Monthly Archives: December 2013

Photographing The Apocalypse Circa 1483

Recently the Digital Imaging Unit were asked to photograph all 8 illustrations from the book of the Apocalypse in Anton Koberger’s German Bible of 1483.  Shelf-mark Inc.45.2.  I have selected a few details from the illustrations here to demonstrate the quality of the line and its powerful descriptive impact. ” Koberger was the godfather of Albrecht Dürer, whose family lived on the same street. In the year before Dürer’s birth in 1471.”   Giulia Bartrum, Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, British Museum Press, 2002, pp 94-96, ISBN 0-7141-2633-0  

Malcolm Brown


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Last week I was sent a wonderful book, Deletrix – a collaboration between the artist Joan Fontcuberta, Catalan PEN and Arts Santa Mònica and it explores censorship and violence done to books. Thought provoking, and beautifully illustrated with images that have a strange haunting quality- indeed Fontcuberta challenges the audience as to whether the inherent beauty of the object can redeem the violence done to them. It has got me thinking about the items in our collections that have suffered changes at the hands of censors over the years.

Perhaps the one that immediately springs to mind is Micheal Servetus’ Christianismi Restitutio It is thought to be the copy Servetus sent to Calvin; incensed by Servetus’ theories, Calvin ripped out the first 16 pages before he set the wheels in motion to have Servetus burned at the stake using his own books for the fire! (See for more information).

However, there are many more censored images in the collection, often the result of religious belief & moral concerns. All the illustrations in the Genesis chapter of this French Bible appear to have God covered with Gold paint
0026013dAnd there are many examples of people being defaced

Further examples can be found below – perhaps an example of Victorian vandalism?
Or how about this one, where it looks as though the owners name and anathema has been deliberately erased

More information on Deletrix can be found at the links below

Many thanks to Ana González Tornero for the beautiful book, the links and information about the Deletrix Project.

Susan Pettigrew

Library and University 2014 calendar

The new Library and University 2014 calendar is now on sale. This year’s theme is Bygone Edinburgh, with all images coming from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Highlights include some of the work of Scottish pioneers of photography, Hill and Adamson, and this image taken by an unknown photographer around 1887.


The three gentlemen shown demonstrating the cantilever principle for the Forth Bridge are engineers Sir John Fowler, Kaichi Watanabe and Sir Benjamin Baker.

The calendar is on sale in the Library at the front desk and at the CRC reception on the 6th Floor, priced £8.

Further information on the calendar is available at