Sissinghurst Castle still contains many of the books and papers of Vita Sackville-West, who bought the ruinous house in 1930 and restored it together with her husband Harold Nicolson.
One of the reasons Vita loved Sissinghurst was that it had a history going back centuries, like her beloved ancestral home, Knole.
Vita expressed some of her feelings about the place in a poem entitled Sissinghurst, which includes the lines:
For here, where days and years have lost their number,
I let a plummet down in lieu of date,
And lose myself within a slumber,
Vita and Harold were inspired by the atmosphere at Sissinghurst to create their now famous garden.
The books at Sissinghurst reflect Vita’s passion for beauty, literature and gardening.
Many of them have inscriptions by the authors, including Arthur Conan Doyle, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Violet Trefusis, Virginia Woolf and others.
There are fine bindings, personal scrapbooks and even seed catalogues – all speaking of aspects of Vita’s many-sided personality.