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Lectures from the Allen Room and the Wertheim Study: Treasures and Curiosities from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle

September 27, 2013

Program Locations:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium
General Research Division

The Royal Library, because of its great range of fascinating objects associated with British history and the Royal family, is often shown by the Queen to her guests at Windsor Castle. As the Library is closed to the public, this lecture replicates a tour of the Library similar to that experienced by the Queen's guests, thus constituting a rare opportunity to see its rooms and treasures.

     These treasures include beautiful and rare books (the Mainz Psalter, 1457) and manuscripts (the Sobieski Book of Hours, 1420); books with personal royal associations; old master drawings (Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Holbein, Canaletto) and watercolours; miniature paintings; the shirt in which Charles I was executed; and the present Queen's description (when Princess Elizabeth, aged 11) of her father's Coronation in 1937.

     Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest continuously occupied castle in the world and has been enlarged and modified throughout its 900 year history to reflect the needs, ambitions and styles of various monarchs. As such the castle has evolved from an impregnable fortress into a royal country residence which as well as being the Queen's favourite home, is regularly used by her for spectacular state occasions.  The restoration of the castle after the fire of 1992 enabled Her Majesty to continue the development of the structure. 

Oliver Everett is Librarian Emeritus of the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. He was Librarian there and Assistant Keeper of the Royal Archives from 1985 to 2002. He wrote articles on the Royal Library, helped with several books on the Royal Collection, wrote the official guidebook on Windsor Castle, taught a history course on it and advised on a television series on it.  He lectures widely in Britain and abroad.  This includes the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Denver Art Museum; the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; the Telfair Museum, Savannah; the Ringling Museum, Sarasota; the Athenaeum Library, Boston; and the Grolier Club, New York. In Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Royal Ontario Museum. In Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; and the University of Melbourne.

He was in the British Diplomatic Service, 1967-78, working in India and Spain. He was Assistant Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, 1978-80; and Private Secretary to Diana, Princess of Wales, 1981-83. Educated at Cambridge University, he did post-graduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts; and at the London School of Economics. He was also an exchange scholar at Western Reserve Academy, Hudson, Ohio. He has to admit (for a New York audience) that he is an ardent fan of the Boston Red Sox.