Category Archives: Travel

Kunstbibliothek & Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Berlin

Kunstbibliothek, Berlin

While researching in Berlin I also visited the Kunstbibliothek; Berlin’s Art Library, or, The Library of Art History. This library is located at number 6 Matthäikirchplatz, which is situated opposite the SBB’s Potsdamer branch. A number of art history libraries are housed within this building, including the Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek (Lipperheide Costume Library), where a selection of extant sources for the 1821 Berlin performance of Spontini’s Lalla Rookh are housed.


Gaining admission to the Kunstbibliothek/Lipperheidesche was very straightforward. You first need to register, and this can be completed onsite when you arrive. The registration office is located on the left next to the entrance. There is no registration fee but it is necessary to complete a form and to present your passport for identification purposes. You receive your library card immediately and this permits admission to all libraries within the Kunstbibliothek building. It is possible to order material through the online catalogue. Some items can be retrieved within 30 minutes, others will be retrieved the following day. I placed my order at about 4pm and the material was available to consult at 10am the following morning; this arrangement suited my research schedule.


As with all libraries visited to date, bags and coats are not allowed in the reading rooms. There are no locker facilities at this library. Similar to the SBB’s Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites there is a cloakroom manned by a porter and this is where you store your belongings while in the reading room. You receive a token with a number for retrieving your belongings before leaving the library. There is also a café onsite.


For more information about the Kunstbibliothek and Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, including information about admission and opening times, visit the websites listed here:


This research trip was kindly and generously funded by the Keats-Shelly Association of America, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grant 2017.



Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preuβischer Kulturbesitz (SBB)

Unter den Linden site, SBB
Unter den Linden site, SBB

I recently completed my final research trip for project ERIN. I visited Berlin for five days to research at the Staatsbibliothek (SBB). This was my first time visiting the SBB and Berlin. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has four branches; Unter den Linden, Potsdamer Straβe, Westhafen and bpk-Bildagentur. I needed to visit the Music Reading Room (Musik-Lesessal), which is located at the Unter den Linden site, and the Manuscripts Reading Room (Handschriften-Lesessal), which is located at the main site on Potsdamer Strasse; both branches are located within the Berlin Mitte district. The closest U-bahn stops are Friedrichstrasse and Potsdamer Platz respectively.


Readers who are not resident in Berlin may register online prior to visiting the library; click on the following link and select Registration Form via SSL Access http:// Shortly after you submit the registration form you should receive an email acknowledgement. In order to adequately prepare for your visit, especially if travelling to Berlin from outside Germany, it is important to include the dates of your intended visit on the registration form. You should receive your library card number and a password via email exactly one week before the date of your arrival at the SBB. Once you receive this information you can login to the SBB’s online catalogue and place your order in advance of your visit. Since it may take 2-3 days to retrieve some items, it is important to allow adequate time when placing your order. It should also be noted that orders are held for eight days only, it is therefore recommended not to place your order too far in advance of your visit. If you experience any difficulties using the online system you can email your request directly to the relevant library department; click on the following link for a list of the SBB’s departments and contact details


To order material when in the Music Reading Room complete a white call-slip, available at the issue desk. When researching in the Manuscripts Reading Room complete a pink callslip, available at the issue desk there. One call-slip must be completed per item. There is approximately a two hour wait time for orders placed in the Music Reading Room and a one hour wait time for orders placed in the Manuscripts Reading Room. If researching in the Music Reading Room it is important to be aware that orders placed before 11am can be retrieved on the same day, but orders placed after 2pm will not be retrieved until the following day.


On arrival at the library you will need to complete the registration process; this can be done at either the Unter den Linden or Potsdamer sites. Since I had planned to begin my research in the Music Reading Room it was most convenient for me to complete the registration process at the Unter den Linden site. The entrance to the Unter den Linden site is located on Dorotheenstraβe. To complete registration visit the issue desk on the first floor, submit a print out of the completed online registration form and present your passport for identification purposes. Registration for one month costs €12 and registration for one year costs €30. The library card is issued immediately and payment is made using an automatic cash machine located to the right of the issue desk. It is not permitted to bring bags or coats into the reading rooms. I found the locker system in use at both the Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites to be a little unusual as some lockers require padlocks. I am unsure if the padlocks are supplied by the library of if you need to bring your own; I suspect the latter. All lockers are located in the foyer on the ground floor at both Unter den Linden and Potsdamer. It is imperative to arrive at the library in the early morning, preferably before 10am, if you wish to avail of a locker with its own key, for which you will need a €1 coin. If there are no lockers available one must leave all belongings in a cloakroom which is manned by a porter. A numbered token is issued for retrieving belongings from the cloakroom before you leave the library.


The Music Reading Room is located on the first floor at the Unter den Linden site and accommodates 36 readers. Facilities include PCs and microfilm machines. The reading room is spacious and the work desks are large, so there is adequate space for working with larger sources. The Manuscripts Reading Room is located on level three at the Potsdamer site and accommodates up to 24 readers. Wifi is available at both Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites. Opening times for the Music and Manuscripts Reading Rooms vary; consult the SBB’s website for information about reading room times and closure dates; a link to the library’s homepage is provided here There is a café onsite at Potsdamer and a selection of vending machines are located in the foyer at Unter den Linden. The staff at both sites were friendly and very helpful.


In my next blog I will provide an account of my experience researching at the Lipperheidesche Kostuembibliothek (Lipperheide Costume Library) which is located at the Kunstbibliothek, 6 Matthäikirchplatz, Berlin.


This research trip was kindly and generously funded by the Keats-Shelly Association of America, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grant 2017.



Thomas Moore: A European in the New World

On Leaving Halifax, PW Routledge 1864After graduating from Trinity College Dublin, Moore was a promising young man in need of employment. His amiability secured him the interest of Lord Moira, and it was through this connection that he was offered an administrative post in Bermuda. And so the young poet set sail from Portsmouth  to Norfolk, Virginia in September 1803, writing home whenever he could  about his adventures. Unsurprisingly, he responded to the brave new world of America as a well-educated, cultured, European. After a “boisterous crossing”, the young Irishman was touched by the “homely … and genuine civility” of Colonel Hamilton, the British consul. Moore was genuinely reassured by the presence of a harpsichord at the Hamiltons’, taking this to be a sign of “civilisation”. He relished opportunities for music-making and dancing, describing his role once he reached Bermuda as acting as the “whole orchestra” for music parties and attending balls once or twice a week. His sensibility as a cultured young man led him to pity the young women of St George’s, for although they were generally good dancers, they were so evidently untutored, being “thrown together in this secluded nook of the world, where they learn all the corruptions of human nature, without any one of its consolations or ornaments.” And Moore so valued the rare literary culture of Philadelphia that he was actively disappointed to have to leave there.

The young writer had a very profound response to the natural beauty he encountered, describing the Passaick Falls as “sweetly romantic”, the Coho Falls as “impressive”, and Niagara Falls as a “mighty flow of waters descending with calm magnificence”. This last experience was a spiritual one, as Moore “felt as if approaching the very residence of the Deity”. He was also moved by the Mohawk river, whose “immense banks” possessed a “holy magnificence”. Moore conveyed a profound respect for nature in his poetry of the time, including his “Lines Written on a Storm at Sea”:

Oh! There’s a holy calm profound

In awe like this, that ne’er was given

To pleasure’s thrill;

‘Tis as a solmen voice from heaven,

And the soul, listening to the sounds,

Lies mute on still.

While describing himself as “amused … by the novelty of [the] appearance” of the Oneida Indians, Moore was genuinely impressed with their chief, Seenando, describing him as “courteous … gentle and intelligent”. Moore’s Whig sensibilities are evident in his indignant response to the plight of the Oneida with regards to their land, which the American government had been “continually deceiving them” into surrendering. Moore’s deep appreciation of human fellowship is seen in his first success as a lyricist, the “Canadian Boat Song”– stimulated by his first experience of riding a canoe:

Faintly as tolls the evening chime,Canadian Boat Song, PW Routledge 1864

Our voices keep tune, and our oars keep time;

Soon as the woods on shore look dim,

We’ll sing at St. Ann’s our parting hymn.

Row, brother, row, the stream runs fast,

The rapids are near, and the daylight’s past.

Who is your favorite “nature poet”? Do you have a verse you would like to share on the blog?

Images courtesy of Special Collections, the McClay library, Queen’s University Belfast

Thomas Moore in Paris

This month of national natal days suggests a couple of blog posts about Moore’s reactions — both as a person and as an artist– to other nations in which he lived. He had a strong connection with France,  having lived there for the best part of four years (January 1819-November 1822), during which time Moore recorded his  impressions in his Journal. Upon arriving in Paris he secured “a little fairy suite of apartments” on the fashionable Rue Chanterine, venturing to the boulevard theatres the very next day, where he was “much amused”. Common Sense and Genius. StothardOf Spontini’s Olympie at the Paris Opera Moore declared “Nothing can be more poetically imagined than the scenery and ballet of this opera.” After hearing Rossini’s music at a ball,  Moore described it as “delicious”, the socialite in him appreciating “the ease with which all  Rossini’s lively songs and choruses may be turned into quadrilles and waltzes”. He quickly made the acquaintance of the fashionable novelist Madame de Souza-Bothello, discussing her current romance (novel) whilst it was in progress. With the arrival of wife Bessy and his brood of children, the family moved to a cottage with a garden on the Champs Elysees. Moore swiftly became part of Madame de Flahault’s social circle, singing at intimate gatherings attended by other ex-pats. By May 1820 Moore had a wide social circle that he entertained at home, al fresco with champagne under the trees when the weather permitted.  In the summer of 1820 he joined with the rest of Paris in watching various adventurers travel by hot-air balloon, including the ill-fated Mademoislle Garnerin (who was eventually lost on one such voyage).  Moore reported a new-found appreciation for “the charms of inanimate nature” on a walk from St. Cloud to Ville d’Avray (this appreciation of natural scenery certainly comes across in some of the Irish Melodies). Although he  was underwhelmed by a ball given by the Gardes du Corps at the Chateau of the Tuileries (“not so fine as a I expected”), Moore expressed complete delight with his family’s summer residence in La Butte, declaring “as far as tranquility, fine scenery, and sweet sunshine go, I could not wish to pass a more delightful summer.” He met Princesse Tallyrand at a dinner in May 1821, taking pleasure in her evident engagement with a French prose translation of his Lalla Rookh, as well as her kindness in praising the beauty of his wife; Moore’s uxoriousness was legendary, and he cheerfully reported in his Journal that an acquaintance declared “every one speaks of your conjual attention, and I assure you all Paris is disgusted with it.” The Journal records Moore’s personal impressions rather than his political views, but he tells with sympathy an  anecdote he learned of a French Royalist he met, whose young lady was arrested (and subsequently imprisoned for six months) merely for wearing a tricolore ribbon to a masked ball. Initially admiring of Napoleon (“this thunder-storm of a fellow”), Moore described his exile to St Helena as “unsportsmanlike”.  Moore was inspired by his Parisian period to write the epistolary satire, The Fudge Family in Paris, which, as Ronan Kelly notes in his Bard of Erin, has “an autobiographical ring” to certain of its details. Moore also featured no fewer than ten French Melodies in his six-volume series of National Airs (1818-1827).  Moore’s presence (through publications of his work) in Paris will be charted further through other outcomes of this project.

Common Sense and Genius.PowerAre you aware of the past-times and impressions of other visitors to Paris during the 1810s and ’20s? If so, tell us about it on the blog!

Images reproduced courtesy of Special Collections, the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.