About our collections
Our Library at Burlington House is the largest antiquarian library in the country, with an outstanding collection including:
- more than 130,000 printed books dating from the fifteenth century to the present day
- approximately 3000 current and historic journal titles
- over 1000 manuscripts
- archives of the Society dating back to its revival or ‘refoundation’ in 1717
- special collections, such as the UK’s largest collection of brass rubbings, and several thousand printed broadsides and proclamations (many of which are uniquely held by the Society)
- over 20,000 prints and drawings
With a focus on history of material culture, our Library covers British and European archaeology, architectural history, art history and the decorative arts, heraldry, and British local history. We continue to acquire collect works of modern scholarship that reflect these areas today. The Library is not only a repository of historic material, but an important contemporary research centre for both Fellows and the public, set within the stunning Victorian surroundings of Burlington House.
Did you know…
- we have three copies of the Magna Carta?
- our oldest manuscript dates to the 10th century – and was found stuffed into the boards of our 12th century Winton (Winchester) Domesday book?
- many of our drawings and engravings are the only surviving record of lost artefacts? These include finds of Viking jewellery, since melted down, and the Cowdray House wall-paintings, destroyed by fire in 1793
- our early Minute Books often include drawings of objects that were presented and discussed at the Society’s meetings?
You can find out more about some of our unique and exceptional Library collections in our series of Collection Highlights.
Planning to visit? Have a query? Read more about visiting and using our Library and Museum at Burlington House.