Francesca Explains her project choice

This project was inspired through an academic interest in book history and manuscript studies, combined with a personal passion for antiquarian books and manuscripts - and the belief that I couldn't be the only person obsessed with the appearance, content, feel - not to mention the smell - of old books!

I felt privileged that as a postgraduate student at the University of Glasgow I had access to the inspiring and fascinating collections held in the Hunterian museum, Special Collections, and the University of Glasgow's Archives,and, in particular, the vast and varied collection of books, manuscripts, documents, catalogues, and personal letters from William Hunter's eighteenth-century library. While the museum gallery includes permanent small display recognising the prestige of Hunter's book collection, I felt the Hunterian Associates Programme would be a brilliant opportunity to open up this notably large and unique collection to the public, while highlighting both the insights that can be gained and the problems which are often encountered during archival research.

Essentially, this project served to provide the public with a rare insight into Hunter’s large and varied book collection which cannot be fully displayed in public view. It aimed to provide a close-up of one small area of the collection while summarising the main contents of the library and the methods by which the collection was acquired from both an individual and general eighteenth-century perspective. It should not, though, be taken as all-inclusive, or indeed conclusive. This project invites as many questions as it does supply answers, and in general serves to promote this enthralling collection and open up opportunities for further research.

Francesca Mackay, MPhil, English Language; PhD student in English Language

MPhil thesis: The Reformation of Reading: The Evidence for the Co-Existence of Reading Practices in the Textual Afterlife of Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ.

Francesca's current PhD Research compares the development of reading practices as displayed in religious texts and historical chronicles.