Weekend: Antiques/collecting - Castle Reveals Its Secret Collection of Precious Books

The Birmingham Post (England), March 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

Weekend: Antiques/collecting - Castle Reveals Its Secret Collection of Precious Books


Byline: Collecting by Harry Hawkes

One of the most valuable collections still left in private ownership is to be broken up and dispersed in a series of sales which are certain to realise a huge multi-million pound windfall for its owner.

A spokesman for Sotheby's which has been instructed to carry out the sale, said: 'This spectacular and immense collection forms the library of Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, home of the Earl of Macclesfield, who has decided to leave the castle which is complete with turrets, battlements and deep moat.

'The library there is absolutely unbelievable both in its size and the quality and rarity of its contents. The precise number of volumes is immense and the exact total will be computed in due course.

'Suffice it to say at this stage it certainly runs into a total of tens of thousands of volumes.'

The Sotheby's spokesman added: 'This immense collection was formed by the first and second earls of Macclesfield before 1750 and it has been virtually untouched since the 18th century.'

The present Lord Macclesfield, ninth holder of the title, said: 'Obviously it is very, very sad to have to break up the library which is not only

of great interest to us, but also provides scholars with a great resource of information.

'However, it is not a practical proposition to contemplate moving all the books to any new home where we may live and in any case most of them should be in academic institutions which have the proper facilities to care for them in the long term.'

For Sotheby's staff of resident book experts, plus advisors and consultants there have been long hours and much discussion and research required as their cataloguing progressed and even these experts have been amazed at the list of rarities and discoveries they have made.

The most important and most valuable of these is a 14th century handwritten book, beautifully hand illustrated, with no fewer than 250 leaves.

This medieval gem, which has been named the Macclesfield Psalter, was previously unknown, having lain out of sight for hundreds of years until the cataloguers arrived to investigate the contents of the library shelves.

'It was a complete surprise,' added the Sotheby's spokesman. It stems from about 1325, is in superb condition and its 252 pages abound with colour.'

'Without doubt, this is a stunning, absolutely magnificent work with almost every page containing scenes of animals, birds, people, monsters, grotesques, fables and vignettes of daily life.

'The beautifully drawn illustrations include two full page, a half page, 11 historical initials and thousands of exquisite miniatures in the margins throughout the book.

'Really, this is quite breathtaking. When it is sold at auction we expect the Macclesfield Psalter to sell for pounds 180,000-pounds 1,200,000.' Art experts have been comparing this newly discovered book with a similar medieval one the Douai Psalter. Sotheby's said: 'It does seem as though both Psalters could have been illuminated by the same artist.

However, as the Douai Psalter was almost completely destroyed in the First World War and today is known only through old photographs, the Macclesfield Psalter is now by far the most important record of the work done by one of the great medieval East Anglian artists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Weekend: Antiques/collecting - Castle Reveals Its Secret Collection of Precious Books
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.