From College Library to Country House




From College Library to Country House is conceived from the perspective of the British aristocracy and gentry whose education centred upon preparing to run the country estate, including house and collections, and will argue for the importance of the library and the book collection in this process. Too often in country house studies the architecture, interior design and art collections have held sway and this programme aims to foreground the College book collections at the disposal of tutors and the subsequent development of the country house library.  Libraries reveal not only the intellectual or recreational interests of past generations, but also how books manifest taste, fashion, and opportunities for display. Book historians and tutors well known in their respective fields will conduct the course, and will consider a broad variety of subjects including book binding, the development of the idea of rare books and of book collections, questions of spatial analysis and mobility, and library portraiture, all in the context of the collections housed in some of the oldest and most complete book rooms in Britain.

This intensive residential course is based in the exceptional surroundings of Clare College* in the centre of the University of Cambridge. Directed by Dr. Andrew Moore, the programme focuses upon a series of iconic libraries. These include the historic private libraries of Houghton Hall created by Robert Walpole, and Holkham Hall, home to one of the greatest private manuscript and printed book collections in Britain, housed today in three of the country’s most important country house library rooms. The course also visits the library designed by James Gibbs for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, and Anglesey Abbey, created by the Anglo-American oil magnate Huttleton Broughton, First Lord Fairhaven, both now in the ownership of the National Trust. The course also visits the little known Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, Lincolnshire, founded in 1710  by Maurice Johnson of Ayscoughfee Hall: early members included Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Hans Sloane. The course will include the Old Libraries of St John’s College and Queens’ College; the Wren Library, Trinity; the Pepys Library, Magdalene College; the Parker Library at Corpus Christi, the Founder’s Library at the Fitzwilliam Museum and also historic book collections in the University Library designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.

The course will start with coffee on Monday morning and end on Friday afternoon. Accommodation and all meals for the duration of the course are included in the course fee.

Andrew Moore

Lorna Gartside

Cover Image: The Interior of the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge

Enrolment and fees

The cost of the 5-day course is £2050.  This includes tuition, accommodation, all meals, admissions and travel by private coach. Airfares are not included.

When filling out this application form, a professional reference will also be required.

All successful applicants from the 2020 courses have been offered deferred places for 2021. While this means there will be fewer places available for courses in 2021 we still encourage you to apply as we continue to monitor the ever-changing situation.

All applications should be received by 27 January 2021.  Candidates will be informed by mid March 2021. If awarded a place, an invoice will be sent and a deposit of £400 should be made at this time. The balance of fees is due, without further notice, by 10 April 2021. Participants are strongly advised to insure against cancellation as no refunds will be made following payment, unless the place can be filled by another suitable candidate. In such a case, an administrative fee of £100 will be charged.

There is some financial support available for suitable candidates.

The Council of The Attingham Trust reserves the right to adjust fees if there is a substantial change in the exchange rate, as these were assessed on the basis of assumptions made in September 2020. Should this prove necessary, members will be informed by 8 April 2021.

Please note when making your application that this is an intensive and physically strenuous course. There is plenty of walking, standing and climbing stairs and your fitness must be of a level that will not impact on the enjoyment of the group or take up disproportionate amounts of the organisers’ attention. You should have a good level of spoken English.  Whilst we are happy to cater for vegetarian and gluten-free needs, other specialist diets cannot always be accommodated.

*‘The Attingham Trust is contracting Clare College for the use of facilities, but otherwise has no connection or association with Clare College or the University of Cambridge.’ 

Please note that The Attingham Trust is a registered educational charity. Our courses are provided occasionally, on a not-for-profit basis and to a limited group of participants. This trip does not, therefore, constitute a ‘package holiday’ for the purpose of the Package Travel Regulations