New exhibition showcases vast range of scrapbook uses throughout history

A new exhibition at our University demonstrates the vast range of uses for scrapbooks throughout the centuries – from capturing information to containing an assortment of colourful pictures.

Curated by the University’s Special Collections, the exhibition showcases how the technique and hobby of scrapbooking has changed over time while remaining popular today.

Among the scrapbooks showcased in the exhibition is one created by Ernest Frizelle, author of the Life and Times of the Leicester Royal Infirmary; the makings of a teaching hospital 1766-1980, who used the scrapbooking technique as a means of capturing and compiling a massive amount of information, linking it to his reference sources and cross-referencing to his draft book – sort of like a modern-day database.

Another scrapbook in the collection is an enigmatic 19th century scrapbook, SCD 01040, which offers a stark contrast with Frizelle’s scrapbook. Giving no personal information about the compiler and not focusing on any particular theme, the creator seems to have been indiscriminate, gathering together any form of pictorial printed material, ranging from landscapes both in England and overseas, printed illustrations for popular books such as Little Red Riding Hood and sentimental and lavishly illustrated prints, drawings and watercolours.

Caroline Sampson, Archivist at the University Special Collections, who organised the exhibition, said: “It is fascinating to see how use of the scrapbooking technique changed over time and how the compilers used the technique for so many different purposes. I hope visitors to the exhibition will enjoy seeing the range of different styles and the varied subject matter.”

The Scrapbook Exhibition is open from 3 October 2016 to 3 February 2017, 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Saturday and 12.30am to 5.30pm on Sundays in the basement of the David Wilson Library on the main University of Leicester campus.