Glasgow Incunabula Project and Exhibition update (16/2/15)

It is now less than a fortnight before our incunabula exhibition Ingenious Impressions opens to the public on Friday 27 February. The publicity banners are up on University Avenue, all the books are conserved and ready to go, and invitations to the private view are in the post – so it must be happening!

Building of exhibition space and book mounts in process

Building of exhibition space and book mounts in process

The upstairs exhibition space at the Hunterian Art Gallery is being totally transformed to accommodate the 64 books that passed the final auditions and were selected to star in  the show. Each book is being individually mounted and lit, and the design of the display promises to be spectacularly innovative. It will be a real thrill to see our books finally in position after so much planning and work.

In the background, meanwhile, work continues to complete our project website. A real landmark was reached last week when Jack Baldwin finished his research on the final 1050th incunable. Before we crack open the champagne, however, we still have the details of the last one hundred books to add and index on the website. There are some corkers yet to come!

God creates the world

God creates the world

In this latest batch, for instance, we have our beautiful copy of the Rudimentum novitiorum. This history of the world is the earliest dated example of printing from Lübeck. Produced by Lucas Brandis in 1475, it contains numerous woodcut illustrations. This in itself makes it one of the most important early illustrated printed books. However, it is of even further significance for including the first printed maps to be more than diagrams. A world map and a map of the Holy Land are both depicted within the volume. These were both produced by two large woodcut blocks, with the text provided by inserted type. In our copy, they have been skilfully hand coloured.

The opening which shows a bird’s-eye view of the Holy Land will be on display in our exhibition. Each country or town is represented as a separate mountain; Jerusalem is at the centre, with Calvary close by. Prevailing winds and compass directions are represented by puffing heads around the borders. Unlike many extant copies, our map has escaped being overly trimmed in rebinding, and must now be unfolded to be seen in its entirety.


To accompany the exhibition itself, we have organised various other incunabula related events and talks. Here are a couple of more dates for your diaries:

  • Friday 27 February (10-12 am or 2-4 pm): printing workshop/demonstrations by Martin Andrews and Alan May, using the replica Gutenberg wooden press that we are borrowing from the University of Reading. This will comprise of an introduction to one-pull printing, a demonstration of type casting, and the chance to have a go at printing for yourself. It is free, but places are limited so please book ahead via eventbrite. In the Hunterian Art Gallery.
  • Thursday 19 March (4.15 pm until 7pm): Glasgow Incunabula Project launch: talk on the project by Julie Gardham, followed by a drop-in display from 5.15 onwards of incunabula, with a focus on research potential. In Special Collections, level 12 of University Library. Wine will be served from 5.15.

We hope to see you soon! Meanwhile, for a taster of what is to come, peruse the latest ten records to be added to the project website:

Categories: Special Collections

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2 replies


  1. Whewell’s Gazette: Vol: #36 | Whewell's Ghost

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