18th – 30th June 2015
Morocco and Gibraltar have a long shared history. Col Thomas James in his Herculean Straits (1771), writes of these connections, describing the “hill of Gibraltar [as] the Mons Calpe of the Ancients” and commenting on the inscription on the Moorish castle as testament that the most ancient monuments of Gibraltar were indeed constructed during the Moorish period. This inscription is currently on display. James also refers to the description given by Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43 and was the earliest Roman geographer. Mela was born in Tingentera, now Algeciras, and therefore enjoyed a perfect view of both Gibraltar and Morocco, which he described as follows: “The narrow sea that opens, and the mountains Abila and Calpe, make the coast of Europe and Africa appear nearer to each other than in reality they are….”
The aim of this exhibition is however to show how close both Gibraltar and Morocco are by displaying aspects of the Morocco collection held at the Garrison Library. Maps, treatises and travel narratives have been brought together for this exhibition.
At the same time, as a private subscription Library owned by the Officers of the Garrison, the Garrison Library’s collection is informed by the tastes of the times, and by the Orientalist views of authors and travellers. We view Morocco, therefore, through these traveller’s eyes and through impressions that are clearly steeped in their historical milieu.