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Showing posts from July, 2015

Art from across the globe

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As our Art literature collection continues to expand, Stephen Town adds a splash of diversity to the selection.

I spent last weekend going through my late mother’s book collections. She would never have called it a library, but it was very substantial and varied, reflecting her interests, profession, causes and beliefs. It incorporated my late father’s collection and those of both their forbears, spanning nearly a century of commitment to Yorkshire education, a family tradition which of course I also continue until my retirement.

I have selected four items from her collection to add to my donations, all relating to the history of art. Most of her books will go to broader charitable causes, as she would have wished, and her almost complete set of twentieth century crime writing may well be available for purchase in a charity shop near you very soon.

Beach & Koch: King of the World: the Padshahnama

My mother loved India and continued to visit well past the time the rest of the family…

A Natural History of English Gardening

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As we pass the half-way point in his Nightshelf series, Stephen Town starts to reflect on how he might spend his time after retirement.

Laird, M., A Natural History of English Gardening, 1650 - 1800, in the University library at LA 2 LAI.

The most common assumption about retirement, and one strongly held by my wife, is that I will have more time for gardening when I retire. In truth, I may actually spend more time reading about gardening, and this book would be a good place to start. It is not exactly easy nightshelf material, as it is a large and sumptuously illustrated title, produced by Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; coincidentally this is where our former History of Art colleague Mark Hallett is now Director of Studies.

This is, however, no coffee table book. Although, anyone interested might gain great pleasure just by looking at the illustrations. It is, as the Guardian reviewer suggested, a work of both scholarship and beauty. Mark …

York in pictures, old age in the USSR, the trial of Marie Antoinette...

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The Library holds a wide and varied range of pamphlets, covering a variety of political and historical subjects, with influential authors including Mandela and Nehru. Ilka Heale introduces some highlights.



The Library has a collection of just over two thousand pamphlets written by contemporary politicians, writers and historians, which are bound together in volumes and identified by the shelfmark 'OP'. They contain a wide range of topics, including the early Labour movement, Marxism, Communism, Railways, Housing, Russian industry and history of South Africa, Rhodesia and Poland.

These pamphlets comprise of a variety of fascinating primary source material, with subjects drawn largely from the first half of the twentieth century. The Empire and its demise is a popular theme, with pamphlets from southern Africa and India analysing the movement to independence. Another favourite subject is the fragile European situation with its explosion into two world wars, along with the establi…