- From Manuscript to Print: Catalogue of an Exhibition held at the Morris Miller Library, University of Tasmania, Hobart, December 2008–January 2009
Published on the occasion of the seventh biennial ANZAMEMS conference, held at the University of Tasmania in December 2008, this catalogue accompanied an exhibition of medieval manuscripts and early printed books held in Tasmanian collections. It includes 70 items from the collections of the University of Tasmania Library, the State Library of Tasmania and St David's Anglican Cathedral, Hobart, as well as three medieval manuscripts from Professor Thomson's personal collection. There is also a supplementary hand-list of books printed before 1600 which were not included in the exhibition – a further 77 titles.
A major feature of the catalogue is its numerous colour illustrations, which range from complete openings to initials, printers' marks and decorative devices. Several interesting and significant bindings are illustrated and discussed, including the contemporary leather binding of a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of Cicero's De Officiis, together with fourteenth-century manuscript leaves used as pastedowns.
The catalogue is arranged in chronological order. The items described and illustrated include eleven incunabula – though several of these consist [End Page 276] only of single leaves. Early printed books from all the major European countries, with the exception of Spain, are included in the catalogue. Among the significant early printers represented are Wynkyn de Worde, Johann Froben and the Aldine Press. The provenance of each item is documented in detail, and there are introductory essays looking at the provenance of the collections as a whole. As well as individual collectors like Robert Dunbabin, Frank Woodward and William Crowther, a major source was Christ's College, founded in 1846 and eventually absorbed into the University of Tasmania.
This is an attractive and authoritative record, both of the exhibition and of Tasmania's holdings of medieval and Early Modern books. But it is not easy to tell from the catalogue entries which library actually holds each item, especially since a substantial number of items are described as 'uncatalogued'. The catalogue entries are not numbered, making crossreferencing difficult. Collations might have been a useful addition to each catalogue entry, and an index of authors and printers would have been helpful. [End Page 277]
University of Western Australia