The La Pietra Library: A Collection
The La Pietra Library is a characteristic example of a book collection of a family belonging to the Anglo-American community living in Florence at the beginning of the 20th century. As can be evinced from the online catalog, the collection contains about 12,000 volumes and represents the combination of the diverse interests and tastes of two generations – the parents, Arthur and Hortense, late-romantic connoisseurs, and the children, Harold and William, authentic modernist aesthetes. The occurrence of bookplates inside the books makes it fortunately possible to attribute many of them to the correspondent family member owner and the arrangement of the locations on the bookshelves in the rooms of this domestic library adds information about the frequentation of the household spaces by its users and, in a way, about their reading habits and how they changed in time. Harold’s holdings, for example, range from the Illustrated Children’s Books of his childhood to the Italian History titles of his later studies, passing by the Poetry, Drama and Fiction of his Eton and Oxford years and all the Chinese History, Art and Literature books collected during his sojourn in China in the 1930s.