Exhibition: COVER STORIES - What bindings say about books

Cover Stories exhibition
11 November 2016 - 28 May 2017

A book cover can tell its own story. During the early history of book production, the manner in which a book was bound was unique. Each hand-crafted binding reveals information about the individuals who owned books, their social status, professions and how they valued the texts within. The type of covering also demonstrates the skill of the binder and the fashion of the times in which it was made.

This exhibition includes examples of the finest luxury coverings through to the purely utilitarian. It features a selection of books from the University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections that were bound for, or belonged to, persons of note: A fine leather volume with lions tooled in gold for Prince Henry Stuart; a mathematical text wrapped in waste manuscript for daily use by the Renaissance scholar Duncan Liddel; a work of fiction bound in an Arts and Crafts chintz designed by William Morris.

The exhibition also presents covers that illustrate the moment in the mid 1800s when the art of bookbinding changed from being the means of customising a text for an individual into a new graphic art of book design aimed at the mass market.

Regular Gallery Opening Times:

Mon to Wed: 10am - 5pm
Thurs: 10am - 7pm
Fri to Sat: 10am - 5pm
Sundays: 11am - 4pm 


Talks in 2017:

As part of Cover Stories, there will be a series of five talks that focus on some of the individuals behind the bindings. All talks are FREE and take place in the Special Collections Seminar Room on the Lower Ground Floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library. To reserve a seat, click on the links below and follow the online booking instructions.


Thursday 23rd Feb, 6-7pm

Duncan Liddel - Educator, Innovator and Benefactor

Professor William Naphy



Thursday 23rd March, 6-7pm

The Curious Case of the Hart Press - a remarkable story of dissent, deception and domination

Dr Alastair Mann, Stirling University



Thursday 30th March, 6-7pm

Talwin Morris - His Life, Designs and Legacy

Duncan Chappell, Academic Liaison Librarian, Glasgow School of Art



Thursday 13th April, 6-7pm

Cover Stories Uncovered

Jane Pirie, Rare Books Cataloguer and Curator of 'Cover Stories'



Thursday 11th May, 6-7pm

Henry Stuart (1594-1612), the Lost Prince

Dr Andrew Gordon



Hosted by: Special Collections Centre, University of Aberdeen

Venue: The Sir Duncan Rice Library


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


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