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Events | exhibitions


New display celebrates beautiful books

Illustration of two men
'Biblia pauperum', around 1460.

Illustration of a woman in a book
The Pennyroyal Caxton
Press Bible, 1999.

The National Library of Scotland celebrates the book as a work of art in its latest treasures display.

Ten handcrafted books are on show as part of 'The book beautiful', which matches early printed masterpieces with the 19th and 20th century texts they influenced.

The pairings explore the timelessness of skilful bookmaking and design, showing the influence of early texts on private presses of the later period.

All ten books were carefully chosen as excellent examples of handcrafted design and printing skill.

Included in the display is the 'Biblia pauperum'. Published around 1460, this Bible is the earliest printed book in the Library's collections featuring engravings of biblical scenes.

The Pennyroyal Caxton Press Bible is displayed alongside, printed in 1999 and including a series of exquisite biblical engravings.

The display is open daily until 13 March 2016, and entry is free.


Read more in our 'The book beautiful' media release

26 November 2015


Original Sherlock Holmes manuscript on display

Magnifying glass over a handwritten manuscript
'The adventure of the illustrious client'

An original Sherlock Holmes story will be on display at the National Library of Scotland, to celebrate Book Week Scotland.

Hand-written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1924, 'The adventure of the illustrious client' will be on display between 12.30 and 14.00 on Friday 27 November. The manuscript contains classic Holmes ingredients: a dastardly aristocrat, an English rose, and a secret 'illustrious client' who employs Sherlock Holmes. It is one of very few Holmes manuscripts still remaining in Britain.

Another original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle manuscript, 'The haunted grange of Goresthorpe', will be displayed alongside the Holmes story. It is thought to be one of the first stories he ever wrote, dating to around 1877 when the author was 18 years old.

Book Week Scotland logoBook Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books from 23 to 29 November, with several events hosted at the Library.

The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle manuscripts are on public view in the boardroom of the Library's main building on George IV Bridge, between 12.30 and 14.00 on Friday 27 November.


Read more in our Conan Doyle display press release

24 November 2015


Fulbright research scholar is named

Louis Kirk Mcauley
Kirk McAuley.

The National Library of Scotland has launched an exciting research initiative with the Fulbright Commission.

Through the Fulbright National Library of Scotland Scholar Award, scholars from the USA have a six month placement at the Library to carry out research using its collections.

Dr Kirk McAuley arrived at the start of October as the Library's first Fulbright Scholar.

An Associate Professor in the English Department at Washington State University at Pullman, Kirk is working on a book tentatively titled 'Invasive species: The economy and ecology of British Empire writing'. He intends the book to increase our understanding of the historical legacy of contemporary ecological crises.

Kirk is particularly concerned with texts composed by Scottish authors in the Caribbean, Africa, and the south Pacific.

His first book, 'Print technology in Scotland and America' (Bucknell University Press, 2013), investigates the mediation of popular-political culture in Scotland and America.

30 October 2015


Hundreds more Gaelic items available online

Every known out-of-copyright Gaelic item in the National Library of Scotland is now online.

Gaelic items dating back to the 17th century are now free to use on the Library's website. Around 600 items have been newly digitised, making a total of 1,200 items available from the Library's Gaelic collections.

'Rare items in Gaelic' includes:

  • The second Gaelic book printed in Scotland, Calvin's 'Catechism' of 1631. This is the only surviving copy
  • The first non-religious book in Gaelic, Alexander MacDonald's 'Galick and English vocabulary', from 1741
  • The first book of Gaelic poetry, Alexander MacDonald's 'Ais-eiridh na sean chanoin Albannaich' of 1751
  • A unique copy of an emigration poster enticing people to go to Ohio in 1822.

The release of 'Rare items in Gaelic' was announced at the National Mòd in Oban by Dr Alasdair Allan, Scotland's Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages.

Last month, the Library announced its commitment to open up access to its internationally renowned collections, with a third to be available digitally by 2025.

See also:

Read more in our Gaelic items media release

13 October 2015


Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship open for applications

Creative Scotland logoApplications are now open for the 2015/2016 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, which will be hosted by the National Library of Scotland.

This award was established in 2013 by Creative Scotland in honour of Dr Wallace, who committed his entire professional life to helping writers and literature organisations in Scotland.

The award is intended to provide one writer with time to develop their work over the course of a year. Applicants are invited to explain how they would engage with the theme of 'the recorded memory of Scotland', grounded in the Library's collections.

Established writers living and working in Scotland are invited to apply. A £20,000 stipend will be awarded to the successful candidate.

The deadline for application is 17.00 on 30 October 2015.

For further information about the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, see Creative Scotland's fellowship advertisement (PDF) (91 KB; 2 pages).

6 October 2015

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