The newest digital collection of Special Collections materials features a binder’s collection of sheet music dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Sheet Music of Flute and Violin Duets, 1790s-1850s features a binder’s collection containing 27 duets for flute and violin.
Binder’s collections of sheet music were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, providing the means to social entertainment in homes and other informal settings beyond concert venues. While often unorganized, some collections are ordered according to genre, instrumentation, composer or chronology.
The works of a number of composers are included in the collection, including composer and flautist François Devienne. Other composers include Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, Franz Alexander Pössinger, and Eugène Walckiers.
While the printed music is bound in two separate volumes, one for each instrument, the pieces have been combined in the digital collection so that both parts can be seen together.
Wandering Book Artists Donna and Peter Thomas visited the University of Houston Libraries today for a lecture, meet and greet, and tours of their Gypsy Wagon Bookmobile.
The artists, who have been making artists’ books together for more than 30 years, entertained and educated those in attendance with stories, songs and demonstrations of their many handmade books, including miniature books, books made of wood, and books made with unusual items, including a can, a ukulele, and an accordion. They also answered questions about their creative process and the craft of bookmaking.
Attendees were also able to get a look at the Gypsy Wagon Bookmobile that the Thomases use as they travel across the country. The bookmobile, built on a 16-foot flat bed trailer, provides a place to sleep, dine, and conduct business. Influenced by vintage pictures, it is painted in bright bold colors and uses reclaimed wood, wrought iron, and stained glass.
This exhibit encompasses the sacred and secular music of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic peoples as well as the while considering manuscripts’ physical nature, their production by hand and development to print. In addition to materials from UH Special Collections, the exhibit includes items from other major Houston collections, including the Woodson Research Center at Rice University and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
For more information about the exhibit, visit the exhibit web page, which also includes audio and video related to the exhibit. The short slideshow below offers a sneak peek at the exhibit, including a copy of a book of hours which can also be viewed in the UH Digital Library. The exhibit is open to the public through Feb. 1 and can be visited during the library’s regular hours.
New Exhibit Coming Soon
Created in Northern France, this book of hours contains beautifully illustrated and handwritten pages. The text, written on parchment, is in both Latin and Old French, and the scribe is identifed as Paulinus de Sorcy.
While many medieval manuscripts feature images that are closely related to their text, this one is primarily illustrated with marginalia. These whimsical images enliven the borders of various pages and contain both humans and animals. In one illustration, a man plays a harp. In another, a monkey or ape inspects a vial of urine in a satire of medieval medicine.
The digital collection is organized into three objects — one contains the complete manuscript of almost 200 leaves, one highlights the illuminated pages, and the third shows the binding and edges. This beautiful manuscript is an exciting addition to our digital collections, so be sure to check it out soon!
Special Collections is excited to announce the publication of a new digital collection, Theodor de Bry’s America. This collection of copper plate engravings depicts the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World. The engravings are taken from the 16th century book Americae, volume IV of Theodor de Bry‘s Grandes Voyages series, a collection of 30 books documenting the new age of exploration.
The illustrations in this collection depict a variety of scenes related to Spanish exploration. Christopher Columbus is featured in many of illustrations, both in Spain and in the New World. Violence perpetrated on both the Spaniards and the Native Americans is also depicted in detail.
The engravings are in very good condition and can be examined in detail in the UH Digital Library. While only the engravings have been digitized as part of this effort, Special Collections holds a near-complete first edition of the volume. This edition is printed in German, with the exception of the title page, which comes from a first edition printed in Latin. This copy is missing plates 2, 3, 19, 21, and 23, along with an original map.
Take some time to examine these 22 images! Not only do they represent some of the earliest depictions of the exploration of the New World, but the details in the engravings are fantastic. If you’d like to learn a little more about Theodor de Bry and his Grande Voyages, check out Episode 893 of Dr. John Leinhard’s “Engines of Our Ingenuity” radio program.