The Field

Tome sweet tome…

“Born of a deep and abiding love of Ireland and its history, my father, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, created a large library of Irish books at Chatsworth,” recalls the current duke fondly, speaking at Heywood Hill bookshop in London’s Mayfair. “I inherited not only the library but also a great interest in books generally. Now my son, owner of Lismore Castle in Ireland, has moved the library to the country that inspired it, creating another link between the generations.”

Those visiting Britain’s stately homes have good cause to marvel at the great libraries, in which the eye travels easily up high bookcases and ladders to ornately carved flourishes and gold-leafed motifs. Less attention tends to go to the leather-bound spines and glinting Roman numerals lining the shelves. Yet assembling a collection of books remains one of life’s great journeys and pleasures, as experienced in residences across the land. Such collections can also become

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