Fifty rare books and manuscripts will feature in a new exhibition at the University’s Main Library.
The exhibition is being held to celebrate fifty years of support from the Friends of the University Edinburgh’s Library, which has enabled the library to acquire a vast number of rare or valuable books, manuscripts and documents.
The collection includes a first edition of Galileo’s last great work, Discorsi.
The 1638 edition was printed in France because the celebrated astronomer was forbidden to publish in his native Italy.
Also on show is a 400 year-old edition of the Chronicles of Scotland and England by Raphael Holinshed - a text reported to have been read by Shakespeare as a source for many of his historical plays, including Macbeth.
Other attractions include a first edition of Edmund Spencer’s epic poem The Faerie Queene, beautiful reproductions of Birds of the Pacific Slope and a rare copy of The Countess of Pembrokes Arcadia, written in 1598 by Sir Philip Sidney, with hand-written annotations.
The documents - many of which have never been displayed before - are part of an exhibition called Fifty Years, Fifty Books, which recognises the huge contribution the Friends have made to the University’s collections since its inception more than fifty years ago.
We are delighted to recognise the great contribution made by the Friends. Thanks to their consistent support, our Special Collections are now among the world’s foremost for research, teaching and scholarship. The items in our exhibition represent just a small selection of the wide range of material purchased with their help.
Library & University Collections