Dr Julia Walworth

Fellow Librarian

My research interests are in the history of manuscript and early printed books in Western Europe, especially the functions of images, decoration, paratextual elements, and layout.  I have worked in particular with vernacular literary texts, university books and canon law books.  I am also interested in the history of libraries and of book collecting.

I have taught on the London History of the Book MA course and contribute occasional teaching to the annual London Rare Books School.  As Fellow Librarian and as convener of the History of the Book research group at Merton I seek to find new ways for students and others to engage with special collections.


My most recent book is a comprehensive history of Merton’s famous library and its changing functions in the college, Merton College Library: An Illustrated History (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2020).

Earlier publications include a monograph, Parallel narratives : function and form in the Munich illustrated manuscripts of Tristan and Willehalm von Orlens (London, 2007) examines the roles of narrative illustration in several 13th-century German literary manuscripts. I have published further articles and reviews on the areas of manuscript illumination and library history, and recently contributed 'Speed-dating with medieval manuscripts' to Past or Portal: Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives, ed. E. Mitchell et al. (Chicago, 2012).