Engravings show 17th-century Scotland
Some of the first drawings made of places in Scotland are now online more than 300 years after they were produced.
In Slezer's Scotland we provide the complete first edition of Theatrum Scotiae. This volume of engravings of towns, castles and palaces was produced and published in 1693 by a military engineer. It was the first time that Scotland had been portrayed in pictures.
Rural life and the nobility
John Slezer made his initial drawings as part of a military survey. The activities of the figures he added to his drawings illustrate various aspects of rural life and the pastimes and interests of the Scottish nobility.
Our web feature includes the text that the Geographer Royal at the time, Sir Robert Sibbald, wrote for Slezer's book. There are also a few engravings Slezer planned to use in a follow-up work. All the digitised views are zoomable, so you can examine them in close detail. Where relevant we have supplied a link to our Scottish town plans.
30 April 2008
Social networks research gets doctorate award
Social networking in the 19th and 21st centuries is the focus of doctoral research due to start later this year.
PhD candidates are eligible for the research post, which is being funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The successful candidate will compare the content of family blogs and websites with the social network revealed in a collection of 19th-century correspondence at the National Library of Scotland. He/she will work closely with the Harden/Allan collection, but will also search other NLS sources.
The funding award comes from the AHRC's 'Beyond Text' programme. It was made jointly to NLS and Glasgow University's Humanities Advanced Technology And Information Institute (HATII). This is the latest collaborative award we have obtained for doctoral research to be carried out using our collections.
For more information about the research doctorate visit the Glasgow University website. The closing date for applications is 30 May.
30 April 2008
Shortlist for poetry pamphlet publishing
On the shortlist for this year's Callum Macdonald Memorial Award are five titles published in Scotland and one in England.
Our competition for poetry pamphlet publishing attracts high-quality entries each year. Two titles this year come from Fife, one of them from Kirkcaldy. Last year Kirkcaldy publishers took the winner and runner-up prizes.
The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday 7 May. Read more in our Callum Macdonald Memorial Award press release.
30 April 2008
Scotland's oldest book on show on 500th anniversary
Scotland's oldest printed book with a date is on show today exactly 500 years after it was produced.
On 4 April 1508, The Complaint of the Black Knight came off a printing press in Edinburgh. John Lydgate's poem was produced by Scotland's first printers, Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar. It is the earliest surviving dated book printed in Scotland. Our copy is the only one known.
We are exhibiting the book in our George IV Bridge Building today (10.00-17.00) in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Scottish printing. It will make another rare outing from our collections in the summer, when it will be a highlight of our exhibition on the Scottish printed word.
Spread of printing website
As one of the 'Chepman and Myllar prints', The Complaint of the Black Knight is also included in a new web feature we have launched today. The Spread of Scottish Printing tracks the geographical progress of printing in Scotland between 1508 and 1900. You can read the full text of an early item printed on the first press in 33 different Scottish printing towns.
Events across Scotland
Other printing anniversary events taking place this week include the opening of exhibitions in Dundee, Glasgow and Kilmarnock. This morning a plaque will be unveiled in Edinburgh's Cowgate near the site of Chepman and Myllar's printing works. To see the full list of events in 2008, visit www.500yearsofprinting.org.
For more on the anniversary, see our 500 years of Scottish printing media release.
3 April 2008
A' Adam's Bairns
Thursday 17 April sees the live performance of a folk music CD that focuses on multicultural Scotland across 200 years.
A' Adam's Bairns explores slavery and the slave trade in Scotland's history, plus modern issues relating to social, religious and racial tolerance. The music is based on music manuscript collections in the National Library of Scotland with contemporary arrangements by Dr Fred Freeman. It includes songs by Hamish Henderson, Robert Burns, James Hogg and the Proclaimers.
Scottish folk singers
Among the singers at Edinburgh Queen's Hall will be Rod Paterson, Tich Frier, Nick Keir, Steve Byrne, John Morran, Ross Kennedy, Dave Taylor, Emily Smith, Wendy Weatherby and Gillian McDonald. Dr Freeman will provide commentary. For more information and to book tickets, see the Queen's Hall website.
The CD has been produced by the National Library of Scotland and Scotdec (Scottish Development Education Centre). Every school in Scotland will get a copy of the CD and a resource pack. The A' Adam's Bairns project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
3 April 2008
The art of the graphic novel
The latest exhibition at the National Library of Scotland tells the story of how comic books have 'grown up'.
'Local heroes: The art of the graphic novel' uses material from NLS collections to illustrate the influence that Scottish writers and artists have had in this area, from 'The Broons' to 'Batman'. The free exhibition runs from 4 April to 1 June and is open daily.
Meet Cam Kennedy and Alan Grant
Two of the internationally acclaimed veterans of the graphic novel give a talk next week at the National Library of Scotland.
Cam Kennedy and Alan Grant are renowned for their work on '2000AD' — the comic that gave the world Judge Dredd — and 'Batman'. Recently they collaborated on the graphic novel versions of 'Kidnapped' and 'Jekyll and Hyde'. The complete, original artwork from 'Kidnapped' is on display in the new exhibition, and the duo will give an illustrated talk on Wednesday 9 April.
For details of the talk and the exhibition, go to our events page.
3 April 2008