Dartmouth Events

Rauner Special Collections Library Exhibit: "Adorn'd with Sculpture"

An exhibit about two major London publishing houses founded by Ogilby and Tonson in the 17th century that illustrate the transition of the publishing profession in England.

Friday, September 1, 2017
Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Exhibitions

“Adorn’d with Sculptures”

John Ogilby and Jacob Tonson

In many important ways, the modern English publisher was born in the second half of the 17th century. The printer/publisher model that had been established with the introduction of the printing press, where an individual armed with a printing press often acted as printer, editor, distributer, promoter, and sometimes even author, gave way to a professionalized group of individuals largely dedicated to the acts of production, distribution, and promotion. These new publishers evolved into intermediaries between authors and the reading public as they cultivated a new role in the realm of literary production.

This exhibit looks at two major London publishing houses that illustrate this transition: the firm headed by John Ogilby from 1650 to 1676; and the family publishing empire founded the year of Ogilby’s death by Jacob Tonson. Ogilby wrote, translated, and compiled works to feed his press, one of his many sources of income. He had a flair for the extravagant and produced many monumental texts of the 17th century. Tonson concentrated on literary production. Writing very little himself, he gleaned profit from promoting the literary talents of others. In so doing, he established his firm as a modern publishing giant that came to dominate London publishing for over a century. Curiously, many of the volumes issued by both Ogilby and Tonson look remarkably similar—in fact, Tonson’s edition of Virgil relies on the original plates Ogilby commissioned for his translation.

The exhibit was curated by Jay Satterfield and Morgan Swan and is on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries at Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall from July 13th through September 8th. For more, visit the exhibit website: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/rauner/exhibits/adornd-with-sculptures.html.

For more information, contact:
Morgan Swan

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.