Historic 250-year-old bookcase by renowned architect goes on display at Croome Court - The Malvern Observer

Historic 250-year-old bookcase by renowned architect goes on display at Croome Court

Malvern Editorial 6th Jun, 2023   0

HISTORIC bookcases dating back more than 250 years have gone on display at Croome Court.

The pieces were commissioned by the sixth Earl of Coventry in 1761 and were created by Robert Adam, one of the finest architects of the day.

He was tasked with creating the mahogany bookcases to house the Earl’s important collection of books and to impress guests in his newly-remodelled house. The Earl was renowned for having exquisite taste.

The bookcases were most ambitious examples of neo-classical furniture of the era, but have not been on display at Croome Court for almost 50 years – the last time was 1975.

So where have they been?

In 1948 the majority of Croome Court’s collection was sold, with the contents of entire rooms auctioned off to a variety of different purchasers. Books from the Library were sold to various collectors, but the cases remained in situ until 1975.

After the bookcases had left Croome Court, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London acquired them and for many years, provided care and conservation, ensuring the public were able to admire them.




Croome Court, now in the care of the National Trust, has borrowed around half of the bookcases on a three-year loan from the museum so they can be enjoyed once more in the house for which they were intended.

This new display, exploring the design and construction of the bookcases, opened last week and provides an exciting opportunity for people to look closely at beautifully carved details in separate pieces.


Visitors can see the brilliant work of the day’s leading makers and discover how the elements fitted together to create one of the most lavish neo-classical libraries in the country.

This temporary homecoming of the bookcases has been made possible by the co-operation of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Trust.

Michelle Fullard, General Manager at the National Trust, said: “We are really excited to be exploring the stories behind the design of The Library bookcases in the current display and hope our visitors will enjoy them too.

“We are also researching further into their history and the motivations and use of The Library by the 6th Earl and are looking forward to future work with our visitors and local communities to think about what libraries are for today.”

The Robert Adam Bookcases exhibition is in the House at Croome Court, which is open every day from 11am until 4.30pm from March to October and between 11am and 4pm November to February.

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