In this film Armagh Robinson Library’s Curatorial Research Fellow, Dr Max Bryant, provides an insight into his work cataloguing and researching the prints collection of Archbishop Richard Robinson, 1st Baron Rokeby, which is funded by the Paul Mellon Centre.
In 1794, along with his books, medals, coins and gem casts, Archbishop Robinson bequeathed c.4,500 prints to the Library which he had founded in Armagh in 1771. Known as the ‘Rokeby Collection’, the prints which date from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, range from iconic works of printmaking by Goltzius and Nanteuil, to designs for decorative arts, to ephemeral satires and illustrations. Robinson never articulated his intentions for the collection, and ordered his papers to be destroyed by his executors, leaving an ongoing question about what goals may have been expressed by the bequest. The question is compounded by the diversity of the collection, and its often surprising areas of focus.
The talk considers the range of the Rokeby Collection, and situates it within the context of the Library’s other founding collections, in order to offer a pathway to navigate one of Northern Ireland’s major (and oldest) public arts collections.