The library at Mount Stewart secured

View of Lady Londonderry's Sitting Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/Peter Aprahamian

View of Lady Londonderry’s Sitting Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/Peter Aprahamian

It has just been announced that the library at Mount Stewart has been acquired by the National Trust from the estate of the late Lady Mairi Bury. These books, spread across a number of rooms in the house, document the intellectual, cultural and political life of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family since the eighteenth century.

Lady Londonderry's Sitting Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lady Londonderry’s Sitting Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The library was purchased for just under £100,000, with funding from the Royal Oak Foundation, the B.H. Breslauer Foundation, the Northern Ireland Museums Council, the Friends of the National Libraries, Doreen Burns and Terence and Di Kyle.

View of the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

View of the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Some of the books were owned by Charles Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry (1878-1949) and his wife Edith (1879-1959). They were both actively engaged in politics and in addition Edith was a notable gardener and cultural patroness, all of which is reflected in the books they collected.

The Castlereagh Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Castlereagh Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

In his study of northern Irish country house libraries, The Big House Library in Ireland, Mark Purcell notes how the ownership inscriptions in the books at Mount Stewart provide evocative evidence of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century family and social networks.

Bookplate of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, incorporating a portrait by Philip de Laszlo. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Bookplate of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, incorporating a portrait by Philip de Laszlo. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

A first edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814) at Mount Stewart, for instance, belonged to one of Lord Londonderry’s ancestors, Amelia Ann Hobart (1772-1829), while an 1813 copy of Pride and Prejudice owned by her half-sister Caroline, Lady Suffield (d.1850), remains at their parents’ house, Blickling Hall.

A note on one of the bookshelves in the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart, with instructions to borrowers. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

A note on one of the bookshelves in the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart, with instructions to borrowers. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Other books that have ended up at Mount Stewart were once in the possession of Amelia and Caroline’s great aunt, Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk (c.1688-1767), the mistress of George II who built the exquisitely Palladian Marble Hill House.

4 Responses to “The library at Mount Stewart secured”

  1. cinziarobbiano Says:

    thank you for sharing pearls of beauty. Love it :-)

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    I am very pleased you like it :)

  3. CherryPie Says:

    As a lover of books I think that is a great acquisition. And I love that little not to borrowers.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes, polite but firm :)

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