July marks the end of the academic year, results are out and undergraduate students have either left for the summer or are waiting to celebrate their academic achievements with friends and family at graduation. The Sheppard-Worlock Library is decidedly quieter after the hubbub of the year gone-by but it is also the time for welcoming academics and visiting researchers to the library to engage with our collections in the pursuit of their own academic interests.
Last week in Special Collections I was delighted to receive in the post a copy of a published book in which the author, Marylynn Salmon, used an image taken from an illuminated manuscript in Liverpool Cathedral’s Radcliffe Collection held here at Liverpool Hope. This was a momentous occasion in the short history of The Sheppard-Worlock Library’s Special Collections, hopefully the first of many!
The book, entitled The secrets of the House of York by Marylynn Salmon, is a study of the late medieval English queen Elizabeth Woodville, great-grandmother to Elizabeth I, whose marriage to King Edward IV in 1464 provoked such enmity among the nobility that lasted until her death. Marylynn Salmon is a Research Associate in History at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts and has been working on her revisionist study of the House of York for the past fifteen years. More about the book can be found at secretsofthehouseofyork.org
The manuscript from the Radcliffe Collection is a beautifully illuminated Book of Hours dating from the late 15th century. The image depicts a female scribe and illuminator presenting her book to a queen. Historians do not know whether the queen is Elizabeth Woodville or Elizabeth of York. The reproduction does not show the original in its true light, unfortunately the brilliance of the gold leaf is dulled, as are the sumptuous colours of red, blue and green but it is wonderful that the manuscript is being studied for academic endeavour.
Karen Backhouse, Special Collections Librarian