Lars Karlsson, Viking and explorer at IU, discovers Shakespearean-related items in some of his favorite collections throughout IU Bloomington’s campus in honor of IU Theatre’s upcoming production of Macbeth (February 5-13 in the Wellz-Metz Theatre). He even donned his ruff collar for the pictures!
I was most honored by the invitation to be a guest writer for the Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance’s blog! With their upcoming production of Macbeth and 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, I was inspired to voyage to some of my favorite repositories on the IU Bloomington campus to discover items related to the play and Shakespeare. My adventures led me to the IU Art Museum, IU Archives, Mathers Museum, Lilly Library, and William and Gayle Cook Music Library. I quickly learned that IU Bloomington is home to many interesting and important Shakespearean works. How lucky are we Hoosiers to have these materials at our very finger tips?!
My first stop was the magnificent Indiana University Art Museum, where I was warmly greeted by Jenny McComas, Class of 1949 Curator of European and American Art. She took me into the Gallery of the Art of the Western World (my favorite gallery!) on the first floor of the Art Museum, where I saw a captivating painting by Swiss painter, Henry Fuseli (1741-1825). Fuseli depicts a scene from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with Prospero, Caliban, and Miranda. Gert Schiff, a Fuseli scholar, believes this painting was the model for a book illustration.
Jenny said that the poses of Caliban, Prospero, and Miranda are real poses from 18th century acting manuals! She also thinks that Fuseli’s sympathetic portrayal of Caliban (a slave) is contemporary to the British government outlawing the slave trade in 1807. Jenny taught me so many interesting things about Fuseli’s work. Don’t miss out on experiencing this painting up-close and in person, friends; it’s breathtaking!
Henry Fuseli, Swiss, active England, 1741-1825. Prospero, Caliban, and Miranda in Shakespeare’s The Tempest Act 1, Scene 2, ca. 1806-10. Oil on Canvas. IU Art Museum.
I then went up to the third floor of the IU Art Museum to meet Nan Brewer, Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of works on paper. She took me to the viewing room and showed me the most splendid spread of Shakespearean-related works on paper I have ever seen! The portrait of Shakespeare with which I am pictured is an etching (ca. 1900) by William Harry Warren Bicknell (American, 1860-1947). Nan explained that this etching is based on the most famous portrait thought to depict William Shakespeare, which was painted between 1600 and 1610 by an unknown artist. It may have served as the model for the engraved portrait of Shakespeare in the First Folio, and you will see that in a moment! Did you know that you can request to see specific works of art in a viewing room at the Art Museum? The room is available M-F, 8:30 am – 4:45 pm, and you should give at least one week’s notice for scheduling.
To learn more about accessing the collections, visit How To Use Our Collections or email Nan Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more Shakespearean works on paper, be sure to click on the photo gallery at the end of this post!
William Harry Warren Bicknell, American, 1860-1947. William Shakespeare (after the Chandos Portrait), ca. 1900. Etching on paper. Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, IU Art Museum.
The Lilly Library was the next stop on my quest for Shakespearean items. I searched for William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the IU Libraries online catalog, IUCAT and limited my search to only Lilly Library books. The Lilly has lots of books by and about Shakespeare and his play Macbeth, so I picked two of my favorite discoveries to share with you. I, of course, had to show you Macbeth in the First Folio.The First Folio was printed in 1623 in “folio” size and is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. Did you know the First Folio is the only source for 18 of the plays, and we have one that you can see and touch right here on campus?!
First Folio. London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623. The Lilly Library, Indiana University
Another book I just had to share with you is a miniature book of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s only 24mm in height and is one of only 300 made and signed by Barbara J. Raheb in 1981. The Lilly Library has a wonderful collection of miniature books, along with many other awe-inspiring collections to discover! To locate and access books and manuscripts, use the new Lilly Library Request System AEON or email email@example.com for help.
The Tragedy of Macbeth. Van Nuys, CA.: Barbara J. Raheb, 1981. The Lilly Library, Indiana University
Since Macbeth is set in Scotland, I traveled to the wondrous Mathers Museum of World Cultures to see if there were any Scottish related materials in the collections. I met with Assistant Director, Judy Kirk, who was so kind and helpful. She took me to the viewing room and showed me a real Scottish bagpipe from the mid-20th century! It is from the Laura Bolton collection of ethnomusicological materials. The Mathers Museum has over 30,000 objects and 10,000 photographs in their collections representing cultures from each of the world’s inhabited continents. They always have fascinating items on exhibit and lots of fun activities, so I urge you to visit the Mathers!
If you are interested in the history of IU Theatre, then the IU Archives and Records Management is the place to explore! I first researched their collections for Macbeth on Archives Online, the portal for accessing descriptions of collections. After searching, I discovered some great Macbeth items in the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama records, 1925-2007. I emailed the IU Archives and requested to see a program and newspaper clippings from a 1965 IU Theatre production of Macbeth. Dina Kellams, Director of IU Archives, kindly greeted me when I arrived and escorted me to the reading room where my requested materials awaited. This picture is from a 1965 newspaper clipping about IU Theatre’s Macbeth; you can see even more images from the IU Archives in the photo gallery at the end of this post!
Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama records, 1925-2007. Indiana University Archives and Records Management
To experience the more musical side of Shakespeare, visit the William & Gayle Cook Music Library. I searched for Macbeth in IUCAT and limited my search to the Music Library. While I discovered many fascinating items on Macbeth, I was most excited about a musical score composed by Giuseppe Verdi titled Macbeth: Melodramma in Quattro Atti. Circulation Supervisor, Charley Roush, kindly hosted my visit and had the piece ready for me see. The score was composed March 14, 1847 and was revised April 21, 1865, and it is written only for piano. The Music Library has many lovely collections of musical scores for you to discover, hear, play, and sing!
Verdi, Giuseppe. Macbeth: Melodramma in Quattro Atti. Milano; New York: G. Ricordi, [187-?]. William & Gayle Cook Music Library, Indiana University
My final stop is to discover Shakespeare at IU Theatre with their production of Macbeth! The performance runs February 5-13 in the Wellz-Metz Theatre. I have my tickets, and I hope to see you there, friends!
Lars has some help with his adventures on the IU campus. Kristin Leaman, archivist with University Archives, helps Lars track down IUB’s treasures and, of course, provides transportation. You can read more about Kristin in this 2015 profile from The School of Informatics and Computing. Big THANK YOU to Kristin for sharing this tiny vikings BTown conquests.