May 17, 2017

Book of Hours

This 15th century Book of Hours belonged to Victor Emmanuel II, king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861 and the first king of united Italy from 1861 until his death in 1878. According to the scholar Robert Amiet, the manuscript is, from the liturgical point of view, a composite work, made by a copyist who had a variety of versions of Books of Hours at his disposal. The daily calendar clearly had a Parisian origin, while the litanies, the Hours of the Virgin, and the Hours of the Dead were inspired by the illuminated manuscripts produced at the Abbey of Citeaux. The manuscript was made for a noble Burgundian family, that of Guillaume de Trestondans (died 1475), whose coat of arms is found on the bottom margin of folio 29 recto. The coat of arms of the family of Guillaume’s wife, Marie de Baissey, is found at folio 82 verso, while folio 166 verso preserves the coat of arms of his mother, Henriette de Saint-Seine. The work contains two mottos, which most likely are related to the Trestondans family: “Plus panser que dire” (Better to think than to speak) at folios 21 verso and 23 recto, and “Tousiours ie danse” (I always dance) at folio 34 recto. The manuscript was bought by the Royal Library of Turin in 1843 for 700 lire. This is known from the draft of a letter, preserved in the Promis Archive of the library, from Domenico Promis to Carlo Alberto I (1798–1849), king of Sardinia, duke of Savoy, and father of Victor Emmanuel II, regarding a proposal to sell the manuscript to the royal library.

Codex on the Flight of Birds

In addition to creating masterpieces of Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci (1452‒1519) was interested in technology. He developed plans for a number of inventions, some with potential military uses, including a kind of armored tank and a deep-sea diving suit. Of the many subjects that Leonardo studied, he was particularly fascinated by the possibility of human mechanical flight. He produced more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines (he envisaged both a glider and a helicopter), the nature of air, and the flight of birds. In Codice sul volo degli uccelli (Codex on the flight of birds), produced in 1505‒6, Leonardo outlined a number of observations and concepts that were to find a place in the development of a successful airplane in the early 20th century. The codex illustrates his extraordinary command of a broad range of knowledge, theories, and ideas across the spectrum of art and science. The pen-and-ink drawings reflect his ability to analyze a wide variety of topics, including how mechanisms function, the principles of casting medals, gravity, the effects of wind and currents on flight, the function of feathers, how wing movements compress the air, the action of a bird’s tail, and other subjects. The notebook presented here also contains architectural sketches, some diagrams, and designs for machines, but most of its 37 pages are filled with Leonardo’s detailed notes and drawings on bird flight and his analysis of how birds keep their balance, move, steer, dive, and ascend in flight. The analysis is presented in Leonardo’s characteristic mirror writing, in which the text runs from right to left, with the individual letters reversed. Giorgio Vasari wrote of Leonardo’s notes: “whoever is not practiced in reading them cannot understand them, since they are not to be read save with a mirror.” The early modern history of this manuscript is complicated. Five folios were removed from the codex and sold in London in the mid-19th century. The heirs of Giacomo Manzoni di Lugo bought the major part of the codex in 1867 and sold it to Teodoro Sabachnikoff, a Russian scholar of the Renaissance, who also came to possess one of the folios from the London sale. In 1892, the year that he bought the folio, Sabachnikoff published the first printed edition of the codex, with folio 18 (the one he acquired in London) added as an appendix but still lacking the four folios that had been detached and sold to other buyers. On December 31, 1893, Sabachnikoff gave the work to Queen Margherita of Italy, who in turn passed it to the Royal Library of Turin. Folio 17 was added to the codex in 1913. Enrico Fatio, a Geneva collector, bought the last three folios (1, 2, and 10) and several years later presented them to King Victor Emmanuel II, through whom they were joined to the rest of the work. The codex was bound in 1967. It remained uncatalogued and stored in a safe until February 1970, when it gained the class mark Varia 95, once belonging to an illuminated Book of Hours, which was found missing during an inspection in 1936. The codex was displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC in 2013.

Portolan Atlas of Battista Agnese

This portolan atlas is attributed to Battista Agnese (1514‒64), one of the most important Italian Renaissance cartographers. Of Genoese origin, Agnese was active in Venice from 1536 until his death. He is likely to have directed a full-fledged printing house where his maps were made. He produced approximately 100 manuscript atlases, of which more than 70 still exist, either with his signature or attributed to his studio. Considered works of art for their high quality and beauty, the atlases are mostly portolan, or nautical, atlases printed on vellum for high-ranking officials or wealthy merchants rather than for use at sea. The atlas presented here contains declination tables, an armillary sphere, the zodiac, and maps showing: the east and west coasts of North America; the Atlantic Ocean and west from Arabia to a speculatively shaped east coast of South America; the region from Africa to Southeast Asia; Western Europe; Spain and North Africa; the Mediterranean (several maps); the Black Sea; and the region around Greece and present-day Turkey. Common to most Agnese atlases and present here as well is an oval mappa mundi with cherubs, or wind heads, in blue and gold clouds, which represent the classical 12 wind points out of which evolved the modern compass points. This manuscript was made for Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora (1518‒64), whose coat of arms is found on folio 1 recto. The binding has a small compass covered by a glass disc embedded in the pastedown. The way in which the known world is represented as an oval projection with equidistant parallels came into common use later on, mainly thanks to the Piedmontese cartographer, engineer, and astronomer Giacomo Gastaldi (circa 1500–circa 1565) and the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator (1512–94). The atlas belonged to Victor Emmanuel II, king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861 and the first king of united Italy from 1861 until his death in 1878.

Lieutenant Roberts Middle Eastern Magic Lantern Slides Collection

Shown here are the cover and contents of a box containing a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, in present-day Iraq, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt, which was aimed at overthrowing Ottoman rule in the Arab Middle East. By supporting the revolt, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria, to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the images most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings.

Five Arab Men in Berber Costumes Sit Cross-Legged on a Carpet

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.

Two Arab Men in Berber Costumes Talking in the Court of a Palace

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.

Two Arab Women Sitting While Talking in the Niche of a Palace

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.

Portrait of an Arab Woman Wearing a Niqab

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.

Portrait of a Western Lady Sitting in a Garden

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.

Narrow Boats and Riverbanks on a Canal of the Shatt al-Arab

This photograph is from a collection of 65 projectable lantern slides relating to the Arab Revolt of 1916‒18, an important theater of operations during World War I. By supporting the revolt against Ottoman Rule, the British sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. For their part, the Arabs hoped to secure independence and create a unified empire embracing the region from Aleppo, Syria to Aden, Yemen. The photographs depict many of the protagonists in this political and military struggle, including Colonel T.E. Lawrence of the British army and the British explorer and agent Harry Saint John Philby, as well as members of the house of Hashim Faisal bin Hussein and Abdullah bin Hussein, the key tribal leaders who led the revolt, and other prominent Arab leaders such as Dhari ibn Tawala of the Aslam Shammar and Sheikh Ibrahim of al-Zubayr. Other photographs depict unidentified Western agents and Arab tribal leaders. One of the women shown in the photographs, most likely is Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department. She played a key role in organizing the revolt and in gaining the support of Arab leaders. Other photographs depict desert scenes, Bedouin encampments in the Arabian Peninsula, and settlements along the riverbanks of the Shatt al-Arab. The diversity of settings reflects the fact that the Arab tribal confederations involved in the revolt included those from the heart of Arabia as well as those from the villages of Iraq. Some of the views most likely were postcards or reproductions and may have originated from the Basra Venus Photo Studio, which produced many views of the Shatt al-Arab. The photographs also include views of everyday village life, peasants with their laden donkeys, boat crews sailing the canals, and villagers in the marketplace. Also present are a few pictures representing religious and civil buildings. The collection was probably assembled for a lecture. The A.H. Roberts mentioned on the cover of the box containing the slides is most likely Lieutenant A.H. Roberts, the British assistant and political officer in al-Zubayr, a city located southwest of Basra, at the time of the British military occupation of Iraq. Lieutenant A.H. Roberts is mentioned by Saint John Philby in his The Heart of Arabia, when he describes his presence in al-Zubayr: "... by nightfall I was deposited at the door of the Assistant Political Officer of Zubair, Lieutenant A. H. Roberts, with whom I proceeded at once to the Shaikh's residence, whither we had been bidden for dinner." As reported in the same work, in 1917 a number of Arab tribal leaders gathered in al-Zubayr with British agents and officials to discuss the revolt.