Edinburgh Book Sculptures – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Book Sculptures

Anonymously sculpted and donated, these sculptures made from poetry books and pages are sprinkled around the city. 

A thick tree grows from a book of poems laying on its side, forming an intriguing piece of art. The sculpture is titled Poetree, and it was the first of 10 sculptures made from the pages of books to be secretly donated to a number of libraries and other cultural places of interest in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Poetree mysteriously showed up at the Scottish Poetry Library in 2011 accompanied by a note saying, “in support of books, libraries, words, ideas.” It was later joined by two other sculptures, one of a cap and gloves and another of a girl reading beneath a tree.

An 11th sculpture was gifted to author Ian Rankin. Like the first 10 works of art it, too, was created from old books.

The original book sculptures garnered national and international attention. They even went on a tour around Scotland in 2012, though they soon returned to their Edinburgh homes.

Though more book sculptures have popped up in the years since the originals first appeared, to this day, the sculptor remains anonymous. All that’s known is that the mastermind behind the mysterious book sculptures is a woman.

Know Before You Go

The book sculptures can be found at seven different locations throughout Edinburgh. Start with the original, Poetree, at the Scottish Poetry Library (which is closed on Sundays and Mondays) where you can buy a map for 1 GBP. A book with the detailed story of each gift is available for purchase. It includes the complete story about hints written in library guest books and packages labeled as "do not open until...". 

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