Rare Books at Marlborough

Tuesday 31st May 2022

This publication seeks to introduce to a wider audience an important part of the College’s cultural heritage, its Rare Books collection. Amounting to almost 3,000 volumes, the collection preserves books from across seven centuries in temperature-controlled and light-sensitive conditions, and is available for all staff and pupils who wish to consult particular items on its shelves. Acquired through donations, bequests and legacies, this remarkable collection of books sits at our intellectual heart.

With this new Rare Books at Marlborough: An A to Z publication, the College opens up the collection by introducing some of its most notable volumes online. The aim has been to offer an overview of the collection by focusing on twenty-six individual works or themes arranged as an A to Z and covering a spectrum of subject-matter that embraces the sciences, arts, and the history of books. The A to Z thus traces an arc stretching from Alchemy to Zoophytes, but pauses to consider our remarkable Victorian ornithological prints, medieval Book of Hours, early copies of Darwin and Newton, manuscripts by war poets, hand-painted maps, Georgian newspapers, early sporting literature, political pamphlets, ancient Bibles, and much, much more.

Special mention must go to Upper Sixth pupils, Isobel B and Willow S who wrote the text for ‘Hebrew’ and ‘Newton’ respectively

Follow the link here to begin your exploration of Rare Books at Marlborough.

Dr Simon McKeown
Keeper of Rare Books and Head of History of Art.

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