The Library as Escape

These images from Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design, and the accompanying free verse description of libraries caught my fancy:
"The library as escape,
as private domain
(knock before entering)...
on the other hand, the library as
dining room-cum-art gallery...
a generous book table covered
in plainest felt...
book bindings rich enough to
supply the decoration...
Morocco-bound first
editions in exotic wood cases
behind brass grilles...
the learned appeal of floor-to-
ceiling bookcases...
a place for scholarship, trophies,
personal memorabilia (your
picture with the president)..."

Brooke Astor's library, holding 3,000 volumes. Hadley designed the bookcases of red enamel with brass trim. The shelves glint and shine as much as the gold-lettered bindings.

Albert Hadley's personal library. A carousel giraffe is a whimsical touch in a space that feels part library, part sitting room. 

Grillwork doors protect precious first editions. Heavy Russian furniture is offset by the expansive cream of the walls. 

All images and intro text from the 1995 edition of Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design.


g. said...

I am in love with libraries...and would take any!!!!

Ingrid Mida said...

My mother was a librarian and I think that my love of books comes from her. Thank you for posting these beautiful images.

Style Redux 2 said...

Each is so elegant-I love the Hadley bookcases with the red enamel and brass trim.

Sanity Fair said...

G - me too! Although, I'm not sure I'd fancy polishing all of that brass in Mrs. Astor's. I'd need her staff too!

Sanity Fair said...

Ingrid, that's so neat. I have several librarians in the family too - books are always treated as something extra special. Love of reading is a wonderful gift for families to pass on.

Sanity Fair said...

Beth, I agree - and thanks so much for the mention on Style Redux! Most flattered ;)

annechovie said...

There's something so wonderful about libraries and you have posted some of the best! Have a terrific week!

Sarah Klassen said...

Gorgeous images! I love this post. There's something so special about libraries...perhaps it's the smell and feel of the books, or simply knowing that they each contain beautifully composed literature. We have a small library in our home and find it to be the ideal place to escape after a busy day, to sit and read books and magazines, and just relax.

Albert Hadley's table and chairs are beautiful in that space...and I adore the entire space in the third image! It appears that there is a wire mesh in the doors, no? I like the effect!

Sanity Fair said...

Sarah, I envy you - I've been working on a library "space" but I think it's just going to be my living room (and a wall of books)! Yes, that's wire mesh - it's a cool look.

Sarah Klassen said...

:) would love to see a pic. or two when it's complete - I bet it's going to be lovely!

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