Category Archives: Featured

ECA Collection at the Library Annexe: Student Paintings

A series of articles on the relationship between the Library Annexe and the ECA.

When the Edinburgh College of Art merged with the University of Edinburgh in August 2011, they brought with them a fantastic collection of art and archives. Including a large collection of paintings which were stored off site in Livingston and have now been moved to the Library Annexe.

Paintings at the Library Annexe

ECA Collection

What are these paintings and where do they come from?

The vast majority of the ECA paintings at the Annexe are student works from final year degree shows. The additional storage space provided by the Library Annexe has been a boon to the ECA. This space allows room for the expansion and growth of the collection.

ECA Collection at the Library Annexe

Safe, secure, storage.

In an exciting move, the ECA will this year re-start acquiring final year student work from the Degree show as part of a purchase prize.

If you are interested in art and would like to have a look at what our student’s are creating, the Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2013 is currently taking place until Sunday 9 June 2013. Check it out!


Don’t fear though, if you miss the Degree show, the ECA Post Graduate Degree Show 2013 will be happening from Saturday 17 August to Sunday 25 August 2013.

Stephanie Farley (Charlie), Library Annexe Assistant

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Full Nelson Archive

Repertory Plays Series, Thomas Nelson Archive

Repertory Plays Series, Thomas Nelson Archive: These picturesque little plays are just some of the gems amongst the collection.

The Thomas Nelson collection of books arrived at the Annexe on Tuesday 14th August 2012. We were very excited to be receiving this collection of books and materials forming the back catalogue of the publishing firm that began in Scotland in 1798. The books date back to the time when Nelson moved away from Scotland to become part of the Wolters Kluwer Group. Edinburgh University already acts as guardians to the Thomas Nelson business archives up to 1960, so it made perfect sense to keep the collection together.

The Interlude of Youth

The Interlude of Youth

We foolishly thought the packed boxes would come straight off the van and onto our shelves before lunch time. However, after only a couple of the 13 pallets were unloaded, we realised that this was unlikely to be the case. The collection is made up of a vast range of materials from cassette tapes to oversized picture books. Each pallet had to be unwrapped and unpacked individually, which involved fighting through layers of dust and dirt (most of which was many years old). The first task we had to undertake was the weeding of duplicates. At first glance there were many copies of the same item, but closer inspection revealed that each item bore tiny differences, which from a bibliographical perspective are potentially huge.

Gods Throw Incense by Katharine Trae

Gods Throw Incense by Katharine Trae

Many weeks later, the collection was finally in its new home at the Library Annexe. After the weeding of duplicates the collection still covered an impressive 275 meters.

Under the Skull and Bones by Ronald Gow

Under the Skull and Bones by Ronald Gow

Whilst unpacking, Library Annexe Assistant Stephanie (Charlie) Farley discovered a first edition of “When Wendy Grew Up” by J.M. Barrie, which is an epilogue to peter Pan (dating from 1957). What made this book stand out was a signature from Mr Sydney Blow, who was not only an actor in the original production of Peter Pan, but the author of the foreword. It was dedicated to Hilda Trevelyan, who played Wendy in the production and to whom the manuscript “When Wendy Grew Up” was dedicated to in 1908. Although not overly valuable, this item is certainly unique. It was the sheer mystery and excitement of not knowing what you might find that helped us get through 13 pallets of material.

Scott Docking, Library Assistant (Special Collections and Archives)

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Lo, Oil Paintings!

Carnival Procession by Dorothy M. Peach. Held at the Library Annexe. Part of the University of Edinburgh’s Fine Art Collection

Among the rather diverse collections held here at the Library Annexe is one that sticks out, if only because of the bright colours and hefty items it contains. Lining the walls and filling a sizeable number of the Annexe’s shelves is a fascinating collection of canvas paintings completed by students at the Edinburgh College of Art. Inherited when the University and the ECA combined in Summer 2011, the collection comprises of over 1000 fine art pieces.

Given the bulky size of the pictures and the fact that they’re stored away from the cosy and familiar Main Library at George Square, you might be forgiven for thinking that the collection could be as interesting as it likes without you ever getting to see it; not so!

As part of a campaign to document the nation’s art and make it available on-line the BBC have digitised the collection and made it available on the web page ‘Your Paintings.’ The Your Paintings project aims to make the paintings, the stories behind them and their actual location available to the public. Not only that but when you run out of pictures to tag on Facebook you can tag the paintings instead.

To browse through one of the library’s more colourful collections at your leisure, visit the site and take a look:

BBC “Your Paintings”: Edinburgh College of Art

Here are a couple of my favourites. Why not go and find yours?

Landscape with Figures by Kathleen Russell

Carnival Procession by Dorothy M. Peach

Kew Garden by Gillian Mather

Maria O’Hara, Library Annexe Assistant

The Annexe team choose some highlights

I’ve selected a couple of paintings that really stood out to me. A nice impressionist still life and something a bit more colourful! I particularly like the Curtain Call painting as, although the reds and blues likely represent a stage curtain, to me the image evokes the atmosphere of lively applause amid showers of ticker tape.

Still Life with Fish by Alistair F. Flatterly

Curtain Call by Francis Convery

Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor


A warm still life with rose, gold, and lovely crisp apples.

Still Life with Apples by D. Gordon Campbell

An engaging portrait. I like the way light and shadow are used to encourage the eye to focus on and examine the subjects expression.

Portrait Study by Thomas Kim Redpath

I have a particular fascination with doors, archways, and the in-between.

Arches by Stella Anne Sandeman

Stephanie (Charlie) Farley, Library Annexe Assistant


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