The Reckoning of Time

On display in the Special Collections foyer in the library for the beginning of 2006 are three books from across the centuries that are concerned with the passing of time.

There is a twelfth century manuscript of several works on the use of the Calendar, with the opening of Bede's 'On the Reckoning of Time' on display. The text is introduced by a beautiful coloured initial 'd' that contains a seated representation of the author.

This is accompanied by an elegant edition of Regiomontanus' Calendar. It was produced in Venice in 1482 by the great master printer, Erhard Ratdolt. The exhibited opening includes a practical instrument that calculates the motion of the moon. It consists of two rotating 'volvelles' - that is, superimposed moveable discs held to the page by a piece of string.

The last book currently on display is a standard almanac for the year 1701. It is an interleaved copy, the blank pages of which have been heavily annotated by its owner, George Langton (1647-1727), a Lincolnshire landowner and businessman. He used his almanac as a pocket diary, and his entry for October is shown: as well as recording a receipt of payments on Lady Day, the birth of his son on the 13th is noted.

These books will be on display until the end of March on level 12 of the library. Everyone welcome. For more details, see Special Collections Display

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First published: 6 January 2006

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