Life and work of David Hume in the spotlight

The 300th anniversary of the birth of the revered Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume is being marked by a fascinating new exhibition at the Writers' Museum featuring rare archive materials.

DAVID HUME, 1711-1776: Man of Letters, Scientist of Man

"No man has influenced the history of philosophical thought to a deeper and more disturbing degree." Isaiah Berlin, The Age of Enlightenment, 1956.

The exhibition at the Writers' Museum, in the heart of the Old Town, will be visited by the owner of the collection, Dr William Zachs, together with Councillor Deidre Brock on Tuesday 26 April, Hume's birthday.

Edinburgh-born Hume, who is widely considered the most important philosopher ever to have written in English, can also claim to be the first modern British historian and the first Scottish essayist. His essays on morality, religion, politics, economics, and aesthetics expressed innovative philosophical ideas in an easily understandable form.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convener, said: "This terrific new exhibition at our Writers' Museum will give a fascinating insight into the life and works of David Hume, one of Scotland's most revered writers and thinkers and a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Dr William Zachs, who owns these wonderful artefacts. We are very grateful to Dr Zachs for allowing the Writers' Museum to become the first place to display this material publicly."

The exhibition at the Writers' Museum in Lady Stair's Close features material which until now has never been seen on public display. It includes rare books and original manuscripts written by Hume, and exquisite images of Hume and other important Enlightenment figures - for example, a Wedgwood portrait of Adam Smith, a miniature in watercolour on ivory of David Hume, a bronze medal of Francis Hutcheson and a fine ivory sculpture of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

An illustrated catalogue telling the story of Hume's life accompanies the exhibition and will be available for sale in the museum shop along with other Hume memorabilia.

The exhibition will run from 26 April to 17 September 2011. The Writers' Museum in Lady Stair's Close is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.

Do you have any comments about this page?

Help us improve

  • The City of Edinburgh Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.