Current and forthcoming Exhibitions at the University of Edinburgh Main Library.
Highlands to Hindustan: Indian Art from University of Edinburgh Collections
Marking the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence, this exhibition reveals the artistic legacy of 50 objects from the Indian subcontinent and their journey to the collections of the University of Edinburgh. Produced over two millennia, the artworks in this exhibition showcase the Indian subcontinent’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Highlights include Buddhist sculptural fragments from the 3rd century, a Quran from the collection of Tipu Sultan and the 18th century Mahabharata, written in Sanskrit on a continuous roll of silk 72 metres long.
The exhibition runs 28 July - 4 November 2017, Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays throughout August.
Exhibition Gallery, Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ
Library 50: From Old College to George Square
Opened in September 1967, this building was the University’s second purpose-built library. It was commissioned to replace the Playfair Library, sited in Old College, which no longer had the capacity to serve the expanding university. With a Project Committee established in 1950, the impetus for change preceded the 1960s expansion of the higher education sector. The architect had already been chosen - Spence Glover & Ferguson.
Librarian ERS Fifoot and architect JH Glover visited a number of libraries in the USA to inform a brief that was completed and approved in 1961-62. Negotiation with the University Grants Committee took some time, but was eventually achieved, with conditions. Other discussions with local planners also placed limitations on the project, particularly in relation to height.
The building was completed in 1967 and staff and collections moved in. The last to move was the contents of the Strong Room with Keeper of the Manuscripts, CP Finlayson, accompanying them in the van. The official opening took place in March the following year.
The following decades saw a number of low-level changes to the building, most noticeably the re-siting of the service desk from the middle, to the rear of the concourse. However, it is testament to the quality of the design and building materials, that the building required nothing significant until its refurbishment in the mid-2000s. Many of its original fixtures and fixings remain, still serviceable and compatible with a 21st century library.
The exhibition runs 4 August - 8 November 2017, Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays throughout August.
Binks Trust Exhibition Wall, Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh Main Library (6th Floor)