As you know I have a penchant for places which foster the timeless absorption of concentrated reading or writing, or just looking out the window, thinking, or allowing your eye to roam across shelf-stretches of book spines to see if your inner-tuitive librarian selects one you’d never heard of before.
You may recall an earlier spot I loved, at Tamworth Castle. It seems a twin to this watercolour of the Walters Art Gallery Library in Baltimore, named after a bibliophile who founded the Gallery. See what they say about him:
This watercolor captures Henry Walters’ original library, created as part of his new museum building in the early years of the 20th century. Two stories of shelves were filled with books, and the manuscripts, which were housed on the upper shelves, would be lowered down in the basket shown here. Henry was very accommodating to scholars who wished to come and study his books, issuing them one-day reader cards and instructing his superintendent John C. Anderson to “clear the table of all the objects on it, so he [sic] can have a place to examine and compare.” When a scholar was unable to visit the library, Henry allowed photographs to be taken and at times even sent the books to them.
It isn’t clear if the library still exists, given the use of the past tense, though the Museum still fosters basketloads of research and has a wonderful collection also available online.
Image credit: Frederic Schuler Briggs, ‘Original Manuscript and Rare Book Library, Walters Art Gallery’ (1975), watercolour on paper; courtesy of the Walters Art Museum