14 June 2011

KJB in a Cupboard

From the title-page
of the St Peter's copy
Towards the end of April I received an email from a resident of Palmerston North (northeast of Wellington) who said he had found 'an old Bible' while rummaging in a cupboard in St Peter's Anglican Church. Naturally my mind turned towards a standard nineteenth-century edition, probably bound in black morocco. I was, however, pleasantly mistaken, for what was found was a 1616 edition of the King James Bible.

Its finder, who wishes to remain in the background of the story, had emailed in the hopes of confirming the exact edition. Thankfully he has an interest in typography and bibliography, and so provided a detailed description of its printing errors. A quick check of ESTC pointed to either the small folio or quarto edition printed by Robert Barker, printer to King James I. Comparing the errors with a digital copy in Early English Books Online (EEBO), I was able to confirm that, yes, St Peter's was indeed in possession of a 1616 KJB, the small folio edition in fact.

Small folio editions of the KJB were intended for church use, particularly churches with little money. The text of the 1616 KJB was based on the 1611 editio princeps with some readings from the 1613 second edition. According to David Norton's The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today (Cambridge, 2010) the 1616 folio 'brought in some twenty new readings, some of which involve a degree of scholarship and seem to draw particularly on older translations. Only a few of these were picked up in subsequent editions from the King's Printer, but the makers of the Cambridge edition of 1629 consulted this folio and so gave currency to some of its readings' (141).

ESTC records thirty copies of the 1616 folio edition, all of which are held by institutions in the northern hemisphere, and primarily in America and the UK. This makes the St Peter's copy number thirty-one and the only recorded copy in Australasia. St Peter's vestry has approved the professional conservation of the Bible, and intends to acquire a secure display cabinet (linked to the church's alarm system) so the Bible can be displayed.

Research has shown that the book was bequeathed to St Peter's by a member of the congregation in 1912. That member, Thomas Pattinson, emigrated from England to New Zealand sometime between 1874 and 1881. Though provenance research is ongoing, it appears Pattinson's lineage stretches back to another Thomas Pattinson born in Scotland around 1615. Were the seventeenth-century Pattinsons practising Anglicans? If so, then it could very well be that the 1616 KJB had been in the family from the time of its printing.

04 June 2011

Photography Exhibition at Auckland Central City Library

Visiting Auckland before the end of July? If so, be sure to visit the latest Sir George Grey Special Collections exhibition 'Q - Tornquist & the Quoin Club'.

From the Auckland Council site:

'Q - Tornquist and the Quoin Club' is an exhibition celebrating the photography of Bert and Fred Tornquist, and Bert's associations with the Auckland art workers' collective, The Quoin Club.

New Zealand-born Bert and Fred Tornquist opened the Tornquist Portrait Studio in Queen Street in 1924.

Bert had no formal photographic training, but had studied at Elam School of Art in Auckland before the First World War.

His brother Fred took a course in photography at the Bissell College of Photo Engraving in Effingham, Illinois, in 1918 and 1919, and worked in several studios in the U.S. before returning to New Zealand in the early 1920s.

The Tornquist Portrait Studio flourished, the brothers combining Fred's photographic expertise with Bert's artistic talent to produce sensitive and powerful portraits of Auckland citizens and visiting international celebrities, such as the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the Italian soprano Toti Dal Monte, and the playwright and author George Bernard Shaw.

Visitors to the exhibition can see a range of Tornquist portraits selected from over 800 of their negatives recovered by library staff from a demolition site in Queen Street in 1970, together with artworks and jewellery created by members of the Quoin Club and loaned by the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

When Until 31 July 2011, Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10.00am-4.00pm

Where Sir George Grey Special Collections, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne Street

02 June 2011

From the Archives: How Much Did the Captain Drink?

While gathering material for the latest exhibition, I noticed a rather grubby volume lurking in the archives with the following written on the front:

‘Wine.Book. HMS Rosario 1870. Luke Humphreys. HMS Nymphe 1875’

‘Wine Book’ was enough to catch my attention, and the volume provided a nice distraction on a quiet Friday afternoon.

HMS Peterel (sister ship to the Rosario)
HMS Rosario, under the command of Commander George Palmer, is perhaps best known for seizing the schooner Daphne under suspicion it was involved in the illegal act of ‘blackbirding’ in 1869. The term refers to the coercion of people, mainly Pacific Islanders and Aborigines, through trickery or kidnapping and then selling them as slave labour. Unfortunately the case against the crew of the Daphne could not be proven. Commander Palmer brought charges at the Vice Admiralty Court of New South Wales, but they were dismissed by Chief Justice Sir Alfred Stephen, on the grounds that the British Slave Trade Act (1839) did not apply to the South Pacific Ocean.

Commander Palmer published his experience in Kidnapping in the South Seas: Being the Narrative of a Three Months’ Cruise of H.M. Ship Rosario (Edinburgh, 1871), which the Dunedin Public Library purchased in 1935. The Rosario and Nymphe ‘Wine Book’ was included in the acquisition.

Commander Palmer's Dedication
Kidnapping in the South Seas

The book itself is a standard account ledger for recording sums and figures, covered, possibly aboard ship, with a cloth cover tied at the inner front and rear boards. Along the top of each page is a list of alcoholic beverages from ale and brandy to sherry and rum. Down the left-hand column are the names of the officers serving on board Separate messes (such as the sick mess) are occasionally noted. Against each name is a number in the appropriate column, keeping account of how much was consumed, with an expended tally at the bottom of each column. The last pages of the ledger record prices paid and number of cases for each month.

From the October 1869 entries
The answer to ‘how much did the captain drink’ is, well, practically nothing. According to the ledger it would appear that Commander Palmer was something of a teetotaller. There are no marks against his name until 26 September 1869 when Palmer enjoyed 1.5 glasses of amontillado. The largest record is under the succeeding captain, Henry Joseph Challis, who took command of the Rosario in April 1870. Along the bottom of the 2 September page is written ‘Captain: 1 case of port (3 dozen), 1 dozen champagne large, 1 ditto small, 2 dozen sherry, 1 ditto brandy’. It can be assumed (at least for the sake of his liver) that Challis was entertaining other ranking officers or guests aboard ship.

Luke Humphreys, the crewman who kept the ledger, eventually settled in Gisborne, New Zealand. My attempt to find out more about him sadly took a dark turn, as it was discovered that Humphreys committed suicide as an elderly man in 1913. According to the Poverty Bay Herald the coroner returned the verdict that he ‘died from the effect of a revolver shot fired by himself into his head, whilst suffering from temporary insanity brought on by serious family trouble and his own ill-health’.

Although no mention is made in the 1935 acquisition register, it is presumed Palmer’s narrative and the 'wine book' were among Humphreys’ possessions and later sold by his family. Tucked into the pages of the ledger was a finely printed menu for an honorary dinner for Judges Brookfield and Puckey of Gisborne dated 27 May 1882. Humphreys was one of fifty to attend and must have been an upstanding member of the community at the time. Something of his good and honest character was reflected thirteen years earlier. Against the 24 August 1869 entry in the logbook is ‘1 Sherry Broken (by Humphreys)’ written in his own hand.