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Showcasing the highlights of exhibitions:

Patagonia: Y Wladfa @ 150 (1865-2015), May-June 2015


Yn 2015 bydd Patagonia a Chymru yn dathlu 150 o flynyddoedd ers sefydlu’r Wladfa.  Sefydlwyd y Wladfa yn 1865, pan hwyliodd dros 150  bobl o wahanol rannau o Gymru ar y llong  ‘Mimosa’, ac ymsefydlu yn Nyffryn Camwy, Patagonia, yn Ne’r Ariannin. Mae’r gymuned Gymraeg yn parhau yno heddiw, yn ogystal â’r cysylltiadau sy’n bodoli o hyd rhwng Cymru a Phatagonia.

In 2015 Wales and Patagonia will be celebrating 150 years since the foundation of the Wladfa (colony). The Wladfa was established in 1865, when over 150 people from different parts of Wales sailed on the ship ‘Mimosa’, and settled in the Camwy Valley, Patagonia, in southern Argentina. The Welsh speaking community continues there today, as well as the contacts which exist still between Wales and Patagonia.


Circle Press: Artists' Books by Ron King, February-April 2015

Artists' Books

In 2014, renowned book artist Ron King donated a significant collection of his works. Made from an extraordinary range of materials - paper, wood, metal, stone, glass, and wax - they stretch the concept and definition of the book to its limits.







Women in Trousers, November 2014-January 2015

Should Women Wear Trousers?

Curated by Dr Becky Munford and Amber Jenkins, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, this exhibition forms part of Becky’s wider research project into trouser wearing among women in Britain, France and America since the French Revolution. Becky’s website, ‘Women in Trousers: A Visual Archive’, will be launched later in 2015.









Cymru ac Iwerddon / Wales and Ireland 1914-18, September-October 2014

Wales and Ireland: images from two wars

Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this exhibition explores home-rule, the experience of war, conscientious objectors and the literature of the period in both Ireland and Wales. Curated by volunteer Katherine Wilkins.












Griffith John Williams (1892-1963), November 2013-January 2014

Portrait of G. J. Williams

The historian Griffith John Williams, Professor of Welsh at Cardiff University, was one of the foremost Welsh scholars of his day. The main focus of his research was the life and work of Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams). Early in his academic career, G. J. Williams was successful in identifying several of Iolo Morganwg's literary forgeries. He went on to make many original contributions to our understanding of 17th-19th century Welsh literature and scholarship, and produced many standard works in the field. The exhibition complements a lecture by Professor Ceri Davies of Swansea University, 'Some of learning's arc, from Boccaccio to Griffith John Williams', which was hosted in Special Collections and Archives in November 2013.






Boccaccio 1313-2013: Selected Rare Volumes, July-October 2013

Giovanni Boccaccio, Amorous Fiametta. London, 1929

Commemorating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), the new exhibition in Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives features a selection of works by Boccaccio and his fellow humanists, Dante and Petrarch. The Cardiff Rare Books Collection is particularly rich in Italian literature of the late medieval and early Renaissance period, with all three authors amply represented, and we hold more than forty 15th and 16th century editions of Boccaccio’s works alone. Our exhibition has been set up to coincide with the major international conference, Locating Boccaccio in 2013, being held at the University of Manchester on 10-12 July 2013, and with the accompanying exhibition of Boccaccio works at the John Rylands Library. Find out more about Boccaccio anniversary events.






300 Years of Children's Literature, March-May 2013

Kate Greenaway, Book of games (1900)

This exhibition showcases some of Europe's earliest children's educational books from the 17th and 18th centuries through to some of the best-known names from the 19th and 20th centuries. It explores the evolution of children's literature, from evangelical morality tales to the late Victorian, sentimental 'cult of childhood', and onwards to the fantasy novels of the 20th century. Themes of gendered children's literature, Welsh literature and children's literature in translation are also explored. The exhibition was collaboratively curated by Alison Harvey, Karen Pierce, Helen Price-Saunders (ULS) and Sioned Davies (WELSH), as part of the Cardiff Children's Literature Festival 2013.


Shakespeare, Magic and Witchcraft, January-February 2013

Cornelius Agrippa, Three books of occult philosophy, 1651

Postgraduate Curators is an annual opportunity for postgraduate researchers to curate their own exhibitions, as part of the Graduate College's Research Students' Skills Development Programme. In this year's programme, Alison Harthill and Nicole Davall, PhD researchers from the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, worked together to curate an exhibition on themes of ghosts, witches, magic, folklore and superstition in Shakespeare.





King Arthur of Britain: Arthurian material in SCOLAR, September-December 2012

Morte d'Arthur:  a poem, by Alfred Lord Tennyson: as designed, written out and illuminated by Alberto Sangorski. (1912)

This exhibition explores a wide range of Arthurian sources in Special Collections and Archives, and is curated by Dr. Karen Pierce (INSRV) and Dr. Juliette Wood (WELSH and LEARN). The exhibition covers themes such as the Grail in Welsh and English literature; the representation of Arthurian women; King Arthur as depicted in Malory's Morte d'Arthur; Arthur's advisor Merlin, and his basis in bardic tradition; and Arthur's companions, the Knights of the Round table, and the concept of chivalry. From a local context, the exhibition examines the figure of Arthur within the Welsh tradition, and Arthurian folklore attached to Welsh archaeological sites.






Tynged yr Iaith: Darlith Caerdydd yn achub yr Iaith / Fate of the Language: Cardiff Lecture saves the Welsh Language!, June-August 2012                                     

Saunders Lewis (1893-1985)

Ysgrifennodd Saunders Lewis ddarlith i’r radio yn 1962 dan y teitl – Tynged yr Iaith; ei fwriad oedd sbarduno Cymry Cymraeg i fynnu eu hawliau i ddefnyddio’r iaith Gymraeg; rhywbeth y honnodd fyddai’n gyfystyr a ‘chwyldro’. Er na lwyddodd i wireddu popeth a anelodd ati yn y ddarlith, yn sgil ei darlledu trawsnewidiwyd statws y Gymraeg mewn cymdeithas. (Roedd Saunders Lewis yn ddarlithydd ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd).

Saunders Lewis wrote the BBC radio lecture – Tynged yr Iaith [Fate of the Welsh Language] in 1962; his intention was to urge Welsh speakers to demand their rights in using the language: something he claimed would be a revolution in itself. Although he did not achieve key aims with the lecture, in its wake Welsh language society underwent a major transformation. (Saunders Lewis was a lecturer at Cardiff University).


Music Collections at Cardiff University, March-May 2012

Alfred James Hipkins, Musical instruments: historic, rare and unique. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1888

SCOLAR holds several collections of rare published and manuscript music of international significance, dating from the 17th-20th centuries. Two major collections, Mackworth and Aylward, are on permanent loan from the Cardiff Public Library, and are to be catalogued with the help of funding from JISC. Other notable collections include a large number of rare books from the BBC’s music library, and the personal archives of several Welsh composers, including Morfydd Owen, Grace Williams and David Wynne. SCOLAR also holds an extensive collection of Welsh ballads.



Postgraduate Curators 2012, January-February 2012

Postgraduate curators 2012

Following the success of last year, SCOLAR has repeated the opportunity for postgraduate researchers to curate their own exhibitions, as part of the Graduate College's Research Students' Skills Development Programme. An initial workshop on curatorial skills was presented by  Peter Keelan (SCOLAR), Alison Harvey (SCOLAR) and Jane Henderson (SHARE). It was attended by eight PhD students from across the Humanities, including ENCAP, SHARE, RELIG, JOMEC and WELSH. Five of the attendees volunteered to spend the following week researching their own small exhibitions, to be displayed in the SCOLAR exhibition area. This year we are featuring exhibitions on Victorian medievalism: the fallen women of Tennyson's Camelot by Sarah W. Clausen (SHARE), Welsh Architecture from the Salisbury Collection: a selection of original artworks by Mark Baker (SHARE), Representing the workhouse by Laura Foster (ENCAP), From Celtic languages to the Roman alphabet by John Caulfield (WELSH), and The Victorian author: artist or businessman? by Helen McKenzie (ENCAP). 



Historical Travel Literature, 1492-1914, October 2011-January 2012

Cook, James, A new, genuine and complete history of the whole of Capt. Cook's voyages, undertaken and performed by Royal authority [...], 1779

Five centuries of overseas historical travel literature (outside Europe) record the discoveries, and disasters, of Europeans as the world became mapped, from pole to pole, across oceans and deserts.






Postgraduate Curators 2011, July-August 2011

Posters publicising the three exhibitions

SCOLAR's first exhibition entirely curated by postgraduate students, as part of the Graduate College's Research Students' Skills Development Programme. In February, Peter Keelan (SCOLAR), Alison Harvey (SCOLAR) and Jane Henderson (SHARE) held an RSSDP workshop on curatorial skills. Following this, three of the attendees volunteered to attend a second workshop, for which they planned, researched, and constructed their own exhibitions using SCOLAR's facilities and equipment. The curators used SCOLAR's rare books and printed sources to visually reflect and explore their research topics. All three students produced meticulously researched exhibitions to a professional standard on their chosen topic. See extracts from Healthy Reading by Johann Gregory (ENCAP), Divine Dimension by Corbett Miteff (JOMEC), and Approaches to Roman Archaeology in Wales by Jennifer Jones (SHARE). The exhibitions will be on display in SCOLAR during July and August 2011.



1611 King James Bible: 400th Anniversary, March-June 2011

Nicholaus Brylinger, Bibell. Das ist alle bücher allts vn[d] neüws Testaments, auß Hebreischer vnd Griechischer jhren vrsprünglichen sprachen mit allem fleiß vnd auffs aller treüwlichest verteütschet (Basel, 1552)

An exhibition to mark 400 years since the 1611 publication of the King James Bible. It includes examples of SCOLAR's historical Bibles from across Europe, from the 1470s to the 1800s. The exhibits explore the huge controversies aroused by translations of the Bible into the common vernacular languages of Europe.











First Showing: Cardiff Rare Books, November-December 2010

F. S. Ellis (ed.), The floure and the leafe, 1896

In November 2010, a reception and exhibition was held at the Senedd to celebrate the transfer of an important collection of 14,000 rare books from the Cardiff Public Library to Special Collections and Archives, enabled with funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and HEFCW, and the support of Cardiff Council. The collection includes rare examples of early books or incunabula printed before 1500; many early Bibles dating from 1540; early atlases including a world map published in 1492, a few months before Columbus reached America; a comprehensive set of seventeenth century Restoration plays; seventeenth century copies of Shakespeare's works and many examples of fine printing from Victorian publishers.



Human Genetics: Origins of a 20th Century Science, March-May 2010

Julia Bell, Treasury of Human Inheritance, 1912

An exhibition to celebrate the foundation of the Human Genetics Historical Library in Special Collections and Archives. The Library forms a definitive collection of key older and historical monographs and other books relating to human and medical genetics, that can be used by historians, geneticists and others. The venture was supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust, and the Genetics and Medicine Historical Network.










Darwin and Wallace: Evolution of the Same Idea, December 2009-January 2010

Portrait of Charles Darwin

2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. Darwin was prompted to publish The Origin of Species after receiving a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace, positing the same theory that Darwin himself had been working on for twenty years. Remarkably, through separate study, both thinkers had come to similar conclusions regarding evolution and the survival of the fittest. The letter from Wallace provided the impetus Darwin needed to overcome his hesitation in publicising his controversial theory to the world.









10 Research Collections in 10 Historical Pictures, March-May 2009

Menai Bridge, North Wales. 1847

This exhibition was the result of a request for SCOLAR to produce 10 postcards from pictures in our collections, for the UK LILAC conference to be held here in Cardiff at the end of the month. The ten images chosen for the postcards can be viewed in the exhibition.







Five Hundred Years of Rare Books: 1508-2008, October-December 2008


2008 sees Special Collections and Archives' collections span 600 years, as Cardiff University library's oldest book was published in 1508. The exhibition displays a wide range of historical books on all subjects, such as medicine, religion and literature, published during the years 1508, 1608, 1708, 1808, 1908, and 2008. View all books featured in the exhibition.










Celf Cyhoeddiadau'r Eisteddfod / Art of Eisteddfod Publications, June-September 2008 


As Cardiff hosted the 2008 Eisteddfod, we took a look back at the festival's programme art. Learn more about the background history of the National Eisteddfod of Wales.









The Birth of Cardiff University: World Snapshot 1883-84, January-May 2008

Original University staff

Coinciding with Cardiff University's 125 anniversary celebrations, this exhibition explored world events in the year that saw the foundation of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. See a bibliography of all items included in the exhibition.






Cardiff Alumni History via Student Newspapers, October-December 2007

1880s: Handwritten front cover of 1885 issue of University College Magazine

SCOLAR holds a near complete run of student newspapers produced throughout the University's history, from the first single handwritten edition in 1885 to the current issue of Gair Rhydd. The newspapers document not only changing student experiences, but also the radical political and social changes which took place throughout the 20th-21st centuries. See SCOLAR's student newspaper holdings.





The Abolition of Slavery 1807: Key Rare Texts, June-October 2007

A ballad by Solomon Nutry

SCOLAR marked the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery Act by showcasing its wide range of sources on slavery from a British and Welsh perspective. The exhibition contained Thomas Clarkson's famous drawing of a slave ship, an abolitionist Welsh ballad, various early editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a unique copy of the Personal Narrative of the Sufferings and Escape of William A. Hall, Fugitive Slave. See a bibliography of SCOLAR's sources on slavery.






A Century of Devolution Documents from Wales, March-May 2007

Undeb Cymru Fydd, Polisi Addysg i Gymru (Aberystwyth: Undeb Cymru Fydd, 1945)

Marking 100 years since the founding of the National Library and National Museum of Wales in 1907, and tracing a timeline of events that led to Wales' devolution referendum in 1997. The exhibition coincided with the 2007 National Assembly elections, and contained extracts from a new research collection developed by SCOLAR - election leaflets from South Wales constituencies. These are valuable ephemeral resources that will give future generations insight into the political issues affecting Wales at the beginning of the 21st Century. See the Devolution Timeline.





Victorian Illustration, January-February 2007

‘The Lady of Shalott’ by W. H. Hunt

Celebrating the launch of the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustrations (DMVI) by Cardiff University's Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research (CEIR). The database allows users to search and view in detail over 800 images from illustrated books and periodicals published in 1862. View our resource guide to illustrated historical resources.