 from an early copy (c 1500) of the Founder’s statutes [KCS/54 fo 23v]

The beginning of statute 22 from an early copy (c 1500) of the Founder’s statutes [KCS/54 fo 23v]

The statute declares that ‘With a view to the unanimity of the fellows, and a stronger mutual bond of affection when they see that they are outwardly all the same, and to increase their affection for the College from which they receive so much help, as well as to prevent any defect in garments which may render them notorious with the other Scholars of the University, the members are to have similar garments but cut according to their condition and degree.’ The Provost is to have 12 yards for his (and his household), the Fellows’ and scholars’ portions are also specified. ‘All the cloth for fellows, scholars, chaplains, clerks and choristers is to be well made, 24 yards in length and about 2 yards in breadth, and not to exceed the sum of £87 in toto.’ Multi-coloured or unclerical clothes are forbidden, as are those ‘made in the silly modern fashion with slashes and folds and shoulder pads’.

It is unlikely that individuals in the current College community would ‘wear’ the proposal that a College uniform would improve their mutual affection, let alone the desirability of uniformity itself. And notoriety among other ‘Scholars of the University’ can be achieved by more interesting means than defective garments.

The existing annual accounts (the accounts for years ending 1502, 1505, 1506, 1512–1515, 1517–1518, and 1520–1524 do not survive) show that the Hartwells were typical of our College drapers for that time: when dates of payment are given they are mostly around May and November; the prices per yard for the various qualities of fabric are about the same, and we generally bought about 350–450 yards a year, paying about £60 until the late 1510s when we began to pay everyone (not just the Provost and a couple of others who procured their own livery) their liberata allowance in cash rather than fabric.

Livery expenditure for 1506-07 [KCAR/4/1/1/9 fo 19r]

Livery expenditure for 1506-07 [KCAR/4/1/1/9 fo 19r]

The above image showing the livery expenditure page from the 1506–1507 annual accounts book is typical for the period—and very pretty it is too. After the livery allowances dispensed in cash, the list of livery fabric purchases begins (the sixth item on the list) with a payment to Thomas Hartwell for ‘tawney medley’. There follow a number of lots at a cost per yard of between 2 shillings 4 pence and 5 shillings. It is reasonable to suspect that the same supplier, i.e. the Hartwell firm, supplied all of the cloth listed that year, in the same colour scheme (mixed tans).

Thomas being named at the top suggests, but by no means proves, that he was still alive when it was written, which might have been as early as September 29th 1506, narrowing down his time of death to sometime between September 29th and November 30th, 1506 (see the Marie Hartwell blog post)—but that assumes several things including that the clerk copying down the expenses knew of Thomas’s death when it happened. Not every  sixteenth-century widow would bother to reprint her invoice forms immediately upon being widowed.

The due date on the College’s bond to Marie Hartwell, for 27 pounds 11 shillings 4 pence, fell in this financial year. It is not the case that the first few entries, nor the last few, add to that figure, and the list is in decreasing value of cloth. This suggests that the cloth was bought in mixed lots, at least two tranches every year, with the final reckoning set out at the end of the financial year.

Table: Existing information about the supply of College livery, 1499–1525

YEAR PAYEE EXPENDED (l.s.d) YARDS COLOUR
1499–1500 Mr Hartwell, London draper 59.0.8
1500–1501 Master Bond of Coventry 55.7.5
1502–1503 No name listed 55.19.2 342½, and 12 unknown, and black cotton
1503–1504 Thomas Bonde 51.13.11 318¼
[1504–1505] Thomas Hartwell at least 58.10.15 as paid on two bonds
[1505–1506] Marie Hartwell at least 29.14.0 as paid on a bond
1506–1507 Marie Hartwell 55.1.0 334¼ tawney medley
1507–1508 William Hartwell, citizen and Draper of London 57.13.3 356¼ brown tawny
1508–1509 Marie Hartwell 57.18.8 348½ blue
1509–1510 Marie Hartwell 61.18.3 369 violet
1510–1511 Haddon of Coventry 67.19.6 446¾ tawny
1515–1516 No name listed 76.18.½ 489½
1518–1519 Richard Hal. 74.8.3 444¼ russet
1524–1525 John Smith of Walden 6.9.3 29½ tawny; servants and choristers only

From the financial year 1524–1525 at the latest we bought cloth only for the servants and choristers and gave the Fellows, scholars, chaplains and clerks their livery allowance in cash.

It is interesting to note en passant that the existing College accounts suggest that the livery in the first quarter of the sixteenth century was often tawny but could also be russet, violet or blue.

The Drapers Guild records are online[2] and show that in 1477 one Thomas Hartwell got his Freedom by servitude (under master William Holme). Presuming  that he’s the only Thomas Hartwell, Draper of London (as the online records suggest) and that he’s ‘ours’[3], he had several Apprentices including a Henry Glossop. The two post-1506 entries for Thomas (who we know died in 1506) were for the Freedoms of his son William[4] and his apprentice Henry Glossop.

The only other H(a/e)r(t/d/)(e/)wel(l)s on the Drapers online records are: a Bryan Hartwell who in 1515 got his freedom (by Redemption), a Thomas Hertewell who had some apprentices c 1485 and may in fact be our same Thomas, a Richard Harwell in 1518 having an Apprenticeship, a Robert Hartwell who in 1532 was a new apprentice (to Thomas Pettitt) and so is probably not Thomas’s son, and a ‘(Female) Hartwell’ who got her freedom in 1509. It’s tempting to think that was Marie, but there is no evidence for this in the Drapers online records.

Is it a coincidence that the Draper Thomas’s son is called William, like one of our Kingsmen? It was a common enough name in the early sixteenth century but it is tempting to think that it suggests the Kingsmen Hartwell brothers (William, Thomas and John) are near relations of, but not the same as, the Draper Hartwells (Thomas and William).

To sum up the two blogs on this subject: the College archives show that the early College donor Marie Hartwell was the widow of Thomas Hartwell, Draper, of London. That firm supplied the cloth for the College livery in 1499–1500 (possibly through the agency of a Kingsman related to them) and again from Michaelmas 1505 to Michaelmas 1510; when Thomas died in 1506 his wife, and/or his son William, carried on. Thomas was possibly a near relation to the  Kingsmen William, Thomas and John Hartwell all of London, and probably brothers. The recorded gifts to the Chapel from three Hartwells are from Marie, and possibly others among her near in-laws or sons. The reasons for the donations are not recorded.

PKM

[1] Henry VI is said to have written the King’s College statutes, which were in force until 1862. The archives include a translation of parts of them into English (KCS/69), from which this is taken.

[2] https://www.londonroll.org/search (accessed 1 Sep 2022)

[3] https://www.londonroll.org/about (accessed 1 Sep 2022) says that during this time Citizenship of London (our draper Thomas is usually so described) could only be obtained through membership of a Livery Company.

[4] https://www.londonroll.org/about (accessed 1 Sep 2022) also says that the main routes to becoming a member/Freeman of a Livery Company were servitude (apprenticeship), patrimony (the children of Freemen qualified for membership) and redemption (you could buy your Freedom).

Our earliest female donor

Perhaps our earliest female benefactor was an influencer, Margaret Beaufort, who is said to have convinced her son Henry VII to give the College enough money to finish building the Chapel. But in the early inventories of Chapel treasures, the first female donor listed is one Marie Hartwell. Who could this woman have been, at a time when Kingsmen were not allowed to be married?

Kingsmen Hartwells

The name Hartwell appears several times in the archives of the early years of King’s. First came three Hartwell Kingsmen who were almost surely brothers[1]: William (KC 1498), Thomas (KC 1503) and John (KC 1505), all London boys. We don’t know much about William except that he gave up his Fellowship after three years, once married. He went off to be a country vicar in Northamptonshire. John became a Carthusian friar at Sheen (Sheen Priory was located in what is now Richmond in London) within a year of becoming a Fellow. Thomas was awarded his Doctor of Divinity, was ordained a priest, held the offices of University Preacher 1515–1516 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor 1526–1527, became vicar at the College’s advowson of Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire in 1523 (where he presided for twenty-two years), and was a Fellow from 1506 until 1527. He may have had a stammer, which could explain this odd entry in the College’s early list of members:

The entry for Thomas Hartwell (KC 1503) in the early College register [from KCA/684 fo 76r]

The entry for Thomas Hartwell (KC 1503) in the early College register [from KCA/684 fo 76r]

(our 2019 blog ‘An astonishing transformation’ is about the volume that contains this list). Here is a larger extract, with that entry for Thomas at the top and the entry for John at the bottom:

Extract from the early register, showing Thomas (KC 1503) and John (KC 1503) Hartwell

Extract from the early register, showing Thomas (KC 1503) and John (KC 1505) Hartwell [from KCA/684 fo 76r]

Soon after, Roger Hartwell (KC 1512) came up, also a London boy, of unknown relationship to the others. He was a Fellow until 1526.

Thomas Hartwell the Draper and his wife Marie

But it is a different Thomas Hartwell who brings Marie into the picture, not a Kingsman at all. Three bonds oblige the College to pay (at a date 7 to 12 months after the date the bond was written) to ‘Thomas Hartwell, citizen and Draper of London’:

29 pounds 5 shillings and 8 pence payable on 15 August 1505,

29 pounds 5 shillings and 7 pence payable on 30 November 1505, and

29 pounds 14 shillings payable on 30 November 1506 (this bond was dated 26 April 1506).

A fourth bond, written on 15 January 1506/7[2] is for the College to pay 27 pounds 11 shillings 4 pence to a Marie Hartwell, widow of Thomas Hartwell, deceased, lately a citizen and Draper of London, payable on 8 September 1507.

The College bought cloth for its livery (matching members’ clothing) from the Hartwells. Further information about the livery will appear in a subsequent blog post.

Bond dated 1 January, due 30 November 1505 [KCAR/3/3/1/1/1 fo 195v]

Bond dated 1 January, due 30 November 1505 [KCAR/3/3/1/1/1 fo 195v]

The bonds are of nearly identical format, with the amount and date being the only significant differences. The second bond, shown above, translates roughly as:

Know all men by these presents that we, John Argentein, clerk, Provost of the Royal College of the Blessed Mary and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge and the Scholars of that same College are held and firmly bound to Thomas Hartwell, citizen and draper of London, in the sum of 29 pounds 5 shillings and 7 pence of lawful money of England to be paid to that same Thomas, his heirs, his executors or his true Attorney at the feast of St Andrew the Apostle falling next after the present date [i.e. due 30 November 1505] for which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves and our successors by these presents. Testifying in this matter, our common seal [of the College] is hung on these presents. Dated at Cambridge in our aforesaid College on the first day of January in the 20th regnal year of King Henry the Seventh [1504/5].

Bond dated 15 January, due 8 September 1507 [KCAR/3/3/1/1/1 fo 205r]

Bond dated 15 January, due 8 September 1507 [KCAR/3/3/1/1/1 fo 205r]

The fourth bond, shown above, states roughly:

Know all men by these presents that we, John Argentein, clerk, Provost of the Royal College of the Blessed Mary and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge and the Scholars of that same College are held and firmly bound to Marie Hartwell, widow of the late Thomas Hartwell now with God, citizen and Draper of London, in the sum of 27 pounds 11 shillings 4 pence of lawful money of England to be paid to that same Marie, her heirs, her executors or her true Attorney at the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary falling next after the present date [i.e. 8 September 1507] for which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves and our successors by these presents. Testifying in this matter, the common seal [of the College] is hung on these presents. Dated in the aforesaid College the 15th of January in the 22nd regnal year of King Henry the Seventh (after the conquest of England) [1506/7].

The first bond must have been paid because

End of the creditors’ roll for 1505 [from KCA/675]

in the rotulus creditorum (list of College creditors) drawn up at Michaelmas 1505[3], he is listed amongst the new creditors, to the value of the second bond (written by Michaelmas 1505 but not due for another couple of months): Thomas Hartwell Draper, 29 pounds 5 shillings 7 pence (the first line in the image above).

1504–1505 seems to have been a tough year for the College, which had to leave unpaid much of the allowance to each of the Fellows and Scholars for a term. To put it in context, the Hartwell debt accounted for over one-third of the new debts of just over 79 pounds (the middle line in the image above); the new debts that year more than doubled the total debt burden for the College—bringing it to a little over 142½ pounds (the final line).

The second bond must have been paid sometime between 1505 and 1507 because no Hartwells appear on the creditors’ roll of Michaelmas 1507. (Sadly, the annual accounts books don’t survive for 1504–1505 or 1505–1506.) The College annual accounts for 1506–1507 do in fact record (in the ‘restitution to creditors’ section) the payment of the third bond: 29 pounds 14 shillings to the Widow of Thomas Hartwell, ‘in full payment for the livery for the preceding year’ (1505–1506). The entry is undated but if the restitution occurred around the end of November 1506 as promised in the bond, then Thomas probably died between April (when the third bond was drawn up with him as beneficiary) and November of 1506. (This of course is how we know he is not the Kingsman Thomas Hartwell, who was still alive 20 years later.)

Hartwell Donors

Marie Hartwell’s donations were given sometime between 1506 and 1529 (they were later additions to the 1506 inventory, and the next inventory was drawn up in 1529). They were:

  • a woman’s purple velvet gown with black damask fringe which was immediately ‘applied to other uses’ not specified, and
  • a corporal[4] with 2 harts and a cloth-of-gold case.

A Matthew Hartwell gave, again sometime between 1506 and 1529, a banner with Christ and Mary Magdalene.

A Roger Hartwell, also between 1506 and 1529, gave a gilt spoon ‘with a knob’ and his name engraved. The simplest explanation on the evidence available is that he is the Roger who came up in 1512.

And finally there is a Hartwell donation not listed in the Chapel inventories. Apparently the Cambridge University Library at one time had a copy of Solinus’s De memoralibus mundi printed in Paris in 1503, known to have come from the King’s College Library, with the inscription ‘ex dono Joannis Hartwell nuper socius [sic] huius collegii’[5].

In the annual accounts which survive for the years just before 1500, the first payments to the Hartwells for cloth were in 1499–1500. Is it a coincidence that the year after the first Hartwell scholar from London came up, we started buying our cloth from a Hartwell who was a Draper of London? How do the Hartwell Kingsmen of this period (William, Thomas, John and Roger) relate to each other and to the drapers (a different Thomas, and Marie), and do any of them relate to our Hartwell donors (the same Marie, Matthew, possibly the same Roger, and John)? Sadly those facts are not ascertainable from the record at King’s.

PKM

[1] http://incunables.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/record/L-159 (L-159 copy 1) is the best evidence, their brotherhood is certainly how the inscription recorded there was interpreted in the chapter ‘Language Arts & Disciplines in A Companion to the Early Printed Book in Britain, 1476–1558 (Vincent Gillespie and Susan Powell, ed), 2014.

[2] At that time the calendar year began on 25 March, and thus dates between January and March are often given in both systems to avoid confusion as to which system is being used.

[3] The financial year began at Michaelmas, i.e. ran from September 29 to September 28.

[4] A communion cloth, usually of linen, where the consecrated elements are placed during the Eucharist.

[5] p 48 of WDJ Cargill Thompson: ‘Notes on King’s College Library, 1500–1570, in Particular for the Period of the Reformation’ in Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1954), pp 38-54.

Medieval Mnemonics

In the collection of incunabula bequeathed to King’s College by Jacob Bryant (1715-1804) is a first edition of Giacomo Publicio’s Artes orandi, epistolandi, memoranda, a treatise on the rhetorical arts published in Venice by Erhard Ratdolt on 30 November 1482. Not much is known about Publicio, of whom no other works survive; in the text he describes himself as Florentine, though he may have also been Spanish.

Leaf A2r of Artes orandi, epistolandi, memoranda (Bryant.XV.3.12), with a woodcut white-on-black floriated initial “S”

The third section of the work is devoted to the art of memory and is widely regarded as the first memory treatise to have been printed. Towards the end are seven pages containing 42 roundels forming a pictorial alphabet with two woodcuts for most letters, where each letter has been associated with objects of a similar shape. For example, A is coupled with a folding ladder and a pair of compasses, B with a mandolin, C with a horseshoe, D with a bull’s head, and so forth:

The visual alphabet is followed by a full-page woodcut of a mnemonic structure containing 25 animals, arranged alphabetically by the first letter of their Latin names.

The letter V is particularly “memorable” and may well represent the first instance of a simultaneous mooning and flashing to appear in print… Publicio’s book later influenced other scholars, including the English physician Robert Fludd (1574-1637) who devised his own mnemonic alphabet, as you can read here.

IJ

Parisian fashion plates

They may not be the very latest in fashion, but the dresses depicted in this slim volume from the Keynes Collection are far too pretty to remain under wraps. The book: Douze nouveaux travestissements (Paris, 1856) features twelve hand-coloured engravings produced from illustrations by the artist Paul Gavarni (1804-1866). Gavarni was a popular caricaturist and book illustrator, who illustrated the first collected edition of the works of Balzac in 1850. He also produced many illustrated volumes of his own, sketching and parodying the eccentricities of the various classes of French society.

This particular volume was published by the monthly fashion magazine Les Modes Parisiennes, which was published between 1843 and 1875. In magazines, fashion plates such as these were usually accompanied by detailed instructions on how the outfits could be reproduced, providing avid followers of French fashion – including many British women – with the information needed in order to dress to impress.

Plate No. 1 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

 

Plate No. 2 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 3 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 4 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 5 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 6 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 7 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 8 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 9 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 10 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 11 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Plate No. 12 from Douze nouveaux travestissements,1856, Shelfmark Keynes.P.12

Finally, tucked loose inside this volume is another wonderful nineteenth-century engraving. An inscription on the back reveals that it was sent as a Christmas card to Lydia Lopokova, the wife of John Maynard Keynes, in 1929.

Loose plate tucked inside Keynes.P.12

Verso of the loose plate. The inscriptions read: “A picture for your country house!” and “A Christmas card, dearest Lydia, with [Molly’s?] love, Christmas 1929”

If this has left you keen to seek out more images of nineteenth-century fashion, then the National Portrait Galley has a fashion plate gallery covering the period 1770-1870, with a wealth of gorgeous images to explore. Have fun!

AC

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Inspired by Chinese New Year, which this year heralds the year of the tiger, we sought out that ferocious beast within some of the many volumes of natural history which form part of the Library’s Thackeray collection and uncovered some wonderful illustrations, which roared out to be shared through this blog.

woodcut of tiger

Vol. 1, page 1060 of Historia animalium, 1551, Shelfmark F.4.1

We begin with this lovely woodcut illustration from the first volume of Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium (History of the animals). Gessner (1516-1565) was a Swiss physician and naturalist. He produced several major works of zoology and botany and had a lasting influence upon the scientific world. Historia animalium, published in five volumes between 1551 and 1558, was a hugely popular and influential work. Gessner drew heavily on medieval and classical sources, building upon these with the latest zoological knowledge from his own time. These generously illustrated (for their time) volumes cover mammals, reptiles, fish and birds, detailing their diet, habits and physical attributes. 

A note in Gessner’s hand found in one copy of this work indicates that this tiger was modelled on a real life example from Florence. This may have been a beast housed in the menagerie of the Medici ruler of that city.

Early nineteenth-century works provide the rest of our illustrations, starting with a handsome colour engraving from Histoire naturelle des mammifères by Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire and Frédéric Cuvier. The authors were both associated with the French National Museum of Natural History: the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. Frédéric Cuvier (1773-1838) was head keeper of the menagerie, and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844)  was a professor there.

Colour engraving of tiger

Plate from Vol. 1 of Histoire naturelle des mammifères, 1824, Shelfmark F.1.20

Frédéric Cuvier’s brother, Georges (1769-1832) was a naturalist of great renown and author of many works on this subject. The most famous of these was Le Règne animal or, The animal kingdom, which was first published in 1817. The Library holds an English translation of this work in which can be found attractive engravings of several different types of tigers, displayed below.
Tiger engraving

Tiger from Cuvier’s animal kingdom: The class mammalia, Vol. 2, plate facing p.440, 1827, Shelfmark F.6.3

white tiger

White tiger from Cuvier’s animal kingdom: The class mammalia, Vol. 2, plate facing p.444, 1827, Shelfmark F.6.3

Clouded tiger

Clouded tiger from Cuvier’s animal kingdom: The class mammalia, Vol. 2 facing p.450, 1827, Shelfmark F.6.3

Fearsome tigers on the attack appear in an engraving (shown below) from John Church’s A Cabinet of Quadrupeds, which was published in 1805.

Tigers attacking men

Attacking tigers from Vol. 2 of A cabinet of quadrupeds: with historical and scientific descriptions, 1805, Shelfmark F.3.35

Our final image, aptly enough, depicts a tiger prowling away towards a deep dark forest. This is taken from a book of prints by English landscape and marine painter, William Daniell (1769-1837). Daniell travelled widely in India in his youth, so it is possible that he saw the beasts with his own eyes.

prowling tiger in woods

Plate from Vol. 1 of Interesting selections from animated nature, with illustrative scenery, [1809?], Shelfmark F.6.45

We hope this “ambush” of tigers has provided a stimulating start to your new year!

AC

References:

Marisol Erdman, Conrad Gesner: Illustrated Inventories with the use of Wonderful Woodcuts  [accessed 27/1/22]

Florike Egmond, 16th century ‘zoological goldmine’ discovered – in pictures [accessed 27/1/22]

 

 

 

 

Conjuring tricks for Elizabethans

The Library holds a first edition of Reginald Scott’s Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), an important early work on the subject, which attacked contemporary received opinion. Scott (d.1599) believed there were no such thing as witches, arguing that those accused were very often beggar women who, having “cursed” those who refused them assistance, were then blamed for anything that subsequently went wrong in the lives of the uncharitable. He claimed that anyone who confessed to being a witch likely did so as a result of delusion or coercion.

Title-page of The discovery of Witchcraft

Title-page of The discoverie of witchcraft, 1584, Shelfmark M.18.65

Scott also sought to debunk other forms of magic and superstition, devoting part of his book to an explanation of how easy it was to deceive people with sleight of hand and other trickery. This section stands as the first major exposé of the fakery behind conjuring tricks, influencing subsequent works on this topic for centuries to come. This mini blog post highlights a few of those tricks, some weird and wonderful, some bearing very close resemblance to simple card tricks still performed today. An example of the latter is shown below:

“How to tell one what card he seeth in the bottom, when the same card is shuffled into the stocke” (page 334)

Other tricks simply relied upon having a paid accomplice in the audience:

Tricks with paid accomplices

“To make one dance naked” and “To transforme or alter the colour of ones cap or hat” (page 339)

Scott then explains how to perform more gruesome tricks, involving feigned bodily mutilation:

Tricks involving apparent mutilation of the body

“To thrust a piece of lead into one eie, and to drive it about (with a sticke) betweene the skin and flesh of the forehead, until it be brought to the other eie and there thrust out”, “To cut half your nose asunder, and to heal it againe presently without anie salve”, and “To put a ring through your cheeke” (page 348)

These even include stabbing yourself in the guts and simulated decapitation!

A trick involving decapitation

“To cut off ones head, and to laie it on a platter, &c: which the jugglers call the decollation of John Baptist” (page  349)

“To thrust a dagger or bodkin into your guts verie stranglie, and to recover immediatelie” (page 350)

It is amusing to imagine avid Elizabethan readers of this tome rushing off to try out some of these tricks on their unsuspecting friends and family. Hopefully none of these would-be conjurors were subsequently burnt as witches or warlocks!

AC

References:

David Wootton “Scott [Scot], Reginald” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004; Accessed 3rd March. 2020.

Taking the Bull by the Horns

When cataloguing the incunabula in the collection of rare books bequeathed to King’s College by Jacob Bryant (1715-1804), I came across a curious and unusual device in a copy of Werner Rolevinck’s Fasciculus temporum, an overview of world history up until the time of the book’s publication (ca. 1490). The title page features two hand-drawn devices: the one at the centre depicts a black bull with horns and nose rings coloured in gold:

Title page of Werner Rolevinck’s Fasciculus temporum (Strasbourg: Johann Prüss, ca. 1490; Bryant.XV.2.6). Underneath the device is an earlier inscription: “Martinus polonus Carsulanensis Ep[iscop]us, hoc Chronicon composuit”, evidently mistaking this work for the chronicle Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum by Martin of Opava (d. 1278). Another owner corrected this misattribution next to the title: “Wernerus fuit collector ha[rum] historia[rum]”.

This emblem appears to have puzzled the staff in King’s Library for over a century. Stuck to the flyleaf opposite the title page is a letter of 3 June 1912 addressed to Arthur Richard Benten, then under-librarian at King’s, by Beckwith A. Spencer of the Royal College of Art. In it, he states that he was unable to identify these two devices despite enlisting the help of Albert van der Put of the National Art Library:

The same device also appears in two other incunabula bequeathed by Jacob Bryant: as an illumination inside the initial of the first page in Guido delle Colonne’s Historia destructionis Troiae (1486):

Detail of leaf a2 recto in Guido delle Colonne’s Historia destructionis Troiae (Strasbourg: Georg Husner, 1486; Bryant.XV.2.7).

and as a tail-piece painted at the bottom of a4 verso in our copy of Robert Gaguin’s Compendium De origine et gestis Francorum (1497):

Leaf a4 verso of Robert Gaguin’s Compendium De origine et gestis Francorum (Lyon: Johannes Trechsel, 1497; Bryant.XV.6.6). The bull device also rears its head as an illuminated initial on leaves b5 verso and g3 verso.

If anyone has any information that may help us identify this device and solve a century-old mystery, please do get in touch!

IJ

A King’s Banquet

Whether it be College catering, or spicy titbits from our rare books and early printed music, there is a feast of food-related material in the King’s College special collections. We table here an exhibition of serious, as well as fun, documents covering five hundred years of food at King’s. From food fights to food scarcity, the salutary effect of warm beer, or the economics of the price of corn, the special collections are sure to have something to satisfy any appetite!

the price of wheat

During the years between 1799 and 1801 widespread rioting broke out throughout England, mostly about the scarcity of food and soaring prices of bread. The cost of a loaf of bread was at an all-time high of 1 shilling and 9 pence. This was caused in part by a series of poor harvests as a result of unseasonally bad weather in England and equally poor harvests in Europe which limited imports. Sir Gilbert Blane (1749–1834) deals with the causes and remedies in his inquiry in 1800. Trained as a physician, we can perhaps be forgiven a wry (or even rye?) smile when we learn that Blane had previously been the personal physician to Admiral Sir George Rodney (1718–1792) on board HMS Sandwich!

Gilbert Blane, Inquiry into the causes and remedies of the late and present scarcity and high price of provisions (London, 1817) (Shelfmark: Keynes.A.10.16.(10.)). Title page

Blane, Inquiry into the causes and remedies of the late and present scarcity and high price of provisions. Summary

That particular volume came to King’s as part of the antiquarian book collection bequeathed by John Maynard Keynes. He was First Bursar (Financial Officer) at King’s from 1924 to 1944, and converted our land-based endowment to a stock portfolio. His predecessor bursars had to maximise the income from our land holdings, and compiled tables of the prices of wheat and malt during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

‘Prices of Malt clear of the Excise Duty with the Mean Prices’, January 1782-October 1806 (Ref: KCE/1060)

‘Prices of Wheat with the Mean Prices’, January 1782-October 1806 (Ref: KCE/1060)

The price of wheat per quarter (1/4 of a ton) ranged from just under 1 pound per quarter in the early eighteenth century, to well over 5 pounds in January 1796, and was in the 7-8 pounds per quarter range in the winter and spring of 1800-1801. The 1799–1801 scarcity came at the end of a decade of bad harvests and hard winters—the problem was not so much that the rioters were fed up, as that they were not fed up!

Charles Simeon. Etching by an unknown artist (undated) (Ref: KCAC/1/4/Simeon/2)

King’s did what it could towards poor relief. During the 1788 famine Charles Simeon (1759–1836, KC 1779) ‘organized a [University] subscription to enable bread to be sold at half-price in Cambridge and twenty-four neighbouring villages and rode round on horseback each Monday to make sure that the bakers were doing this.'[ODNB] In 1795 King’s College fellows were again occupied with poor relief. It was ‘agreed that ten guineas be given between the parishes of Grantchester Coton and Barton to be distributed at the discretion of Mr Simeon.’

Governing Body minutes, 16 January 1795 (Ref: KCGB/4/1/1/2)

We are not exempt from scarcity even in modern times. During World War II the College accommodated some of the Dunkirk evacuees, followed by an RAF transport unit, a quantity of relocated Queen Mary’s College students and faculty, and a miscellany of American and British military men in various stages of training. The acting bursar GHW ‘Dadie’ Rylands had to deal with the problems of rationing: an allowance of only half a sausage per head per week!

Part of a letter from the Acting Bursar to Sainsbury’s, about rationed meat (carbon copy), 14 November 1941 (Ref: KCAR/3/1/1/11)

Luckily for King’s we had enough space for a kitchen garden. Despite reduced staff, in 1941 the head gardener ‘produced large quantities of tomatoes, lettuces, onions, and savoys for use in Hall. ‘ In 1945 he supplied 550 pounds of tomatoes and 57 dozen lettuces.

Entry from George Salt’s college gardens journal, 1941 (Ref: GS/2/5 p 75)

Entry from George Salt’s college gardens journal, 1945 (Ref: GS/2/5 page 92)

what they ate

Go back a couple of centuries before the wheat shortage, however, and according to Robert Speed’s The Counter Scuffle (1621) there was plenty of food to waste! This publication was one of the most influential mock poems of the time and went through 19 editions by the end of the seventeenth century. It tells the story of a food fight which broke out during a Lent dinner in the Wood Street Counter, a debtors’ prison. At the end of the fight, the prison keeper is found hiding under a table with his clothes and codpiece stuffed with food!

Robert Speed, The Counter Scuffle (London, 1648). (Shelfmark: Thackeray.J.65.48). Title page

Speed, The Counter Scuffle. Part of the description of the food

Speed, The Counter Scuffle. Part of the description of the fight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The foodstuffs being thrown around the prison dining hall are the same as King’s fellows and scholars were eating about 40 years earlier. The College’s dining accounts for 16-19 October 1579 list various types of fish (ling, plaice, tench, and pickerel–but no eels or herring), mutton and loin of veal, and the ‘flesh’ included beef, rabbits, pigeons, and chickens. The College also purchased milk, butter, eggs, pepper, sugar, currants, dates, cinnamon, cloves and mace during those days. Other pages in the accounts record the purchase of mustard. (See The Potticaries Bill blog and an article about early dining practices at King’s for more details).

College dining accounts for 16–19 October 1579 (Ref: KCAR/4/1/6/19 opening 276)

One would never catch Oxbridge dons engaging in such puerile behaviour as displayed in The Counter Scuffle, however. Why play or fight with your food when you can be academic about it? It is hard to imagine that the humble sausage would inspire a volume of poetry, but that is exactly what happened when Thomas Warton (1728–1790), sometime Poet Laureate and friend of Dr Johnson, put together his volume of poetry The Oxford Sausage in 1764 whilst he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Here we have his new edition ‘adorned with cuts, engraved in a new taste, and designed by the best masters.’ The volume’s engraved frontispiece depicts Mrs Dorothy Spreadbury, the inventress of the Oxford sausage. There is apparently some doubt about the authenticity of this claim, but who would be so bold as to challenge such a formidable-looking lady!

The Oxford sausage: or, Select poetical pieces, written by the most celebrated wits of the University of Oxford (Oxford, 1777) (Shelfmark: Chawner.A.5.105). Title page.

The Oxford sausage. Frontispiece showing Mrs Dorothy Spreadbury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 50 years later in 1823 Cambridge decided it needed to acknowledge Oxford’s Sausage: ‘Oxford has its sausage, and why not Cambridge its tart?’ reads the preface to The Cambridge Tart, a volume of ‘epigrammatic and satiric-poetical effusions dainty morsels, served up by Cantabs, on various occasions’ put together by Richard Gooch (1791–1849) in 1823 under the pseudonym ‘Socius’. The engraved frontispiece depicts a baked tart, framed by laurel wreaths, a lyre and a mortarboard!

The Cambridge tart: epigrammatic and satiric-poetical effusions; &c. &c. Dainty morsels, served up by Cantabs, on various occasions. Dedicated to the members of the University of Cambridge / By Socius (London, 1823) (Shelfmark: P.25.13). Title page

The Cambridge tart. Opening

The Cambridge tart. Opening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what they drank

Of course with your sausage you need something to drink, perhaps a nice chilled beer on a summer’s day? Even better, a nice warm beer, perhaps, as the writer of this little treatise explains to us the ‘many reasons that beere so qualified is farre more wholsome than that which is drunke cold’. It is a most serious subject indeed, with chapters that explain ‘that actuall hot drink doth quench the thirst as well as cold drink, or better’ and ‘the hurt that ariseth from the use of actuall cold drink’ and ‘the benefit that ariseth from the use of actuall hot drink’.

Warme beere, or, A treatise wherein is declared by many reasons that beere so qualified is farre more wholsome then that which is drunke cold (Cambridge, 1641) (Shelfmark: Thackeray.J.66.45). Title page

King’s had its own brewer, and brewery, for several hundred years. They brewed six barrels of ale at a time, and two of small beer.

College brewing numbers (undated) (Ref: KCAR/3/1/3/4 – memo on brewing)

John Pontifex (self-styled Coppersmith, Back-Maker, Brewer’s Millwright and Brewer’s Architect) sold us a six barrel brewer in 1829. It took three pages to describe it completely and it cost a shilling short of 213 pounds.

Part of an invoice for the brewing equipment purchased by King’s College from John Pontifex, 1829 (Ref: KCA/723)

 

Plan of the brewhouse of King’s College, by Richard Woods (undated) (Ref: KCD/365)

There was a fire in the brewhouse in 1871, and in 1881 the College voted to stop brewing its own beer. Two years later the brewhouse was converted to kitchen offices.

On the subject of brewing—hot drinks this time—we turn now to tea, coffee and chocolate. All were relatively new arrivals in Europe in the seventeenth century when Philippe Sylvestre Dufour (1622–1687) published his treatise De l’usage du caphé, du thé, et du chocolat. Here we have the latin translation of that work which appeared in Paris in 1685. It includes a separate treatise on each of the three drinks, under the title Tractatus novi de potu caphé; de Chinesium thé; et de chocolata. Each treatise includes a splendid engraved frontispiece depicting the origins of each drink. It is thought to be the first work in any language to describe all these new beverages in Europe.

Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, Tractatus novi de potu caphé; de Chinesium thé; et de chocolate (Paris, 1685) (Shelfmark: Thackeray.J.47.33). Title page

Dufour, Tractatus novi de potu caphé; de Chinesium thé; et de chocolate. Frontispiece

 

Dufour, Tractatus novi de potu caphé; de Chinesium thé; et de chocolate. Frontispiece to the chocolate treatise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dufour, Tractatus novi de potu caphé; de Chinesium thé; et de chocolate. Frontispiece to the tea treatise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRINKING SONGS

Would the King’s Dining Hall have ever resounded with drinking songs? Probably not, because the Founder’s statutes dictated that conversation in the Hall be conducted in Latin ‘unless a reasonable cause requires otherwise’, and always in a ‘modest and courtly’ fashion. Theological tracts were to be read at dinner, in good monastic style.

But such strictures don’t govern the College’s Rowe Music Library which has more than its fair share of music related to food and drink. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, one of the most common forms of popular song was the catch, a type of round. So-called catch and glee clubs sprang up in towns and cities, populated by men who liked to combine singing with feasting. While many catches of this period were bawdy in nature, at least as common was the subject of food and drink, with Henry Purcell, the greatest English composer of his generation, contributing to the repertoire such gems as ‘I gave her cakes and I gave her ale’, ‘He that drinks is immortal’ and ‘Wine in a morning makes us frolic and gay’. This catch in praise of punch is by Thomas Tudway (c. 1650–1726), organist of King’s College from 1670 until his death. The ‘S’ mark on the second stave shows the point at which the second voice should enter.

Thomas Tudway, ‘A Catch upon a Liquor call’d Punch’, in The Second Book of the Catch Club or Merry Companions (London, c. 1731) (Shelfmark: Rw.112.77)

The song sheet was ubiquitous in the early eighteenth century, with prints of love songs and operatic arias both available in abundance. This perhaps understandably anonymous song, ‘The Double Entendre’, appears at first sight to be about a maiden drinking a glass of wine, but each verse leaves open the possibility of a double meaning at the end of its third line, before things are resolved (after a pause and a playful ‘tal-lal-lal-lal’) with propriety. This song contains an optional flute part doubling the melody printed at the bottom, a practice common at the time.

‘The Double Entendre’ (London, c. 1730) (Shelfmark: Rw.110.25/71)

good taste

When it comes to sharing food with others one should properly consider etiquette. John Tresidder Sheppard (1881–1968, KC 1900, Provost 1933–54) was elected to the debating society known as The Cambridge Apostles in 1902. In 1903 he presented a paper styled ‘May we eat cheese with a knife?’ in which he considered, among other things, the question of bad manners. He opined that vulgarity of manners is due to the shock that others experience when witnessing, for example, ‘the knife-tip in the mouth’ rather than that the person committing the offense, or the offense itself, is somehow inherently vulgar.

Paper read by JT Sheppard to the Apostles, 6 June 1903 (Ref: JTS/1/3/2). Page 1

Paper read by JT Sheppard to the Apostles (Ref: JTS/1/3/2). Pages 5-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apostles gave their customary impenetrable vote on his question:

Apostles’ vote on Sheppard’s paper, 6 June 1903 (Ref: KCAS/39/1/14)

how they made it

Another Kingsman, Osbert Burdett (1885–1936, KC 1903) also took the subject of cheese rather seriously. He wrote books about Blake and Gladstone (among others) as well as his rather humorous book A Little Book of Cheese which surveys English and foreign cheeses, shares some recipes and also incorporates tantalising titbits about the monstrous nature of smoking whilst enjoying cheese, all the while presenting us with curious facts such as which cheese was Thomas Hardy’s favourite!

Osbert Burdett, A Little Book of Cheese (London: Howe, 1935) (Shelfmark: UXL PSU Bur). Title page

Osbert Burdett, A Little Book of Cheese. Introduction

Osbert Burdett, A Little Book of Cheese. Page 87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, cheese is all very good, but what if you have a sweet tooth? In this charming little book, the Banbury cake—one of the more erudite cakes that we have—tells its own story! Banbury cakes have been made in Banbury in Oxfordshire since the sixteenth century. During the eighteenth century the recipe had become more similar to Eccles cakes, but had originally enjoyed a filling of currants, mixed peel, brown sugar, rum and nutmeg encased in an oval of pastry. Appropriate for afternoon tea, and often stocked in railway stations as well as being sent as far afield as Australia and America, Banbury cakes were also presented to Queen Victoria on her way to Balmoral each August.

The History of a Banbury Cake: an entertaining book for children (Banbury, 1830s) (Shelfmark: Rylands.C.Banb). Title page

The History of a Banbury Cake. Preface and Opening

Staying with children’s literature, here we have the first edition of Beatrix Potter’s story The Pie and the Patty-Pan, which tells the story of a cat called Ribby who invites a dog named Duchess for afternoon tea, for whom Ribby bakes a mouse pie. The book remained one of Potter’s favourites, and the illustrations are considered to be some of her most beautiful.

Beatrix Potter, The Pie and the Patty-Pan (London, 1905) (Shelfmark: Rylands.C.Pot.Pie.1905.a). Title page

Potter, The Pie and the Patty-Pan. Ribby baking the pie made of mouse.

Potter, The Pie and the Patty-Pan. Description of the pie made of mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, that’s quite enough frivolity: time to get serious. Only the most ardent researcher of food history would attempt this enormous tome (852 pages) all about the techniques and history of canning food! That being said, it includes fascinating morsels about one of the most important men in the history of preserving food from whose research we have all benefited. Nicolas Appert (1749–1841), known as ‘the father of canning’, devised his new method for conserving foods by experimenting with placing them in air-tight glass jars that were then subject to heat. He published his results in 1810 in Paris as L’Art de conserver, pendant plusieurs années, toutes les substances animales et végétales. We’re sure many a feast has been had throughout the country after the shops have closed by raiding the back of the larder for tins of preserved food!

AW Bitting, Appertizing; or, The art of Canning; Its History and Development by A.W. Bitting (San Fransisco, 1937) (Shelfmark: CXM T Bit). Title page

Nicolas Appert (1749–1841)

Facsimile title page of Nicolas Appert’s treatise L’Art de Conserver (Paris, 1810)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One cannot have a discussion about food without mentioning Apicius. Also known as De re culinaria or De re coquinaria (On the Subject of Cooking), Apicius is a collection of Roman recipes, thought to have been compiled in the first century AD. It has been attributed to various historical figures named Apicius, including the gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, although the connection is impossible to prove. The first printed edition appeared in Milan in 1498. Our edition, of which only 100 copies were printed, dates from 1709 and includes a commentary by Martin Lister (1639–1712), the English physician and naturalist, who related the material in the original work to medicine and healing.

Apicii Coelii De opsoniis et condimentis: sive arte coquinaria, libri decem. cum annotationibus Martini Lister (Amsterdam, 1709) (Shelfmark: M.37.52). Title page

Apicii Coelii De opsoniis et condimentis. Engraved frontispiece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting down to the nitty gritty of making food at King’s, bear in mind that the cooks were preparing food for around 100 fellows, scholars, choristers, lay clerks, chaplains and servants. Judging by the inventories, they seem to have had to do so in a kitchen less well-equipped than most modern British households. The kitchen inventory for 1598 (updated in 1605) notes 8 pots and pans with only 2 lids (for oven cooking), with the various necessary ironwork and tripods for suspending them over the fire (admittedly not part of most modern kitchens), a single set of bellows and tongs (the coal rake went missing sometime between 1598 and 1605), 4 skillets, 2 grills and an iron peele (for putting things into the oven and retrieving them again). There were only 2 ladles and 2 cooking spoons listed, 2 knives and a cleaver, a single colander and a grater. There was a mortar and pestle and also a querne for grinding the mustard. The food had to fit on 3 meat serving plates and 14 pie plates but there were dozens of other dishes and platters. Storage consisted of two large lead cisterns (presumably for water), a box (presumably wooden) for oatmeal and various probably wooden pails and tubs. What did they want with a wheelbarrow?

The King’s College kitchen inventory for 1598 and 1605 (Ref: KCAR/4/1/5/5, opening 19)

The brewhouse inventory in that same volume lists mash vats, wort vats, coolers, tuns, a fire fork and coal rake, pails, copper kettles and funnels, a pair of scales, 2 bushel baskets and a French fan, a hops basket and a horsemill. The bakery was equipped with, among other things, 2 stonking lead weights of 100 pounds each, and 2 smaller weights of 24 pounds each. 

Where they got it

Who supplied our brewer and baker? An early College experiment with self-sufficiency in the form of a home farm in Grantchester had proven non-viable and certainly by 1570 the College got much of its wheat and malt as rent from our properties (endowed at the College’s foundation or acquired later), or bought it in the Cambridge markets and fairs. The cost depended upon whether it was delivered to College or not, and whether the barley was malted or not (we had a malt house) but it was definitely ground in the College’s mill house by the College’s mill horse. For example, one Grantchester tenant had to provide from his holding an annual rent of 40 shillings in addition to ‘halfe a quarter of good and marchandizable wheate sweete cleane and well dressed and three quarters & a halfe of good & marchandizable malt of Barley well dried and cleene, eight to be allowed by the [College] bruer to be delivered yearley’ to the College during Michaelmas term.

Part of a lease between King’s College and Otewell Hill for land in Grantchester, 2 October 1585 (Ref: KCAR/3/3/1/1/2, page 373)

For meat and fruit, by the late sixteenth century the College had an orchard, a swan house and a pigeon house. Beef, like malt and wheat, was sometimes part of the rent due to us. For example the tenant at Prescot in Lancashire had to deliver ’12 fatt oxen, of a lardge bone, soe that the Bulke or Fower quarters of every of the said Twelve Oxen, killed [and with the organs removed], shall weigh ffortie Stone at the least … or else … Twentie pounds of good & Lawfull money of England, in lieu & full recompense’.

Part of a lease between King’s College and Charles Lord Strang (son and heir apparent to the Earl of Derby), 15 May 1649. (Ref: KCAR/3/3/1/1/5 fo 76v)

Large quantities of mutton and beef were also purchased: in the 1579–80 financial year for example, 1,757 stone of beef was bought (equivalent to over 10,000 kg) as well as about 750 sheep. 800 cod, 15 lings and two barrels of preserved herring were bought, and expenses for veal, milk, rabbits, pork, chickens and eggs all appear at feast times in the dining accounts, so apparently the College had no fish ponds, dairy herds, coney warrens, pigsties and/or hen houses. At least in 1533 we had bees, because we repaid the Vice-Provost 2 shillings 8 pence for bee skeps (skepes pro apibus) and clay vessels (vasilibus luteis).

Beekeeping expenses in the annual accounts for late summer 1533 (Ref: KCAR/4/1/1/10, exp. nec.)

Vegetables possibly came from a kitchen garden. Certainly there was a kitchen garden by 1899, and at some point pigs had been introduced: ‘The produce of our 2 kitchen gardens (about 7 acres) and orchard (about 1 acre – very poor) … includes early + late vinery, tomato + cucumber houses, greenhouses + forcing pits … all the plant houses have been rebuilt one by one since I took then over in 1893 and the orchard has been largely replanted. Pigs were formerly a great feature but I have abolished them … I recommend tomatos strongly – not cucumbers … Grape growing cannot be done cheaply on a small scale … The great use of the garden is to supply vegetables quite fresh and in variety. For instance except in full summer quite fresh salads are scarcely to be bought, and even then there is little but cos lettuce.’

Pages from a letter to the Bursar from the Head Gardener (25 May 1899) (Ref: KCD/26 pages 1, 4, 5, 6)

That’s the final course of our offerings at this sitting.

Bon appétit!

an invitation

The special collections are open to visitors by appointment. For further information email library@kings.cam.ac.uk or archivist@kings.cam.ac.uk.

Further Reading

Purchases of food are listed in the Commons Books (described here) and the Mundum Books (described here).

Copies of leases are found in the Ledger Books (described here).

For a discussion of the price of wheat around 1900, see Minchinton, W. E. “Agricultural Returns and the Government during the Napoleonic Wars.” The Agricultural History Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 1953, pp. 29–43.

This exhibition is part of the 2021 Open Cambridge Festival on the 2021 Heritage Open Day theme of ‘Edible England’. Details of all the other events can be found at https://www.opencambridge.cam.ac.uk/events

 

GB/JC/PKM

A concert in Cambridge, 1767

In the Rowe Music Library at King’s College hangs a copy of this engraving, which shows seven local musicians performing at a concert that took place in the hall of Christ’s College on 8 June 1767. Tickets cost two shillings and sixpence.

The etching is attributed to Abraham Hume, after a drawing by Thomas Orde. Hume (1749-1838), later a Baronet, would have been eighteen years old at the time of the concert and a Fellow-Commoner at Trinity College. Orde (1746-1807), later Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton, was an undergraduate at King’s. Within a few years of graduating both men had been elected Tory MPs.

The personnel depicted are given in pencil at the foot of the engraving as: ‘Hallendale / Newell Senr. / Rennish / West / Wynn / Newell Junr. / Wood’. Exploring the backgrounds of these musicians helps to build up a picture of the Cambridge music scene 250 years ago that is impressively cosmopolitan.

The most arresting-looking individual in the picture is perhaps the severe-faced cellist in the centre, staring the viewer down through his spectacles. Although called ‘West’ in the Rowe copy, a name that has proved a dead end, another copy identifies him more fruitfully as ‘Alexis’, which suggests he is likely to be Alexis Magito, a Dutch-born musician who worked in England from the 1750s onwards. At around the time of this concert, an edition of a set of six sonatas for cello and double bass composed by Magito was published by the Cambridge music seller John Wynne, the bassist standing to the right of Magito in the picture. Wynne kept a music shop near the Senate House, ‘at the sign of the Harp and Hautboy’.

Rw.16.21, Alexis Magito, Six sonatas for the violoncello & basso, opera prima

There is no harp in Hume’s picture, but there is a hautboy, or oboe, being played by John Ranish, who stands to the left of Magito in a more than usually full-bodied wig. Ranish, named ‘Rennish’ in the Rowe copy, was probably of Eastern European stock (Christopher Hogwood suggests his name may have been Anglicised from ‘Wranisch’), and at the time of the concert had been established as an oboist and flautist in Cambridge for some time. His 1777 obituary in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal claims he ‘always supported the character of a gentleman, and was respected by all that knew him’.

The man seated at a mysterious instrument to the right of Wynne and identified in the Rowe copy as ‘Newell Junr.’ is in fact the Portuguese musician Georg Noëlli, and the mysterious instrument is the pantalon or pantaleon (or indeed ‘Panthaleone’, as the concert’s advertisement in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal has it). This was a large form of hammered dulcimer invented by the German musician Pantaleon Hebenstreit (1668-1750) and named after him by Louis XIV of France, who had been impressed by the instrument when Hebenstreit paid a visit to the court in 1705. Noëlli had studied with Hebenstreit, and in 1767 seems to have been on a tour of England: a Worcester newspaper boasts of his appearance there playing an instrument ‘eleven feet in length [with] 276 strings of different magnitudes’. Clearly the engraving does not fully communicate the sheer length of Noëlli’s pantalon.

The most distinguished musician in the picture, though, is probably Pieter Hellendaal, the violinist standing on the far left. Born in Rotterdam in 1721, he studied violin with Tartini in his youth, and in the 1750s moved to England, working in London and King’s Lynn. He settled in Cambridge in 1762, where he held musical posts at Pembroke College (then Pembroke Hall) and Peterhouse (then St Peter’s College). He died in 1799 and is buried in the shadow of Peterhouse, in the churchyard at Little St Mary’s.

Although several of the musicians pictured were composers as well as performers, Hellendaal’s music was the most widely published, both in London by a variety of publishers, and, as the title pages of editions in the Rowe Library attest, closer to home, ‘at the author’s house in Trompington Street, opposite St. Peter’s Colledge’. The Fitzwilliam Museum possesses a set of sonatas by Hellendaal in manuscript, six of which have been recorded recently by the performers in the video below, to general acclaim. If you would like to raise a glass to Hellendaal, this is a good time to do it: he was baptised on 1 April 1721, so this week may be taken to be the 300th anniversary of his birth!

Bibliography

Hanks, S.E. (1969) ‘Pantaleon’s pantalon: an 18th-century musical fashion’, The Musical Quarterly, 55(2), pp. 215-227.

Hogwood, C. (1983) ‘A note on the frontispiece: A concert in Cambridge’, in Hogwood, C. & Luckett, R. (eds.), Music in eighteenth-century England: essays in memory of Charles Cudworth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. xv-xviii.

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