Lectures at Lamport
‘The Country House Library: a Grand Tour’
Speaker: Mark Purcell, Deputy Director, University of Cambridge Library
Mark Purcell is a Deputy Director of Cambridge University, and was for
fifteen years prior to that the Libraries Curator of the National Trust.
His book ‘The Country House Library in Britain and Ireland’ will be
published by Yale University Press in Autumn 2017.
Libraries are simultaneously one of the most visible and one of the most
misunderstood aspects of the country house. Whether packed with bibliophile
trophies assembled by rich aristocratic collectors, or the everyday reading
matter of two, three and four hundred years ago, each library has a huge
amount to tell us about the social and bibliographical history of its house.
For every house that still has a library, there are dozens of others which
have been broken up and dispersed. This spectacularly illustrated lecture
will explore some of the survivors and a few of the victims, over a period
of more than 500 years. It will explore the central role which libraries
once played in the life of the country house, dispelling the myth of unread
books ‘bought by the yard’, and raising some intriguing questions about the
past and the future of books.
Booking essential: 01604 686272