Last Friday, Andrew McAinsh, Librarian at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, very kindly offered us the professional courtesy of a behind the scenes tour of their collection and if you haven't been yet, you should definitely drop by some time.
Crush Hall and the Library Reading Room are open to members of the public on Monday afternoons from 2.00 pm until 5.00 pm and they have a new weekly exhibits on display from their archives for you to discover.
As well as their collection of modern medicine textbooks, which members of the College can use for revision during exam periods, the library also holds a rich collection of rare books, often donated by the college's benefactors and a few of which have been digitised and are now available online if you follow this link.
As well as their books, the RCPSG also have great photos online of all the weird and wonderful instruments and artefacts from the archives collection here.
But best of all, if you go and visit the library, you'll get the chance to see their copies of Audubon’s “Birds of America”. These two volumes were purchased for 40 guineas in 1841, and include the first 200 of the 435 prints published by the artist between 1827 and 1838. The birds are depicted life-size, meaning that the books housing the illustrations are double elephant folio sized. The engravings, copied from Audubon’s original drawings, are illustrated in astounding detail and each one is hand-coloured. Visitors to the College can see this beautiful work on permanent display in the library reading room.
Thanks again to Andrew for a lovely welcome and a most enlightening visit.