New Acquisitions

We have an outstanding collection of more than 130,000 books. Our shelves have volumes from the fifteenth-century to the present day, with more being added all the time.


Aubrey 's Villa

Aubrey's Villa

by John Aubrey with essays and commentary by Kate Bennett, Peter Davidson, and Kelsey Jackson Williams.

"Of the edition of 120 this is copy 40"


John Aubrey (1626–1697) was born in a house built by his grandfather, Isaac Lyte, at Lower Easton Piercy in Wiltshire, a house he always knew he would inherit. When it came to him after his father’s death, while he was still in his twenties, he began signing himself ‘John Aubrey of Easton Pierse, Esq.’, a connection with his land in Wiltshire that became essential to his identity. But inherited debts and bad luck eventually caught up with him in his forties, and he found himself having to sell not just the lands and house but nearly everything he owned including some of his books. It was at this time that he prepared a collection of drawings, half of them a record of what he was leaving behind at Easton Piercy, but the other half, more spectacular, drawings of an Easton Piercy that had never existed. As he completed the final drawings in 1669–70, he went into hiding from the bailiffs, concealed his identity, and gave out rumours that he had gone abroad. His drawings now form a manuscript in the Bodleian Library: Aubrey 17.

From being a country gentleman with a very public sense of place he became a completely displaced figure taking his identity from the newly-founded Royal Society. His drawings are a record of the emotional cost of that shift, a farewell in pencil, ink, and watercolour to a place and a way of life that had defined him until that point. Yet the drawings are more than a simple record. For whatever reason, at the moment of losing it entirely Aubrey decided to show what he had wanted his estate to become: a neo-classical villa set amongst Italianate gardens and terraces. He was in the first generation of theorists and architects who developed the concept of a neo-classical country house, and his plans record debts to and conversations with John Evelyn, Roger Pratt, and Christopher Wren.

Aubrey’s drawings of Easton Piercy—as it was and as it might have been—now rest in that bound volume in the Bodleian, and The Old School Press has been given permission to reproduce it in its entirety for the first time.


Roman Coins (1)Roman Coins, Money, and Society in Elizabethan England: Sir Thomas Smith's On the Wages of the Roman Footsoldier (Numismatic Studies)

By Andrew Burnett and Richard Simpson; with a transcription by Deborah Thorpe.

ISBN-10:0897223527 ISBN-13: 978-0897223522



Sir Thomas Smith was one of the most important politicians and intellectuals of the day; a brilliant academic career at Cambridge was followed by his active participation in politics under Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. He played a leading role in the controversial reform of Greek pronunciation; he introduced a new style of continental architecture to England; and he wrote analyses of the politics of his day, including his views on the relations between the monarch and parliament, views which were to be seized on in the crisis of the 17th century in a way which would no doubt have startled Smith, had he lived to see it.

For this reason the publication of the ORWF is accompanied by Richard Simpson’s personal and intellectual biography of this most important of the ‘missing persons’ of the 16th century. The biography is intended partly to remedy some of the misconceptions about Smith, but, more importantly to set OWRF and his other writings in a coherent biographical framework

Deborah Thorpe provides the complete transcription of the original manuscript’s text, with notes.


Country House Library The Country House Library

 by Mark Purcell.

 ISBN-10: 030022740X; ISBN-13: 978-0300227406




Beginning with new evidence that cites the presence of books in Roman villas and concluding with present day vicissitudes of collecting, this generously illustrated book presents a complete survey of British and Irish country house libraries. Replete with engaging anecdotes about owners and librarians, the book features fascinating information on acquisition bordering on obsession, the process of designing library architecture, and the care (and neglect) of collections. The author also disputes the notion that these libraries were merely for show, arguing that many of them were profoundly scholarly, assembled with meticulous care, and frequently used for intellectual pursuits. For those who love books and the libraries in which they are collected and stored, The Country House Library is an essential volume to own.