Making the Memoirs: missing leaves in the manuscript of Lucy Hutchinson’s life of John Hutchinson

Gibson, Jonathan (2023). Making the Memoirs: missing leaves in the manuscript of Lucy Hutchinson’s life of John Hutchinson. The Seventeenth Century, 38(3) pp. 403–412.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0268117x.2023.2207968

Abstract

Analysing watermark sequences in early modern manuscripts makes it possible to identify, without disturbing the binding, points at which leaves have probably been removed. Applied to Nottingham City Museum and Galleries NCM 1922–71 (previously Nottinghamshire Archives MS DD/HU/4), the autograph manuscript containing Lucy Hutchinson’s famous biography of her husband John, this technique uncovers five instances in which it seems likely that Hutchinson herself intervened in this way. I discuss possible reasons for Hutchinson’s removal of the leaves in question, explain the basis for this kind of watermark analysis, and highlight the importance of physical study of the manuscript to an understanding of the contexts and purposes of the Memoirs.

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