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ORDER OF SALE
Books from the Library of Fort Augustus Abbey Lots 1 - 120
A Private Collection of Modern Illustrated Books Lots 121 - 141
Books from the Library of William Foyle Lots 142 - 177
General Printed Books Lots 178 - 266
BOOKS FROM THE LIBRARY OF FORT AUGUSTUS ABBEY
FORT AUGUSTUS, INVERNESS-SHIRE
Fort Augustus, as its name suggests, was not always a Benedictine monastery. Constructed between 1729 and 1742 to a design by General George Wade, it was one of three forts built along the Great Glen intended to keep the clans at bay after the Jacobite uprising of 1715 (the other two being Fort George to the north and Fort William to the south). In the 1745 uprising it was captured by Stapleton's brigade and rendered uninhabitable. After Culloden, in 1746, it became headquarters of the Hanoverian forces and was partially rebuilt. It remained occupied by the military until the Crimean War after which the cannons were removed and the fort was abandoned, leaving it to be partly plundered by local residents. In 1866 Lord Lovat bought it from the government and in 1876 he leased it for a peppercorn rent to the Benedictines, one of whom was returning to Scotland from Ratisbon in Germany.
These most recent incumbents are largely responsible for the present "Scottish baronial" appearance of Fort Augustus. It became used as both a monastery and, until 1993, an independent boarding school for boys. The whole of the loch side was occupied by monks, and the east side, nearest the river Tarff, became the church buildings. The ground floor of the monastery housed its library of some 40,000 books, some recovered from earlier Scottish foundations in Germany. There was also a significant collection of early printed books gathered by Thomas Cassidy in the early 19th-century in Ireland; these are now in the care of the National Library of Scotland.
In January 1999 the monastery closed and the monks dispersed to other monastic houses or to pastoral work in the dioceses.
The present portion of the library offered at Christie's South Kensington includes an extraordinary variety of books which goes far beyond the works of theology one might reasonably expect to find in a monastic institution. These range from incunabula to works of classical scholarship, literature, travel and science. Interestingly, books which were once listed on the Index librorum prohibitorum are well represented. Almost without exception the library is attractively bound in old vellum or 18th-century calf and are generally in remarkably good condition.