Education, Feature, Hospitality/Leisure

Oxford’s literary treasures shine under LED spotlights

Specially adapted lights are mounted discreetly in these new display cabinets | Photos; John Cairns

Shakespeare’s First Folio and the Gutenberg Bible are among the literary treasures lit by tiny bespoke LED spotlights in this newly refurbished library at Oxford University.

The Weston Library, built in the 1930s and originally called the New Bodleian Library, has been pretty much completely rebuilt behind its existing façade. It forms part of the university’s famous Bodleian Libraries, housing the special collections.

The renovation was carried out by architectural practice Wilkinson Eyre, who were tasked with opening up the building to allow better public access for academic research and exhibitions.

130 specially adapted variants of Precision Lighting’s Pico spotlight have been installed. The spots have a custom rubbed bronze finish, as has the track system on which they are mounted.

The library’s 1930s facade remains largely unchanged, but its inside has been extensively renovated

Precision worked with Italian case supplier Goppion to vertically mount the track system in display cabinets. Carefully designed panning and tilting mechanisms ensure the spots can be perfectly positioned to illuminate exhibits, and easily moved when exhibits change.

Madeline Slaven, head of exhibitions at the Bodleian Libraries, said the new lights provide the flexibility ‘to add or take away lights to suit the display, and to position the fitting exactly where we need it. They work extremely well whether we are lighting a caption to be easily read or providing quite low-level illumination on an exhibit such as Magna Carta’.

Precision’s products have also installed at a number of other historic venues in the UK including Hampton Court Palace and the Imperial War Museum.