Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A very crude Gardner ornament catalogue, 1995

In my recent “Checklist” of Thomas Gardner’s ornament stock (link to article here), I mentioned that I compiled a very crude catalogue of Gardner ornaments in 1995, by sketching some of the ornaments into a notebook that I carried from library to library. I have recently been scanning and disposing of some old files, in the process of which I re-discovered my 1995 notebooks. So I thought I’d post a few images here as a kind-of footnote to my article.

From my notes it appears that I did my first sketches in mid-September 1995 at Oxford, while examining a copy of Da.5.1 The Right Honourable, Sir Robert Walpole, (Now Earl of Orford) Vindicated. My transcript for this item describes the ornaments as “unidentified”—but by the time my Bibliography was published, I had identified these as “by Thomas Gardner.”

There are eight Garner ornaments in Sir Robert Walpole Vindicated, all of which I sketched: three headpieces (H06, H08 [broken form], H17; T09), three tailpieces (T07, T11, T05), and a factotum (F05). I used these to identify six Gardner items (including this one) in my Bibliography.

As I have said, my method was crude, and it appears even more crude today, with high-definition digital cameras on every mobile phone, and very relaxed attitudes about photography in most libraries. But, at the time, it was difficult and risky carrying around high-quality cameras (my prized Pentax was stolen on my first night

A final thought about these sketches: as well as identifying Gardner as the publisher of a handful of the works I examined, I also identified a few Woodfall ornaments not in Goulden’s catalogue. The latter discovery was the subject of my 2003 article “A note on the ornament usage of Henry Woodfall” (in the BSANZ Bulletin), the former resulted in my 2015 article “Thomas Gardner’s ornament stock: A Checklist” (in Script and Print): eight years and twenty years (!!) later.

I have previously blogged about the ten-year gap between discovering the common mistake of assuming that Fanny had an obscene meaning in the eighteenth century, and publishing an article on the subject with James Lambert (see here). It appears that I have a new, solo, record for lengthy research-to-publication, and a new example to offer of the difficulty of measuring “impact” on very short time frames.

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1 comment:

David Levy said...

I don't know what it says about me that I can recognize many of the Gardner ornaments from your "crude" drawings!