Mark Purcell shows just how important and fundamental books and the rooms that contained them were to the intellectual, creative, and social life of the country house.

Beginning with books in the villas of Roman Britain, the story takes us through the development of private studies in the middle ages, into the building of elegant library rooms after the Renaissance, and ending with the fate of both great collections and the spaces they once occupied in the twentieth century.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in country house life, the cultural history of Britain and Ireland, or the history of libraries over nearly two thousand years. About the author: Mark Purcell was Libraries Curator at the National Trust from 1999 to 2015.

Over the course of almost 16 years he transformed the understanding of libraries in country houses throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, instituting a major scholarly and curatorial reappraisal of the 160 collections held by the Trust, and publishing and lecturing widely on the topic both here and abroad.

He is a Vice-President of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a former Council Member of the Bibliographical Society, and is now Associate Director for Research Collections at Cambridge University Library.

SKU: 50021427
Dimensions: H27 x W22cm
ISBN: 9780300227406
No. of Pages: 320 pages


Sorry, there are no reviews.

Thanks to your support we're able to protect special places for ever, for everyone.

Delivery, installations & returns


Free UK delivery on orders over £50

UK standard delivery: 3-5 working days - £4.95

International delivery: 7-10 working days, from £15.


We hope you will be delighted with your purchase, however if you change your mind you can return your order in its original condition, with proof of purchase, to one of our National Trust shops or via our online customer service centre and we will exchange or refund your order. 

For more information see our delivery and returns page. 

 Spend over £50 and get free UK delivery.