Welcome to Estiennes at the Edward Worth Library

The Edward Worth Library is a rare books collection, bequeathed to Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, by Dr. Edward Worth (1676-1733), who was one of the Hospital’s earliest Trustees. This web exhibition, curated by Ms Agathe Vézine (M2 – CEI, Culture de l’écrit et de l’image, École nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques), with the assistance of the Librarian of the Edward Worth Library, Dr Elizabethanne Boran, explores Worth’s collection of books printed by the famous French printing house of the Estiennes. It is the thirteenth in a series of websites exploring the holdings of the Worth Library. For further details please contact our website: www.edwardworthlibrary.ie.

P. Terentii Comœdia sex, tum ex Donati co[m]mentariis, tvm ex optimorvm, praesertim veterum, exe[m]plarium collatione, diligentius quàm vnquam antehac, emendatæ. Aelii Donati antiquissimi & celeberrimi Grammatici, aliorúmque veterum in easdem, quicunque extant, commentarii, ex veteri codice manu descripto, Græcis etiam repositis, accurate castigati. Calphurnii in tertiam Comœdiam doctissima interpretatio. Indicata sunt diligentius carminu[m] genera, & in his incidentes difficultates, correcta quædam & consulum nomina, ídque studio & opera Des. Erasmi Roterodami, non sine præsidio veteru[m] exemplariorum. Eorvm, quæ in co[m]mentariis sparsim annotata sunt, index amplissimus (Paris, 1536), detail of Robert I Estienne’s device 5.

2020 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Henri I Estienne, the first of the Estienne printing dynasty. This online exhibition explores the works printed by him and his descendants: his sons, Robert I, François I and Charles; his grandsons Henri II and Robert II; and his great grandsons, Paul and Robert III. In addition, it examines the role played by women printers in establishing and maintaining the Estienne dynasty. Works printed by Robert I and Henri II loom large in Worth’s collection of Estiennes, primarily because these two members of the family were the most famous editor printers in a family known for its scholarship. They were famed for their scholarly printing in Latin and Greek and Worth was clearly interested in their output. The Estiennes’ publications not only reflect the deep commitment to scholarship of this printing family but also the interplay of printing and religion in the fortunes of the family. By the early eighteenth century, publications of the Estienne printing house were regarded as collectors’ items.