I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by books for most of my life. And for the last six-seven years I’ve been paid to enjoy that privilege. One of the places I’ve worked was the National Gallery of Denmark which as a research institution of course has a library. It’s an old library and it is naturally centred around art. A couple of years ago the library was swallowed up by the library of the Royal Danish Academy which is the largest library on art in Scandinavia. I was not a fan of that decision because it split part of the old gallery library from its place of birth and made books available for the public not only to study in the museum, but to take home. Which can be a problem if people do not return the books – as many of the books have old notes and scribblings in them, something that cannot be replaced by a new copy of the book. I was rather sad with the whole business of a large fish swallowing an odd little library.
Anyways. As the library of the gallery is not primarily a public library the books are stored away in hidden hallways underground, on staircases and strange corners of the museum. Here are some impressions.
You can always hope you have a forgotten Leonardo in your collection. And be prepared for it.
Part of the library.
Until some ten or fifteen years ago the museum had a bookbinder in its employment. Just beautiful. A smell of times past…