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Rare Delights II: Recent Additions to Special Collections

The University of Otago Library’s rare book collection in Special Collections is by no means a static one. Although largely made up of three named collections – Esmond de Beer, Charles Brasch, and William Arderne Shoults – the collection continues to grow through purchase and donation.

With these new acquisitions we aim to build on strengths of the collection, especially in the fields of 18th century literature, garden history, art and architecture, and works by and about John Evelyn, John Locke, and the English poet Robert Graves. The Brasch Collection enables further development in the field of modern poetry and prose, including the purchase of important examples of limited edition private press productions. Two significant additions have strengthened the scope of the collection: the works of John Buckland Wright, the Dunedin-born artist-engraver, and numerous samples of Australian Pulp Fiction Literature. Other books have been purchased because of their historical significance or because they fill gaps in the existing collection.

Rare Delights II showcases a selection of acquisitions and donations to Special Collections between 2003 and 2007. Notable items on display include: The Savoy (1896), which features the work of Aubrey Beardsley, a Kelmscott edition of William Morris’s The Tale of the Emperor (1894), Thomas More’s Utopia (1684), Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles, Part I (1587), John Dryden’s Absalom and Achitopel (1681), John Barrow’s Travels to Southern Africa (1801), Lynd Ward’s graphic novel Wild Pilgrimage (1932), Ivan Soll’s Tryangulations (1991), and John Buckland Wright’s Surreal Times (2000). Other highlights include first time publications of watercolour drawings by William Blake, and a range of Australian Pulp Fiction, with titles such as Hot Ice and The Jade-eyed Jinx.

Exhibition Poster (3MB in PDF format)