Warburg Institute

I went to a fascinating lecture by Tim Anstey of the Oslo School of Architecture about the different forms of the Warburg Institute Library: first, in the 1920s, next door to Warburg’s house, which originated the four floors of stacks from which books were fetched by an industrial system of elevators; then, flat, in Thames House, in space provided on a three-year lease in the 1930s by Lord Melchett, with furniture shipped from Hamburg; then in glorious, gothic confusion in the Imperial Institute, where Frances Yates did her research and Anthony Blunt was a research fellow; and then in a curious hybrid in a corner site in Woburn Square which combines Gertrud Bing’s liking for systematic, industrial order with (which I had not known) a desire to replicate the neo-Georgian character of the Fogg Art Museum, as required by Viscount Lee of Fareham as a condition of his support for the Courtauld Institute, which was planned to be next door.

This is the gothic disorder of the library when it was in South Kensington:-

And these are the first floor book stacks before they were filled with books in 1958:-


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