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Published: 28 November 2020

By Andy Ross

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Article of the Week - number forty-two - an Italian manuscript

During the research into Shetland's tweed heritage and history the British Library in Holborn, London, proved to be a useful starting point.

The British Library is digitising its extensive collections and now it is possible to see an important document about Shetland wool, including an abstract of a report written by John Tulloch, online. When the research started though, this paper was not available digitally and so a visit or two was necessary. It is hard to describe what holding a report from 1791 is like - a mixture of fear in case it was torn, joy at what it might contain and awe at the survival of this fragile paper. So you can imagine what it might feel like to be presented with the chance to own a copy.

The studio copy, bought from eBay, is in Italian, dating to 1793 and is from the Nuovo Giornale D'Italia. British wool was once very important to the economy of Europe and Shetland wool was a significant part of that trade so it is not surprising that the report was translated for distribution across the wool-buiying regions.

The paper has not been translated yet but it is planned to have that done so the report can be part of the studio research collection. If you would like to read the complete paper in Italian (with its long "s" in situ) you can see it here.