Monday, 22 July 2013

Christ between Saints Peter and Paul

A rare and beautiful early Renaissance painting has been saved for the nation by our colleagues at the Ferens Art Gallery. With the support of our own funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Art Fund, Christ between Saints Peter and Paul by Sienese artist Pietro Lorenzetti has been acquired by the Ferens Endowment Fund for display in the Gallery.

As part of the City Council's Heritage section, we at the History Centre can bask in some of the reflected glow of our colleagues’ success!

Pietro Lorenzetti (active 1306(?); died probably 1348)
Christ between Saints Peter and Paul, c.1320Tempera on panel, 32.2 x 70.4 cm© Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Museums.  Photo: The National Gallery, London
Lorenzetti painted the altarpiece of which the Hull picture is a surviving part in 1320. Oddly enough 1320 is the date from which the routine records of local administration here in Hull actually survive. The Chamberlains’ Rolls – the annual accounts of the town’s two financial officers, the chamberlains – begin in this year (reference C BRF/2). The first recorded chamberlains were the merchant brothers William and Richard de la Pole, beginning a family trajectory which nearly led to the throne of England.

Visitors to the Ferens will be able to see the Lorenzetti masterpiece next year, after it has been restored at the National Gallery. But when you do go, remember that at the time Pietro was grinding his pigments in Siena, here in Hull records were being created which nearly seven hundred years later the History Centre preserves and makes available for posterity. 

Martin Taylor
City Archivist

Monday, 8 July 2013

No small print

On Thursday and Friday last week the Hull History Centre was closed whilst new digital microfilm readers were being installed. During the move to the new building in 2010 we had looked into this but the costs were too high. When we revisited this earlier this year we found that technology had improved and prices had dropped significantly! 

New digital microfilm readers with touch screen in use
With 8 new ScanPro 3000 machines it wasn't simply a case of swapping the machines - we needed to close to remove the old items, re-arrange the furniture and install the new PCs and touch screen monitors and train the staff.

The new machines not only have a smaller footprint, each can read a variety of formats including microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards removing the need to swap machines. They are all networked allowing users to print from any machine whilst digital technology allows users to rotate, flip and zoom to read the smallest of text quickly and easily. 

We have also microfilmed the last three years of Hull Daily Mail and the popular Flashback series, we have updated the list of material on microfilm on the History Centre website. With the building closed we have also taken the opportunity to make a few other improvements including bringing down into the searchroom the telephone directories for Hull (from 1937) to go alongside our collection of street directories.

We have also revamped the Centre's website home page and this blog which we hope you will find interesting. We will be reviewing and adding more content to the website in the next few months so use the feedback form and let us know what you what to see.

Simon Wilson
Senior Archivist, Hull History Centre