Collect.Ed Exhibition: Curiosities from the University’s Collections

Posted on November 15, 2013 | in events, Exhibitions, Featured, Library & University Collections, Uncategorized | by

“How strange this mass of ancient treasures, mementos of past pains and pleasures.”
Charlotte Brontë

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Opening: 6th December 2013 | Where: Exhibition Gallery, Main Library, George Square | Closing: 1st March 2014 | Curated by: Emma Smith

Shells, quartz crystals, cranium casts, meteorites and fossilised raindrops…

From the sixteenth century a developing social intrigue with the unknown and the mysterious manifested itself in vast collections of both natural and manmade curiosities. Such trophies were often the result of the respectable gentleman’s Grand Tour, or returned to Europe from expanding colonial frontiers. These ‘cabinets of curiosity’ not only served scientific study but also allowed objects to be viewed out of context and on a purely aesthetic level, providing fascinating juxtapositions and new opportunities for interpretation.

Embodying both the satisfaction of imposed order and the human desire to possess, early collecting focused on the unclassified and unique, aiming as much to instil wonder as to enlighten. This exhibition explores the unexpected and showcases the rare and remarkable from the University’s collections.

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Selection of shells from Charles Lyell’s collection, Geology Collection, University of Edinburgh

For more images from the exhibition follow to the blog page at https://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/diu/2013/10/23/new-photography-for-upcoming-exhibition-collect-ed/

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Collect.ed is a collaboration between Library & University Collections and the Careers Service Employ.ed on Campus initiative.
Emma Smith is a final year Fine Art undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh

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Opening: 6th December 2013 | Where: Exhibition Gallery, Main Library, George Square | Closing: 1st March 2014 | Curated by: Emma Smith

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