Scotland's oldest surviving book in a Scottish collection put on global stage with Google partnership


25 September 2020
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Scotland's oldest surviving book still in a Scottish collection is among the historic artefacts showcased in a new free online experience.

The University of Edinburgh has joined the British Library, the Louvre and others in collaborating with Google Arts & Culture to make their collections more accessible to a wider audience.

The Celtic Psalter, which has been described as Scotland's Books of Kells, is one of a series of objects which can be viewed on the Google Arts & Culture website and app. 

The Celtic Psalter

The pocket-size book of Psalms – dated to the 11th century and most likely produced at the monastery of Iona – is one of more than 150 images from the collection housed in the University Main Library which will be accessible on the free digital platform. 

The story of the University’s Special Collections, Museums and colleges will be told though themes relating to the University’s heritage and Scotland’s culture, past and present. 

Among the attractions are photographs from the archive of Sir Patrick Geddes – the so-called father of modern town planning – who is famed for regenerating Edinburgh's Old Town.

Objects from the University’s world-class collection of musical instruments also feature, including a violin from the 19th century played by James Scott Skinner – one of Scotland’s most famous fiddlers. 

International links

Elsewhere, the story of the University’s international reputation in medicine and 500 years of medical teaching will be told through items from the anatomy collection and the Lothian Health Services Archive – which holds many historically important records of NHS hospitals.

Also included are engravings and photographs from the Corson Collection – an archive relating to the travels of novelist, poet and alumnus, Sir Walter Scott. 

Daryl Green, Head of Special Collections, said: “The University’s Collections play an important role in object-based learning, research and inspiration. This challenging year has brought the need for online engagement into sharper focus and we are delighted to be able to work with Google Arts & Culture to share the stories behind the collections more widely.”

Explore Google Arts & Culture here.

Do you love Scotland's history, heritage and culture? Want to learn more about the country's past? History Scotland is the world's premier Scottish history magazine. Find out more here.