Public Lectures - Summer term 2015/16


Lectures are usually held on Wednesdays at 5.30pm (except where otherwise indicated below). History of Libraries research lectures are held on occasional Tuesdays at 5.30pm


Admission is free of charge. Pre-registration is required for some lectures as indicated below.


Tuesday 3 May, 5.30 pm - History of Libraries research lecture

‘Bibliotheca Abscondita’: the Library of Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)

Lucy Gwynn, Queen Mary University

Thomas Browne, Norwich physician and one of the great essayists of the seventeenth century, was drawn to the indiscriminate dissolution and ruin brought by the passage of time, as ‘the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy’. His recreation of an impossible wunderkammer - the tract Musaeum clausum et bibliotheca abscondita - catalogued books, objects and artworks that had been lost to time, looting, war, and exile. This paper will compare the narrative of incompleteness and wistful recuperation in Musaeum clausum with my project to reconstruct of the contents of Browne’s own library, now only known to us through the catalogue of its sale in 1711. It will present evidence of Browne’s book ownership and use, and suggest ways in which Browne’s library, its contents, taxonomies and spaces, can be recovered.


Wednesday 11 May, 5.30 pm - Bilderfahrzeuge Project lecture

The Presence of Prehistoric Pictoriality

Professor Whitney Davis, Department of Art History, University of California, Berkeley

Event poster


Wednesday 18 May, 5.30 pm 

Per Monstra ad Sphaeram: Aby Warburg and the Future of the Humanities

Professor David Freedberg, Director and Professor of History of Art, Warburg Institute

Free of charge. Pre-registration required at:


Wednesday 1 June, 5.30 pm

The Role of Erasmus in the Career of Gilbert Cousin of Nozeroy (1506-72)

Professor Ann Blair, Henri Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard University

This lecture is funded by the Cassal Endowment Fund which promotes the French Language, Art and Letters and is administered by the London University Board of Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures.


Tuesday 7 June, 5.30 pm

Samuel Pepys and the Remains of Restoration Collecting

Dr Kate Loveman, University of Leicester

Pepys was unusually careful when it came to controlling the fate of his collections after his death. This paper examines his behaviour in preserving his books and papers, as well as the provisions made by others in his social circle for their collections. The steps that Pepys took (or failed to take) are revealing about the uses he foresaw for his books and, in particular, for his diary of the 1660s which survived as part of his library.