New Long Room exhibition celebrates highlights of Dutch collection purchased in 1802

A newly launched exhibition of the world-renowned Fagel Collection will be on display in the Long Room until September

The achievements of an international collaborative research project will be celebrated tonight with the launch of an exhibition in the Long Room, where it will go on display until September.

The newly opened exhibition, entitled Unlocking the Fagel Collection, consists of 20 diverse items from the collection, which was purchased in its entirety by College in 1802. Some highlights include volumes of rare pamphlets, an illustrated and hand-coloured botanical reference book and poetry and song publications wrapped in decorated papers.

The project, “one of the finest examples of research and public engagement projects today”, is a collaboration between the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the KB National Library of the Netherlands. It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was launched following a state visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands to Ireland in 2019.

Speaking of the project’s success, Project Manager Ann-Marie Hansen said that “the monumental efforts to ‘unlock’ the Fagel Collection are already delivering rich research impact”.

“We have recorded over 2,000 editions that had never before been described. Additionally, we now know that 15% of the titles in the collection are the only known surviving copies of those publications,” Hansen said.

“We have recorded over 2,000 editions that had never before been described.” Photo by Paul Sharp via TCD

All 30,000 books, pamphlets and maps in the collection, which fills a mile of shelving space in the Old Library, are being conserved and digitally recorded in the Trinity Library catalogue. So far, 50% of the collection has been catalogued. The Fagel Collection is regarded as “one of the most important private libraries in early modern Europe”.

According to Head of Research Collections Laura Shanahan, the collection increased the Library’s holdings by 40% upon its acquisition, “and vastly expanded its subject content beyond largely theological material to all areas of scholarly interest”.

“The Fagel collection also touches on every corner of the globe, opening up the realm of understanding beyond Ireland and Western Europe to the whole world.”

The exhibition will be launched by Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ireland, Adriaan Palm, followed by a conference in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

Ella Sloane

Ella Sloane is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News and a Senior Sophister student of English Studies. She previously served as Life Editor and Student Living Editor.