Victor Hugo and Guernsey: The Breakwater

24th October 2018
Opinions on the building of the Castle Emplacement from Victor Hugo and his son Charles. Charles took the accompanying photograph, The Castle Emplacement under construction, c 1856; he also took a fine study of St Catherine's Breakwater in Jersey some years earlier. (Hugo family friend Auguste Vacquerie was also an excellent photographer, and may possibly be responsible for this photograph, but Charles shared his father's appreciation of the effort and skill required to build these types of structures, and of the progress and growth they embodied, and is likely to have found this and the Jersey breakwater an appealing subject). The photograph is in the collection of Paris Musées: Construction de la digue reliant le château Cornet au port, attribuée à Charles Hugo, 1855-6.

The carved chests of the Channel Islands

9th July 2018
'A slightly coloured sketch.'An oaken chest, half eaten by the worm, But richly carved by Anthony of Trent, With Scripture stories from the life of Christ; A chest that came from Venice, and had held The ducal robes of some old ancestor. That by the way—it may be true or false.[From] Rogers’ Italy.By Samuel Elliott Hoskins. Victor Hugo was not, it would seem, the first to transform the carved wooden chests of Guernsey into some other form of decorative furniture. De Beauvoir De Lisle got there before him!

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: a visit to Victor Hugo’s House, 1866

5th July 2018
By Thomas Cave, from the North Devon Journal, September 20 1866. 'It is always interesting to trace the home and associations of an eminent author and to realize a little of the inner life of the man whose works instruct or amuse us, especially when the impress of his mind is so visibly traceable in the material objects about him. It seems as if the fanciful taste which has arranged all these materials at its will in turn receives daily promptings from its very creation.' The engraving of The Oak Gallery is by one of Hugo's favoured artists, Fortune Méaulle, from Alfred Barbou's Victor Hugo and his times, New York: Harper, 1881, in the Library Collection.

Elie Brevint on people and things

5th January 2018
More exceptionally interesting 17th-century observations from Elie Brevint. Brevint (1587-1674) was minister of Sark from 1612. His father Cosmé, also a minister, was a Huguenot refugee from Angoulême who had accompanied Helier De Carteret from Jersey in his colonisation of Sark. Transcriptions and microfilm of Elie's 14 Notebooks, which were found in a loft in Sark in the 19th century, are held in the Priaulx Library. They are written in French. The picture above is a detail from Boethius, In philosophia consolationem, Strasbourg 1501, one of the rare books in the Library’s collection.

Donations 2017

3rd January 2018
As always, we have received some exceptional material this year from very kind and generous donors. Above: the Guernsey Arms circular-headed window from Jane Mahy's report on the stained-glass windows of Grange House, one of this year's donations.

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