During the first week of February, Daryl and Laura met in Oxford, where they had three intense but extremely rewarding days.
The adventure started in the exhibitions laboratory of the Weston Library, where they joined Madeline Slaven (Head of Exhibitions, Bodleian Libraries) and Sallyanne Gilchrist (Exhibitions Conservator, Bodleian Libraries) to work together on the exhibition Thinking 3D from Leonardo to Present, which will be held in the Treasury of the Weston Library in 2019.
The team spent an entire day revising the preliminary list of items, discussing content and relevance, but also making choices dictated by dimensions and internal relations in the different display cases. It was a great opportunity to share different perspectives and points of views, and to appreciate the different aspects highlighted by professionals coming from such diverse backgrounds and experiences.
During a break, Daryl and Laura got a chance to cast their eyes on the current exhibition in the library’s foyer: Redesigning the medieval book (Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, 01/12/17-11/03/18), a display of of newly created artist’s books inspired by medieval manuscripts. This initiative has been launched in connection with Designing English (ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library, 01/12/17-22/04/18), a major exhibition which illustrates the graphic design of handwritten manuscripts and inscriptions for the first thousand years of English, across the Middle Ages.
The T3D team is particularly interested in this display because they are considering the hypothesis of organising something similar in connection with the Thinking 3D exhibition in the Treasury. Having contemporary artists involved in the project is something that Daryl and Laura wanted to bring up from the very beginning.
On the same day, Madeline, Daryl and Laura payed a visit to the Museum of the History of Science, where they met Stephen Johnston (Assistant Keeper). It was an extremely stimulating and fruitful meeting, during which possible forms of engagement and collaboration were discussed.
The following day started with a visit to the Bodleian conservation laboratory, where the T3D team met Marinita Stiglitz (Head of Paper Conservation, Bodleian Libraries), who showed them a pair of seventeenth-century Chinese hanging scrolls, BOD, Sinica 123(R), depicting maps of the heavens and the earth.
The day proceeded with a session in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room at the Weston Library, where Daryl and Laura looked at several items they are currently considering for the exhibition at the Treasury.
In the afternoon they were received by Julie Anne Lambert (Librarian of the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephimeral), to consider items from this collection for the exhibition in the Treasury. Julie Anne prepared for the T3D team a selection of extremely interesting materials, which stimulated thoughts and reflections about display and interactivity.
After this parenthesis, Daryl and Laura went back to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room at the Weston Library, where they met perhaps the most interesting item they saw during their three-days full-T3D-immersion: BOD, MS. Ashmole 399, a thirteenth-century medical treatise.
They both fell in love with this manuscript, which they immediately placed in the list of items selected for the exhibition.
The final day started with a visit to the Museum of Natural History, which houses the University’s zoology, entomology, palaeontology, and mineral collections in one of the most spectacular buildings of the entire city. Here Daryl and Laura joined Madeline Slaven in a meeting with Janet Stott (Deputy Director and Head of Public Engagement), Imran Rahman (Museum Research Fellow), and Kelly Richards (Exhibitions Officer).
In the afternoon Daryl and Laura went back once again to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room at the Weston Library. Laura met there Alasdair Watson (Bahari Curator of Persian Collections, Middle Eastern and Islamic Manuscripts), who showed her one of the pieces which have been selected for the Treasury exhibition, in order to consider the right opening.
Another important book which has been selected for the Treasury exhibition is Sebastiano Serlio’s Terzo libro on Roman buildings. The opening on the Colosseo is Daryl’s and Laura’s favourite!
This is all for now on this front, stay tuned for more news on this exciting project!