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Anatomy of an Acquisition: Bringing the Christ Church Euclid Home 

  • Date: Wednesday 26th April 2023
  • Time: 5-7pm
  • Place: Upper Library, Christ Church, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DP
In November 2021, the Library at Christ Church College Oxford acquired at auction a remarkable copy of the first English edition of Euclid’s Elements (London: John Daye, [1570]). This copy had been gifted to the College in 1587 by a group of students, then later disposed of as a duplicate in 1793. Its later travels led it, via the library of George John, 2ndEarl Spencer, the doyen of English book collectors, back onto the antiquarian market in 2021.  
This seminar will tell the story of the return of the Euclid to Christ Church from the perspective of those involved in repatriating it. Edward Potten, who acted as agent for the College, will talk about the role of the agent and the relationship between agent, client, and auctioneer; Gabriel Sewell, College Librarian, will discuss why and how this acquisition was pursued by the College, making the case, encouraging donor support, and applying for funding; Matthew Payne, Honorary Expert Advisor for the Friends of the National Libraries, will discuss the input of the FNL and the speedy support they can offer institutions in making landmark acquisitions. The event will conclude with a tour of the historic library at Christ Church, with the Euclid and other treasures on display, with refreshments.  
This event will take place in the Upper Library, which is first floor, with no lift access. 
Places are limited to 60.  Please book by Friday 31st March to reserve a place. We regret that parking is not available.