The Royal College of Physicians in London has been accused of “selling off the family silver” over a proposal to auction a bequest of rare books (Paywall)

“The books, bequeathed in 1680 by the Marquess of Dorchester, include one of the 12 surviving first editions of The Canterbury Tales, a psalter owned by John Dee, astronomer to Elizabeth I, and The Recuyell of Historyes of Troye, by Raoul Lefèvre the first book printed in English on the Continent.”


“Henry Woudhuysen, the rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and a former president of the Bibliographical Society, said potential donors would question whether it was safe to give valuable items. “Speaking personally, there are at least three things wrong with [the proposal],” he said. “It destroys the integrity of a superb historic library; it raises questions about the moral right of the current trustees to dispose of material that has been in the college’s care for nearly 350 years; and it means that faith in the College to look after its treasures for future generations will be damaged.”” (Times)

“The Royal College of Physicians faces a revolt by more than 400 members over a plan to sell treasures to plug a £3 million hole in its finances.

A letter signed by fellows and members of the college, including Sir Mark Walport, the government’s former chief scientific adviser, warns that a proposed auction of rare books would be “a serious dereliction of duty”.”



Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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