A British Book Collector

Rare Books and Manuscripts in the R.E. Hart Collection, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
Edited by Cynthia Johnston


229 × 152
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Institute of English Studies


A British Book Collector celebrates one of the finest collections of manuscripts and rare books in the north west of England. From the turn of the twentieth century through the Second World War, Robert Edward Hart, a ropemaker of Blackburn, Lancashire, quietly amassed a phenomenal collection of medieval manuscripts and early printed books.

In this volume, leading scholars from the fields of the history of art, and the history of the book, examine anew the internationally important manuscripts and rare printed books in Hart’s collection, and the practice of collecting itself in the context of the waning of the industrial revolution. Copiously illustrated with colour prints, this volume marks R.E. Hart’s achievement as a collector who collected for himself, and for his community for posterity.

Table of contents

    Introduction / Cynthia Johnston

    The Loyalties of a Collector / David McKitterick

    The Blackburn Psalter and the William of Devon Group / Nigel Morgan
      Rome and Florence at the beginning of the fifteenth century: the different models in the illuminations of the Pancerra Missal (Blackburn) and a new hypothesis on penflourishing in the Acciaiuoli Missal (Cambridge) / Francesca Manzari
        Contextualising the art and innovations of the Master of Edward IV in the Blackburn Hours (Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Hart MS 20884) / Scot McKendrick
          Fragments of Early Mainz Printing in the R.E. Hart Collection / Eric Marshall White
            Journey in the Mind's Eye: the virtue and value of virtual pilgrimage / Cleo Cantone
              Book collecting in context: Hart and his contemporaries / Cynthia Johnston
                The value of the past: heritage between local, global and national / Rebecca Darley


                Published as a sturdy, 200-page paperback (a pleasant surprise for this reader) and fully illustrated with color prints, A British Book Collector is both an ode to a devoted bibliophile and a robust argument for the importance these primary treasures serve as beacons for understanding world cultures.