The Sir Duncan Rice Library (TSDRL) will remain CLOSED due to an ongoing power outage.
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The Far North: Frozen Stars, Shifting Ice & the Silence Beyond

Far North exhibition poster

3 April to 20 September 2015

This exhibition explores the idea of the ‘The Far North’ through contemporary art and music, historical artefacts and written words.

Visitors will follow in the footsteps of 19th century Arctic explorers and their encounters with the region’s people, natural wonders, flora and fauna. Featuring contemporary art by Reinhard Behrens, Pat Law and Briony Anderson, the exhibition also includes fascinating Inuit artefacts, scientific instruments, and books and archives from the University’s Special Collections.

A programme of events, talks and lectures will be announced soon.

Gallery Opening Hours
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri 10:00 - 17.00
Thursday 10:00 - 19:00

10.00 - 16.30


The Gallery, The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Bedford Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3AA
For more information, please contact

The Gallery

Exterior of GalleryThe Gallery represents an important public venue for visitors to the University and the Sir Duncan Rice Library to engage with the collections and be inspired.

Situated on the Ground Floor entrance to the Sir Duncan Rice Library, the Gallery is the primary venue for our ongoing programme of exhibitions showcasing multiple aspects of the University’s Special Collections. The space has been designed to be dynamic and accessible, offering opportunities to present enlightening and inspiring exhibitions that make connections to our collections. The exhibitions are designed to have a broad appeal and to be of interest to a wide public audience.

The Exhibitions Programme has enabled the exposure of rare and precious items from the Special Collections to a public audience in a substantial and meaningful way.  The Special Collections Centre works closely with local schools and community groups to amplify the impact of the exhibitions to schools and community groups. The Gallery is a dedicated space for presenting culture as expressed through visual art and the written word through free and publicly accessible exhibitions and programming.

An associated public programme enhances the exhibitions through publicly accessible talks and activities facilitated by academic staff and invited speakers, presented free of charge. 

Print Shop Window Waterlines Set in Silver

Please use the following link to find out more information about current exhibitions at the Sir Duncan Rice Library


Elphinstone: Renaissance in the North
2 October 2014 to 15 March 2015

This exhibition marks the 500th anniversary of the death of the founder of the University of Aberdeen, William Elphinstone (1431 – 1514), and explores the impact of his life on the history of Scotland.

Elphinstone’s distinguished career, in which he excelled as statesman, diplomat, lawmaker and churchman, ensured that his legacy within the region and beyond was far-reaching. Elphinstone commissioned major building and infrastructure work in Aberdeen, including the construction of King’s College Chapel and improvements to St Machar’s Cathedral, while every day, traffic still thunders across the bridge he endowed over the River Dee. In 1509, Elphinstone brought the first printing-press to Scotland, and was entrusted with the creation of a national prayer-book, the Aberdeen Breviary.  As Bishop of Aberdeen, he implemented a programme of much-needed reform. This dramatic reordering of his diocese, would lead to the foundation of what would become the University of Aberdeen.

The exhibition features rare and fascinating artefacts of pre-Reformation Scottish art and culture.


New Found Land: Scottish Emigration to Canada
2 May to 31 August 2014

This exhibition uses items from the Special Collections Centre to review stories of emigration from Aberdeen and Scotland to Canada.

Scotland’s population has been its most enduring and consistent export. Scotland’s diaspora was is of global dimensions, but Canada was the destination that was for long periods closest to the hearts of many emigrants... more

Print Shop Window poster

Print Shop Window: An Exhibition of Visual Satire
27 September 2013 to 26 January 2014

Print Shop Window: An Exhibition of Visual Satire explores the power of cartoons to satirise public figures and stimulate political debate. Set during the reign of George III, the ‘Golden Age of Caricature’, the exhibition draws on a lively selection of satirical prints and material from the Special Collections, featuring examples of caricatures by the artists William Hogarth, James Gillray and George Cruikshank... more


Wanderlust: Travel Journals and Explorers' Notes 
27 April to 14 September 2013

The exhibition at the Gallery of the Sir Duncan Rice Library features vivid writing contained in some of the travel journals and explorers' notebooks held with the University's Special Collections.

Wanderlust describes a yearning for distant places; an irrepressible compulsion to discover the unknown. Travel journals survive in many shapes and sizes. Spanning four centuries, not only do these writings give evidence of that compulsion to go beyond the horizon, but they also open an intimate window into lost worlds.


Waterlines: Will Maclean and Marian Leven
19 January to 14 April 2013 

Waterlines was created through the artistic partnership of Will Maclean and Marian Leven, the first sculptural collaboration between two of Scotland’s most highly regarded and well established artists. The exhibition features items from the Special Collections and Museums at the University of Aberdeen... more


Pharmacopoeia: The Art of Making Drugs
1 September to 1 December 2012

In celebration of the British Science Festival 2012, the Special Collections Centre at the University Library will host Pharmacopeia - an exhibition featuring rare and fascinating printed and manuscript material that demonstrates some of the earliest recorded interpretations of the natural sciences - a history of health... more

 Bestiary exhibition

Gilded Beasts: Exhibition of The Aberdeen Bestiary
23 June to 18 August 2012

The third exhibition in the University Library's Gallery is of the Aberdeen Bestiary - an exquisite illuminated manuscript from the 12th-century, rendered in rich gold and magnificent colour. It is a work of extraordinary artistry and craftsmanship in which tales of animals are used to illustrate essential moral beliefs... more


Set in Silver: Contemporary Reflections on Glass Plate Photography
24 March to 3 June 2012

A selection of the glass plate negatives that form the substantial collections of George Washington Wilson and the Aberdeen Harbour Board have produced a set of fine photographic prints that will be exhibited by the Special Collections Centre at the University Library in Set in Silver: Contemporary Reflections on Glass Plate Photography. The images seen across both collections demonstrate a distinctive application of this delicate art... more

 Rebels with a Cause poster

Rebels with a Cause: The Jacobites and the Global Imagination
24 November 2011 to 17 March 2012

The first exhibition at the University of Aberdeen’s striking new library will give visitors an insight into the turbulent Jacobite era. Rebels with a Cause: The Jacobites and the Global Imagination is the inaugural exhibition at The Gallery - a new publicly accessible venue which forms part of the University’s Special Collections Centre... more


The Aberdeen Bestiary: Sound-Image-Narrative

Lead: Dr Suk-Jun Kim (Music/SERG)

The Aberdeen Bestiary: Sound-Image-Narrative is an artistic research project that explores strata of sound-image narratives by creating a series of short electroacoustic compositions responding to selected images from the Aberdeen Bestiary, focusing, particularly, on imaginary animals depicted and described in the collection. Each composition aims to evoke not only the animals themselves but their surroundings such as imaginary habitats and behaviours, to animate them and conjure up to the viewer-listener a probable world of the fantastic animals.

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Of the Wolf Of the Owl Of the Swan Of the Caladrius


Of the Wolf

Of the Owl

Of the Swan

Of the Caladrius

Post Concert Discussion