Edinburgh Central Library
The Art & Design Library collection of artists’ books numbers just under 200 items and is housed within the Art & Design Library, Central Library. Founded in the 1990s, the collection started with an international focus on small press and limited editions and includes work dating from the 1960s by the artists Edward Ruscha, Sol Lewitt, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Kate Whiteford, Marcel Duchamp and Natalie D’Arbeloff. Within our collection we seek to represent the versatility of the artists’ book format.
Extent of Collection: c.200
Website and Catalogue: http://yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk/
Collecting Policy: We are actively adding to the collection but our focus is now on work by artists currently working in Scotland
Access Conditions: Items from the collection can be viewed upon request during normal library opening hours. We welcome group and individual visits
Address: Art & Design Library, Central Library, 7 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EG
T: +44(0)131 242 8040
Edinburgh College of Art
The ECA Library Artists’ Books Collection has been growing since the 1980s and begins with iconic works by Ed Ruscha from the 1960s. The collection is particularly strong in works by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Helen Douglas, Alec Finlay, Tom and Laurie Clark, and Hans Waanders. The collection also features a good number of works by the Redfoxpress, and by artists in the Edinburgh Artists’ Books Group such as Jenny Smith, Susie Leiper, Susie Wilson, and Anne Keith.
Extent of Collection: c.2000
Collecting Policy: The Library actively collects artists’ books by international artists as well as works by graduating ECA students
Access Conditions: By request at ECA Library Helpdesk. All items are reference only and must be consulted in ECA Library. Patrons can request up to three items at a time and must complete a form at the Library Helpdesk. Group visits can be arranged by contacting the ECA Academic Support Librarian
Address: ECA Library, Evolution House, West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE
T: +44(0)131 651 5700
Edinburgh Napier University
A small number of artists’ books form part of the Edward Clark Collection, which illustrates the development of the book from the 15th century. The collection concentrates on the development of typography, the techniques of printing illustrations, and fine bindings.
Extent of Collection: c.30
Collecting Policy: Occasional purchases, generally inexpensive, to act as examples of innovative ways to create books. Items will be recognisably books, rather than sculptural works of art.
Access Conditions: By appointment during core hours Monday-Friday
Address: Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus Library, 10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5DT
T: +44(0)131 455 3500
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The Special Books Collection consists of over 2,500 artist books and limited-edition livres d’artiste covering the period from 1897 to the present day. The main focus is on Dada and Surrealism, but the collection also contains many of the most significant books by artists of the twentieth century. These range from Oskar Kokoschka’s Die Träumenden Knaben (1917) and Henri Matisse’s Jazz (1947), to a near complete collection of artist’s books by Ed Ruscha, from Various Small Fires and Milk (1964) to Then & Now: Hollywood Boulevard 1973-2004 (2005).
Extent of Collection: Over 2,500 artist books and limited-edition livres d’artiste
Collecting Policy: New works – both historical and by contemporary artists – are added each year.
Access Conditions: Visits are by appointment. First-time visitors will be asked to complete a visitor application form in advance of their visit, and to show ID upon their arrival. Group visitors (maximum 10 people) are welcome.
Address: Modern Two, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DS
T: +44 (0)131 624 6268
Scottish Poetry Library
The Library collects a wide range of material that embraces visual materiality in book form. This ranges from concrete and visual poetry, items with visual and textual elements, poetry and photography, unusual small press items and pamphlets, and artists’ books. Particular strengths are the Edwin Morgan Archive, the Ian Hamilton Finlay collection of over 500 items, and the Thomas A Clark collection of over 500 items. A selection of other publications that combine visual elements with text are also kept, as are book objects. The Library also house several of the book sculptures left anonymously in Edinburgh locations since 2011.
Extent of Collection: c.1000
Collecting Policy: Although the Library does have a Scottish focus, the collection is international in scope. Very expensive items are not purchased.
Access Conditions: All items are reference only and cannot be loaned. Please email in advance to arrange an appointment.
Address: 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh, EH18 8DT
T: +44 (0)131 557 2876