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Library Collections

An intricate and arduous undertaking: George Montagu (1753-1815) and his collection of shells

Beautiful, intricate and varied, shells have adorned our clothes, our homes and our objects of art for centuries. From the end of the 17th century, natural scientists began to collect, organise, observe and draw them in earnest. George Montagu’s Testacea Britannica (1803) is one of the most important works of natural history to come out of the Age of Enlightenment – and it has a special significance for Exeter.

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William Savage’s Practical hints on decorative printing (1822)

From the early 19th century, Koenig & Bauer’s new steam-powered double-cylinder printing press, capable of printing over 1100 sheets an hour, disseminated information fast. The circulation of The Times newspaper increased from 5,000 to 50,000 by the middle of the century. However, not all printing was about speed – in 1822 William Savage published his guide to fine art printmaking – still a popular art form today.

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Our Region Revealed Jigsaws

A fun way to engage with our collections, whatever your age. These pictures are newly-digitised illustrations from Our Region Revealed project. Each puzzle can be adapted from a 6-piece puzzle for little ones to a 1000-piece puzzle for experts - you decide!

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Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and his Library of Congress

The third President of the United States of America is best known for drafting the Declaration of Independence that galvanised the British colonies in their fight to become a new nation. At home he immersed himself in science, engineering, architecture and book collecting – even rescuing one of the world’s greatest libraries.

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