Frozen in Time
The Fagel Collection in the Library of Trinity College Dublin
This lavishly illustrated volume contains a selection of the papers presented at a symposium on the Fagel Collection, as well as specially commissioned articles, covering subjects as diverse as early Dutch book collections and plans of the cosmos, botanical sales catalogues and pamphlets on the bloody 1641 Rebellion in Ireland, Italian Renaissance poetry and the problem of integrating this enormous influx of books into the Trinity College Library.
‘Hendrik Fagel the Younger (1765–1838), Greffier or Chief Minister of Holland, had the misfortune to have his property seized by invading French forces in the winter of 1794–5, but managed to secure the release of his family art collection and library, which were shipped to him in London in 1798. Being in straitened circumstances he decided to sell them and negotiations took place for the purchase of the library for Trinity College.’
So begins Charles Benson’s introduction to Frozen in Time, a series of articles treating aspects of the Fagel Collection of books and maps that is held at Trinity College Dublin. In the course of 125 years of public service as greffiers (effectively prime ministers) to the States-General and Holland, the Fagel family built up one of the most important private libraries in early modern Europe, with very substantial holdings in history, politics and law, as well as every other area of human endeavour: belles lettres, philosophy and theology, geography and travel, natural history and the visual arts.
As the first book-length study of this hugely important and hitherto relatively unknown collection – one of the most important private libraries in early modern Europe – the volume will be of immense value to scholars and general readers.