Early Modern Studies exhibition

Display case 1: The Dutch Republic as an Entrepôt of Knowledge

The Cole Library of printed books and scientific papers on the history of early medicine and zoology, and the Overstone Library, a collection of nearly 8000 printed volumes on the humanities and social sciences, are especially strong on Dutch printed books. The material shown in this display case has been brought together to illustrate the role of the Dutch Republic as a hub of knowledge in the early modern period.

Dictionaries, grammars, histories, works of science and medicine as well as descriptions of famous collections, produced in the Dutch Republic, found their way across Europe, often with help from diplomats, refugees and visitors. Envious Englishmen described the Dutch position as a trading nation and furthered the reputation of the Dutch in the process.

The Dutch trade empire is represented here by two employees of the Dutch East India Company, VOC: the botanist Georgius Rumphius (1627-1702) and the sailmaker Jan Janszoon Struys (d. 1694), and by Pieter de la Court (1618?-1685) in his famous tract on Holland; Robert Codrington (1601-1665) exemplifies England’s envy and competition in the later seventeenth century. Although diverging towards the end of the century, in the early 1600s an Anglo-Dutch world existed in which scholars like Franciscus Junius (1589-1677) and Gerardus Vossius (1577-1649) moved across the North Sea with ease and engaged with fellow intellectuals in both countries. Already in the sixteenth century, the English Merchant Adventurers, celebrated by John Wheeler (fl. 1601-1608), had established a staple in Middelburg.

Anglo-Dutch scientific and scholarly contacts flourished throughout the seventeenth century. Collections of books, like the Bibliotheca Uilenbroukiana, and historical and scientific artefacts and curiosities influenced the work of English scholars and scientists. Jan Swammerdam jr., alongside Robert Hooke, was instrumental in the development and use of the microscope; the mathematicians Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) and Jean Bernoulli (1667-1748) were members of the Royal Society; the physician Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) influenced a generation of English and Scottish physicians; and the translator, lexicographer, and historian Willem Sewel (1653–1720) was influential in English Quakerism. Despite the deterioration in Anglo-Dutch affairs in the reign of Charles II, Anglo-Dutch communications continued, not least as a result of Huguenot authors and their extensive Anglo-Dutch network of fellow authors and journalists.

List of exhibits

D'Amboinsche rariteitkamer : behelzende eene beschryvinge van allerhande zoo weeke als harde schaalvisschen, te weeten raare krabben, kreeften, en diergelyke zeedieren, als mede allerhande hoorntjes en schulpen, die men in d'Amboinsche zee vindt … Beschreven door Georgius Everhardus Rumphius ... T' Amsterdam : François Halma, 1705. COLE--X341F

Bibliotheca Uilenbroukiana : sive, Catalogus liborum quos collegit vir eximius D. Gosuinus Uilenbroek, in tres partes divisus. Cujus publica fiet auctio in officina Wetstenio-Smithiana, die 3 Octobris, & sequentibus. Ao. 1729. Amsterdam : apud Wetstenios & Smith, 1729. OVERSTONE--SHELF 4C/22

Les voyages de Jean Struys, en Moscovie, en Tartarie, en Perse, aux Indes, & en plusieurs autres païs étrangers : accompagnés de remarques particuliéres sur la qualité, la religion, le gouvernement, les coutumes & le négoce des lieux qu'il a vus ; avec quantité de figures en taille douce dessinés par lui-même ; & deux l'ettres qui traitent à fond des malheurs d'Astracan. A quoi l'on a ajouté ... la relation d'un naufrage ... / par M. Glanius. Amsterdam : chés la veuve de Jacob van Meurs, 1681. OVERSTONE--SHELF 24F/14

(For more information on Les voyages de Jean Struys, see our featured item).

A treatise of commerce, wherin are shewed the commodies arising by a wel ordered, and ruled trade, such as that of the Societie of Merchantes Adventurers is proved to bee … by John Wheeler. Middelburgh : by Richard Schilders, printer to the States of Zeland, 1601. OVERSTONE--SHELF 10A/4

The true interest and political maxims of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland. In three parts … written by John de Witt, and other great men in Holland. Publish’d by the authority of the states. London : [s.n.], MDCCII [1702] Wrongly attributed to Jan de Witt; in fact by Pieter de la Court. RESERVE--949.204-WIT

His Majesties propriety, and dominion on the Brittish seas asserted : together with a true account of the Neatherlanders insupportable insolencies, and injuries, they have committed ; and the inestimable benefits they have gained in their fishing on the English seas. As also their prodigious and horrid cruelties in the East and West-Indies, and other places. To which is added an exact mapp ... London : printed for Edward Thomas, 1672. Attributed to Robert Codrington (1601-1665). OVERSTONE--SHELF 30D/10

Johannis Bernoulli, M. D. matheseos professoris, regiarum societatum Parisiensis, Londinensis, Petropolitanæ, Berolinensis, Socii &c. Opera omnia, tam antea sparsim edita, quam hactenus inedita. Lausannæ & Genevæ : Sumptibus Marci-Michaelis Bousquet & Sociorum, 1742. Volume 1of 4 volume set. RESERVE FOLIO--510-BER VOL. 1

Hermanni Boerhaave ... Methodus studii medici / emaculata & accessionibus locupletata ab Alberto ab Haller ... Amstelaedami : Sumptibus Jacobi a Wetstein, 1751. COLE--X139Q

Ephemeri vita : of afbeeldingh van's Menschen Leven, Vertoont in de wonderbaarelücke en nooyt gehoorde historie van het vliegent ende een-dagh-levent Haft of Oever-aas ... door Johannes Swammerdam. Amsterdam : by Abraham Wolfgang, 1675. COLE--X115

A new dictionary English and Dutch, wherein the words are rightly interpreted, and their various significations exactly noted. Enriched with many elegant phrases and select proverbs … , door Wm. Séwel. t'Amsterdam : by de Weduwe van Steven Swart, 1691. COLE- -X463

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