The Library’s online exhibition showcasing material from the Fagel Collection – Orchids & orangeries: aspects of private gardens in the late 17th-century Dutch Republic – is available on Google Arts & Culture.
Purchased for Trinity College in 1802, this library was assembled over a period of a century and a half by several generations of the Fagel family, many of whom held high public office in the province of Holland. It is enormously rich in French, Dutch and English works on politics, religion, economics, sciences, natural history and travel, and reflects the professional concerns of the family.
The material ranges in date from 1460 to 1799 with the greater volume of material published in the 18th century and relates to all parts of the world, but with a particular emphasis on Europe and areas outside Europe where the Dutch had trading or colonial interests.
The Fagel map collection is one of the finest in the world, and unsurpassable in terms of quality and standard of preservation. It is the only extant contemporary collection of this size that was assembled as the material was published as opposed to retrospectively. There is little duplication in the collection; most items appear to have been acquired if they represented advancement in the knowledge of an area or concerning a recent event or discovery. Many items in the library are private printings, in that they were not made available to the public at large, and are very rare.
The special nature of this collection, in terms of both its scope and condition, make it an invaluable resource of primary material for research across a number of disciplines.
Interested in delving into the Fagel Collection? You can read the posts written by the Curator of the Fagel Collection, Regina Whelan Richardson, on the Department of Early Printed Books blog, Tales of Mystery and Pagination.