Getty Library at Wormsley

Nominated by: Nicolas Oakley

I should like to nominate the Getty Library at Wormsley. 

Sir Paul Getty spent 25 years assembling one of the finest private collections of books and manuscripts in the world.  When he moved to Wormsley, he commissioned the building of the castellated Library, as an extension of the main house.

The Estate continues to invest in this outstanding collection – which features the first edition of Caxton’s printing of The Canterbury Tales, Anne Boleyn’s Psalter and the first folio of Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories and Tragedies”.  Other highlights include manuscripts dating from the 12th to the 15th Century, important Bibles and extraordinary modern bindings.

The Library is opened to a very small number of private curated tours each year and also makes for a historic location for exclusive meetings, seminars and gatherings.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of the private viewings that the library organises and spent a memorable hour looking at (not touching!) some of the most fascinating books I have ever seen, including Caxton’s first printed edition of Canterbury Tales.  There was also a beautiful illuminated edition of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood which took many years to complete.  At the end of the book, beautifully written in calligraphic text, are the words ‘Thank God it’s finished!’

There are so many wonderful volumes it is impossible to enumerate them all but this has to be one of the finest private collections in the country not just in Buckinghamshire.

We moved to Buckinghamshire 27 years ago and have found it to be a county of wonderful variety with beautiful landscapes, great houses with cultivated gardens, long established agricultural traditions and at the same time a rich cultural heritage. It offers a rural environment at the same time being close to London and in so many ways is at the heart of the things we hold dear as an English way of life.  Wormsley embodies many of these qualities and I have chosen the Getty Library as it is able to represent so many of these facets to the highest standard.

You can find out more about the Getty Library, tours and the Wormsley estate on their website. Wormsley is also home to Garsington Opera, Buckinghamshire’s very own Opera company.

The Getty Library was nominated by Nicolas Oakley, Trustee for the Bucks County Museum Trust.