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The Book Collection

Watercolour of the library by John Chessel Buckler, 1820For the Egerton family, the Library was an academic as well as a recreational resource.

The main library contains approximately 5000 volumes, with a further 4,000 volumes kept elsewhere within the house. The earliest printed book is a copy of ‘Vitruvius Iterum et Frontis a Jocundo Revisi Repurgatique Quantium ex Collonatione Licuit’ (Florence: 1513).

A watercolour of the Library, painted by John Chessel Buckler in 1820 shows a plainer design to the current décor after Mansion alterations had just been completed.  After the ceiling had been damaged, the plasterwork was replaced with the present design in the 19th century.

Amongst the treasures in the Library collection is a set of four volumes of Japanese woodblock prints dating from the 19th century which were probably bought back from Japan by Wilbraham, Earl Egerton, who visited Japan in the 1850’s. These beautiful albums show vivid images of Japanese culture, including prints of Samurai, wrestlers, battle scenes and Japanese “beauties”.

The Library has a huge variety of subject matters and languages – French, German, Swiss, Russian, Japanese to name a few. Designed for comfort and utility, the library is south facing with five huge windows which take advantage of the natural light and commands spectacular views across the Cheshire countryside to Bosley Cloud, some 13 miles away.

Recently, a 17th century notebook in the collection by Nehemiah Wallington was digitised by John Rylands Library Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care. The notebook can now be viewed online here