Last year’s notable acquisitions A journey through our special collections

Every year the National Library acquires fascinating new items to add to its special collections. The year 2023 was no exception, and we are delighted to present some of the items that have sparked the interest of our experts and collection managers.

From precious prints to contemporary postcards, engravings and annotated musical compositions, these notable acquisitions take you on a journey through time. They bear witness to our ongoing commitment to preserving the national heritage, ensuring its long-term survival, enhancing its value and making it accessible to the public.

Rare Books Collection

Andächtiges Gebet zu Ehren der Mutter Gottes von Lützemburg (…), Luxembourgish print around 1781/82, 29.5 x 36.8 cm.

In July 2023, the BnL was able to restore an extremely rare item, which now forms part of the collection of Luxembourg prints dating from before 1800. This leaflet, first described by the Luxembourg priest and bibliophile Martin Blum (1845-1924) in 1924, is thought to have been published on the occasion of the celebration of the secular jubilee of the election of Our Lady of Luxembourg, consoler of the afflicted, as patron saint of the city (1666) and duchy (1678) of Luxembourg and county of Chiny in 1781.

The sumptuous typographical apparatus accompanying and surrounding this affectionate prayer to the Consolatrix afflictorum undoubtedly echoes another important publication from the same year: the Description du jubilé, célébré à l’honneur de Marie, consolatrice des affligés (...), from the presses of André Chevalier's heirs (BnL, I.L. 234).

Collection of Cards, Maps, Atlases and Views

Luxenburg, copper engraving published by the German printer Jakob Koppmayer (1640-1701), ca. 1689, 16.5 x 31.9 cm.

Following the publication in 1684 of an engraving depicting the siege of Luxembourg in the same year, Koppmayer once again uses a Luxembourgish subject in this engraving. Offering a less belligerent iconography of a now well-known subject, this issue closely follows the famous panoramic view of the city of Luxembourg by Matthäus Merian the Younger (1621-1687) in 1659.

The publishing history of this sheet, which is as diverse as it is complex, is well established and can be consulted in general in Emile van der Vekene, “Eigentliche Relation der Belagerung von Luxemburg: Flugblätter, Flugschriften, Pamphlete und Pläne aus den Jahren 1683/84/85”, in: Luxembourg et Vauban: exposition organisée à la Villa Vauban du 27 novembre au 23 décembre 1984, Luxembourg 1984, pp. 20-44.

The copy acquired by the BnL in November 2023 is hand-coloured.

Iconography Collection

Pompa funebris optimi potentissimiq[ue] principis Alberti PII, Archiducis Austriae (…), Leuven: Hendrik van Haestens, 1623.

In November 2023, the BnL acquired this extremely spectacular iconographic print, which is also significant for the history of the Spanish Netherlands. The prints depict the funeral of Archduke Albert VII (1559-1621) as ruler of the Spanish Netherlands. In addition to 64 engravings depicting the funeral procession in detail, they include an accompanying text and two fold-out engravings. A particularly remarkable feature of this rare first edition is the trilingual accompanying text, written in Latin, Spanish and Flemish.

Among the representatives of the Benedictine order who took part in the funeral procession, we find a familiar face: that of Pierre Roberti (1565-1636), abbot of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Munster in Luxembourg City from 1602 until his death in 1636..

Posters and Postcards Collection

This illustrated postcard shows a view of the entrance to St Willibrord’s Basilica in Echternach. Received by the Town of Echternach as part of its legal deposit, it is one of a series of 6 tourist postcards of the town. Neither the publisher nor the illustrator is indicated on the reverse side.

Ephemera Collection

American soldiers of the 5th Division were stationed in Luxembourg between November 1918 and July 1919, particularly in Esch-sur-Alzette, Dudelange, Diekirch, Echternach and Larochette. Numerous events were organised for the entertainment of the soldiers and the people of Luxembourg, including car shows, sports competitions and horse shows.

Fonds musical du Cedom

Walter Civitareale, Jubilee-Suite, [s.l.], 1996. - Photocopy of the autograph manuscript. Subsequent annotation by the composer: “1st version of ‘Jubilee-Suite’, of which a few numbers of the Suite (of this ‘Jubilee-Suite’) remain to be reworked”.

The Luxembourg composer Walter Civitareale, whose musical works are of significant heritage value, particularly for the Luxembourg music repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries, has made another contribution to his music archive held by Cedom. This section contains mainly musical scores of works by the composer himself, but also sound recordings and resources documenting the composer’s artistic career.

▪ This is an edited extract from our 2023 activity report, available for download on our publications page. Learn more

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