Monday, 13 April 2020

Rare books 7: Engravings of Old Ireland

Separate title page: Phoul a Phuca Falls, County Wicklow.
Below: the Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

A two-volume set of Bartlett and Coyne’s ‘The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland’, published just prior to the Great Famine (London, 1842) Notes: the Carmelite foundation in Australia was largely supported from the Irish Province. The rare books collection holds large 19th century pictorials of Ireland, both illustrated works like this one, and photographic folios. One likes to imagine the first friars hauling these books across the world as an aide-memoire for themselves, so far away from home. The truth may be a little more prosaic, though together with spotting and foxing, the two volumes have enjoyed their share of wear, though fortunately no tear. The downloaded record has never been corrected, with subsequent duplication of the record reinforcing errors. It is inadmissible, for example, to include an author whose name does not appear on the title page, or anywhere else, in the main description. Knowledge from outside the text may be placed in notes but not brazenly inserted in the statement of responsibility, as it is false presentation of the book in hand. The book in front of me, unique in its own right, states “the literary portion of the work by J. Stirling Coyne, Esq.”, with no mention of Nathanael Parker Willis. In fact, one Boston source names as many as twenty separate illustrators, confusing the cataloguer considerably. In such circumstances, keep it simple. Bartlett, sole named illustrator. Coyne, author. Willis, by the grace of the cataloguer, second author.   

Roserk Abbey, County Mayo

Interior of Holy Cross Abbey, County Tipperary

Glendalough, County Wicklow

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