2013 Chairman’s Council Trip

Sunday: Time with Old and New Friends

Our 2013 Chairman’s Council trip began on March 3rd, with a convivial cocktail reception at Ruth Robinson’s flat in London. Old friends and new shared a lovely evening thanks to our gracious hostess.

 Monday: A Day of Opulence and Illumination at the British Library 

All the members at the British Library visit.

All the members at the British Library visit.

The morning began with a welcome meeting and refreshments hosted by Sarah Frankland, Development Head, and Abby Wilson, Patrons and Planned Giving Manager.  Dr. Malini Roy, co-curator, led us through Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, the collection of bejeweled and golden objects, as well as beautifully illustrated manuscripts from the Library’s Central and South Asian collections.

Following the tour, Peter Barber, Head of Cartographic and Topographic Manuscripts, introduced three volumes given to the ATBL by Roger Baskes and lent to the British Library.  Lunch in the Boardroom followed, where  speakers included  Chairman Baroness Blackstone, speaking about the importance of the internship program in sharing skills and resources with the greater community; CEO Roly Keating, highlighting the amazing diversity of staff, collections and visitors, and his conviction that diversity provides a worthy foundation for the Library’s bright future; Sarah Frankland, Head  of Development,  speaking about the endowment and encouraging members to provide feedback as well as support; and Dr. Scot McKendrick, Head of Western Manuscripts, discussing the challenges and progress made in digitizing the extensive BL collections.

Lunchtime conversation was further enlivened by the presence of Caroline Brazier, Director of Scholarship and Collections, who spoke about future exhibitions, along with Peter Barber and Susan Whitfield, Director, International Dunhuang Project, a collection of Central Asian manuscripts.

The afternoon progressed with a demonstration by Alex Whitfield, Learning and Digital Program Manager, of “English Online,” which features 20 authors and 50 texts.  Then there was a presentation by Claire Breay, Head Curator of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, about the Magna Carta, which will be featured in an historic BL exhibition scheduled for 2015.

The afternoon concluded with an exciting, eclectic, “Show and Tell” of collections items by Nicolas Bell, Lead Curator of Western Music; and Tim Pye, Curator of Printed Literary Sources.

That evening ATBL members were invited to attend the Friends of the British Library’s (FBL) Annual Meeting with speaker Roly Keating and host Christopher Wright, Deputy Chairman, FBL.  A busy Monday drew to a satisfying close with the FBL’s Annual Lecture, featuring Dame Penelope Lively DBE, the Booker Prize winning author of fifty books for both children and adults. Dame Lively’s humor and rich life experiences were evident in her charming lecture, “Reading and Writing: My Life in Books.” A reception followed.

 Tuesday: Scaling New Heights at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace Private Dining Hall

Hampton Court Palace Private Dining Hall

On Tuesday members arrived at Hampton Court Palace for a sumptuous Henry VIII-style lunch with Chris Martin, Head of Hampton Court Palace, and Tracy Borman, Chief Interim Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. Lunch was served in the “Banqueting House” (photo above), a small outbuilding that is said to be where King William III “entertained” a mistress or two. The exquisite chamber is decorated by Antonio Verrio’s vibrant and sensuous murals depicting the lives of the gods.

Lunch was followed by a private tour of the Palace, including privileged access to the rooftops (photos above). It is only from this vantage point that you can fully appreciate the scope and elegance of the 750 acres of buildings, waterways and gardens. Our visit to Hampton Court concluded with a brief tour of Henry VIII’s Grand Hall and the quintessentially Tudor Chapel Royal.

The view from the private service stairs was spectacular.

The view from the private service stairs was spectacular.

That evening a fragrant and delicious Persian buffet awaited us in Twickenham, at the home of gracious hosts, Fereydoun and Yekta Ala. Fereydoun’s grandfather had served as regent to the Shah, and his father followed as Prime Minister and then Ambassador to the US. Yetka told us of her husband’s harrowing escapes from persecution and described their many charitable efforts in Iran.

 Wednesday: The One and Only Windsor Castle

This much anticipated tour of Windsor Castle was the “jewel in the crown” of a trip already rich with visual and intellectual pleasures commencing in the Royal Library with Jane Lady Roberts, Royal Librarian, and her staff.

Lunch was at the nearby Tower Bar & Brasserie in The Harte & Garter Hotel. The classic British cuisine, was enjoyed by all and it was a happy group that returned for the afternoon. Windsor Castle was everything we imagined and more, with highlights too numerous to detail here, but Queen Mary’s Dollhouse and the Royal collection’s exhibition, “The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch” are treasures beyond compare.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth II has been painted and photographed by some of the most talented painters and photographers of our times. The exhibit, “The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch,” contained many of these images brought together for this historic exhibit. The most recently acquired work (2012) is a series of four large screen prints by Andy Warhol.  Other artists represented included Lucien Freud, Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibowitz. No matter the artist, it was the Queen, who stole the show.

At supper on the return coach, all agreed that there could not have been a more fitting finale to our 2013 trip than our day at Windsor Castle (below).

 

To see more photos or purchase go to http://tinyurl.com/lde4dq9

Watson Library Visit

Watson Library Group

Watson Library Group

Our busy spring was highlighted by an informative tour of the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hosted by Ken Soehner, Arthur K. Watson Chief Librarian, and Mindy Dubansky, Preservation Librarian.  The Watson Library is the principal research library for the Met, with a collection of close to 800,000 volumes, and a beautifully renovated Center for Book Conservation.   Many thanks to Nancy Mandel for all her arrangements and generous hospitality.

New Advisory Council Member

helen-shentonHelen Shenton became Deputy Director of the Harvard University Library in 2009 and then the first executive director of Harvard Library in early 2011 after 12 years at the British Library as head of collection care.  Her portfolio ranged from security issues and risk assessment, to high density storage, digital preservation and the newspaper strategy.

Helen was deeply involved with the British Library Centre for Conservation which opened in 2007. She worked on world heritage projects such as the virtual re-unification of the earliest New Testament, The Codex Sinaiticus and an international peer review of the Lindisfarne Gospels.  She has wide professional experience in national and international forums and has written and presented widely, convened international roundtables, and been tutor, supervisor and examiner for masters degree programs.

Welcome from Roly Keating, New BL CEO

Since joining the British Library last September I have greatly appreciated the warm welcome I have received from everyone connected to this great institution, including members of the American Trust for the  British Library.

I have always been a huge admirer of the Library, and it is an enormous privilege now to lead it. Over the past few months I have been able to meet with many of our dedicated members of staff to learn about what they do, and have toured our sites extensively; at our St. Pancras building this has included visits to the basements and a tour of the roof top, as well as the six floors in between. This has enabled me to develop a thorough under-standing of the challenges we face, but more importantly of the great opportunities that are available as we seek to find new ways to share our treasured collections with both our national and international audience.

I am very grateful for the ATBL’s continuing and generous support of the British Library, in financial terms most recently for the King’s Topographical collection digitization project. I am looking forward to the visit by your members to London in March, when I hope you will have the opportunity to enjoy a visit to our exhibition on Mughal India, which has received outstanding reviews since it opened in November.

I am also planning a trip to the US at the end of April and, whilst this will be something of a whistle-stop tour across several states, I hope that I will have the opportunity of meeting some ATBL members. Over the months and years to come I look forward to working with you to continue to build on the great achievements of the British Library.

ATBL Mourns Loss of Great Member

Rene Bryant

Rene Bryant

Rene Leilani Kuhn Bryant, a valued and longtime member of the ATBL’s Advisory Council, and wife of the late Douglas Wallace Bryant, the first Executive Director of the ATBL, died on January 30, 2013. She was 89.

Rene was a graduate of the University of Michigan and an award winning writer and editor, who worked at Life Magazine, the United States Embassy in London, and the Radcliffe Institute.  Rene was very instrumental in her husband’s writing and work, an active participant in many of the ATBL visits, and a close friend of Viscount Eccles and his wife Mary. There is a distinguished lecture series named for Douglas W. Bryant given each year at the British Library under the auspices of the Eccles Centre for American Studies.

There was a memorial service for Rene on Sunday, March 17, 2013 at Harvard Memorial Church, with a reception afterwards at the Harvard Faculty Club.  William Stoneman, ATBL’s Advisory Council member, and Librarian of  the Houghton Library, represented the American Trust at the Memorial Service.

New Chairman’s Council Members

Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams is the widow of George Adams who served for many years as a trustee and secretary of the ATBL.  She acquired a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and went on to graduate school at Columbia University, achieving her M. Phil. with distinction in Medieval and Renaissance Art and Architecture. She taught briefly at Boston College, then entered the museum world. She trained the volunteers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and initiated a volunteer program, when she and George lived in London, for the British Museum’s Education department.  While at the Met, Lucy worked with the curator of the Medieval Department and gave gallery talks. When she and George returned from London, she again worked at the Met, serving as a Contractual till 2011.

 

Ralph Brown

Ralph Brown

Ralph Brown

Ralph Brown is a retired corporate lawyer. Much of his legal career was spent in acquisitions work, including educational publishing companies. He is currently a Trustee of The New York Society Library.  He is also a Board member of The Correctional Association of New York and The Osborne Association, organizations involved in prison reform focused on improving conditions in prisons and helping those affected by the criminal justice system to rebuild positive lives.  His interests are broad ranging from the histories of ancient Greece and Rome; England and France in the sixteenth century; Russia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the American Civil War; and early 20th-century Europe and the United States.

 

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth A. R. Brown is Professor Emeritus of History at the City University of New York where she taught from 1963 to 1992.  She received her B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1954, her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Radcliffe Graduate School and Harvard in 1956 and 1961. She received the degree Doctor litterarum honoris causa from The Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto in 2009.  She has taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1986), at Harvard University (1956-58, 1960-63), New York University (1994-95), and Yale University (1995-96).  She is a corresponding member of the Société nationale des antiquaires de France and the Société de l’histoire de France.  Among her publications are The Monarchy of Capetian France and Royal Ceremonial (1991), Politics and Institutions in Capetian France (1991), Customary Aids and Royal Finances in Capetian France: The Marriage Aid of Philip the Fair (1992), and Saint-Denis, la basilique (2001).

 

ATBL Member News About John Bidwell

John Bidwell

John Bidwell

The New York Times of last January 25, in its Antiques Section, carried a two-column article on John Bidwell. The article started with “John Bidwell, the lead curator of printed books at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, researched 500 sites where paper was made for his new book, American Paper Mills, 1690 – 1832: A Directory of the Paper Trade with Notes on Products, Watermarks, Distribution Methods, and Manufacturing Techniques (Dartmouth College Press/American Antiquarian Society). The book belies the dryness of its subtitle with tales of  business deals turned violent and limbs mangled  in machinery.”

Some of the research for this book was done at the British Library. The book is now in print and can be ordered from the University Press of New England.

Guided Tour of Jewish Museum Exhibit

Jewish Museum Visitors

Members at Jewish Museum: Dyke Benjamin, Lucy Adams, Caroline Rubinstein, Elizabeth Brown, Ralph Brown, David Wachtel, Phillip Winegar, David Redden, William Ginsberg, Jeannette Redden.

On January 29 of 2013, David Wachtel, who curated the Three Faiths exhibit at the New York Public Library, guided ATBL members through Crossing Borders:  Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries at the Jewish Museum last January.

Mr. Wachtel is currently Senior Consultant for Judaica at Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department and Senior  Consultant, Special  Collections, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary. For those who missed the exhibit, which closed February 3rd, the Jewish Museum has online images of these magnificent manuscripts.

ATBL Mourns Loss of Advisory Member

ada louise huxtableAda Louise Huxtable, valued Advisory Council Member of the ATBL died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 91.

Louise Landman was born on March 14, 1921, to Leah Rosenthal Landman and Dr. Michael Louis Landman. She grew up in Manhattan in a Beaux-Arts apartment house, the St. Urban, at Central Park West and 89th Street.

Author and writer for the NY Times, She pioneered modern architectural criticism celebrating buildings that respected human dignity and civic history .

She lived in Manhattan and Marblehead, Mass.

She won the first Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism, in 1970. More recently, she was the architecture critic of The Wall Street Journal.

“Mrs. Huxtable invented a new profession,” a valedictory Times editorial said in 1981, just as she was leaving the newspaper, “and, quite simply, changed the way most of us see and think about man-made environments.

Morgan Library Visit

Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters

Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters

January 15, 2013, Executive Committee members visited the current exhibit of Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters at the Morgan Library. The original ideas for many of Beatrix Potter’s stories can be found in the  manuscript picture letters she wrote to children of friends and family members. Perhaps the most famous example is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which began as an eight-page letter to Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of her former governess, Annie Moore.

Sotheby’s Showing

Sotheby's Viewing

Members at Sotheby’s: Dyke Benjamin, Phillip Winegar, Caroline Rubinstein, Seana Anderson, Christopher de Hamel, David Redden and Dodie Armstrong.

In November, Sotheby’s London offered at auction three Renaissance masterworks:  a major drawing by Raphael (1483-1520); and two 15th century illuminated manuscripts, produced in Flanders for two of the leading patrons of their day, and among the most important examples of their kind ever to come to auction. Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, gave a special showing to ATBL members of these treasures during their stay at Sotheby’s New York.

Lecture by Dr. Anthony Marx, CEO, NYPL

ATBL members and guests enjoyed our lecture by Dr. Anthony Marx, CEO, New York Public Library, on October 15, 2012 at the Grolier Club on “The Future of the New York Public Library.” Get prints and free downloads at www.kitkaplan.com/atbl

Tony Marks

Dr. Tony Marks of the New York Public Library

David Redden, Anthony Marx and Lansing Lamont

David Redden, Anthony Marx and Lansing Lamont

Asia Mernissi and Jeannette Redden

Asia Mernissi and Jeannette Redden

Leah Delany and Selby Kiffer

Leah Delany and Selby Kiffer

Sarah Frankland and Dyke Benjamin

Sarah Frankland and Dyke Benjamin

Caroline Rubinstein and Phillip Winegar

Caroline Rubinstein and Phillip Winegar

Lea Iselin and Paula Jennings

Lea Iselin and Paula Jennings

Guest, Mary Schlosser, Stephen Dimen and  Frederick Pattison

Guest, Mary Schlosser, Stephen Dimen and
Frederick Pattison

Guests talk with Baroness Tessa Blackstone of the British Library.

William Dean and Lansing Lamont

William Dean and Lansing Lamont

Guest, David Redden and Anthony Marx

Guest, David Redden and Anthony Marx

Dr. Marks with Tessa Blackstone

2012 ATBL Annual Meeting

 

The ATBL Annual Meeting and luncheon was held on October 15, 2012 at the Grolier Club.  Grants approved to the British Library were $76,200 towards purchasing St. Cuthbert’s Gospel; $40,000 for cataloging and digitizing King George III’s Topographical Collection (KTOP)  (North American views); $15,000 from the Peck Stacpoole Foundation for the KTOPl; and $12,814 from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation for internships for American PhD candidates in the Department of Illuminated Manuscripts. Below are photos of a few of the attendees taken by Tamia Blackman. Prints or downloads available at kitkaplan.com/atbl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Library Appoints New Chief Executive

Outgoing CEO Lynne Brindley, Photo:  BL ; Incoming CEO Roly Keating, Photo: BBC

Outgoing CEO Lynne Brindley, Photo: BL; Roly Keating, Photo: BBC

The Board of the British Library has appointed Roly Keating as the Library’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Keating, currently Director of Archive Content at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and a former Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, will take up his new role on September 12, 2012.

Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Chairman of the British Library, said, “Roly Keating has a strong record of creative leadership and strategic innovation at the BBC. He has  a deep commitment to the digital information environment. He is the ideal person to build on the successes of the British Library to ensure that the Library continues to be a leading-edge provider of knowledge as we take forward our Vision for 2020. I look forward to working with him.”

Mr. Keating said, “It’s a huge honor to have the opportunity to lead one of the UK’s greatest cultural institutions. Under Lynne Brindley’s leadership the British Library set standards for the world in the quality of its curatorship and the boldness of its thinking around the new technology. I am looking forward to working with the Library’s talented staff to take it on the next stage of its journey into the digital age.”

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, said, “During Roly’s 29 years at the BBC he has proved to be one of the corporation’s greatest cultural heavyweights. Roly has always had a keen understanding of the BBC ethos of making the good popular and the popular good. His most recent role as Director of Archive enabled him to start the vital work of opening up the BBC’s archive, making it accessible to audiences across the world. We are hugely grateful for everything he has done for the BBC and delighted that he will now be going on to run another of the UK’s most valuable cultural institutions.”

Roly Keating was born in 1961. He graduated from Balliol College, Oxford in 1983 with a first class degree in Classics, and joined the BBC as a general trainee that year.

As a producer and director in Music and Arts, Mr. Keating made films for Omnibus, Bookmark and Arena. He was a founding producer and subsequent editor of the long-running arts and media magazine, The Late Show, and was also editor of the literary series Bookmark.

In 1997, Roly became Head of Programming for UKTV, overseeing the launch of the BBC’s joint venture channels. Two years later he was made BBC Controller of Digital Channels, with overall editorial responsibility for BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge. The following year he became Controller of Arts Commissioning, with responsibility for music and arts programming across BBC Television, before moving to BBC Four in December 2001.

As Controller of BBC Four, Roly led the launch of the channel in March 2002. From 2004 to 2008, Roly was Controller of BBC Two. Under his tenure he oversaw the launch of a raft of influential series, as well as memorable programs like Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain. BBC Two was named Broadcast Channel of the Year in 2007.

As Director of Archive Content, Roly acted as editorial leader for the BBC’s online services.

Roly Keating will take over from Dame Lynne Brindley, who will be leaving the Library on July 31, 2012 after 12 years as Chief Executive.

2012 Chairman’s Council London Trip

Chairman’s Council Trip Group

The 2012 annual ATBL Chairman’s Council trip to London was held in early March to allow participants to view the magnificent exhibition Royal Manuscripts:  The Genius of Illumination before it closed.

Opened by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a signature event of the Jubilee Year, Manuscripts offered a splendid visual insight into how the royals worshipped, governed and played over the past centuries.

BL curator Scot McKendrick briefed CC members on the exhibit and introduced them to the ATBL-sponsored interns who helped put the exhibit catalogue online.

The trip started with an evening cocktail party at the home of Trustee Ruth Robinson where BL staffers, American residents in London and ATBL donors renewed friendships.  Next day the BL hosted a series  of viewings and talks.  Curator Peter Barber brought out millions of dollars’ worth of maps, including the earliest views of Manhattan and a preview of what will be traveling to the United States.

audience

Members listen to Baroness Blackstone.

Baroness Blackstone greeted guests and gave a progress report on the successes and challenges the Library faces.  Dame Lynne joined members for lunch and members bid a fond farewell to this extraordinary woman who has led the Library so well for the past twelve years.

Baroness Blackstone and John Heald

Baroness Blackstone and John Heald

After Scot McKendrik’s briefing on the exhibit, the members toured the show and bought the substantial catalogue as a memento.  Following the tour, John Heald, Vice Chairman of the Sir John Betjeman Society gave us a talk on the poet and played Sir John speaking and reciting some of his pastoral poetry.  Mr. Heald then led us over to the St. Pancras Station to view the Betjeman statue erected to thank Sir John for his efforts in saving the Station.  Members then had tea at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, whose matching brick facade the BL mirrors.

The Friends of the British Library, the parallel group in England, invited the members to an evening lecture by the Bishop of London on “Common Prayer, Culture and the Challenge of the Digital Age.”  Christopher Wright, Deputy Chairman of the Friends, was our very gracious host and invited us to stay for the reception afterwards.

Early Map of Manhattan

Early Map of Manhattan

Early Tuesday morning participants boarded a luxury coach for breakfast during the trip to Petworth House and Gardens.  Petworth is a magnificent 17th-century National Trust mansion in Sussex, set in a beautiful deer park, landscaped by Capability Brown.  Inside, the house contains the National Trust’s finest collection of paintings, with numerous works by Turner, Van Dyke, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

"Turner Studio" in private library at Petworth House.

“Turner Studio” in private library at Petworth House.

Members were allowed to see the private library where Turner painted and Lord Egrement, whose family is in residence, invited us to visit him in his private rooms.  Members had lunch in the Café in the servant’s quarters which contains fascinating kitchens, including a copper batterie de cuisine of more than 1,000 pieces.

Members spent the afternoon in Winchester, first at a tour of Winchester Cathedral and Library where arguably the finest treasure in England is housed, The Winchester Bible. This is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th century English bibles commissioned in 1160, probably by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror.  Half of the group stayed at the Cathedral to view the crypt, relics and monuments and to hear Evensong.

Winchester Cathedral

Dodie Armstrong arranged for the other half to visit Winchester College Library where Dr. Geoffrey Day, Eccles Librarian, displayed first folios of Shakespeare and the entire collection of Trollope.  The Eccles Room is housed in what was the barrel store for the Brewery.  It was opened in 1994 as a Fellow’s Library teaching room, having been refurbished by the generosity of Viscount Eccles, Simon Eccles’s father, who gave his collection of private press books.  The room now houses English literature, Mathematics and Science texts, like Newton’s Principia and Hooke’s Micrographia.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mary Fagen, and her Deputy Lieutenant, Damon de Lazlo, grandson of painter Philip de Lazlo, hosted a splendid reception that evening for the members prior to their returning to London.

Wednesday, the members had lunch at Sotheby’s hosted delightfully by Christopher de  Hamel, Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.  All agreed that this Chairman’s Council trip was indeed memorable.

Photos: Seana Anderson

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