This month’s collections stewardship activities underscored the global reach and impact of the Rosenbach’s collections as staff welcomed back objects that were on international loan, made new acquisitions, and served researchers abroad.
The Beast is back! The Number of the Beast is 666 by William Blake (1954.0011) is a watercolor, pen, and ink drawing based on the biblical Book of Revelation, depicting a seven-headed winged beast, a recumbent lamb with human hands, and a multi-headed demon. In February 2020, it returned to the Rosenbach from being on loan at the Tate Britain’s exhibition William Blake: The Artist. We intended to ‘rest’ the work for 6 months to reduce its continuous exposure to light, but chose to keep the work in storage for a longer period of time as our visitorship was reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here, Collections Stewardship Assistant Jen Tanglao and Registrar and Associate Director of Collections Jobi Zink reinstall the Beast on the third floor of the historic house, where visitors can also see a small exhibition in the East Library of 20th-century artists who were influenced by Blake’s work.
Jobi also recently completed a courier trip to JFK Airport’s cargo warehouse to retrieve six drawings by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. The drawings were included in the Victoria & Albert’s exhibition Alice: Curiouser & Curiouser which opened in London in June 2020 and then traveled Chaoyang Joy City Museum in Beijing, China, Mori Arts Center in Tokyo, Japan and Abeno Harukas Museum, Osaka, Japan.
Back at home base, Jobi uncrates the carefully packed Tenniel drawings and starts working on condition reports.
Intern Amanda Dutkiewicz scans some of Marianne Moore’s notebooks, which included Moore’s color illustrations of the human brain, for a researcher in London.
New to the collection by institutional purchase with a generous contribution by Mark Samuels Lasner is this first edition of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Scribner’s, 1886), EL3. S848str 886. Shown here in a decorative collector’s box, the book adds to the Rosenbach’s growing collection of speculative fiction.
Assistant Librarian Nancy Loi shelves our new acquisition in the East Library where it is displayed with other well-known books in this genre, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Last Man, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
This month, photographer Rasheena Wilson shot some of our Sherlock Holmes holdings in preparation for our next Biblioventure series Sherlock Mondays.
Program Manager Ed Pettit dressed for the Sherlockian occasion. Pipe was unlit in the historic house, of course!
Curator and Senior Director of Collections Judy Guston holds one of many worksheets on which team Collections updates thousands of object records as they work towards migrating the Rosenbach’s Collections Management System to a new, cloud-based version.
Jobi checking off items from the records in PastPerfect as she makes the changes in the database for the migration to the web-based platform.