Festival of Ideas 2017 - Queens' Old Library

Festival of Ideas 2017




Once again, Queens' Old Library opened its door to the public for the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2017. This year, visitors discovered the new exhibition on display in the Old Library 'Books and Power in Tudor England: The Renaissance Library of Sir Thomas Smith (1513-77)'. The exhibition run during all the festival and two extra weeks.

On Saturday 28 October, Queens’ Old Library presented a ‘Thomas Smith Day’, which accompanied the current exhibition on Smith's library.

Thomas Smith Day


The morning was dedicated to two workshops on bookbinding in Tudor Cambridge. Organised with the Cambridge Colleges’ Conservation Consortium (CCCC), the workshops started with an introduction by College Librarian Tim Eggington on Tudor bindings, followed by a show-and-tell of some fascinating examples found on the shelves of the Old Library. Next, Bridget Warrington from CCCC explained the sixteenth-century process of making a book, before attendees tried their hands at sewing and decorating, helped by Queens’ and CCCC staff members.

On the left, visitors welcomed by Lucy Woolhouse, Reader Services Librarian and Lise Field, Library Assistant.





Queens' College Librarian Tim Eggington showed to the visitors some of our more interesting bindings.

Bridget Warrington, Managing Conservator at CCCC, walked people through the various steps of binding a book.




Step 1: Sewing of the textblock demonstrated by Library Graduate Trainee Hannah Smith.

Step 2: Sewing of the primary headband (small cord at head and tail of a book that provides structural reinforcement) explained by Lucille Munoz, Rare Books Cataloguer.




Step 3: Sewing of the decorative headband with two coloured threads by Dea Fischer, Conservator at CCCC.

Step 4: Decoration of the leather covers with finishing tools by Library volunteer Antony Bagott.



In the afternoon, two accompaghying talks to the Thomas Smith exhibition were organised at Queens'.

Scott Mandelbrote (Peterhouse) analysed Thomas Smith's annotations and drawings found in his books and drew comparisons with the library of one of his contemporary Andrew Perne.

Andrew Zurcher (Queens') discussed Smith's writings on politics and economy in a paper entitled 'The third way’: Thomas Smith, Peculiar Gain and Common Profit'.

More pictures of Thomas Smith Day

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