RSA Reading Room

Sense of Place – Artists Books

A selection of books which communicate our environment - historical and current, rural and urban, local and international. Some touch upon national cultural identity and our experience of the cultural identity of others. Some look at the presence/absence of nature around us and some deal with our everyday built environment.


From illuminated manuscripts to the present day, text and images have combined to communicate a visual and mental picture of the world around us. To the artist, artist books have become a more personal way of recording and interpreting their surroundings…. a private and often lateral view of a sense of place and our existence within it.


Using visual images, descriptive texts or a combination of the two (often in collaboration with other artists or writers) these works assist us to contemplate our own sense of place.


Featuring: Jenny Brownrigg | Thomas A Clark | Alec Finlay | Hamish Fulton | Zoe Irvine | Richard Long | Alexander and Susan Maris | Tommy Perman | George Reid RSA | Andrea Roe | Hans Waanders | Frances Walker RSA


Intriguing Images - A Selection of Paintings from the RSA Collection

The paintings in this display are drawn from the Royal Scottish Academy’s rich and diverse permanent collection of Scottish art. They all have a strong enigmatic appeal with some touching the realms of the supernatural and the mystical. Despite this unifying theme, the pieces themselves are fascinatingly diverse and range in date from the early nineteenth century through to the work of contemporary artists, covering the genres of landscape, figure and interior.


All the pieces on display are Diploma Works that were given to the Academy when the artists became Academicians. The concept of the Diploma Work is to constitute a representative sample of an artist’s work. Whilst this is generally the case, some of the artists included in this display appear to have seen the submission of their Diploma Work as an opportunity to deposit slightly unusual pieces, having evidently delighted in giving free rein to their imaginations.