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James Nasmyth’s “Moon” images, 1874

Tomorrow (20 July) marks the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon in 1969 as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission. Human fascination with the moon and mapping the stars goes back millennia. The following blog post, first published as part of the 52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations series back in…

19 July 2019illustrations Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations: Reflections and Visual Index

This year’s “52 Weeks of …” thread has now come to a close and it is time, once again, to finish the series with our image index. Last year’s “52 Weeks” thread was largely drawn from the Rare Books collection, focussing on fantastic bindings; this year we were able to open up the thread to…

23 July 2013collections highlights illustrations

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 52: the St Andrews Psalter

For the final inspiring illustration of this 52-week series, it could be argued that we have saved the best for the last. This is a book of Psalms (with a liturgical calendar of Sarum (or Salisbury) use), which was written in England, probably near London, in the mid-15th century (St Andrews msBX2033.A00). It would have…

15 July 2013Archives illustrations

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 51: the plates of Diderot & d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie (1751-1772)

This final rare book entry for our Inspiring Illustrations thread has inspired generations of artists, merchants, craftsmen and businessmen. We have chosen the 11 volumes of plates which accompany Denis Diderot & Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (or, Encyclopaedia or a Systematic Dictionary of the…

8 July 2013illustrations Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 50: the Book of Wonders

We have always referred to this manuscript (St Andrews ms32(o)) as the ‘book of wonders’ and indeed wondered what it was all about as it is lavishly and confusingly illustrated, packed with mysterious monsters and people doing strange things, but as it is written in Persian we could never be certain what it was all about.…

1 July 2013Archives illustrations

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 49: Estienne’s Anatomy (1546)

Charles Estienne’s De dissectione partium corporis humani libri tres (1545) was the third fully illustrated anatomical work ever to be published. Estienne came from a distinguished printing family: his father, Henri, began the family book-trade in the early 16th century and his brother, Robert, improved upon the business by printing elegant Latin and Greek works…

24 June 2013illustrations Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 48: the Trajectory of the Photographic Medium

Over the past year staff from the Special Collections Division have been putting together posts highlighting ‘Inspiring Illustrations’ of material in our collections. Representing the Photographic Collection, I chose to conduct a survey of photographic media in order to underline the unique characteristics of individual photographic processes and plant the seed of interest for further…

17 June 2013illustrations Photographic Collection professional commentary

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 47: the Gillespie and Scott architectural archive

Amongst our holdings is the extensive archive of Gillespie and Scott, a firm of local architects active in St Andrews since 1876. The founding partner, James Gillespie, died in 1914, and the business was carried on by his partner James Scott (d. 1944) and Scott’s sons and grandsons.  In 1994 the practice was purchased by…

10 June 2013Archives illustrations

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 46: A Marriage of Convenience — The Half-Tone Relief Process

At its core the reproduction of the printed word is usually a process which is based on relief printing. Historically (as things are now different), a cast piece of type when it is set for printing, has the shape of the letter standing proud of the printing block which is subsequently inked and impressed onto…

8 May 2013illustrations Photographic Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 45: Campi Phlegraei (1776-1779)—Hamilton’s “Fields of Flame”

Since my return to this country, in January 1773, I have continued with aſſiduity my obſervations upon Mount Veſuvius, and the many ancient Volcanick productions in this Neighborhood. This week’s Inspiring Illustrations come from the magnificent Campi Phlegraei by Sir William Hamilton and Pietro Fabris, published in three parts (Parts I & II and a…

29 April 2013illustrations Rare Book Collection