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 http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/about/special/exhibitions/

An Audience with Charles Dickens: Writer, Performer, Celebrity

Extended to run until Sunday 11th September, 2016

The Gallery, The Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen

From March 2016, the Gallery in the Sir Duncan Rice Library is presenting a real first for the University of Aberdeen - 15 firsts in fact! The Special Collections Centre has a unique collection of all 15 first editions of the novels of Charles Dickens - many of them collected at the time of publication. 'An Audience with Charles Dickens' marks the first time that all 15 books have been displayed together.

The University's Special Collections Centre has one of the most distinguished collections of books by and about Dickens anywhere in the world. The exhibition celebrates this and provides a glimpse into the life and times of one of the world's most renowned authors and personalities.

Inspired by his two visits to Aberdeen, it explores the theme of Dickens not only as a writer but also as a performer of his own work. In 1858 and 1866 Dickens travelled to Aberdeen, performing dramatic extracts from Dombey and Son, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers to delighted crowds at the Music Hall. In addition to the first editions, the exhibition includes reproductions of playbills from the period and audio extracts of the four readings to evoke the appearance and atmosphere of the theatre stages that became Charles Dickens's favourite platform for the delivery of his stories.

The exhibition is accompanied by an engaging programme of public talks and events. Details of these will be posted on the Special Collections Centre Events page.

The exhibition has been produced with the generous support of the Friends of Aberdeen University Library.

Summer Opening Times:

Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10am to 5pm

Thursday: 10am to 7pm

Sunday: Closed


The Gallery, The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Bedford Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3AA
For more information, please contact scc.events@abdn.ac.uk

Contact: scc.events@abdn.ac.uk to book or for further information.

City of Ghosts: A dialogue with George Washington Wilson

15 Oct 2015 to 21 Feb 2016

This exhibition features a suite of contemporary photographs by John Perivolaris that pay homage to George Washington Wilson and the city he depicted.

In March 2015, when John Perivolaris embarked on a project to revisit and re-photograph some of the locations documented by George Washington Wilson over a hundred years earlier, he was less concerned with standing in the exact spot on which his Victorian counterpart had set up his camera. Instead, his aim was to create a sequence of contemporary images that would resonate with the past not simply attempt to replicate it.

It soon became clear that several of Wilson’s vantage points had disappeared or were now difficult to find, obscured by the barriers and security devices which regulate movement in contemporary cities. Compensation was to be found in the sweeping panoramas opened up by the roofs of Aberdeen’s numerous multi-storey car parks.

The resulting photographs pay homage to George Washington Wilson, not only in seeking out comparable vistas, but through the use of an analogue camera and traditional techniques of production (silver bromide printing). In doing so, they capture the essence of a time past and a new presence for the city of Aberdeen. Set against a selection of reproductions from Wilson’s glass plate negatives and a soundscape created by Professor Pete Stollery, Chair of Music at Aberdeen University, the exhibition establishes a dialogue between an Aberdeen past and present.

Search the Special Collections George Washington Wilson Archive at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/historic/gww/

The Far North – Frozen Stars, Shifting Ice and the Silence Beyond
03 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.

The Far North has been a place of fascination since the first travellers’ tales of otherworldly icebergs and the Northern Lights reached the temperate zones, and the first treasures of amber and narwhal ivory were sent southwards... more

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... more

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