A visual record of unidentified coats of arms in Bodleian incunables
From Marie-Eugénie Lecouffe (Enssib / CSB intern)
The importance for a library such as the Bodleian Library of making provenance information more available for its users, with the aim of helping provenance research, was already mentioned on this blog in a previous post. Indeed supplying images of provenance evidence was described as the easiest way to allow comparison between several unidentified monograms or coats of arms, for example. Displaying the pictures on Flickr was also presented as one simple possibility for sharing them, organizing them in sets and receiving corrections and comments from any person interested in provenance research.
A family or institutional coat of arms is a very good example of provenance evidence that might be helpfully identified by a picture. The Provenance Index of the Bodleian Incunable Catalogue registers more than 80 unidentified coats of arms. For each of them an extended blazoning is provided in the text of the catalogue. But heraldic language is so specific that it could be difficult for non-specialists to imagine what these really look like. Supplying photos allows visual connections… and perhaps identification!
Now almost all of the unidentified coats of arms registered in the Bodleian Incunable Catalogue (Bod-Inc) have been imaged. A few examples of these pictures are shown in the slideshow below.
But you’ll find much more on Flickr. Indeed all (or almost all) the pictures of those unidentified coats of arms have been put with their descriptions in the set called “Unidentified coats of arms in Bodleian incunables“. A caption for each picture includes:
the location of the coat of arms in the incunable;
its blazoning (verbal description), as it is provided in Bodleian Incunable Catalogue;
a short notice of the incunable: shelfmark, author, title, publisher details and publication date;
the link to the online PDF version of the incunable catalogue with the Bod-Inc number.
Tags have been added as well:
keywords (“coat of arms”, unidentified and incunables).
There are other types of unidentified provenance evidence noted in the Bodleian Incunable Catalogue which might usefully be imaged and put on Flickr for the same purpose: bookplates, monograms…
Identifications, if any are forthcoming, can be made in comments to this blogpost.