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Exploring The World's Greatest Libraries (PHOTOS)
Some book collectors do not care very much about where they store their books. The English King Henry VIII, had a fine collection ofbooks, but when visitors came to view them they were horrified by the conditions they were stored in, commenting on how they werestacked randomly on the floor and in untidy heaps covering every available surface. Thankfully, since Roman times, if not before, othershave cherished books and wished to show them off to their best advantage.Incredibly, until now, there has been no single volume tracing the history of library buildings through the ages. For the last three years, Ihave been traveling the world together with Will Pryce the architectural photographer, visiting and photographing 85 of the world'sgreatest libraries in 21 countries. The result is
The Library: A World History
(Chicago University Press), the most complete account oflibrary buildings to date.It is impossible to show all the magnificent libraries we have seen on our travels, but here are some of our favorite images from thebook (all photos taken by Will Pryce).
TheBiblioteca Marciana in Venice, Italy
The first-floor entrance lobby to the Biblioteca Marciana (completed in 1564) in Venice is reached by a dramatic and richly decoratedstaircase from an outside doorway in the center of the grand facade facing the Doge's Palace. Since 1596 the vestibule has housed theGrimani Collection of sculpture. Beyond is the reading room, one of the finest rooms in Venice. The ceiling roundels were painted bythe leading artists of the day. It was originally furnished with 38 long wooden lecterns, 16 down each side of the room, arranged likedesks in a school classroom. They displayed the priceless volumes left to Venice by Cardinal Bessarion in 1472, each volume securedto the desk by a long iron chain.
November 11, 2013
Posted: 11/07/2013 10:44 am15,345 people like this.