Showing posts from August, 2014

William Etty, Charlotte Brontë and a French connection

Looking through the Art Gallery Gift Collection Ilka Heale found some surprising connections
The York Art Gallery collection consists mainly of books on, and about, art and artists - which is why this book about the French actress Eliza Felix (1821-1858) is an unusual addition to the collection: Rachel by Joanna Richardson (London : M. Reinhardt 1956).
Yet there is a connection: Eliza's portrait was painted by York born artist William Etty, and is held at the Art Gallery, along with other works by the artist.

Eliza, who used the stage name Rachel, was known for playing tragic heroines at the Comédie Française and from 1843 she made annual trips to Britain to perform.

It was during one of these performances in 1851 that Charlotte Brontë was in the audience - she based the character Vashti, in her 1853 novel Villette,on Rachel (see shelfmark MA 163.6 for this book and other works by the author and her family). You can read more about Rachel's life here.

Who was William Etty? Wil…

Behind closed doors: collection development week at the Minster Library

Maria Nagle leaves the door ajar at the York Minster Library.

You may have wondered why for one week, often in the height of summer, York Minster Library closes its doors to the public. No, this isn't our chance to escape to the seaside - it's our collection development week, and it's a crucial time when we can dedicate all our efforts into making our collections more accessible and usable for our readers.
The Minster Library closed last week (28 July - 1 August) for collection development. This covers a range of activities; purchasing, cataloguing, classifying and
deaccessioning books and resources are just a few. It's not just the books that make a library however, it's how resources are organised within the library space that helps readers to make sense of them. Each collection development week, we pinpoint a part of York Minster Library's spaces and collections that needs improvement and set out a plan to achieve this in the time we have.

Working in a histo…

Parmigianino in the York City Art Gallery

Art Gallery Gift Collection cataloguer Matt Wigzell unearths more treasure.

Another highlight from the York City Art Gallery collection emerges, with several books on 16th Century Italian artist Parmigianino ("the little one from Parma") recently added to stock. In particular, The Art of Parmigianino by David Franklin (LJ 9.5 MAZ/F Quarto) has many great images of his work, and interesting details of his turbulent life.

He travelled Italy to avoid the frequent wars that raged during his lifetime, and was forced to flee Rome after its sacking by Imperial forces in 1527.

He spent his last days in exile from his native Parma, having been disgraced and imprisoned for defaulting on an agreement on a major commission for the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata church. There are also rumours of an increasing obsession with alchemy in his later years.

However, Parmigianino was a prolific artist and a student of Raphael, creating many memorable paintings, drawings and etchings. O…