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News > The House > From the Library, August Edition

From the Library, August Edition

From the Library this August...
31 Aug 2021
Written by Olivia Tan
The House

Not long ago, Christ Church Library added a unique Tudor manuscript - Mus 1296 - to its Special Collections. We have since digitised it and it is now available on the Christ Church Digital Library - Music Collection - web page, and Digital Bodleian platform.

This is the violin partbook, dating c.1640, from a set of four volumes, containing consort music by John Coprario (1570-1626) and William Lawes (1602-1645). It contains 8 fantasia-suites for two violins, bass viol and organ by Coprario, and 8 fantasia-suites for violin, bass viol and organ, then 8 fantasia-suites for two violins, bass viol and organ by William Lawes. It was copied in score by two unidentified scribes, probably English. The first hand seems to resemble that found in other Christ Church manuscripts in the Music Collection, such as, for instance Mus 423-428 and Mus 473-478.  Also, its binding of calf over boards, gold-tooled with fillets and small ornaments at the corners resembles closely that of another score by William Lawes, Mus 430.

Click here to read the full article by Dr Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections.


The Library was very fortunate to acquire at Bonhams on 24th June a rare early edition of Desiderius Erasmus' most famous work Moriae encomium (Praise of Folly). 

Praise of Folly was written by the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1467-1536) in little over a week in 1509 while staying at the London home of Sir Thomas More (1478–1535).  The work was first published in Paris in 1511 and is a satire of the foolishness of European society, and on the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered one of the most notable works of the Renaissance and played an important role in the early stages of the Protestant Reformation. 

The work was dedicated to More who attended Canterbury College, Oxford, a monastic college founded in 1363, and acquired by Christ Church following the dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s. Canterbury Quad and its entrance gate were built on the site of Canterbury College. 

The edition of Moriae encomium acquired by the Library was printed in 1522 by Erasmus’ principal publisher, Johann Froben of Basle.  Erasmus and Froben formed a renowned publishing partnership after Erasmus joined Froben’s network of scholars who worked as editors and proofreaders, as well as providing material for publication. Erasmus arrived in Basel in 1514 and subsequently lived in Froben’s house, having previously travelled through many European centres of learning. Erasmus offered most of his work to Froben for its first printing. 

The volume contains an allegorical woodcut border on the title page by Jakob Faber and is in a beautiful contemporary Flemish binding. We look forward to making it freely available in the Library for research, teaching and display.

Ms Gabriel Sewell,
College Librarian


Much of our library acquisition relies on donations and gifts from alumni and friends. If you would like to learn more about this, please click this link.

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