The Ringling Art Library’s Special Collections include numerous rare and fascinating books, among them some of the early travel books from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Perhaps one of the rarest, one of only twenty-two copies in libraries today, is Pyramidographic, or A Description of the Pyramids in Egypt, published in London in 1646.
The Ringling Art Library has recently acquired, through the generous funding of the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, a unique ten-volume set of seventeenth-century emblem books. These volumes significantly add to the Art Library’s current collection of emblem books, some of which are quite rare.
One of the Ringling Art Library’s rare books includes a magnificent collection of prints published in 1606 and was recently conserved to repair water damage. When the pastedown was removed, it was discovered that some much earlier pieces of “manuscript waste” had been used in the binding!
Many people have yet to discover The Ringling Art Library, one of the largest and most comprehensive in the southeastern United States! Read a history of the library from the Ca' d'Zan to its current state-of-the-art home.
The books previously owned by John and Mable Ringing hold an honored place within the Library’s Special Collections. While most of John Ringling's books are in remarkably good condition (considering they were stored without air condition for many decades!) some require conservation. Take a look behind the scenes at the conservation of a book that lead John Ringling to purchase a painting in the Museum's collection.