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2020-21 Recipients of the Dr Greg Wells Small Research Awards

Dr Cecilia Muratori

The work of Dionysius Andreas Freher (1649-1728) spans cultures, languages, and literary and artistic forms. A native of Germany, he settled in London, where he devoted himself to mediating the philosophy of the mystic Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) to a new English readership. One of his most important works is a treatise accompanied by an intricate series of pop-up pictures, which were admired by William Blake, among others (a version of these images can be seen here: Thanks to the Greg Wells Research Award, I could obtain copies of key manuscripts of An Explication of Three Very Different Tables, in preparation for planning the first critical edition. The treatise was never published in full, and the images had a separate reception, often circulating without acknowledgment of their designer. The relevant manuscripts are currently split between the British Library and Dr Williams’s Library in London. The Greg Wells award allowed me to obtain copies of manuscripts from Dr Williams’s Library, which has been closed to the public since 2019, and will not reopen until 2022: without the grant, it would have been impossible to start preparing the edition. An additional grant from the Florabella Trust will cover the costs for obtaining copies of the British Library manuscripts. My edition will reunite the text with the striking images which accompanied it, showing that visualization and philosophical interpretation were intended to work in unison. It will thus make widely available for the first time one of the most original contributions to the Anglo-German philosophical and theological exchange in early modernity.

Aidan Norrie

Thanks to the Dr Greg Wells Research Award, I was able to fund the development of eight family trees for my English Consorts: Power, Influence, Dynasty project. This project, which will provide fresh, focused, and scholarly biographies of all the consorts of the monarchs of England since the Norman Conquest, will result in the publication of four volumes in Palgrave Macmillan’s Queenship and Power series. Helmed by a team of queenship experts and historians of monarchy, the project aims to create a vital reference work for scholars, students, and the interested public. In order to show the complex relationships between the various monarchs and their spouses throughout history, and to make the connections between people more obvious, we commissioned bespoke family trees from Aspect Design. These family trees will be an excellent resource in their own right: because of the project’s focus on consorts, we have included children and spouses who are routinely omitted from other books. The cost of designing these family trees was prohibitive, so we were very grateful to receive this grant from the CSR.

Professor Carol Rutter

The award from the Dr Greg Wells research fund supported my on-going project to produce an online archive of the diplomatic papers attached to the first appointment of Henry Wotton as English Ambassador to the Venetian Republic, 1604-1610.  Specifically, the award was directed to the translation of a tranche of the Italian esposizioni, the viva voce audiences Wotton gave in Collegio before the doge, reports that were recorded verbatim for reading in the coming days to the Senate for deliberation and decision-making. Compiling this archive, which will place images of the Venetian documents opposite their transcriptions and translations, then interleave them with images and transcriptions of Wotton’s dispatches to London, we will be making available to scholars a rich resource that can be investigated as a mico-history of years in which Anglo-Venetian diplomatic relations were reconstructed after a lapse of some four decades. These translations, too, support my immediate project of writing a biography of Henry Wotton, provisionally titled Lying Abroad: Henry Wotton and the Invention of Diplomacy. In this year of global lockdown and pandemic, the Wells award had a second great benefit: it contributed to keeping a young Anglo-Italian scholar in work. I am grateful to the fund on both our behalfs.  

Dr Rosa Salzberg

The generous support of the Greg Wells Research Award has provided a crucial help in allowing me to publish an Italian edition my monograph Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice. This book, based on my doctoral research, was originally published by Manchester University Press in 2014 and in paperback in 2016. It was awarded the Gladys Krieble Delmas Prize for best book in Venetian studies (2014-15) from the Renaissance Society of America and shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Prize. I am currently revising the Italian translation of the book which will be published by the Italian publisher Officina Libraria in late 2021 or early 2022, under the title La città di carta: Stampa effimera e cultura urbana nella Venezia del Cinquecento. The £500 award allows me to pay for the international rights to publish the book, at a time when Italian academic publishers like this have particularly limited funds and are struggling to survive. This is thus a wonderful opportunity for me to share my research with a wider audience of Italian readers, for which I am very grateful.