Wednesday 29 January 2014

Disambiguating 18C Tailpieces

I have recently completed an ornament catalogue for Thomas Gardner (fl.1735–65). On the day I submitted it for publication I found a book on eBay which has an ornament which is extremely similar to one he used: a pair of crossed conucopias with surrounding birds. In fact, it is similar to two he used.

Here are the two Gardner tailpieces, with the reference numbers I used in my article. (Click on the image to see a larger version of each.)

(T03; 32x56mm; used 1735–56)

(T04; 30x53mm; used 1754–56; note ribbons at lower centre replace two smaller birds)

And here is the mystery ornament (32x55mm; used 1785; note that it is signed "WP" at lower centre).

It is clear that the mystery ornament is not the exactly the same as either Gardner’s T03 or T04—though it is very, very similar to T03. The tailpiece appears to be a copy or, if the ornament was quite old when used by Saint, I guess both of Gardner’s ornaments could be copies of the Saint ornament.

The book with the mystery ornament in it is particularly interesting for being an unrecorded "Eighth" edition of Croxall's Fables of Æsop and Others … Illustrated with Cuts, issued in Newcastle by T. Saint in 1785.

Since Saint is very well known for issuing, in 1784, Thomas Bewick’s first major work, Select Fables. In Three Parts, it is possible that WP was another woodcut artists he employed. Not being very familiar with Saint’s (or Bewick’s) life I have no clue who this person might be.

If anyone has any suggestions about the identity of WP, or has seen this ornament in use elsewhere (I looked in many Saint publications without luck), or has seen other very similar ornaments, I’d be obliged for the lead!

[UPDATE: 27 Feb 2014. Here is another ornament, similar to T04 rather than T03, but it adds a further detail to the ribbons: a pomander bouquet (or floral pomander), which is hanging by a ribbon. It appears in an edition of Gulliver's Travels printed "for" Benjamin Motte (ESTC: t139027 [here]; Teerink 294 [here, on page 201]) in 1727 (making it earlier than the Gardner ornaments.]

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After my pictures disappeared again, I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my images, and stick with the smaller ones (500px) that Blogger is prepared to host.]

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Translating the Naughty Bits in Pepy's Diary

I recently stumbled upon a site dedicated to translating the coded passages in Samuel Pepys Diary (here [DEAD LINK? see below]): that is, a site where all the naughtiest naughty bits are translated, the bits which Pepys recorded in shorthand or cypher, in a mix of Spanish, French, Italian and Latin, just to be sure to be sure that no-body else could read them.**

I was a typically filthy-minded and degenerate university student when (1) I studied Pepys, (2) discovered that he was a very naughty 17C book collector (three things very much in his favour in my mind), (3) discovered that all of the really naughty bits of Pepy’s diaries had been consistently omitted or bowdlerised by his translators/editors, and (4) that the new, definitive, scholarly Latham and Matthews edition [The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. R. Latham and W. Matthews, 11 vols. (London: Bell, 1970-83)], while recording the code, did not provide any explanatory notes.

The Latham and Matthews editorial principle is: “if you can read Spanish, French, Italian and Latin you are (1) probably a scholar and (2) probably a man, and therefore are intelligent, mature and seriously-minded enough to safely read the naughty bits without squealing in horror (like a girl) or falling onto the ground, glassy-eyed and drooling with excitement (like a boy or a prole)” or, perhaps, “if you can only read English you are either female/young/a prole and we really need to protect your moral purity” or, perhaps, “if you can read Spanish, French or Italian you are such a degenerate no further moral harm to you is possible.”

Since Latham and Matthews were so extraordinarily squeamish, or snobbish I guess (“scholarly editions are [apparently] not designed for the weak-minded, who cannot read Spanish, French, Italian and Latin”) a generation of scholars have had the frustration of nutting out passages such as the following:

To supper, and after supper to talk without end. Very late, I went away, it raining, but I had un design pour aller a la femme de Bagwell; and did so, mais ne savais obtener algun cosa de ella como jo quisiere sino tocar la.

According to Duncan Grey’s pages of “Coded Passages,” the end of this passage translates as: “I had a fancy to go and see Bagwell's wife; and did so, but did not manage to get quite what I wanted [from her], other than to touch her.”

Hooray for Duncan Grey and his colleague Prizzlesprung! (A typo for “Pizzlesprung”?)

Since numerous coded passages are not yet present or fully translated on these pages, I hope others will contribute to Grey’s honourable endeavour.

**"Not content with the protection of his cryptic shorthand when he confided his amours to his diary, Pepys added further screens by making up a pidgin language of French, Spanish and Latin, with toy words and a freakish kind of lustful baby talk" (“Pepys's Friend,” Time (3 October 1938): 59.)

[UPDATE 9 March 2021: the site hosting the coded passages has recently dissapeared (since it has dissapeared so recent, it is possible that it is just a temporary technical problem, so I have left the link above for now). The good news is that all of the Pepys pages were captured by the Wayback Machine multiple times up to 25 January 2021. The best place to start browsing via the Wayback Machine is here.]

Tuesday 7 January 2014

The Gentleman’s Magazine on Google Books

Long runs of the Gentleman’s Magazine are available on Google Books and (it seems) the Internet Archive, but the indexing on both of these sites is worse than useless. There is an otherwise excellent index on Eighteenth-Century Book Tracker (here), but it provides volume numbers only. And if you want to know what the weather was like in June 1742, or what was published in April 1756, you will need dates, not volume numbers. One day, if I can be bothered, I may even add links to individual book lists for each month. But, for now, the following will have to do.

vol. 1 (1731): here
vol. 2 (1732): here
vol. 3 (1733): here
vol. 4 (1734): here
vol. 5 (1735): here
vol. 6 (1736): here
vol. 7 (1737): here
vol. 8 (1738): here
vol. 9 (1739): here
vol. 10 (1740): here

vol. 11 (1741): here
vol. 12 (1742): here
vol. 13 (1743): here
vol. 14 (1744): here
vol. 15 (1745): here
vol. 16 (1746): here
vol. 17 (1747): here
vol. 18 (1748): here
vol. 19 (1749): here
vol. 20 (1750): here

vol. 21 (1751): here
vol. 22 (1752): here
vol. 23 (1753): here
vol. 24 (1754): here
vol. 25 (1755): here
vol. 26 (1756): here
vol. 27 (1757): here
vol. 28 (1758): here
vol. 29 (1759): here
vol. 30 (1760): here

vol. 31 (1761): here
vol. 32 (1762): here
vol. 33 (1763): here
vol. 34 (1764): here
vol. 35 (1765): here
vol. 36 (1766): here
vol. 37 (1767): here
vol. 38 (1768): here
vol. 39 (1769): here
vol. 40 (1770): here

vol. 41 (1771): here
vol. 42 (1772): here
vol. 43 (1773): here
vol. 44 (1774): here
vol. 45 (1775): here
vol. 46 (1776): here
vol. 47 (1777): here
vol. 48 (1778): here
vol. 49 (1779): here
vol. 50 (1780): here

vol. 51 (1781): here
vol. 52 (1782): here
vol. 53 (1783): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 54 (1784): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 55 (1785): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 56 (1786): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 57 (1787): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 58 (1788): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 59 (1789): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 60 (1790): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here

[UPDATE 10 Jan 2016: added links for 1771–1790]