The Duncan Grant Lincoln Cathedral Murals: Mixing Religion with Life

By Joshua Sewell (volunteer in the University Library)

Lincoln Cathedral holds a lot of history for a structure composed mostly of stone and glass, a history that goes back nearly a thousand years. Once the tallest structure in the world and formerly one of the resting places of an original copy of the Magna Carta, the building is no stranger to events and possessions of historical importance. But those stories have been told forever and evermore. What we want to find are those tales that are less well known, but still of high value. One such tale finds its home in the Russell Chantry area of the Cathedral, and its events took place not so long ago. Inside the Chantry can be found a set of murals that adorn the walls and hold a significance that many may not be aware of. The murals have been open to public viewing since 1990, but their existence predates this by more than 3 decades. Here a question of great interest presents itself, why were the murals hidden from public view for all that time?

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Discovering LGTBQ+ Histories

Happy #LGBTHM22 everyone! If you have picked up some of the books in our library displays, you might have noticed that a number of them are about queer histories. The way these stories are told has changed over time, but a plethora of gender identities and expressions, and experiences of sexuality and identity, are a constant of human history. In other words, queer people have always existed. History books like Sapphistries or The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes depend on a wide array of sources, particularly what historians call primary sources, which are materials–diaries, documents, drawings, and more–made by someone who lived through or experienced a particular time, place or event. Historians often think of primary sources as texts but they aren’t always–comics in a zine like Not Trans Enough could be something historians use to understand the lives and experiences of trans people in the 2010s, in the same way that a Pride flag facemask will be a primary source to a scholar looking back on the 2020s.

a white woman wearing a pride facemask and a blue shirt stands on a sidewalk
“Love happens here” by gerrypopplestone is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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LGBTQI+ History Month – Finding resources in the unlikeliest of places

By Sarah Lewis

During LGBTQI+ History Month, the Library is blogging and sharing resources on social media to further shed light on the content we have which may be of use in research or for general interest purposes. In preparation for this, we conducted a brief survey of our databases and, in particular, I wanted to see if some of our less obvious databases also contained pertinent content on LGBTQI+ subjects and issues.

Black image of human head with large rainbow question mark inside it

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Justice and change: health and wellbeing of the UK LGBTQ+ community in 2022 

By Oonagh Monaghan

Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen and that fight for change also needs people behind it to fight for what is right and fair and to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  What we need to avoid, is for the change to be a negative and regressive pulling back of hard fought-for rights. 

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LGBT+ History Month Reading list

For 2022, the Library has a great new reading list which includes many new titles that have just arrived in the Library.  In addition to new titles, there are also examples of other books and resources which link to the theme ‘Politics in Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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LGBT+ History Month 2022

February is LGBT+ History Month 2022

https://lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk

LGBT+ History Month 2022

This year’s theme is Politics In Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’ taken from Dr Martin Luther King jnr’s quote “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”.  The community has faced many setbacks over the years and is still striving for full equality. LGBT+ History Month is all about ‘claiming our past, celebrating our present, creating our future’ so when we celebrate it, we should always be mindful that celebration of successes is always situated within the context of ongoing discrimination.  There is a continuing fight for equality which needs to be acknowledged.  LGBT+ History Month should not be just a performative gesture with a few rainbows and a tweet saying ‘Happy LGBT+ History Month’.

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Running to keep mentally fit

By Daren Mansfield

When my taekwondo sessions ended and the local leisure centre was closed during the first lockdown, and we had to work from home, I thought the world had ended. All routine was suspended. Confined to home I felt isolated and became more increasingly aware of my mental health.

Screenshot of Daren Mansfield's twitter account with picture of himself.
Daily Twitter post about running

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Black History Month 2021

For Black History Month 2021 the Library has created a new reading list about the black history of artists and art movements.  In addition to books we already have in the Library, we have also purchased some new titles which should arrive very soon.

The reading list also includes some online resources and we would welcome new resources to add to the list.

Picture of three artist books
Selection of books from the reading list

The Lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library

Welcome to a visual feast of the king of the beasts, as seen in manuscripts and printed books of Lincoln Cathedral Library. Some of the images are realistic and some less so but still evidence of our long term fascination with the magnificent animal found at the top of the food chain.

Oldest Lions

illuminated initial showing a group of lions on a background of intertwined blue vines
Lincoln Cathedral MS 147 f.96r

One of our oldest lion’s is the 12th century decorated initial in  a manuscript of Peter Lombard’s Sentences (specifically, Psalm 52), described by Rodney Thomson as ‘white lions on square, coloured grounds edged with green’. Can you see them? Look closely!

medieval illuminated letter D, with a red lion in the centre of a green letter
Lincoln Cathedral  MS 193 f.27v

This lonely lion in a 13th century initial from Ivo of Chartres’ Decretum is much easier to spot!

Another 12th century depiction illustrates genealogies of the Counts of Flanders and Kings of France with a lion rampant.

a medieval drawing of a lion
Lincoln Cathedral MS 98 f.120r

It’s interesting to compare the medieval lions to each other!

Early Modern Lions

a woodcut of a lion
Conrad Gesener, Historiae Animalium (1551-1558)

Swiss physician Conrad Gesner is often considered to be the father of modern zoology. His three volume History of Animals was the first comprehensive reference work on the subject, covering quadrupeds, fish, and birds.   Illustrated throughout with fine hand-coloured woodcuts, this work attempted to include all the available information on each animal.  Although it was intended to be factual, there are many wondrous and mythical creatures scattered throughout each book, including a unicorn. This was the first attempt by anyone to describe the animals and their habitats accurately.  If you are visiting Lincoln please do not miss the new exhibition space at the Cathedral. An animated version of Gesner’s rhinoceros will be there in 2022!

painting of a shirtless man, sitting on a rock reading a book. A lion sleeps at his feet.
Illustration of St Jerome and the lion (undated drawing)

The story of the church father Jerome and the lion is a delightful story of a saintly scholar coming to the rescue of a limping lion, removing a thorn from his paw. The lion repaid his kindness by remaining by his side until his death around 420 CE and appears in many paintings with St Jerome. The cathedral owns a beautiful drawing of this story, a hand-coloured illustration with no provenance but visible pin holes where it has been displayed in the past.

The earliest printed book held in the Cathedral Library is a copy of Jerome’s Epistles printed in 1468.

Lions of the Nineteenth Century

illustration of two lions, one crouching facing left, and a lioness surrounded by three cubs
Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1857)

Oliver Goldsmith’s History of the Earth and Animated Nature was first published in 1774, describing the history of the earth, geographical features and many species of animals in eight volumes. The Cathedral has a two volume abridged version, which appeared in 1853. It is mentioned in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, read and enjoyed by Maggie Tulliver.

a black and write print of a man tying prone with a lion pouncing on his back
David Livingstone, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa (1857)

Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873) was not enamoured of the artist’s impression of him being attacked in by a lion, which was published in ‘Missionary travels and researches in South Africa; including a sketch of sixteen years’ residence in the interior of Africa’ in 1857 and tried to have it banned. The attack took place in 1844 during a journey to Mabotsa, Livingstone survived the encounter but the lion did not.

The cathedral library also holds a letter from Livingstone addressed to Col Winyard in 1862, detailing the trials and tribulations of travel in Africa at that time, which featured in Lincoln’s Black History Trail in October’s Black History Month, as part of the University of Lincoln’s Reimagining Lincolnshire project. You can learn more at https://reimagininglincs.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk

Lions Today

Throughout the cathedral’s history, lions have sparked the imagination and interest of the people who illustrated, wrote, and collected its books. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know the lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library.

Images shared with the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral. Blog written by Claire Arrand with help from Hope Williard.

LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Its near the end of LGBTQ+ History month so we are focussing on LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing research in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

LGBT+ 2021 History Month logo

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