The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.
Tucked in among boxes in MARBL’s Derek Mahon Papers, you’ll find these fragments from a clay sculpture of his face created by artist Fleur Fitzgerald. While little is known about this sculpture, it seems appropriate given that art is frequently a theme of this Northern Irish poet’s work. He is well known for his ekphrastic poetry, publishing poems about paintings from artists including Van Gogh, Edward Munch, and Pieter de Hooch. “Courtyards in Delft,” published in his 1982 collection The Hunt by Night, is widely considered to be Mahon’s best ekphrastic poem, taking as its subject de Hooch’s 1658 painting by the same name. In addition to these sculpture fragments, the Mahon Collection contains documents from the last thirty years of his creative production. Notably, this also includes Mahon’s correspondence with important literary figures such as Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley, among others.