Royal Botanic Garden unveils amazing book collection

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ONE of Scotland’s most famous gardens has lifted the lid on its amazing collection of 4,000 rare books.

The collection at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh includes the huge 1613 ‘Hortus Eystettensis’ which weighs in at eight stone and takes two people to lift.

It is the largest illustrated catalogue of flowers to be produced, and took over 16 years to complete.

The biggest, smallest and oldest books in the collection
The biggest, smallest and oldest books in the collection

At the other end of the scale is the pocket-sized ready reckoner, printed in Halifax in 1885 and standing at roughly three inches tall.

The tiny book was used by public servants and estate factors to estimate the costs of bulk quantities of coal and paper.

The largest book weighs 8 stone
The largest book weighs 8 stone

The oldest book in the collection is the ‘Latinus Herbarius’, which dates back to 1484.

Its previous owners include James Sutherland, the first professor of botany at the University of Edinburgh.

The Ready Reckoner pales in size to the massive Hortus Eystettensis
The Ready Reckoner pales in size to the massive Hortus Eystettensis

Until 2012, the rare collection was kept in locked cases in the Botanic’s main library when it was decided that a basement room would be converted to provide storage.

Special shelving was installed, along with drawers and a secure door, and the 4,000 books were subsequently transferred.

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