Meetings will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE, beginning at 5.30 p.m. Tea will be served at 5.00 p.m. Members are welcome to bring guests, both to meetings and to the tea beforehand.
The Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held at the Society of Antiquaries on Tuesday 16 October 2018 at 6.00 p.m. The AGM will not be preceded by tea, but refreshments will be served after the meeting.

20 November 2018

Peter Kornicki: Richard Cocks and the first Japanese books to reach Europe

This paper will focus on a small number of Japanese books that reached England before 1623. What role did Richard Cocks, the manager of the East India Company’s outpost in Japan, have ot play and why was he interested in Japanese books?


18 December 2018

Caroline Bowden: Books for special purposes: texts for the religious life in the English convents in exile 1600-1800

Building new monastic communities in exile presented many challenges. This paper focuses on the nuns’ search for the range of texts they needed for every aspect of the religious life. The English communities wanted to lead a life as close to the Rule as possible. Liturgical texts in Latin presented few problems, but what about the rest?


15 January 2019

Masako Takagi: William Caxton and two expemplars: The development of Printing Technique between 1478 and 1480.

The shapes of casting-off marks in Vat. lat. 11441 MS and HM136 MS do not have many traits in common, but detailed comparison of them reveals they both contain a certain amount of unused marks. How did the miscalculation occur? Even more interestingly, were these mistakes the result of the same set of processes or of different ones? This paper seeks to explore the stories behind these blunt marks left on the two manuscripts that were used at Caxton’s printing shop.


19 February 2019

Laura Carnelos: Lumps, smudges and frisket-bites: the production of popular books in early modern Italy

Popular books are generally defined as those books printed in a hurry, economically and with poor quality materials. However, although materiality is a determining factor in popular prints and a crucial key to a deeper understanding of the practices adopted in typography in early printing, research in this field is still needed. Based on the assumption that the definitoin of what it is to be ‘popular’ is also linked to materiality, this paper will show the characteristics observed in books and discuss some archival documents in which the printing presses used and the procedures followed in early modern Italy in producing them are described.


19 March 2019

Alastair Hamilton: Collecting oriental manuscripts for Louis XIV: Wansleben’s acquisitions in the Levant

Between 1671 and 1675 the German Johann Michael Wansleben, in the service of the French king, assembled what was then the largest collection of oriental manuscripts put together by a single individual. The questions discussed in this lecture are: how did he and other collectors know what to buy and how did they proceed?


16 April 2019

Graham Pollard Memorial Lecture

Arnold Hunt: Thomas Lydiat and the Stationers

‘We must take the pains, and they will look for the gains.’ With these words the mathematician Thomas Lydiat (1572-1646) summed up his opinion of the London stationers who had printed and published his books. Lydiat’s correspondence, now in the Bodleian Library, is an important but beglected source of information on the economics of publishing in early seventeenth-century London. This paper explores his conflict with the Stationers’ Company for what it can reveal about author/publisher relations and the international trade in scholarly books.


21 May 2019

Homee and Phiroze Randeria Lecture

David Pearson: Bookbinding history and sacred cows: reflections on received wisdom

Book history has increasingly developed a cohesive view of the printing, selling, owning, reading and use of books, but bookbinding has struggled to find its place in the teaching and perception of the broad discipline. It is hampered by inherited perceptions of the operation of the binding trade, and what is important or knowable. This paper will examine these issues, consider the key questions we should ask of bindings, and argue for their proper integration into the book-historical pantheon.