It’s a long time since I’ve entered the portals of the Warburg Institute, where I did my PhD. from 1977 to 1986. Each time I go now I feel an exaggerated sense of memory and loss – the loss of the purest pursuit of knowledge across frontiers.
The cast in the entrance apparently is the sole survival of the original Cubitt house in the north-west corner of Woburn Square:-
The corridors are now lined with the ghosts of the past. Gombrich:-
Gertrud Bing who was Aby Warburg’s personal assistant, then Fritz Saxl’s lover (together they commissioned a house in Bromley by Tecton), helped establish the library in London and became the Institute’s Director after Henri Frankfort’s death in 1955:-
And Eric Warburg, the member of the family who was most closely involved in the transfer of the library from Hamburg to London, assisting the shipping of 60,000 books in two small steamers down the Elbe:-