Within a slim unassuming volume drawn from amongst the books bequeathed to the College by the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) are bound a set of glorious colour drawings of figures by Gabriel Beranger (1729-1817).
Beranger was an artist and landscape draughtsman who was born in Rotterdam but moved to Ireland in 1750 and did most of his work in that country. Initially focusing on Dublin and its environs, he produced many fine drawings of buildings, scenery and antiquities. Later he widened his scope by embarking upon sketching tours around the country. Many of these drawings are preserved in the Royal Irish Academy and act as an important historical record of the times.
The drawings featured in the volume from the Keynes Collection depict beautifully dressed men and women of various different nationalities, alongside a few mythological figures, such as Diana the huntress. We share them here as a much-needed splash of colour in these dark times. Enjoy!
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 1: An Arcadian shepherdess
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 2: A Parisian shepherd
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 3: A Calabrian shepherdess
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 4: An Asturian hay maker
Keyes.P.6.17, Plate 5: An Arrogonese lady
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 6: An English tar
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 7: A Georgian shepherdess
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 8: A Florentine lady
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 9: A Segovian gardener
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 10: A Scandinavian miner
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 11: An Algarvian milk maid
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 12: A Milanese flower girl
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 13: The fairy queen
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 14: A Spanish lady
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 15: A Ferrarese dancer
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 16: Diana
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 17: An Italian dancer
Keynes.P.6.17, Plate 18: A Piedmontese flower girl
Charles Creighton’s A History of Epidemics in England has a chapter on plague in the Tudor period. There was scarcely a year without an outbreak between 1511 and 1538. King Henry VIII’s restless travelling between royal houses was driven by his fear of plague and the English Sweat. The universities went in fear too. Local outbreaks in Cambridge in 1532 and Oxford in 1533 hit the universities hard.
According to the Annals of Cambridge, in 1532 the Fellows, Scholars, and Bachelors of St John’s College were absent ‘in Easter term, during which, for fear of the plague, they had dwelt in the country’. And some time during the 1532-3 financial year (financial years began, as did academic years, at Michaelmas on September 29), the town of Cambridge paid 5 shillings to ‘John Blonnfeld yoman of the Kyngs garde cummyng in massage to enquir whether that the plage reynyid in Cambrigge or no’. The answer was not recorded, but the King’s College accounts suggest that it did.
Two entries in the accounts record payments for people to go out and retrieve choristers, or at least young boys. Bowers (p 266) says in 1542 another boy similarly had to be retrieved, so this was not unheard of, nor necessarily entirely attributable to the plague. The first payment was ‘extra duty’ pay to a Chapel clerk called Malard:
Item solutum vjo die novembris malard clerico exeuns pro choristis ij s
Also, paid on 6 November to Malard, clerk, going out for choristers 2 s
Whether Malard was recovering boys trying to escape home away from the plague, or having to recruit new choristers, is not clear.
It is interesting to speculate about the relationship of this Malard to a Mallard, not a member of the College, who was one of three supplementary payees for the 22 March exequies (for more on the exequies, see below).
This is the other occasion where a young boy had to be retrieved:
Item solutum pro expencis hanckocson equitandi ad ware ultimo die Augusti pro puero faciente fugam xx d
Also, paid for expenses for Hanckocson riding to Ware on the last day of August for the boy who fled 20 d
A news story published by Gonville and Caius College this past April notes that they locked their College gates in times of plague. We may not have been quite so rigid in 1532, as the accounts note a payment to someone who brought the money from one of our Lincolnshire estates but – rather than being prohibited from entering, he chose not to enter College ‘for fear of the plague’.
Item solutum xxvio die octobris pro expensis factis super R Robardes adducentem pecunias a Wylloughtun ad collegium & non audentem intrare ob metum pestis. vj d
Also, paid on 26 October for expenses for R Robardes bringing money from Willoughton to college and not daring to come in for fear of the plague. 6 d
Another curious thing is that two horses were brought back from Norfolk, during the plague. There are plenty of entries for College horses being treated in this year – one, ‘vocati hyrishoby’ (‘called the Irish Hobby’ – the breed is now extinct), stayed at Babraham to recover for 3 days around 15 October – but there is no reason given for horses being at Norfolk, or whose need it was to bring them back during the plague, as noted in the extract below.
Item solutum xxijo die octobris W. Rawlyns pro pabulo equino ij equorum redeuntis a norfolcia in tempore pestis per ij noctes xx d
Also, paid on 20 October to W. Rawlins for horse fodder for bringing back 2 horses from Norfolk during the plague, for 2 nights 20 d
The news story cited above notes that in times of plague the members of Gonville and Caius took to the country, ‘without loss of stipend of other privileges’. This seems also to have been the case at King’s in 1532-3. The commons expenses record these reimbursements, and they are only recorded from September to December 1532 and April to June 1533, suggesting that the plague raged in Cambridge during Michaelmas term, improved with the dispersal of people from the urban area, and then got worse again when they returned, a situation with which we today are all too familiar.
The above is from the commons expenses for Michaelmas 1532. It says:
In primis solui pro communis xxiijor sociorum & scholarium absentium ob metum pestis a vigilia Michaelis usque in 3m diem decembris videlicet per ix septimanas & dimidium ut patet per billam M Turges xj li viij s & pro communis ix sociorum absentium eodem tempore per viij septimanas [& dimidium] cuilibet xij d per septimanam iij li xvj s vj d Item pro communis iiijor sociorum absentium consimiliter per vij septimanas & dimidium 30 s Item pro communis ij sociorum et unius scholarium absentium eodem tempore per iiijor septimanas & dimidium xiij s vi d Et pro communis quinque sociorum absentium eodem tempore per quinque septimanas et dimidium xxvij s vj d Item pro communis iij sociorum et unius scholarium absentium eodem tempore per vj septimanas et dimidium xxvj s Et pro communis unius socii absentis consimiliter per iij septimanas et dimidium iij s vj d Et pro communis vij sociorum et iiijor scholarium absentium eodem tempore per unam septimanam et dimidium xvj s vj d [Total:] xxj li ij s vj d
Which, translated, begins
First I paid out for commons for 24 Fellows and Scholars absent for fear of plague from the vigil of Michaelmas to 3 December, that is for 9 ½ weeks, as appears in the bill of M Turges [a bursar] £11 8s, and for commons for 9 Fellows absent at the time for 8 [½] weeks at 12d per week £3 16s 6d…
A similar list of reimbursements is recorded for 19 April to 18 June.
If we presume nobody is counted twice in any one term, that’s a total of 61 Fellows and Scholars who eventually evacuated for all or part of the 9 ½ weeks from 28 September to 3 December 1532, and 51 who evacuated from 19 April to 18 June, out of a possible maximum of 70. Most, if not all, were back in time to say the December exequies, or specified prayers (see below).
The chaplains, clerks and choristers were entitled to commons allowance under the statutes, but the accounts record no payments to these members, so either they did not evacuate or they were not reimbursed for it.
The saddest thing about the 1532-3 plague is that 3 choristers died. Roger Bowers lucidly explored the plague’s effects on the choir in his chapter in the Chapel 500th anniversary book, so we need only reproduce here the entries showing that two women were hired to bleach and oversee the choristers’ bedding during the plague, and then we paid for shrouds to bury 3 choristers:
Item solutum ijbus mulierculis per manus W. Byrlyngam pro lotione et supervisione supellectilium chorustarum in tempore pestis iiij s j d
Item solutum pro iijbus lintheaminibus ad sepiliendum iij chorustas iij s
Also, paid 2 women by the hand of W. Burlingham, for bleaching and overseeing the choristers’ bedding in the time of plague 4 s 1 d
Also, paid for 3 shrouds for burying 3 choristers3 s
The College at that time consisted of up to 70 Fellows and Scholars plus the Provost, 10 chaplains, 6 clerks (men in holy orders), 16 choristers and 16 servants. It’s not clear just how many of the adults in College died; perhaps their families took them home to bury. What is likely, from the head counts compiled c. 1900 (cat. no. KCHR/3/1/13/2), is that in 1532-3 there was about 30% turnover amongst the Fellows and Scholars, 40% among the chaplains and clerks (who seem to have been readily replaced), and possibly 100% amongst the choristers.
The accounts record payments to members for saying exequies, or prayers (it is probably more accurate to think of them as memorial services, possibly including music) for Henry VI and his parents as required by statute on nine specified dates. It appears that, during the plague, all of the required exequies were in fact observed. Low numbers at this time might reflect deaths, but might also reflect people who chose to stay away, shirk their duties and forgo their payments and commons reimbursement.
Table: Numbers of participants celebrating exequies during 1532-3
More questions than answers
The 1532-3 accounts raise various tantalising questions. For example, is it remarkable that so many workmen came from as far away as Royston, Bassingbourn and Luton to work on the new Choristers’ room and other repairs? Is it remarkable that the audit was held at Grantchester instead of in the College in 1532-3? Were there more widows being paid that year for wheat and horse food, than usual? Was it remarkable that we were buying wheat – weren’t our tenants supposed to supply it? Was it a hard winter – did we pay more for fuel, or buy more than usual (pro-rataed considering the evacuation)? Some of these might be answered with research in the existing accounts documents. Unfortunately, if not surprisingly, there is a gap of nearly 10 years in the accounts books around 1532 which complicates any such research.
Many thanks are extended to Michael Good for suggesting the blog, and for solving the ‘hyrishoby’ puzzle.
Bowers, Roger. ‘Chapel and Choir, Liturgy and Music, 1444-1644’ in King’s College Chapel 1515-2015: Art, Music and Religion in Cambridge; JM Massing and N Zeeman, eds (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2014) pp 258-283.
Cooper, Charles Henry. Annals of Cambridge, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Warwick & Co, 1842) pp 346, 353-4.
In 1941, Kingsman Judge Edwin Max Konstam C.B.E. donated to the College a collection of books and papers from the library of his late sister, the acclaimed actress Gertrude Kingston (1862–1937).
Gertrude Kingston (1862–1937) Portrait by Sidney Starr, 1888
Kingston (born Gertrude Angela Kohnstamm) had many strings to her bow. Passionate about art from an early age, she studied painting in Paris and Berlin, going on to publish three illustrated books. She developed an interest in lacquer work and exhibited her creations in this medium in New York in 1927. She was a popular public speaker, using this talent initially on behalf of the women’s suffrage movement, and later in life also for the Conservative Party. She taught public speaking to others, and wrote many journalistic articles.
However, it was as an actress that Kingston was best known. Her acting career moved from amateur involvement as a child to professional work after her marriage in 1889, necessitated by deficiencies in her husband’s income. Adopting Kingston as her stage name, she made a reputation for herself on the London stage, acting in Shakespearean and classical as well as contemporary roles. One of the most notable of these roles was as Helen of Troy in Euripides’ The Trojan Women. Kingston undertook this role at the suggestion of playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950).
Kingston appeared in a number of productions of Shaw’s plays, and seems to have been highly regarded by him. The pair were in regular correspondence, as the large number of letters from Shaw to Kingston amongst the papers given to the College by her brother testify. Kingston also owned several copies of early published editions of Shaw’s plays, some of which are likely to have been her working copies, since they contain performance annotations.
One of the earliest of Shaw’s plays in Kingston’s collection is a first edition of Press Cuttings dating from 1909. This play is a satire of the anti-suffragist lobby, so is likely to have appealed to her feminist sensibilities. The cover has a label proclaiming “Votes for women”:
Cover of the first edition of George Bernard Shaw’s play Press cuttings London, 1909. Shelfmark N.28.5
The title character of Shaw’s play Great Catherine was written specifically for Kingston, and in November 1913 she duly starred in its first production at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.
Note detailing the cast of the first performance of Great Catherine in 1913, with Gertrude Kingston in the starring role. From the flyleaf of Great Catherine, London, 1914. Shelfmark N.28.4
Shaw’s inscription on the half-title page of Kingston’s copy of Heartbreak House, Great Catherine, and playlets of the war identifies her closely with the lead role and underlines the high regard he had for her:
Half-title page of Heartbreak House, Great Catherine and playlets of the war, London, 1919. Shelfmark N.28.2. Shaw’s inscription reads: “To Gertrude Kingston, Catherine the second, but also Catherine the first (and the rest nowhere) from Bernard Shaw. 10th Oct 1919”
Kingston’s personal copy of Great Catherine is an early unpublished rough proof:
Great Catherine, London, 1914. Unpublished proof copy. Shelfmark N.28.4
This is one of the volumes containing pencil annotations within the text, likely to have been made by Kingston in order to help guide her performance:
Annotations to page 5 of Great Catherine, London, 1914. Shelfmark N.28.4
In 1921 Gertrude Kingston joined the British Rhine Army Dramatic Company in Germany. She reprised the role of Lady Waynflete in Shaw’s 1901 play Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, having first played this character in 1912. The front cover of Kingston’s copy of this play gives instructions in several languages on where it should be returned if she should happen to misplace it:
Front cover of Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, London, 1920. Shelfmark N.28.6
Tucked inside the play is a leaflet advertising this production and other forthcoming “Army amusements” at other theatres:
Front cover of Army Amusements leaflet, 1921
Centre-page spread of Army Amusements leaflet, 1921
Collections such as these provide a fascinating glimpse into a long-vanished theatrical world.
A recent foray into one of our rare book storerooms for the purposes of cataloguing has brought to our immediate awareness a wonderful collection of books by Mark Twain, many of which feature inscriptions and quotes in the author’s own hand. These volumes were originally owned by Sir John Young Walker MacAlister (1856-1925), a close friend of Twain, and were given to the college by MacAlister’s son, Kingsman Donald MacAlister (1875-1968).
Sir John Young Walker MacAlister (1856-1925) Portrait photo courtesy of Wellcome Trust
Portrait of Mark Twain (1835-1910) from the frontispiece to Innocents abroad, London, 1899. Classmark: N.28.55
John MacAlister belonged to a profession dear to our hearts: librarianship. He was instrumental in building up the fledgling Library Association from a small London-based group into a large professional nationwide organisation, worthy of obtaining a Royal Charter in 1877. Editor of The Library Journal for many years, he wrote extensively about the principles of librarianship, developing many of the ideas which still underpin the profession today.
MacAlister had a wide circle of friends in intellectual spheres, including Mark Twain, with whom he corresponded regularly. They also socialised during periods when Twain was living in England, often getting together to chat and smoke. In June 1899, MacAlister took Twain to his gentleman’s club: The Savage. With very little prompting, the club committee duly elected Twain an honorary lifetime member. Noted caricaturist, Phil May (1864-1903) was also present and produced a cartoon to commemorate the occasion, which shows both Twain and MacAlister. The date of 1900 on the cartoon is thought to be May’s idea of a “prophecy” for the following year. It is unclear who the gentleman with the saw is supposed to be.
Cartoon by Phil May commemorating the Savage Club dinner on June 9th 1899. Illustration from: “The Savage Club: a medley of history, anecdote, and reminiscence” by Aaron Watson: London, 1907
Twain was liberal in inscribing and adding pithy quotations to those volumes of his works which he presented to MacAlister. Featured below are just a small selection of these:
“To MacAlister. “Truth is mighty and will prevail – the eternal years of God are hers” Bryant. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it Ain’t so. Truly yours Mark Twain. London, Feb. 19, 1900″ Inscription on the flyleaf of Innocents abroad, London, 1899. Classmark: N.28.55
Inscription by Twain: “The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little” On a sheet interleaved in a bound volume of chapters from Twain’s serialised autobiography. Classmark: N.28.57
“We often feel sad in the presence of music without words: & often more than that in the presence of music without music”. From another interleaved sheet in the volume of autobiography. Classmark: N.28.57
Several of the volumes are first or limited editions, including this copy of the first edition of the novel The man that corrupted Hadleyburg, with its colourful front cover:
Cover of The man that corrupted Hadleyburg, by Mark Twain. London, 1900. Classmark: N.28.56
The signed edition statement of Innocents abroad identifies it as one of only 620 copies published:
Edition statement from MacAlister’s copy of “Innocents abroad” London, 1899. Classmark: N.28.55
Mark Twain was diligent in recording the story of his life whilst he lived it, but was determined that no memoirs be published in book form during his lifetime. In 1906 however, he did agree to allow some chapters of his autobiography to appear in serialised form in the North American Review. John MacAlister took it upon himself to collect these chapters and have them bound together into one volume. When informed of this, Twain, far from being cross, caused a special title-page to be printed for this unique volume, which he sent to MacAlister. The imprint states: “The only copy – MacAlister’s”.
Unique title page created by Mark Twain for John MacAlister. London, 1906-7. Classmark: N.28.57
Tucked inside this volume is the envelope in which the title page was sent. It is addressed in Twain’s own hand:
Envelope addressed by Mark Twain, tucked inside N.28.57
The volumes of Twain’s works from MacAlister’s library clearly reflect the warm and longstanding friendship between the two men, which spanned many years and an ocean.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Many organisations around the world were planning to celebrate his music this year, and King’s Library was one of them, with planned exhibitions as part of the Cambridge Beethoven 2020 Festival. Our first exhibition, of first and early editions of Beethoven’s music from the Rowe Music Library, was due to be open to the public during March and April. Sadly, however, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we had to cancel our exhibition in the Library, although we are delighted to bring you an online version of our exhibition here.
Three Piano Quartets – First Edition
Trois quatuors originaux pour pianoforte, violon, alto et violoncelle … Oeuvre posthume (Vienna: Artaria et Comp., ). Shelfmark: Rw.30.113-6/1-3. Title page
These piano quartets, designated WoO 36 in the catalogue of Beethoven’s works, were composed in 1785, when the composer was only fifteen years old. They were the only compositions he wrote in the genre, and their music is best known in recycled form, with thematic material from the C major quartet reappearing in two of the early piano sonatas. The works were not published until the year after Beethoven’s death, in this Viennese edition by Artaria.
Trois quatuors originaux pour pianoforte, violon, alto et violoncelle. Shelfmark: Rw.30.113-6/1-3. Quartet I, parts.
Trois quatuors originaux pour pianoforte, violon, alto et violoncelle. Shelfmark: Rw.30.113-6/1-3. Quartet I, Piano part.
Sonata quasi una Fantasia or ‘Moonlight’ Sonata
The so-called ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, op. 27 no. 2, was popular even during Beethoven’s lifetime and remains one of his most best loved pieces today. Its name derives from remarks made by the German poet and music critic Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Rellstab (1799–1860) who, in 1832, likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. First published in Vienna 1802, this edition was published around 1811 by Giovanni André in Offenbach in Germany.
Sonata quasi una fantasia per il piano-forte [Moonlight Sonata] (Offenbach: André, [ca. 1811]). Shelfmark: Box D.1.1. Title page.
Sonata quasi una fantasia per il piano-forte [Moonlight Sonata]. Shelfmark: Box D.1.1. Opening of first movement.
Sonata quasi una fantasia per il piano-forte [Moonlight Sonata]. Shelfmark: Box D.1.1. Opening of third movement.
Third Piano Concerto – First Edition
Piano part of Grand concerto pour le pianoforte … Op. 37. (Vienna: Bureau d’Arts et d’Industrie, ). Shelfmark: Rw.51.78. Title page
The first performance of this work took place on 5 April 1803 with Beethoven as the soloist. His friend Ignaz von Seyfried (1776–1841) turned pages for Beethoven, and later remarked:
I saw almost nothing but empty pages; at the most, on one page or another a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me were scribbled down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all the solo part from memory since, as was so often the case, he had not had time to set it all down on paper.
The first edition was published in the spring of 1804 in Vienna by the Bureau d’Arts et d’Industrie, and dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1772–1806) who was a talented musician.
Piano part of Grand concerto pour le pianoforte … Op. 37. Shelfmark: Rw.51.78. First movement, piano entry.
Piano part of Grand concerto pour le pianoforte … Op. 37. Shelfmark: Rw.51.78. Second movement.
Six String Quartets, Arranged – First Edition
Six grandes sonates pour le piano-forte, violon obligé et violoncelle ad lib (Bonn: N. Simrock, ). Shelfmark: Rw.19.59. Title page
Beethoven’s six string quartets, op. 18, were composed between 1798 and 1800 and first published by T. Mollo and Comp. in Vienna in 1801. They were republished by numerous publishers in Europe during Beethoven’s lifetime, and arrangements were also made of them for other instrumental combinations, including piano duet, piano solo and even two guitars! This arrangement for piano trio (piano, violin and cello) of these popular works was made by the composer Ferdinand Ries (1784–1838), a friend, pupil and secretary of Beethoven.
Six grandes sonates pour le piano-forte, violon obligé et violoncelle ad lib. Shelfmark: Rw.19.59. Parts
‘Appassionata’ Sonata – First Edition
The popular nickname of the celebrated op. 57 sonata was not Beethoven’s own, but coined in 1838 by Cranz, the Hamburg-based publisher of a piano duet arrangement of the work. The annotation, ‘Asspassionato’, at the head of the title page of this first edition from 1807, must date from after that time. The sonata’s dedicatee, the Hungarian nobleman and cellist Franz von Brunsvik (1777–1849), was the elder brother of Josephine Brunsvik, one of Beethoven’s dearest friends and a woman considered by many to be the composer’s mysterious ‘Immortal Beloved’.
LIVme sonate … Op. 57. (Vienna: Bureau des Arts et d’Industrie, ). Shelfmark: Rw.57.34/4. Title page
First, Second and Third Symphonies – First Editions
Beethoven’s first three symphonies, which had all been performed in public by 1805, were not published in score until these English editions appeared in 1808 and 1809 as part of a series of the complete symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. A note tipped into the second volume of this set informs subscribers that because of the length of Beethoven’s works, future symphonies may have to be divided into two volumes each at considerable expense to the publisher. These three symphonies do appear to have been the final entries in the series, so perhaps the expense was too great to continue. The fact that the first two symphonies are wrongly numbered does not inspire confidence in the publisher!
A compleat collection of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven’s symphonies … Beethoven’s Symph[onies] I-III. (London: Cianchettini & Sperati, [1808–1809]). Shelfmark: Rw.75.BEE.1-3. Cover
A compleat collection of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven’s symphonies … Beethoven’s Symph[onies] I-III. Shelfmark: Rw.75.BEE.1-3. Opening of First Symphony
‘Eroica’ Symphony, Arranged – First Edition, Second Issue
Numerous arrangements were made of Beethoven’s orchestral works during his lifetime for smaller forces (e.g. piano duet, string quartet, piano trio etc.) thus rendering them playable by amateur musicians at home. Written between 1802 and 1804, the first edition of the parts for Beethoven’s third symphony (known as the ‘Eroica’) was published in October 1806 in Vienna. The first published arrangement for piano duet appeared in Leipzig in spring 1807 published by the publisher Kühnel. This edition, published by Peters after 1814, has been printed from the same set of engraved plates used by Kühnel.
Sinfonia Eroica aggiustata per il pianoforte a quattro mani … Op. 55. (Leipzig: C.F.Peters, [after 1814]). Shelfmark: Rw.33.79. Opening of finale (primo part)
Sinfonia Eroica aggiustata per il pianoforte a quattro mani … Op. 55. Shelfmark: Rw.33.79. Opening of finale (secondo part)
String Quartet in B flat – First Edition in Score
The op. 130 string quartet was published simultaneously as score and parts by Artaria in May 1827, shortly after Beethoven’s death. This was unusual and was remarked upon in many early reviews which pointed out that access to a full score was important because, unlike the op. 18 string quartets for example, this was music that needed to be studied, and not merely played or listened to. Written in the second half of 1825, the quartet’s original final movement was the Grosse Fuge (later designated op. 133), which was substituted for a new Allegro final movement after the quartet’s premiere in March 1826.
Troisieme quatuor pour 2 violons, alte & violoncelle … Oeuvre 130. (Vienna: Maths. Artaria, ). Shelfmark: Rw.105.67. Title page
Troisieme quatuor pour 2 violons, alte & violoncelle … Oeuvre 130. (Vienna: Maths. Artaria, ). Shelfmark: Rw.105.67. Finale (opening)
Troisieme quatuor pour 2 violons, alte & violoncelle … Oeuvre 130. (Vienna: Maths. Artaria, ). Shelfmark: Rw.105.67. Finale (continued)
We hope that despite the many cancelled events this year, perhaps you’ll be able to find the opportunity to reconnect with old favourites from among Beethoven’s compositions, or perhaps discover something new.
To lighten your working-from-home need for a bit of local gossip, we present The Brochure (a student publication) from about 1905, with reports on what everyone had been up to.
Catullus was said to threaten his detractors with including them in his verse: ‘At non effugies meos non iambos (But you shall not escape my iambics)’.
This very blog puts paid to Mr Nixon’s piteous cries – the history of the College has been kept, it’s all in the archives.
Pigou (half-way down page 7) read History and Moral Sciences (now Philosophy). He started lecturing in Economics only in 1901, the Economics Faculty being established in 1903. Apparently Pigou’s mentor Marshall asked another King’s fellow to ‘speak to Pigou on a personal matter – a rather delicate matter. I saw him coming out of Bowes’ shop in a Norfolk jacket with holes in both the elbows. So bad for the Economics Tripos!’
If you’re worried about your diet for the foreseeable future (i.e. what’s available), you might look up the advice of Eustace Miles (KC 1887) mentioned near the bottom of page 7. A champion at real tennis and an Olympic medalist, Miles published several books on diet for boys and sportsmen in the first few years of the 20th century. He married in 1906 and opened a vegetarian restaurant with his wife in London, to which Margaret Schlegel threatened to take Mr Wilcox in EM Forster’s Howard’s End. (Forster came up to King’s ten years after Miles.)
The production of The Wasps mentioned in the middle of page 8 is probably the 1897 Greek play, rather than the better-known 1909 one.
Evangelism at south coast resorts (bottom of page 9) took place through Beach Missions, 150 years old and still lively today. (Under current restrictions we can’t even get into a church on Sunday.) Another such effort at ‘good works’, the King’s Social Work Committee (middle of page 9), was established in 1904. Students subscribed and the funds were provided to College estates for lectures, books and other social activities. It appears also to have been involved with a Mission, later Boys Club, at Barnwell, now the Buddhist Centre.
The Trappists (middle of page 10) were a tongue-in-cheek undergraduate secret society, even now somewhat obscure, that included Eric Milner-White who returned after the war and instituted the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols here.
The Second Bursar (bottom of page 10) at the time was William Corbett. The post is now called Domus Bursar but don’t go getting any ideas.
The Victoria County History says that in the City of Cambridge ‘Every Pound of this Butter is roll’d, and drawn out to a Yard in Length, about the Bigness of a Walking-cane; which is mentioned as peculiar to this Place’ (see near the top of page 11). Walter Durnford, later Provost, was indeed Mayor of Cambridge 1905-6.
Though undated, the internal evidence suggests The Brochure was published around 1905.
Whether the abandoned streets and workplaces make you feel like you’re in one of MR James’ Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (page 7), or you’re developing your deipnosophistry (skill at dining – page 10) in the face of erratic food availability, or wishing you could get butter by the inch never mind the yard (page 11), or waiting for travel restrictions to lift so that you can travel with Kipling ‘on the road to Mandalay where the flying fishes play’ (page 11), we wish you well and hope that you and yours stay healthy as long as possible.
The special collections at King’s include rare editions of literary output of some noteworthy LGBT 20th-century writers—Kingsman E.M. Forster and war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen—and one surprise, Alan Turing. King’s Archives and Library were pleased to mark LGBT+ History Month by showcasing this material, along with a display of borrowable LGBT-themed books, in an exhibition in King’s Library. We are delighted to be able to share the exhibition here.
Alan Turing (1912–54) came up to King’s in 1931. (Reference: AMT/K/7/4)
Probably while undergoing therapy in the 1950s, Turing began a near-autobiographical short story called ‘Pryce’s Buoy’. The story is about an interplanetary travel scientist, Alec Pryce, who resembles Alan in several ways. Just as Alan devised the idea that came to be known as the Turing machine, Alec, at the same age, comes up with ‘the idea which is now commonly known as ‘Pryce’s buoy’. ‘Alec always felt a glow of pride when this phrase was used. The rather obvious double-entendre rather pleased him too. He always liked to parade his homosexuality…’
The love interest in ‘Pryce’s Buoy’ is called Ron[ald] Miller, not a million miles from Arnold Murray, the other party involved when Alan was prosecuted for homosexuality.
A page from Alan Turing’s autograph manuscript of ‘Pryce’s Buoy’. (Reference: AMT/A/13)
A Trinity physicist named Maurice Pryce (1913–2003) was a Cambridge colleague of Turing. Maurice Pryce and Turing seem to have met at Cambridge but would no doubt quickly have discovered they shared a history in Guildford. Turing visited his parents there during school holidays from 1927, even into his College days, and in Guildford he indulged his interest in astronomy. Maurice Pryce attended the Royal Grammar School in Guildford from 1923 to 1929. The fictional Alec Pryce was an astronomical scientist.
E.M. Forster (1879–1970) came up to King’s in 1897. (Reference: EMF/27/319)
‘Pryce’s Buoy’ describes Alec picking up Ron, a small-time criminal (including male prostitution), while Christmas shopping. The notion of the bourgeois professional picking up a working-class man was common in the years before homosexuality was partially legalised in Britain in 1967. It is one of the similarities between ‘Pryce’s Buoy’ and E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel of homosexual love Maurice, first drafted in 1913.
P.N. Furbank (1920–2014). (Reference: KCPH/3/5)
It is possible that Turing learned of the Maurice manuscript from P.N. Furbank, a good friend of both Forster and Turing. He was Forster’s authorised biographer and one of Turing’s executors. Furbank came up to Emmanuel College in 1939.
If Turing had seen or heard of the Maurice manuscript, that might subconsciously have informed the choice of his hero’s name: Pryce for the real-life Maurice Pryce and Alec because in Forster’s novel the second of Maurice’s lovers is a working-class gamekeeper called Alec.
Another parallel between the fictional stories and real life was the threat of blackmail faced by gay men. Turing met Murray outside a cinema in 1952, took him to lunch (just as Alec took Ron to lunch in Turing’s story), eventually entertained him at home and loaned him money. They wrangled over the money with Murray threatening to ‘do his worst’. In Maurice, Alec tells Maurice ‘you reckernize it wouldn’t very well suit you if certain things came out’.
A page from Forster’s typescript of his novel Maurice. (Reference: EMF/1/5/9C)
Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) in 1928 at Versailles (Reference: RNL/2/533)
Siegfried Sassoon came up to Clare College in 1905, a few years after Forster had left King’s. They knew of each other, had several aborted attempts at meeting and finally did so in 1919, soon after which Sassoon declared his homosexuality to Forster. Sassoon was one of the first people with whom Forster shared his short story ‘The Life to Come’, also published posthumously.
The story begins with Paul Pinmay, a missionary, going to bed with a great South Seas prince, Vithobai. For this he carries a great deal of guilt. Vithobai becomes Christian, taking the name Barnabas, and on the eve of both their weddings comes to Paul with a gift and confession of love.
A page from Forster’s typescript of ‘The Life to Come’. (Reference: EMF/3/13/2 vol 4/3)
Sassoon gave Forster several inscribed copies of his books of poetry and prose which are now in the Forster collection at King’s. The most affectionate inscription is on his 1950 book of poems, Common Chords, one of 107 copies printed on hand-made paper.
Sassoon’s inscription to Forster on his copy of Common Chords (Stanford Dingley: The Mill House Press, 1950). (Shelfmark: Forster.SAS.Com.1950)
Title page of Common Chords (Stanford Dingley: The Mill House Press, 1950).
One cannot skip past Sassoon without mentioning his protégé Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) who died in World War I.
Photograph of Wilfred Owen printed in Wilfred Owen, Poems (London: Chatto & Windus, 1920). (Shelfmark: N.32.16)
Owen and Sassoon met at Craiglockhart, a military psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh for the treatment of shell-shocked officers. It is believed that Owen, like Sassoon and other literary friends such as Robert Ross (Oscar Wilde’s literary executor, who was briefly a student at King’s), was also homosexual. As the Dictionary of National Biography says: ‘What is certain, however, is that Owen and Sassoon wrote more eloquently than other poets of the tragedy of boys killed in battle because they felt that tragedy more acutely, more personally.’ This year is the hundredth anniversary of the publication of this early edition of Owen’s poems, which includes an introduction by Sassoon.
On this, the spookiest day of the year, we thought we’d share some images and text from books which tackle the subject of demons, devils, spirits and witches; all creatures regarded as a serious threat to body and soul in times past.
Our first tome is The hierarchie of the blessed angels, a long didactic poem by the playwright Thomas Heywood (ca. 1570-1641) which also features Lucifer and his fallen angels, and includes many folkloric anecdotes and tales of demonic creatures engaged in spreading dread and devilment. Note the tumbling angels falling towards a demonic mouth on the right hand side of the title page below.
The hierarchie of the blessed angels. Their names,orders and offices. The fall of Lucifer with his angels by Thomas Heywood: London, 1635. Keynes.C.10.01
One illustration within the volume depicts the Archangel Michael standing victorious over the defeated Satan and his minions:
The Archangel Michael Page 494 of Keynes.C.10.01
A detail from another appears to show a court of horned demons in hell:
Demons in hell. A detail from Keynes.C.10.01 page 406
Elsewhere, men of God try to ward off the forces of evil:
Detail from page 462 of Keynes.C.10.01
The poem has many evocative descriptions of various creatures up to the kind of mischief and mayhem you might associate with Halloween:
Pugs and hob-goblins disturbing people’s sleep with their revels. Extract from page 574 of Keynes.C.10.01
Spooky inhabitants of church yards. Extract from page 505 of Keynes.C.10.01
Another passage vividly describes the marks by which evil creatures may be identified, including hooked noses and flaming eyes:
Extract from page 581 of Keynes.C.10.01
One of the anecdotes later in the text tells of a German illusionist who performed an aerial display with a woman and child in tow, only to end his life being burned at the stake as a witch:
Extract from page 613 of Keynes.C.10.01
Other works on demonology held in the Library include a late 16th-century Latin tome by a German theologian, Peter Thyraeus (1546-1601) and an 18th-century pamphlet by theologian William Whiston (1667-1752):
Title page of Daemoniaci, hoc est: De obsessis a spiritibvs daemoniorvm hominibvs by Peter Thyraeus, Cologne, 1598. D.8.5/1
Title page of An account of the daemoniacks, and of the power of casting out demons … by William Whiston: London, 1737. Keynes.F.10.14/8
The latter work describes the manner in which demons were cast out in the early years of Christianity:
Extract from page 56 of Keynes.F.10.14/8
Whatever you are doing this Halloween, stay safe out there, and watch out for things that go bump in the night!
As we’ve seen in a previous post, illuminations in incunabula can be seen as a remnant of the manuscript tradition that persisted in the transition to the printing era. In our copy of Ognibene Bonisoli’s De octo partibus orationis (Padua, 1474), bequeathed to King’s College by Jacob Bryant (1715-1804), there are no guide letters in the spaces left blank for the illuminator, so it was up to him to choose which letter to write. On the first page is Bonisoli’s dedication to his pupil, the condottiere Federico Gonzaga (1441-84), who later became the third marquess of Mantua.
Federico Gonzaga (right) in one of Andrea Mantegna’s frescos in the Camera degli Sposi in Mantua, painted between 1465 and 1474.
Instead of inserting an “E” to give “En humanissime pri[n]ceps” (Lo, most humane leader), the illuminator added an “I”: “Inhumanissime pri[n]ceps” (Most inhumane leader):
First leaf of Ognibene Bonisoli’s De octo partibus orationis (Padua: Bartholomaeus de Valdezoccho and Martinus de Septem Arboribus, 1474; Bryant.XV.3.6). The manuscript inscription at the top indicates that the book belonged to the church of Santa Maria Incoronata in Milan, which was completed in 1460.
Though this is most likely to have been an unintentional error on the illuminator’s part, whose Latin perhaps was not up to scratch, it is tempting to imagine that it may have been a parting shot from a disgruntled employee on his final day at work…
The ongoing project to catalogue the Library’s Bicknell Collection of books relating to the Lake District [see earlier blog post] continues to uncover fascinating items, not least among them being a small leather-bound, handwritten journal, documenting a family holiday in the Lakes in late August and early September 1877.
Cover of Bicknell.148
The journal was written by one of Peter Bicknell’s uncles, Claude Lynnford Bicknell (1860-1882), who would have been 17 at the time. He travelled by train from his home in Beckenham, Kent, with his parents and his sister, Kathleen. Gentle sibling rivalry is suggested by a note on the back of the title page of Claude’s journal, which aims to dissociate it from his sister’s diary, referred to as “… the establishment round the corner.”
Bicknell.148 “N.B. I beg to state this journal has no connection with the establishment round the corner, viz. a journal edited by Miss KE Bicknell.”
The family were initially based at Cloudsdale’s Crown Hotel, in Windermere, moving after a week to the Borrowdale Hotel, Derwentwater. Tucked into the journal are various travel ephemera, including this leaflet advertising the Crown:
Bicknell.148 Leaflet advertising Cloudsdale’s Crown Hotel
Claude has an engaging style of writing, and much of the pleasure to be derived from reading the journal is contained in his wry (albeit often rather snobbish) observations regarding the people he encounters, and his grumbles and gripes about topics such as the weather and the quality of the hotel food.
Bicknell.148 page 2: “Dinner was so so, and the company decidedly seedy consisting of 4 old men, 4 old women; 3 young women with an old one in charge and […?] N.M’s: nearly all Yanks or Lancashires. After a very good desert, by far the best thing in the dinner, an old man got up & said a long and disjointed grace which of course sent Kathleen and myself into convulsions.”
Bicknell.148 page 14 “…all the rest of the seats were filled with Lancashire people, the men looking like farmers and the women like cooks … The coach is a very seedy turn out, drawn by 4 frightful screws.”
Occasionally Claude’s complaints veer into outright hyperbole, as seen most clearly in his reaction to heavy rain spoiling plans to go fishing on the first day of the holiday. With a wonderful turn of phrase he writes “Well, of all the horrid, disgusting, inhuman, blackguard days that were ever invented, to-day has been the very worst”.
Bicknell.148 page 4. A very wet day
Better weather eventually allowed the family to make several fairly successful fishing trips, and to enjoy walks and excursions to local beauty spots. Claude took a turn rowing the boat during one fishing trip, and seems to have been very pleased with his performance:
Bicknell.148 page 9: “My rowing was a very superior article and I caught a good many shell fish (crabs) & ducked every one in the boat several times.”
In typical teenager fashion however, he bemoans the decision of his mother to forbid him from going swimming:
Bicknell.148 page 12: “Bye the bye I wish to record here that during this day she refused to allow me to bathe in the lake. I think she imagines I shall drown in 20 or 30 feet of water because I am only accustomed to about 7.”
Illustrations in the journal are provided by engravings that Claude has repurposed from books or tourist pamphlets, and he is careful to note where artistic license has been employed:
Bicknell.148 page 18 “Something like only it is really much further from the lake”
The journal ends rather abruptly on Sunday the 2nd of September, with no indication as to whether this was actually the end of the holiday or simply the point at which Claude got bored with writing an account of each day. The final paragraph is slightly bizarre, featuring as it does, four alligators that apparently resided at the hotel!
Bicknell.148 page 66 “During the day the number of people flocking to see 4 seedy little alligators which belong to the hotel was wonderful. They came in a string from morning to night.”
Claude went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, matriculating in 1879. That same year he was awarded a silver medal for political geography by the Royal Geographical Society. Sadly, he only lived a few more years, dying in 1882. It appears he was struck by a cricket ball at Fenner’s cricket ground in Cambridge. It seems likely that his untimely demise made his journal a treasured keepsake for his family, ensuring that it was preserved for posterity.