The Book of Deer

During Scotland’s Year of Stories the remarkable 10th-century Book of Deer illuminated manu

script is returning to the North-East of Scotland for the first time in more than 1,000 years. With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Book of Deer Project community heritage group has secured the loan of this exquisite little book, thought to be Scotland’s oldest surviving manuscript, from Cambridge University Library. Join us as we celebrate its return, and discover its fascinating story through a rich programme of events and activities for all ages in Aberdeenshire and the City of Aberdeen, including an archaeological dig, expert talks, original music, storytelling, creative workshops and an unmissable exhibition.

Read more at the Book of Deer Project website here.

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Silver Letter Casket associated with MQS acquired by NMS for £1.8m

From August 2022, the silver casket will be on permanent display in the Kingdom of the Scots gallery alongside other objects from their collection associated with Mary.
Believed to have been owned by Mary, Queen of Scots, the casket is an extremely rare work of early French silver. It is likely that its long-standing association with Mary has kept it preserved for over 450 years. Read more here.

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Memorial Service for Professor Edward James (Ted) Cowan

The University of Glasgow is to hold a Memorial Service for Professor Emeritus Edward James (Ted) Cowan. The service will take place on Thursday 19 May 2022 at 3pmin the University Chapel, with a wine reception to follow in the adjacent Fore Hall.  The service will also be livestreamed: www.westreamitservices.co.uk/cowane

Professor Cowan was born on 15 February 1944, and died on Sunday 2 January 2022, following a short illness. He was formerly Professor of Scottish History and Literature at the University of Glasgow, and Director of the University’s Crichton Campus in Dumfries. Before Glasgow he taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Guelph, Ontario. A pioneer in the study of the ‘people’s history’, he was passionately committed to communicating Scotland’s past to all its people, and to the world.

He published, co-wrote or edited 18 books and nearly 100 articles or book chapters, ranging over time from the early medieval to the modern: from the Vikings in Scotland and the Wars of Independence to the Covenanters, Scottish popular culture and folk belief, and Scottish emigration. Two books are due to be published this year: Northern Lights: The Arctic Scots, and the edited proceedings of a conference on Gaelic Galloway.

All of Ted’s friends and colleagues are warmly invited to attend the Memorial Service and Reception, to honour his outstanding contribution to Scottish history and the life of the nation.

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Prayer book with ms poem by Mary, Queen of Scots to go on show in NMS

Read the full article here.

“A rare “jewel-like” prayer book featuring a poem handwritten by the young Mary, Queen of Scots is to go on show at the National Museum of Scotland on loan from Liechtenstein.

The Book of Hours, which will be on show from March 31 to August 3 in Edinburgh, originally belonged to Mary’s great aunt, Louise de Bourbon, Abbess of Fontevraud.

The manuscript includes a four-line verse in French which the teenage Mary composed in the late 1550s, around the time of her marriage to the Dauphin Francois.

She signed it with the motto Va tu meriteras (Go, you will be deserving), and her monogram, combining her initial M with a Greek letter which is the phonetic representation of F for Francois.

The translated poem reads:
“Since you wish to remember me here
in your prayers and devout orations,
I ask you first that you remember
what part you have in my affections.”

Dr Anna Groundwater, principal curator of renaissance and early modern history at National Museums Scotland (NMS), said: “It is wonderful to be able to display this rare, jewel-like book.

“It’s particularly moving to see the young Mary, writing in her best script, to one of her closest relations in her mother Marie de Guise’s absence.”

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Agnus Dei Sacramentals. Wax Agents of Papal Potestas in Early Modern Worlds

Warburg Institute – A Material World: Ritual

Minou Schraven (Amsterdam University College): ‘Agnus Dei Sacramentals. Wax Agents of Papal Potestas in Early Modern Worlds’

Monday 17 January 2022: 5.30pm

Online via Zoom

To the ridicule and outrage of Protestants, early modern Catholics recurred to a wide range of blessed devotional objects, such as crucifixes, rosaries, and medals. Yet none were as powerful as the Agnus dei: small disks of the purest wax impressed with the Lamb of God that by tradition were consecrated and distributed by the Pope during the Holy Week of his first (and then each seventh) year in office. 

Looking closely at the materiality, agency and indexical relation to the Pope, this presentation will explore how Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians perceived of these sacramentals and their supposed extraordinary powers. How can we understand the massive increase in production numbers of the Agnus dei against the backdrop of confessional wars and the missionary effort of early modern global Catholicism? How did contemporaries perceive of the relation of these objects with the pope and his claims as Vicarius Christi? And how were these objects obtained, used and displayed, both then and now?

Minou Schraven teaches art history and material culture at Amsterdam University College and is research fellow at the Amsterdam Centre for Religious History at Vrije Universiteit. A specialist on the art and culture of early modern Rome, she has published on festival culture, the ritual use of portrait medals, and the display of bog bodies and their reconstructions in contemporary museums.  The current research is part of a book project entitled Blessed and Indulgenced Objects in Early Modern Catholic Worlds. Materiality, Agency and the Pope’s Prerogative

This event is part of the A Material World: Ritual series, which brings together academics and heritage professionals from a wide range of disciplines to discuss issues concerning historical objects, their materials, forms, and functions, as well as their conservation, presentation, display, and reconstruction. Organisers: Rembrandt Duits (Acting Curator, The Photographic Collection, Warburg Institute) and Louisa McKenzie (PhD student, Warburg Institute).

For booking see: https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/events/a-material-world-agnus-dei

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