Books Collection

Special collections

Examples of books from the Early Imprints Collection

Display of items from the Books Collection 
Copyright: RIBA, British Architectural Library

 

As well as the regular addition of new titles and the Early Imprints Collection, within the RIBA's Books Collection there are collections of specialist books of great research and historic value, such as:

They demonstrate the considerable depth in many areas of architecture covered by these collections, which are all held in the British Architectural Library. Most of these items are kept in closed-access stacks for conservation reasons, but some are available to the public for reference on request or during set collection times, usually through the Library's Reading Room at the RIBA's headquarters, 66 Portland Place. To discover what is held in the Library, use the online catalogue.

 

Handley-Read Collection

The Handley-Read Collection was the working library of the late Charles Handley-Read. This collection consists of just over 500 volumes with many original texts from the second half of the 19th century. Together they provide outstanding coverage of architecture and decorative arts from the Victorian and Edwardian period through to the 1970s. Subjects covered include: 

  • architectural ornamentation
  • the writings of architects such as Ruskin, George Gilbert Scott and Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin
  • Gothic architecture
  • international exhibitions, including the catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851
  • the history of London
  • fine arts, such as ceramics and sculpture

 

Glossary of ecclesiastical ornament and costume by A. Welby, 1846

'Glossary of ecclesiastical ornament and costume' by A. Welby Pugin, 1846


Interior of St Pauls Cathderal, from Walter Thornbury's Old and New London

Interior of St Paul's Cathedral, from 'Old and New London', 1873

Title page to James K. Colling's Gothic Ornaments

Title page to James K Colling's 'Gothic Ornaments', 1848

An image of the Great Exhibition of 1862, from 'Cassell's illustrated exhibitor'' 

The Great Exhibition of 1862, from 'Cassell's illustrated exhibitor'

Cover of 'Tallis's history and description of the Crystal Palace', 1852 

Cover to 'Tallis's history and description of the Crystal Palace', 1852

Title page to G. G. Scott's 'Remarks on secular and domestic architecture' 

G. G. Scott's 'Remarks on secular & domestic architecture', 1858

 

Please note that currently there is no access to the Handley-Read Collection.
This is due to the temporary relocation of part of the RIBA's collections in order to enable the construction of a new exhibition gallery at 66 Portland Place.
 

Modern Movement Collection

This collection includes the key works of the International Modern Movement. Encompassing the Bauhaus (Gropius and Mies van der Rohe among others) and Russian Constructivism, these 600 books date from from the 1920s through to the 1950s and document developments in architecture during that period. It contains many rare items, particularly from eastern Europe. Among the topics covered are:

  • the work of CIAM
  • the writings of Erich Mendelsohn, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • modern interiors
  • housing
  • work in other languages such as Czech, Dutch, French and German

 

Cover of Nieuw-Nederlandsche bouwkunst, published in 1926, Amsterdam

'Nieuw-Nederlandsche bouwkunst' published in 1926, Amsterdam

Cover of Ein Industriebau, published in 1927, Berlin

Cover of 'Ein Industriebau' published in 1927, Berlin    

Das Schaltwerk Hochhaus in Siemensstadt, by Hans Hertlein, 1929

'Das Schaltwerk Hochhaus in Siemensstadt' by Hans Hertlein, 1929

Cover: ‘Nejmensi byt’ by Karel Teige, 1932

'Nejmensi byt' by Karel Teige, published in 1932, Prague
   

Cover of Modern architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright

'Modern architecture: being the Kahn lectures for 1930' by Frank Lloyd Wright

Cover of “Russland, Europa, Amerika” by Eric Mendelsohn

'Russland, Europa, Amerika' by Erich Mendelsohn, published in Berlin, 1929

 

Please note that currently there is limited access to the Modern Movement Collection and items from this collection will be only be made available by advanced appointment.
This is due to the temporary relocation of part of the RIBA's collections in order to enable the construction of a new exhibition gallery at 66 Portland Place.

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