Book Review: The Most Beautiful Libraries of the World

Design writer Jacques Bosser and photographer Guillaume de Laubier have brought together a beautifully designed, breathtaking visual archive of more than twenty of the most magnificent libraries in the Western world. The great Baroque libraries in particular were conceived of as unified works of art with richly programmatic decoration. The libraries featured range from the glorious Benedictine Abbey Library of Admont in Austria (above right), to the Mazarine Library in Paris, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge, the National Library in Prague and the Library of Congress in Washington.

Any such selection is bound to seem a little arbitrary – and the brief historical accounts can be somewhat oversimplified – but as the title suggests this book is a glorious opportunity to enjoy some of the finest interiors in the world. One single image of the Abbey Library of Saint Gall folds out to a length of 2 1/2ft across.