Two Noble Kinsmen: Libraries and Museums



In his Gesta Grayorum (1594), the young polymath Francis Bacon summarized the surroundings appropriate to the life of a learned gentleman. He stipulated four different environments, and gave pride of place to a library, like the bookish sort of man he was. His gentleman should collect “a most perfect and general library, wherein whosoever the wit of man hath heretofore committed to books of worth ... may be contributory to your wisdom.” He then recommended a splendid garden, filled with an immense variety of botanical and zoological specimens. Next, he called for “a goodly, huge cabinet, wherein whatsoever the hand . . .

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