Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Church Congress Exhibitions

I occasionally encounter a manuscript with a circular paper label printed in blue with the words "Church Congress Exhibition", or occasionally "Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition", and a number added by hand:
  



In descriptions of manuscripts with these labels the cataloguer usually has not known which exhibition is referred to, because the date and place are not stated; see for example the catalogue entries for Huntington, HM 35300, Beinecke, MS 417, and Beinecke MS 287.

The following list of Congress Exhibition catalogues, all held by the National Art Library at the V&A Museum (which I plan to survey in due course) may be useful in suggesting to which exhibition a label refers. The Huntington Library manuscript cited above, for example, is known to have been owned by St James's church in Bury St Edmunds from 1595 until at least the 19th century: its label therefore doubtless refers to the Church Congress Exhibition held at Norwich in 1865 or 1895, Great Yarmouth in 1907 or, most likely, at  the geographically closest venue: Ipswich in 1927. It will be an easy matter to check.
  • 1880: Leicester
  • 1881: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
  • 1882: Derby
  • 1883: Reading
  • 1884: Carlisle
  • 1885: Portsmouth
  • 1886: Wakefield
  • 1887: Wolverhampton
  • 1888: Manchester
  • 1889: Cardiff
  • 1890: Hull
  • 1891: Rhyl
  • 1892: Folkestone
  • 1893: Birmingham
  • 1894: Exeter
  • 1895: Norwich
  • 1896: Shrewsbury
  • 1897: Nottingham
  • 1898: Bradford
  • 1899: London
  • 1900: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
  • 1901: Brighton
  • 1902: Northampton
  • 1903: Bristol
  • 1904: Liverpool
  • 1905: Weymouth
  • 1906: Barrow-in-Furness
  • 1907: Great Yarmouth
  • 1908: Manchester
  • 1909: Swansea
  • 1910: Cambridge
  • 1911: Stoke-upon-Trent
  • 1912: Middlesborough
  • 1913: Southampton
  • 1920: Southend-on-Sea
  • 1928: Cheltenham
The catalogue for Nottingham, 1897
(note the use of the word "Ecclesiastical")

The catalogue for Sheffield, 1922

Doubtless the exhibition most familiar to readers of this blog is that for 1908 in Manchester, for which the John Rylands Library put on a special exhibition of illuminated manuscripts with separate catalogue (available online through archive.org):

[EDIT, 10 June 2014]
Here's another:

[EDIT, 28 Nov. 2014]
And another:



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