A legendary collection of Japanese illustrated books: the lost library of Eugène Gillet

A legendary collection of Japanese illustrated books: the lost library of Eugène Gillet

A legendary collection of Japanese illustrated books: the lost library of Eugène Gillet

event Saturday, September 28, 2024 schedule 10.00am - 11.00am BST
event Saturday, September 28, 2024 schedule 10.00am - 11.00am BST
  • three Japanese book covers
In-person at Sidgwick | £15
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Location: 
Sidgwick Site | View details

The extensive library of Japanese woodblock printed books amassed by the French artist Eugène Gillet (1859-1938) has been a topic of discussion among collectors, scholars, and dealers since its dispersal at auction in the early 1960s. While Gillet’s books are identifiable by the unique textile covers he created for them, until recently the full extent of his collection was not known, and his identity was shrouded in mystery. Archival research and the release of a group of documents by Gillet’s distant heirs in 2023 has shed new light on the life and collecting practice of this remarkable French bibliophile.

Speaker

Alessandro Bianchi

Photograph of Alessandro Bianchi

Alessandro Bianchi earned a PhD from the University of Cambridge with a doctoral thesis on political satire in 18th-century Japan. He has worked at the British Library, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and taught at Haverford College. Between 2019 and 2023, he was the manager of the Bodleian Japanese Library at Oxford and curator of its collection of Japanese rare books and manuscripts. In Cambridge, he leads the Department of World Collections at the University Library. Alessandro is also a visiting researcher at the Art Research Centre of Ritsumeikan University in Japan and a subject specialist (Cultore della Materia) in global book history at La Sapienza University in Rome. His research focuses on Japanese book history, print culture, and the arts of the book.

Recent publications

2023 

“Yōsōbon ni kaisō shita wahon: kyū Gillet zōhon no fukahyōshi ni tsuite 洋装本に改装した和本─旧ジレ蔵本の付加表紙について” (Japanese books in European bindings: the supplementary covers of the ex-Gillet collection). In Nihon Bungaku Kenkyū Journal 日本文学研究ジャーナル, vol. 26, pp. 24-40. 

 “Kinsei shoki no eiji bukan 近世初期の英字武鑑” (A daimyo list written in English in the early seventeenth century). In Nihon Kenkyū 日本研究 vol. 67, co-authored with P.F. Kornicki. 

 “The Arts of the Book and Books as Art.” In Matsuda Takami ed. Honkei: Shomotsu bunka ga tsukuridasu rensō no fūkei 『本景 — 書物文化がつくりだす連想の風景』 (Keio Museum Commons), pp. 133-154. 

2022            

“Mono toshite no kinsei bungaku 「もの」としての近世文学” (Early modern Japanese literature as object). feature in the proceedings of the Fall symposium of Kinsei Bungakukai 近世文学会, Kinsei Bungei 近世文藝 vol. 116, pp. 51-53.  

2021            

“Chapter 1: Jesuit translation practices in sixteenth-century Japan.” In Kiaer J., Bianchi A., Falato G. et al. Missionary Translators: Translation of Christian Texts in East Asia (Routledge), co-authored with Pia Jolliffe, pp. 25-51 

Booking information

In-person lectures at the Sidgwick Site as part of Alumni Festival cost £15 per person.

Price: 
£15

Location

Sidgwick Site
West Road
Cambridge
CB3 9DP
United Kingdom

Contact

Alumni Festival Team
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