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Category: Business & Reference, Books, United Kingdom

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Digitised images from The Bodleian Libraries Special Collections Search: Early Printing in Europe: examples and evidence in Bodleian collections The Bodleian’s collections of early printed books contain over 6000 incunables (books printed before 1500). The stories these collections tell cross many centuries and continents. Technological and business innovation in 15th-century Germany launched a printing trade that supplanted manuscript copies of many scholarly and religious works, and made possible new forms of text and illustrative practices.

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The National Library of Scotland has the pre-eminent collection of decorative bookbindings produced in Scotland during the last five centuries. Some were transferred to the new National Library in 1925 as part of the collections of the Advocates Library, but many have been purchased since in an attempt to document the development of binding styles in Scotland. Below are displayed a representative sample of bindings from the 18th century, together with a number of decorative endpapers from these books.

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We can trace Scottish printing back to 4 April 1508.

On that date the earliest surviving dated book in Scotland was printed in Edinburgh.

Here you can read full texts of items printed on 33 of the first 38 printing presses set up in Scotland between 1508 and 1900. These have been digitised from the National Library of Scotland's collections.

They include that first dated printed book – see The Complaint of the Black Knight, printed by Chepman and Myllar.

You can also trace the geographical spread of printing in Scotland, from the first printing towns to the 'printing revolution' in the 19th century.

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