The sixth issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting will be available for sale from the Main Library next Wednesday, the 12th of March. This issue, the third of this semester and the final installment of the series, looks at books from the Library’s collection which tell the story of “Arts” at St Andrews. The remote beauty of St Andrews has inspired artists for centuries and the University has been collecting and studying the arts from its very beginning. Paintings, silver and other artefacts were collected by the University and kept on display in the Library on South Street until the 20th century. Under the instigation of Principal Sir David Brewster, experimental photography found its way to St Andrews from its infancy, making the town and the University one of the earliest places to be documented by the new medium. Music not only echoed throughout the medieval halls of the University, it was also central to the changes that the Reformation brought to St Andrews. In 1948, Professor Cedric Thorpe Davie founded an academic Music Department, and in modern times the Music Centre continues to encourages musical performance of every sort, including concerts by students, staff and visiting international artists. The University of St Andrews and its Library are places where the arts are not only studied, but also where they are inspired and created.
“Arts” features works that have inspired or guided the study of music, art and photography in St Andrews, as well as books which could qualify as works of arts themselves. The first book to be illustrated with photographs, Athanasius Kircher’s magnificent musical treatise Musurgia Universalis and Diderot and d’Alembert’s grand Encyclopédie are all featured in this issue.
This final issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting not only features the standard selection of 10 works for inclusion, the final article, on Jean Johnstone’s artist’s books gives a hint at what the University Library will be collecting in the University next 100 years. This issue also includes a beautiful visual index of all the works featured in the series.
Each issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting features a full chronological listing of the entire series, and each issue also features a part of a visual timeline of the University Library’s history. This series brings together the clarity of modern design and the inherent beauty of the Library’s strongest asset — its books. At £3 each, these beautiful magazines are a beautiful introduction to the University Library’s holdings and a great way to get excited about the Library and the University of St Andrews, recently named Scottish University of the Year 2014.