We’ve marked Valentine’s Day a little early here in the Galleries with a Tuesday Treasure all about the love story of Cupid and Psyche.

This month we had a little change of scene and ventured up to the Brotherton Room in Special Collections, home to some of Lord Brotherton’s own collection which he donated to the University. Dr Regine May from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies selected a wide range of material from Special Collections to share with visitors.

On display was a copy of Genealogia deorum gentilium (1511) known in English as On the Genealogy of the Gods of the Gentiles, by the Italian poet and writer Giovanni Boccaccio. It details the genealogy of the gods of ancient Greece and Rome and  includes a retelling of the story of Psyche.

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Genealogia deorum gentilium; ‘On the Genealogy of the Gods of the Gentiles (1511), Giovanni Boccaccio. University of Leeds

 

Published in 1973, a book containing  illustrations by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones was also on display. The stunning woodcuts were intended for a long version of the story of Cupid and Psyche included in The Earthly Paradise (1868), also published by Morris. That long version was never realised but the stunning rescued and preprinted woodcuts were thoroughly enjoyed by visitors.

Joseph Beaumont’s Christian allegorical interpretation of the tale was composed in twenty stanzas. This 1702 version Psyche, or love’s mystery: in XXIV cantos: displaying the intercourse betwixt Christ and the soul is focused on Psyche, the Soul, and her journey to eternal life.

Next month we’ll be exploring innovative translations of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Our Tuesday Treasure events are a great way to get up close to material from Special Collections. From coins to witchcraft, and textiles to politics, discover new treasures every month in these free drop-in displays. Visit the Galleries website to find out more about our regular events programme or follow @LULGalleries on social media.