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♔The Wren Library- Trinity College Cambridge

The interior of the Wren Library, Cambridge looking towards the window at the south end

The Wren Library is the library of Trinity College in Cambridge. It was designed by Christopher Wren in 1676 and completed in 1695.

Wren’s major inovation was to fill the library with light coming through the rows of tall windows lining the east and west walls. The windows are positioned above the book stacks in order to maximise the available wall space for storing books.

The ends of the bookcases sport intricate carvings by Grinling Gibbons in the lighter limewood, whilst on top of each bookcase are plaster casts of busts notable writers through the ages. The marble busts standing on plinths are mostly by Louis-François Roubiliac and represent famous fellows of Trinity College from the 17th and 18th century.

The stained glass south window shows Isaac Newton being received by George III accompanied by Francis Bacon. The window was designed by Giovanni Battista Cipriani in 1774 and constructed by Peckitt of York.

Below the south window is a full length marble statue of Lord Byron by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Today the library contains several display cases containing some of the college’s most treasured books, including Newton’s own copy of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and A. A. Milne’s autograph copy of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Photo: Andrew Dunn.


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