Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
This delightful travel book, entitled L'Ami des Voyageurs, was donated by Jayne Wrightsman in 2009 and is part of the Wrightsman Fine Bindings collection. Published in Paris around 1820, the book's binding is embroidered in green silk, embellished with gold thread and silver, pink, and gold spangles. The front cover (above) and back cover (below) each feature a painted portrait of a woman under mica.
Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014
One exciting project currently happening in the Watson Library this summer is the visit of Professor Ryo Akama and two assistants from the Ritsumeikan University's Art Research Center and College of Letters in Kyoto, Japan. They arrived on August 18 and will remain on-site until September 5, during which time they will photograph the Department of Asian Art's recently acquired Vershbow collection of Japanese illustrated books, which was featured in a recent episode of MetCollects along with some wonderful photographs.
Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation hosts regular open houses for all staff, volunteers, and interns who work with the Museum's library collections. While usually focused on preservation-related themes, sometimes we host workshops related to books and paper in general, or to complement a theme or current exhibition. This year one focus has been Japanese books, and Book Conservation staff member Yukari Hayashida recently demonstrated two Japanese decorative paper techniques using kozo fiber paper and sumi ink.
Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
In early June Watson Library unveiled a new digital sign-in "book" to help us get a better picture of who is using the library. Attendance statistics provide a concrete, rather than an anecdotal, portrait of who is using the library, where they're coming from, and what their research needs are. This information can then be used to tailor our outreach efforts, direct our collection development, and improve or adapt our reader services. Though we have always had data on new users when they register for a reader's card, it is only now that we can track information about who is actually in the library at any given time.
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
As the main research library for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Thomas J. Watson Library focuses its collecting and services on providing materials for scholars. Among our hundreds of thousands of reference works, though, many are beautiful and significant, and sometimes they are requested by curators inside and outside the Museum for inclusion in exhibitions. Most recently, Watson's copy of the 1892 edition of Thomas Malory's fifteenth-century classic Morte d'Arthur, published by J.M. Dent with decorations by the young Aubrey Beardsley, went on display in the Met's current exhibition The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design, on view through October 26. The exhibition explores the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite movement on a range of fine and practical arts—from painting, drawing, and printmaking, to textiles, ceramics, furniture, stained glass, and book design.
Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Fine book designers, binders, publishers, and collectors delight in unique methods to distinguish their objects. A book's cover or its spine is generally the first area a prospective purchaser or reader is likely to see, so it's natural that you'll often find eye-catching features there.
Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Just over two years ago, I began collaborating with Wikipedia in an attempt not only to enhance the largest encyclopedia in world history (and growing!), but also to drive traffic to the Museum Libraries' Digital Collections. Wikipedia is currently the sixth most popular website in the world, so I thought engaging with Wikipedia might be an effective way for us to reach a broader audience. After two years I can unequivocally assert that it has been a great way to engage with new users, and Wikipedia now drives over fifty percent of the traffic to our Digital Collections.
Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
This magnificent first edition, two-volume book, Theatrum Statuum Regiae Celsitudinis Sabaudiae Ducis, Pedemontii Principis, Cypri Regis, from the Department of Drawings and Prints, was published in Amsterdam by the Dutch publisher and cartographer Joan Blaeu in 1682. The book contains engraved plates showing aerial views of the land that belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, along with descriptions in Latin. The Theatrum Sabaudiae, as a survey of both natural and urban views, also captures, often in the finest details, glimpses of its population and their activities. One of the plates reveals the name of the artist, Dutch printmaker, and cartographer Johannes de Ram.
Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
This summer, Watson celebrates the enjoyment of travel with a display of trade catalogs featuring Art Deco modes of transportation: trains, ships, automobiles, perambulators—you name it!