Final mystery book sculpture settles at Edinburgh Central Library

The final instalment in a series of mystery sculptures crafted from books has made Edinburgh Central Library its home.

Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child
Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child sculpture

Created by an anonymous sculptor, the Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child is one of numerous intricate artworks to have appeared around Edinburgh over the last five years.

The 2m tall tree, accompanied by a small paper child holding a book, features butterfly-shaped leaves made by members of the public from as far afield as Spain, Greece and the US, contributed after the artist made a call-out for donations.

First unveiled at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, the work has been donated to the Central Library, where it will be kept on permanent display on the windowsill of the staircase leading to the Reference Library.

Culture Convener, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “I am delighted to welcome this beautiful sculpture to the Central Library and thank its sculptor and Edinburgh International Book Festival for enabling this display, which I’m sure will attract many people.

“It’s particularly fitting that this unveiling marks the start of Book Week Scotland, which celebrates books and reading, much like these sculptures. We’ve got lots happening across libraries in Edinburgh this week so I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved – and to visit this fantastic piece of art.”

Sophie Moxon, Operations and Finance Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: "Book Festival audiences have enjoyed a number of these mysterious paper sculptures over the last few years, and it was a real privilege to host the final one in Charlotte Square Gardens in August.
 
“Once we packed our tents away, it was important to us to find a permanent home for this lovely sculpture, and we are delighted that it will be housed in the Central Library for all to come and see. It’s the perfect home for a piece of art that celebrates the power of books and reading.”

The sculptures, which were created to celebrate libraries, books and words, have appeared in various locations connected with literature, such as museums, a cinema and libraries, including one shaped as a magnifying glass discovered in the Central Library in 2011.

Amongst the creations found, mostly during 2011, have been a dragon’s nest, a coffin and gramophone and a teacup, all of which were taken on a tour of Scotland in 2012.

Edinburgh Central Library currently has three of the book sculptures on display in its main foyer, depicting a magnifying glass, a teacup and a small figure ‘lost in a book’.

The new addition to Edinburgh Central Library marks the start of Book Week Scotland, which runs from 21 to 27 November. During the week events are being held across Edinburgh’s libraries to celebrate books and reading, including talks by authors, open mic nights and children’s activities. 

Find out more about events and libraries online.

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