The Hesketh Collection

24 September - 22 December 2006

This exhibition showcased items from the Hesketh Collection, deposited on loan in the University Library.

The Hesketh Collection was largely established during the first part of the 20th century by the first and second Lord Hesketh. It formed part of the celebrated library at Easton Neston, Northamptonshire.

This exhibition displayed books from this collection, which covered a range of topics including natural history and ornithology (the study of birds) and featured many exquisite hand-coloured engravings.

Books featured in this exhibition included:

  • John James Audubon’s beautiful and large folio of the Birds of America, with life-size paintings and 435 hand-coloured engravings across 4 impressive volumes
  • John Gould’s vibrant Birds of Asia and Hummingbirds
  • William Hooker’s fruit-filled Pomona Londinensis
  • The rare A Collection of Roses from Nature by Mary Lawrance
  • A manuscript of Druthmar’s commentary on St. Matthew’s Gospel
  • Two stunning fifteenth-century books of hours from France and England, each with intricate decorations and illustrations
  • First folio editions of the works of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson

Also on display from the Hesketh Collection were original drawings of roses by the famous Belgian botanical painter Pierre Joseph Redouté, and letters from Elizabeth the First, Lord Burghley and Francis Walsingham to Sir Ralph Sadler about Mary Queen of Scots’ imprisonment at Tutbury Castle in 1585, just two years before Mary’s execution.

The Museum gives thanks to Museums Sheffield for their generous loan of numerous framed works by John James Audubon for this exhibition.