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Bibliomania, 1852

Picture above: Bibliomania, 1852 Tate, London, 2007

Scottish-born Douglas worked in a bank for ten years before becoming a full-time artist, studying for a short period under Sir William Allen. He began to exhibit at the Royal Scottish Academy and, in 1854, he was elected a full member. Douglas was an avid collector of book, objets d'art, skulls, suits of armour and bric-a-brac which he incorporated into many of his pictures, including The Curiosity Shop, Rome and The Alchemist. Allen worked as a curator at the Scottish National Gallery from 1877 until 1882.

Bibliomania is set in a second-hand booksellers shop. The characters, all in eighteenth century dress, are surrounded by shelves and stacks of parchments and books, by writers including Ovid and Cicero. A street is visible on the left side of the painting where more men examine books on a street stall.