Sleep – The Historic Cemeteries of Scotland

Edinburgh Central Library is exhibiting a collection of photographs by Robert Reinhardt, an artist and educator based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until 1st September.

Robert has been visiting and working in Edinburgh for ten years and his passionate interest in local cemeteries has resulted in a series of photographs of gravestones with a particular beauty of their own. His work has been included in the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland collection and its value has been recognised by Lesley Ferguson, Head of Collections:

“Graveyards are a very significant aspect of Scotland’s cultural heritage. In the past 20 or 30 years, there has been growing awareness that this vital part of Scotland’s heritage was being lost through erosion, vandalism and age, and there was recognition that we should be recording these stones. We are delighted to have Robert Reinhardt’s images in the RCAHMS collection. He has captured a lot of information in his work.”

Robert himself says of the proposed exhibition in Central Library: “These sites are extremely rich in visual treasure. The images included document a theme of loss and eternal memories. They also address survival and the need for preservation. The photos bring to life a strength that continues to live on in these sacred places. The monuments seem almost indifferent to the elements that continue to wear at their surfaces and challenge their structural integrity. At the same time, nature is painting an entirely new palette and environment for them to exist in. It is the collision and contrast of that ongoing confrontation that draws me into these sites…my camera has recorded a small slice of Edinburgh’s history, culture, art and architecture.”

Central Library is delighted to host this exhibition at a time when there will be so many visitors to the city seeking to explore their family history. Equally, it affords long-term city residents the chance of a fresh perspective on the often sadly neglected past.

The exhibition will include original photographic prints and large scale vinyl images. There is also a series of lectures throughout the month based on the images included in the exhibit. To find out more about the lectures and to book a place visit


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