Online Seminar | The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 23, 2021

Trade Card of J. F. Lacourt (Leeds University Library, MS 2241 John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History).

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From The Furniture History Society:

‘Pattern Books, Early Trade Catalogues, and Many Other Rarities’: The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History
The Furniture History Society Online Lecture, Wednesday, 24 March 2021, 18.00 (GMT)

Members of the Bedford project team from Special Collections at the University of Leeds will highlight some of the rare books and ephemera in the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History and explain more about the ambitions of the cataloguing project. Chaired by Mark Westgarth, the presentations will be followed by a discussion with the Bedford team and an opportunity to ask questions about the project.

When the art and antique dealer John Bedford died in February 2019 he gifted a remarkable collection of rare books, manuscripts, artworks, and objects to the University of Leeds. Assembled over almost half a century, the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History is an exceptional resource covering all aspects of the English home, from interiors and furnishings to lighting and metalwork, drapery and upholstery to architectural and garden design. Comprising over 3,000 printed items, many of them extremely rare, and in some cases unique, the collection includes furniture pattern books, designs for ornament, and inventories of country houses. The books, which also touch on household life and management, date from the seventeenth century onwards. The archive is also rich in rare ephemera including trade cards, labels, and pamphlets, many of which are unknown outside this collection. The John Victor Bedford Will Trust, with great generosity and vision, is funding a cataloguing project based in Special Collections at the University of Leeds to make the collection fully searchable and accessible.

This event is free for FHS members and £5 for non-members. If you are a non-member and would like to attend, please click here. Contact events@furniturehistorysociety.org to register interest.

Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds and also Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market. He has been instrumental in developing antique dealer collections at Leeds; Mark is a Council Member of the FHS.

Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis, Collections and Engagement Manager, has operational oversight of the project to catalogue the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History. She visited John at his Guernsey home a few weeks before he died, and planned and managed the transfer of his collection to Leeds. A medievalist by background she is responsible for the rare book collections in the University Library and has a special interest in incunabula, early modern printing, provenance, and bookbindings.

Rachel Eckersley, Rare Book Specialist, is responsible for cataloguing the pre-1851 books, researching provenance, and promoting the collection. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at The Centre for the Comparative History of Print (also at Leeds), a library digitisation assistant at the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, and a research fellow in book history at Queen Mary University of London.

Rosie Dyson, Collections Officer, is currently researching trade cards and ephemera. She is undertaking work to catalogue, digitise, and repackage John’s collection of trade cards and associated ephemera and has written several articles on her findings so far. Her background is in photography and digitisation.

Illustration from Jean-Baptiste Pillement, The Ladies Amusement: Or, the Whole Art of Japanning Made Easy, second enlarged edition, ca. 1762 (Leeds University Library, MS 2241 John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History). This is the only known complete and coloured copy.

Location of 1634 St Mary’s Fort Discovered

Posted in on site by Editor on March 23, 2021

Conjectural drawing of the 1634 fort at the St. Mary’s settlement in Maryland (Jeffrey R. Parno/Historic St. Mary’s City). Interestingly, the outline of the fort does not match a 1634 description of it made by the governor, Philip Calvert. 

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St. Mary’s City served as the capital of the Providence of Maryland until 1694, when the capital of the royal colony was moved to Annapolis. For more information on the discovery of the site of St. Mary’s Fort, see Michael Ruane’s reporting for The Washington Post. From the HSMC press release (22 March 2021). . .

In honor of Maryland Day (25 March 2021), Historic St. Mary’s City announces today that Dr. Travis Parno, Director of Research and Collections for Historic St. Mary’s City, and his team have located the site of the original St. Mary’s Fort, the 1634 palisaded fort erected by the first wave of European settlers who founded Maryland. The site, which spans an area approximately the size of a football field, is located in Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) in Southern Maryland.

“Finding the location of Maryland’s original settlement is truly exciting news for our state and will give us an opportunity to reconnect with our pre-colonial and early colonial years,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “The state has been proud to support the study of St. Mary’s Fort and looks forward to further excavation of the area as we approach our state’s 400th anniversary,” Governor Hogan added.

St. Mary’s Fort was the first major foothold of European settlement in the state and the fourth English colony in the country after Jamestown (1607), Plymouth (1620), and Massachusetts Bay (1630). In March of 1634, approximately 150 Maryland colonists arrived on two ships, Ark and Dove, in an area that was home to the Yaocomaco, a tribe loosely allied with the Piscataway paramount chiefdom. What little is known about this period is drawn from English colonial records. The archaeological study of St. Mary’s Fort has the potential to unearth new information about Maryland’s pre-colonial and early colonial past.

Members of the HSMC Department of Research and Collections have been conducting fieldwork within the St. Mary’s City National Historic Landmark area since 1971, but definitive traces of St. Mary’s Fort remained elusive until a 2018 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust allowed Parno to hire geophysicist Dr. Timothy J. Horsley to survey two suspected locations using magnetic susceptibility, magnetometry, and ground-penetrating radar. The results, which were verified via a brief archaeological dig, confirmed the fort’s exact location.

The study of St. Mary’s Fort is part of a larger initiative titled People to People: Exploring Native-Colonial Interactions in Early Maryland, scheduled to begin in 2021. Created as a collaborative effort between Historic St. Mary’s City and Piscataway tribal participants, the project will include archaeological excavations at St. Mary’s Fort and indigenous sites near the fort, interpretation and exhibits of native and colonial culture, and public programming about life in the region in the years prior to and during the early seventeenth century.

Parno is currently consulting with Piscataway tribal participants and other stakeholders, and excavations of St. Mary’s Fort are ongoing thanks to the support of private donors and funds provided by Governor Hogan’s office. With the support of the State, St. Mary’s Fort will be integrated into Historic St. Mary’s City’s living history program in time for the state’s 400th anniversary in 2034. In the meantime, the excavation site is open during public visitation hours.

A formal online announcement will premiere 25 March 2021, at 7pm (EST) on the HSMC Maryland Day event page. No registration needed; the premiere will be free and open to the public.

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