Saughton Park Restoration Project

Rumours of the old house being haunted, romantic walks in the rose garden, dancing to music at the bandstand, catching fish in jam jars at the Water of Leith… these are just some of the colourful memories recorded so far as part of the Saughton Park Restoration Project.

Since summer 2016 Edinburgh charity the Living Memory Association has been working with volunteers to uncover the social history of the park and the surrounding area.
The material will help shape the park, for example in new artwork and information panels, and be archived for the benefit of future generations.

The Edinburgh and Scottish Collection are hosting an exhibition where you can enjoy a taste of the memories, images and documents collected so far, and read about the plans for the restoration project.

Saughton – the People’s Park is in the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection until March 31st 2017.

bandstand-and-art-galleriesDiscover more about Saughton Park’s past by reading our previous blog post on Saughton’s Glorious Summer of 1908.



Japanese handscroll returns from conservation

Last week, we unveiled a rare and beautiful early 18th century Japanese handscroll, which has returned to Edinburgh Central Library after a two year restoration process in the Netherlands.

We found the 300-year-old painted scroll, created by Japanese artist Furuyama Moromasa, in our special collections in 2012 – it had lain unnoticed for many years.

We worked with National Museums Scotland to secure funding from the Sumitomo Foundation to restore the scroll to its former glory. Restorient Studios, specialist restorers based in Leiden, the Netherlands, did the work. They relined the scroll, consolidated the pigments to reduce the impact of aging, and they provided a custom-made silk casing.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Culture and Sport Convener, said, “It is fantastic to see this striking painting so beautifully restored, thanks to generous funding from The Sumitomo Foundation.

“It is also down to the enthusiasm of libraries staff, alongside National Museums Scotland’s curators, that this artwork has been rediscovered and given the attention it deserves.”

Dr Rosina Buckland, Senior Curator, National Museum of Scotland, said: “Edinburgh Central Library holds a rare and beautiful Japanese painting, created three hundred years ago, presenting the theatre district of historic Tokyo (then known as Edo).

“To ensure their preservation, East Asian paintings must undergo a complex process of remounting periodically. We are extremely grateful to the Sumitomo Foundation for generously funding this delicate and specialized conservation work, which will allow the painting to be put on display for the public’s enjoyment.”

DSC_3450 copyscroll image

The scroll is called ‘Theatres of the East’, and it shows a street scene in the theatre district of Edo, Tokyo. The daughter of Henry Dyer, a Scottish engineer who played a major role in revolutionising the Japanese education system, donated it to the Central Library in 1945.

Now that the scroll has been restored, it will go on public display in the National Museum of Scotland’s new East Asia Gallery from 2018.

Images of the scroll before its restoration are currently available to view on the Capital Collections website.

The Moromasa Scroll conservation project – 1 year on

Edinburgh Libraries and Information Services are excited to announce that the Moromasa Scroll project has completed its first year. Even more thrilling, the Sumitomo Foundation have generously awarded a further grant for £17,500 to finish the conservation of the Moromasa Scroll.

Moromasa Scroll in workshop

Conservator at work on the Moromasa Scroll in the Leiden studio.

The scroll which was brought to light 2 years ago in Edinburgh Central Library has turned out to be a real treasure and an artwork of national importance.  As such, securing its future was vitally important.  Academics and specialists have supported this work, and have visited the scroll whilst it is away from home in Leiden at the Restorient Studio.

One of the visiting academics has gone the extra mile and handmade a traditional roller for the scroll.  None were available commercially even in Japan.  In return, with its illustration of Kabuki and puppet theatre scenes, the scroll has given researchers information about Japanese theatre they had not previously found elsewhere.

Detail of the roller of the Moromasa Scroll

Detail of the roller of the Moromasa Scroll

And the story is not yet over. The scroll is currently in 10 pieces! No need to worry though, this has been done so it can be rejoined on new lining papers. Its silk cover will be replaced and its silver decoration brought back to life for what should make it a real showstopper.

Silvering on cloud detail and the scroll's silk cover

Detail from scroll shows silvering on cloud design on left and the silk cover on right

We shall be following progress closely and will keep you updated until the scroll returns safely to Edinburgh Central Library. Many thanks to everyone who is helping to restore the scroll to its original splendour.

You can see images of the scroll online at Capital Collections where you can zoom into the incredible detail of life in early 18th century Edo (Tokyo).

You can catch up on the Scroll story so far with these earlier blog posts: