My name is Wilfred Jack Rhoden and I have just been appointed as a Research Associate on the Chatsworth Library project, a collaborative partnership between the University of Sheffield and the Chatsworth House Trust.

The Library at Chatsworth is one of the most beautiful rooms in the House, and holds one of the largest and most significant collections of books still in private hands. In order to develop this unique resource, I am working with the University of Sheffield and the collections team here at Chatsworth to investigate the range, history and content of the library holdings.

Over the coming months, I will be delving into the intriguing history of a library that has evolved over 400 years, from Bess and Sir William Cavendish's modest collection of books at Hardwick, through the grand acquisitions of the Sixth Duke of Devonshire, to the turbulent twentieth century and the library that we see today.

Expect weekly updates on my progress as I complete a survey of its contents. I promise to report back on interesting discoveries as I scour the shelves for material that can inspire people to engage with this unique collection. Join me as I become immersed for six months amidst travel narratives, natural histories and romantic poetry, the wit of Voltaire and damnation of Dante, the electrical experiments of Henry Cavendish and the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes; join me on a journey from past to present and learn more about the Chatsworth Library and its treasures.





See the blog as it develops

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