Commonplace book ascribed to John Cunningham, 1771.

Scope and Content

Commonplace book ascribed to John Cunningham.

  • pp.1-12 'My Prints 1771'. The list, of approximately 350 items, includes works attributed to Rembrandt, Kneller, Durer, Keyaart, Zuccarelli, and Bernardo Goz.
  • pp.16-25 Calligraphic exercises.
  • pp.26-27 Medicinal preparations.
  • pp.28-34 Directions for executing miniatures on parchment and paper.
  • p.36 Mathematical examples of cross multiplication.
  • p.37 Recipes for cocktails [given by Salomon de la Paix Graveur on Kanterstein, Brussells ?].
  • pp.38-46 Masonic hieroglyphs [probably a coded transcript of the foundation charter of the Masonic Lodge of Namur [see below].
  • pp.145-152 Directions for playing a version of chess attributed to the Chinese [with a diagram appended to p.154].
  • pp.153-154 Directions for painting frescoes.
  • p.155 Directions for making raisin wine.
  • p.156 Currency notes on the Lakh, the Rupee and the sous c.1739 and a formula for a purgative to cure catarrh in children.
  • pp.157-161 A transcript of the foundation charter of the Masonic Lodge of Namur [Belgium] for 8 June 1771 granted to John Cunningham, witnessed by Alexander McDougall, David Bolt, James Adolphus Oulton, Andrew Alison, James Lind, George Syme and James Hunter.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Cunningham was one of the founders of the Masonic Lodge of Namur in Belgium, which became Lodge 160. The ascription to John Cunningham is based on the Lodge charter but must be regarded as very tentative.

James Adolphus Oulton, Andrew Alison, James Lind, George Syme and James Hunter who are described as signatories to the Lodge charter were in fact the Grand Lodge committee who accepted its incorporation into the Masonic Order of Scotland.

The commonplace book was originally a Renaissance idea to have a book into which favourite passages of text, sayings and quotations could be copied. Students created notebooks in their studies to compile a collections of ideas from their readings to be used in future speeches, compositions and if they were training for the ministry, sermons. These would provide a series of headings under which to organise the sermon, an aid to memory, and a store for useful passages of Scripture or commentary for future works.


Single item

Access Information

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Call number used to be ms 235

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: parchment. Two ties.Paper: 15.5x19.8cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.



Geographical Names