The Country House Library – 50 years in 50 books

For those who love books and the libraries in which they are collected and stored, The Country House Library is an essential read. 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.

In this extract, part of the 50 Years in 50 Books series for our 50th Anniversary, Mark Purcell considers the scholarship of ‘the library’, and introduces the reader to the themes and historical periods covered in The Country House Library.


Read the introduction to The Country House Library


About the Author:

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


About the book:

The Country House Library
by Mark Purcell

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 

Published in association with the National Trust

Find out more


Further reading:

Yale University Press is celebrating 50 years of publishing in London. To celebrate, we have selected 50 important Yale London books from our past, present and future to tell the story of our publishing through a series of articles and extracts.

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