Friday, March 1, 2013

The History and Delineation of the Horse

 Book of the Month
John Lawrence - The History and Delineation of the Horse
(London, 1809)
A project has been underway by staff in our Information Access and Learning Services division to upgrade the catalogue information relating to many of our special printed collections and work has just been completed on the Kings Inns collection.
This volume was chosen to represent the fifty books in that collection.  The James Hardiman Library was one of a number of Irish libraries to purchase books which were offered for sale by the Honourable Society of the Kings Inns in 1973. The sale provoked major controversy in the Irish cultural world at the time and the purchase by other Irish Libraries with financial support from An Taisce, was an attempt to retain important rare books in Ireland.
Lawrence’s History and Delineation of the Horse is one of the best known works by an English author who wrote extensively on horses and animal husbandry. He was among the foremost proponents of improving the treatment of animals. His entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that he was consulted by Richard Martin, MP for Galway [“Humanity Dick”], before the latter introduced his “bill on the better treatment of cattle” in parliament.  The book treats extensively of the history of the horse with particular reference to its development as a domestic species. Published in  a century which saw the formalisation of racing and “The Turf”, there is much commentary on the development of racehorse breeds, a topic that will no doubt exercise the minds of many in Ireland and Britain during the month of March, when the annual Cheltenham racing festival takes place!
Find out more….
The entry on John Lawrence can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The print edition is available at 920.041OXF in the Reference Collection on the Ground Floor or it is available online to NUIG users only.
For more details about the controversy concerning the sale of the Kings Inns Library see Colum Kenny. Kings Inns and the Battle of the Books, 1972: cultural controversy at a Dublin library (Dublin, 2002). 026.34 KEN in the Special Collections Reading Room.
You can view the Special Collections homepage here

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