To mark Book Week Scotland 2018 and the 550th anniversary of the death of Johannes Gutenberg, the National Library’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible was on show publicly yesterday for 8 hours. Ours is the only copy in public ownership in Scotland, and this was the first time we put both volumes on display together. […]
Scottish Book Trade Index Revamped!
The Scottish Book Trade Index is now fully searchable! The new version has all the information from the old one, but you can now combine searches rather than looking for one word such as a name or trade. You can, for instance, find out how many booksellers there were in Brechin in the 18th century […]
16th Century Venetian Chapbooks
I’m presently cataloguing the important collection of chapbooks held in the Lauriston Castle Collection. Chapbooks are small paper-covered booklets, usually printed on a single sheet, folded into books of 8, 12, 16 and 24 pages, and often illustrated with crude woodcuts. They were in circulation primarily from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and sold by […]
500 years of the Protestant Reformation
On 31 October 1517 the German monk Martin Luther posted 95 theses for academic disputation on the door of a church in Wittenberg. This event now symbolises the starting point of the Protestant Reformation, and this year sees its 500th anniversary. We have put on an exhibition of original Lutheran tracts which tell the story […]
Shakespeare’s First Folio
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Library is displaying its copy of the First Folio on Friday 22 April, from 12:00 to 14:00. It is often said to be one of the most significant books ever printed – but why? William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April, 1564, and died there on April […]
The International Map of the World
On the 31 March, 1910, Bartholomew printed a proof version of the ‘conventional signs and styles of type for the international map on the scale of 1:1,000,000′. But what exactly is the International Map of the World?
Bartholomew’s Large Plan of Edinburgh and Leith
In the summer of 1891, John Bartholomew & Co. launched a cartographic tour de force whose sheer magnificence continues to awe. Bartholomew’s Plan of the City of Edinburgh with Leith and Suburbs. Reduced from the Ordnance Survey and Revised to the Present Date by John Bartholomew, or the Large Plan of Edinburgh & Leith, as it’s more usually […]
The makings of a map
Perhaps the key strength of the Bartholomew Archive is the ability to trace the development of a map from idea to finished product. This can at times afford a unique insight into the motivation, techniques and business practises of one of the world’s foremost cartographic firms. In general, the Bartholomew Archive Printing Record presents a […]
Shady dealings in the whisky underworld
Robert Paterson Pattison and Walter Gilchrist Gray Pattison may sound suspiciously Gilbert & Sullivan but were in fact real life Victorian whisky and scandal merchants. Their Leith based dynasty fronted a murky world of fraud and embezzlement that when discovered, shocked all of Edinburgh and caused a sensation.
The Most Popular Atlas Ever Published
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this superlative description was a reference to The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, however, the uncharacteristic hubris used in this advertising actually concerns Bartholomew’s Citizen’s Atlas of the World.