Discover Schartau’s Rowlandson

Since the beginning of the year, Special Collections & Archives has been liaising with the Library’s Metadata team to make more of our uncatalogued book collections discoverable on the main library catalogue. Thanks to the hard work of the Metadata team, we’re delighted to announce that the first collection of books to be fully catalogued under this new scheme is now available.

Library Assistant for Metadata Josie Caplehorne tells us more:

Rowlandson's illustration of one of Dr Syntax's comedic episodes

Rowlandson’s illustration of one of Dr Syntax’s comedic episodes

The British Cartoon Archive: caricature and satire from the collection of Derek Schartau

We are pleased to announce that a treasure trove of rare books and periodicals from the collection donated by Derek Schartau is now available to discover at The British Cartoon Archive (BCA).  The collection consists of approximately three hundred items ranging in date from the late eighteenth century to the present day and focuses mainly around the English caricaturist, water-colourist, engraver and draughtsman, Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827).

The majority of Rowlandson’s drawings depict the humorous qualities of urban and rural existence and demonstrate his remarkable talent for portraying the English way of life.  His artistic predisposition was encouraged and supported by his aunt and as a result he studied at the Royal Academy Schools.  Rowlandson continued his studies in Paris where he later developed a reputation as a gifted cartoonist and satirist.

Rowlandson is one of the most talented English artists of his time who produced humorous, graphic and often racy works directed at Georgian and Regency society.  Our contemporary view of this period in our history as prudish and serious is refuted by Rowlandson with realism and humour.

Visit the British Cartoon Archive to discover the fascinating collection of Derek Schartau from The Forbidden Books of the Victorians and Rowlandson’s Drawings for the English Dance of Death to The Bruising Apothecary: Images of Pharmacy and Medicine in Caricature and The Forbidden Erotica of Thomas Rowlandson.

All of these books can now been discovered on the Library catalogue.

Any of these books can be requested via the normal Special Collections & Archives request service and viewed in the reading room.

Next up for the cataloguing team is another BCA collection, the Linfield Library of Humour which contains around 600 books. We look forward to making more of our currently uncatalogued collections publicly visible thanks to our Metadata team.

Coming soon…

There’s never a dull moment in Special Collections and Archives; just as our new student inductions are coming to and end, we start looking ahead to an exciting range of events for the next academic year.

This evening, Tuesday 16 at 9pm, materials from the British Cartoon Archive will be appearing on Ian Hislop’s BBC2 series ‘The Stiff Upper Lip‘. This episode, partly filmed in the Special Collections reading room, examines the rise and fall of this apparently quintessential British trait since the First World War. Using cartoons by ‘Pont’ (Graham Laidler), one of the earliest Punch cartoonists, Ian traces the humorous side of an increasingly disconnected set of attitudes. There’s more information about the BCA’s Pont holdings on the website.

Dickens posterAs you may be aware, the Templeman Exhibition Gallery (on level 1, by the cafe) is currently hosting our final Dickens exhibition of the year, entitled “What the Dickens! Beyond the Books“. Do pop in to have a look at this cornucopia of Dickens materials which show how Dickens’ much loved characters have endured beyond his lifetime. This exhibition will be running until 5th November.

To round off our Dickens extravaganza, our very own Nick Hiley (curator of the British Cartoon Archive) will be presenting a nineteenth century magic lantern show of A Christmas Carol next Thursday, 25 October. This show will include what was apparently the most popular of all Victorian lantern slides: ‘Man eating Rat’! Do come along to be enthralled and entertained; there will be refreshments from 5pm and the show will start at 6pm in TR201 (on the second floor of the Templeman Library). We look forward to seeing you there.

As a final note for today’s update, the first in our series of Special Collections & Cathedral Library Lectures will take place on Friday 30 November, at 6.30pm. This will coincide with the launch of the British Cartoon Archive’s latest exhibition, on William Combe’s literary creation Dr Syntax and will be given by Dr James Baker, associate lecturer in the School of History, University of Kent. We’re delighted at the range of topics and speakers who have agreed to present these lectures this year: more news on the series to follow soon!

In the meantime, if you would like to arrange an event at Special Collections or would like to know anything more about our collections, please do contact us at