Pop-up books display opens

Some of world's finest pop-up books on show at Christmas

Stunning examples of some of the world's finest pop-up books are going on display for the Christmas season at the National Library of Scotland (NLS).

Many of them were designed for children and given as gifts at Christmas, but the skill and ingenuity involved makes them equally enthralling to adults.

The treasures display includes around 20 examples of this art form by some of the world's leading designers, dating back to the 19th century. A pop-up version of Harry Potter's Hogwarts school brings things right up to date.

'Pop-up books have delighted us for a very long time,' said Andrew Martin, curator of Modern Scottish Collections at NLS, who put the display together. 'This was an opportunity too good to miss to bring these books out of our collections to be admired at this special time of the year.'

The history of movable parts in books dates back to around the 13th century. Some of the earliest examples involved revolving discs set into pages to provide information in a new way. Most of these books were for scholarly or scientific purposes.

It was not until the 18th century that advances in paper engineering meant that 3D scenes could be created inside a normal book. The new age of pop-up entertainment was born.

Lothar Meggendorfer, the outstanding designer in Europe, used various paper mechanisms to spectacular effect in books such as his 1887 'International circus'. Another prominent designer was Louis Giraud, editor of children's books for the 'Daily Express' newspaper, who produced a series of annuals in the 1930s with spectacular effects. Each of his pop-ups was printed on both sides of the paper and could be viewed and enjoyed from all angles. The work of both men in represented in the display.

'These were the Christmas presents of yesteryear,' said Andrew. 'They delighted the children of the time and will provoke memories in many adults.'

Pop-up books continue to be popular today and modern examples are included in the display, from the Incredible Hulk to Harry Potter. No subject seems now to be beyond the imagination and talents of the artists involved. Science, the natural world, and history pop up from the pages just as often as familiar characters and fairy stories.

'Pop-up!' is on at NLS on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh from Wednesday 20 November until Sunday 19 January. Entry is free.


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20 November 2013

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