New Book | Blinded by Curiosity

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on April 8, 2023

Kate Heard’s review of Zelen’s book (published online in August 2022) appears in the latest issue of the Journal of the History of Collections 35.1 (March 2023). From Primavera Pers:

Joyce Zelen, Blinded by Curiosity: The Collector-Dealer Hadriaan Beverland (1650–1716) and His Radical Approach to the Printed Image (Leiden: Primavera Pers, 2022), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-9059973305, €35.

This book explores a phenomenon in the history of print collecting that has never been extensively investigated: the cutting and pasting of prints in the early modern period. The book focuses on the colourful Dutch classical scholar and libertine Hadriaan Beverland (1650–1716). Beverland was banished from the Dutch Republic in 1679 for publishing blasphemous, heterodox, and provocative scholarly texts on sex and sin. Books that dealt with prostitution in ancient times, original sin as the first act of sexual intercourse, and the sexual lust of women, were considered dangerous to Dutch public morality. In 1680, Beverland fled to England, where his friend Isaac Vossius took him in. It was here that Beverland began cutting (nowadays) costly etchings and engravings and arranging the cuttings into collages. These collages, which again demonstrated his interest in sexual matters, survived in two illustrated manuscripts, now in the British Library in London and the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

This study aims: 1) to reconstruct Beverland’s life in England, primarily concentrating on his interests and dealing in art and books; 2) to map the early modern practice of cutting and pasting prints, on the basis of remaining cuttings as well as textual sources from Beverland’s day; and 3) to present a comprehensive analysis of the two illustrated Beverland-manuscripts in terms of form and function.

Joyce Zelen is a Jacoba Lugt-Klever Research Fellow at the RKD (Dutch Institute for Art History) in The Hague and the Fondation Custodia in Paris.




Part I | Hadriaan Beverland: A Passionate Man with a Passion for Art
1  The Life of Hadriaan Beverland: A Biographical Sketch
2  ‘Fair and Candid in all his Dealings’: Beverland as Agent and Collector of Art, Books, and Curiosities
3  The Self-Promotion of a Bad Boy: Beverland’s Portraits

Part II | Beverland’s Manuscripts with Prints
4  Early Modern Print Collecting: A Context for Beverland’s Manuscripts with Prints
5  Prints, Scissors, and Antiquarian Aspirations: Beverland’s Inscriptiones Singulares Manuscript
6  ‘Dirty’ Notes and Print Collages: Beverland’s Crepundia Lugdunensia Manuscript


Abbreviations, Transcriptions, and Translations

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Note (added 11 April 2023) — Also see Karen Hollewand’s recent book The Banishment of Beverland: Sex, Sin, and Scholarship in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic (Leiden: Brill, 2019), reviewed by Benjamin Bernard in the latest issue of Eighteenth-Century Studies 56 (Spring 2023), pp. 473–79.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: