University of Glasgow


Part of the Library and University Services

Please note that these pages are from our old (pre-2010) website; the presentation of these pages may now appear outdated and may not always comply with current accessibility guidelines.

French Honours Option
Emblem Books 

Resources in Special Collections

The Word/image genre of the Emblem flourished throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the University of Glasgow is lucky enough to have one of world's finest collection. This movement coincided with the development of new standards of illustrated printing in Western Europe. During the course, we will examine a selection of texts illustrating the way in which the emblematic mentality was harnessed to serve different didactic purposes from political propaganda to religious polemic. Students will have a chance to research a topic of their choice.

These pages aim to act as a starting point for students exploring the rich primary source material relating to emblematics held by Glasgow University Library. Drawn mainly from the Stirling Maxwell collection, a sample of digitised images from each of the books discussed in lectures is provided, along with links to other relevant resources. From the samples available, it should be possible for students to make informed decisions about which of the texts they wish to explore further.

Note on printing: most of the images have been scanned at resolutions that reproduce the emblems in finer detail and at a larger scale than the originals. The easiest way to print out the image files at A4 size is to right click on the larger version of the image and then save a copy for printing out using imaging software (for example, using Microsoft Photo Editor, print out ticking the 'fit to page' option from the print menu) 

See also the French emblems at Glasgow website for 27 emblem books digitised in their entirety


Students are encouraged to visit Special Collections to consult this material in person. For further advice about using the collections, please contact Julie Gardham.

the image displayed here shows a detail from SM 823a, page 276 

Emblems pages created by Julie Gardham: October 2002; updated September 2003.