The Country House Library Mark Purcell

Publication date:
03 Oct 2017
Yale University Press
352 pages: 273 x 216mm
150 color + 50 b-w illus.

Beginning with new evidence that cites the presence of books in Roman villas and concluding with present day vicissitudes of collecting, this generously illustrated book presents a complete survey of British and Irish country house libraries. Replete with engaging anecdotes about owners and librarians, the book features fascinating information on acquisition bordering on obsession, the process of designing library architecture, and the care (and neglect) of collections. The author also disputes the notion that these libraries were merely for show, arguing that many of them were profoundly scholarly, assembled with meticulous care, and frequently used for intellectual pursuits. For those who love books and the libraries in which they are collected and stored, The Country House Library is an essential volume to own. 

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Mark Purcell is deputy director of Cambridge University Library and was the former libraries curator to the National Trust.