CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The Fagel symposium

Symposium: 4 September - 6 September 2008

From the institution’s website, 4 January 2009

In 1802, at the height of the Napoleonic war, Hendrik Fagel, Greffier of Holland, was effectively exiled in London, where reduced circumstances eventually forced him to sell the family library. Christie’s prepared and circulated an auction catalogue, but Trinity College, Dublin, put in a preemptive bid and acquired the entire collection before the auction took place. At a stroke the holdings of the college library were increased by 40%, from 50 000 to 70 000 volumes. Today the overwhelming proportion of Fagel’s books, pamphlets and maps remains on shelf as a discrete collection in the east pavilion of the magnificent Old Library.

Representing the intellectual and social interests of a wealthy and distinguished Dutch family over a period of some 200 years, the collection also transformed the content of a university library that had until then been dominated by theology. Published in the principal languages of Europe, the newly acquired holdings were particularly strong in such areas as history, politics, law, belles lettres, geography, cartography (everything from cosmography to manuscript plans of dyke systems), natural history and philosophy. The scale of the acquisition is impressive by any standards: lot 7593 was “A collection of historical and political tracts, in number upwards of 10,000” and lot 9061 “A fine collection of maps and plans, in number about 2000”.

However, the existence of the Fagel collection is virtually unknown outside Dublin and the research potential of these resources has been little exploited. Indeed, over the years the overall funding of the library has been such that a substantial proportion of the holdings has not even been properly catalogued.

It is in order to help remedy this situation that this symposium is being held. Its immediate purpose is to bring together a number of academics and librarians, who are working either on the history of the book or in any of the fields mentioned above, to discuss the collection.

Symposium programme

All events will take place in the studios of the Science Gallery unless otherwise stated.


12.00-13.30 Registration: The Buttery
13.30-14.00 Registration: The Science Gallery
12.00-12.30 Viewing the Collection: Henry Jones Room, Old Library
12.30-13.00 Viewing the Collection: Henry Jones Room, Old Library
12.30-14.00 Lunch: The Buttery
14.15-14.30 Opening of the symposium
14.30-15.15 Theo Thomassen (Director, Reinwardt Academie, Amsterdam):
Generating, managing and collecting knowledge: Hendrik Fagel as politician, greffier and private collector
15.15-16.00 Pierre Delsaerdt (Universiteit Antwerpen – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven): The Canon of Collecting in the 18th century. Bibliography, Book Historyand Book Collecting in the Fagel Library
16.00 Coffee
16.30-17.15 Jos van Heel (Curator, Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum, The Hague):
Before Trinity: the Fagel collections in eighteenth century Holland
17.30 Reception and Launch of the exhibition: Nature’s bounty: botanical beauties in Trinity College Library Long Room, Old Library
19.00 Public session: Peter Fox (University Librarian, University of Cambridge): The Fagel collection: Den Haag to Dublin Robert Emmet Theatre, Arts Building

20.00 Buffet supper: Room 3105, Arts Building


09.30-10.15 Rengenier Rittersma (NWO Fellow, Vrije Universiteit Brussel):
Botany as an intellectual and horticultural interest in the Netherlands (17th century)
10.15-11.00 Jean-Paul Pittion (University of Tours):
The Huguenot struggle for recognition as monitored by the Fagels
11.00 Coffee
11.30-12.15 Willie Kelly (Research Fellow, Scottish Centre for the Book, Edinburgh): Don’t worry about Pandora, throw the box wide open: some thoughts on the riches of the Fagel Collection
12.15-12.45 Tim Jackson (Trinity College, Dublin): Hibernica in the Fagel Collection
12.45 Lunch: The Buttery
13.00-13.30 Viewing the Collection: Henry Jones Room, Old Library
13.30-14.00 Viewing the Collection: Henry Jones Room, Old Library
14.15-15.00 Matthew Yeo (Chetham’s Library and the University of Manchester):
Books, library catalogues and the postgraduate student
15.00-15.45 Jason Harris (University College, Cork): Belgium and Batavia as described in the early antiquarian holdings of the Fagel Collection
15.45 Coffee
16.15-17.00 Clare Guest (Agder University Kristiansand, Norway): Italian Renaissance editions of poetry and poetics (classical and Renaissance) in the Fagel Collection
17.00-17.45 Helga Robinson-Hammerstein (Trinity College, Dublin): Changing attitudes to miracles as reflected in the Fagel holdings
18.00 Dinner: Fallon & Byrne, 11-17 Exchequer Street (off Grafton Street)
20.00 Organ recital: Andrew Johnstone: “Fugues and Concertos from Dutch State Circles”, College Chapel


09.30-10.15 Kees Kaldenbach (Independent scholar, Amsterdam): Atlases and topographic images, with a special focus on Dutch maps as they are reproduced in paintings by Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch 17th Century painters
10.15-11.00 John Loughman (University College, Dublin): Two manuscript sources from the Fagel Collection
11.00 Coffee
11.30-12.15 Charles Benson (Trinity College, Dublin): Festival books in the Fagel Collection
12.15-13.00 Matthijs van Otegem (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague): The collection as a collection … to be used: cataloguing, digitisation, preservation
13.00 Concluding discussion

News about this symposium