In memoriam John Bernard Bury † 18 January 2017
In a previous note, attention was drawn to the library assembled by the English court portraitist, Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), for which no catalogue or inventory exists. For some artists of the Renaissance and Baroque personal catalogues and lists, inventories and testamentary documents do survive, and it is the purpose of the present note to provide an accessible list of the secondary literature.
The investigation of artists’ libraries in the early modern period has gathered pace in recent years, accelerated by burgeoning interest in ‘book culture’ as a field of study. The seminal survey of Jan Bialostocki from 1984 on the pictor doctus1has been supplemented by studies on artists’ reading practices raising an array of challenging questions: Which artists owned, or had access to extensive libraries? Did they read their books, or merely possess or collect them? What subjects did they consider pertinent, and how was the textual and visual knowledge gained from books used in the process of artistic production?2