Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Yet another historic collection faces dispersal

Just a very quick note to draw attention to this press release from the University of Kent at Canterbury. The university writes:
The Mendham Collection, which is owned by the Law Society of England and Wales, contains about 5,000 invaluable items including medieval manuscripts, rare books and unique copies of some of the earliest books to have ever been printed. It has been held under the custodianship of the University and Cathedral for nearly thirty years.
Despite an agreement that Cathedral and the University will retain the custodianship of the Collection until the 31 December 2013, the Law Society has given notice of its instruction to Sotheby's to remove the most valuable items on 18 July 2012 as part of a fundraising drive.
ETA (20/7/2012): The University of Kent have set up a petition to protest against the Law Society's actions.  Further information here, and petition here.

ETA (24/7/2012): I've summarised the reply I received from the Law Society to my email about the Mendham collection.

There was 'an understanding' at the time of the donation that the collection would not be broken up.  Dr Alixe Bovey, Director of the University's Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies tweeted throughout the day as the collection was boxed up for transportation to Sotheby's:


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