There are a few self-service reference books shelved in the reading rooms, but the majority of the library material does not circulate and needs to be ordered from the catalogs. Patrons are required to join the Library and obtain a reader’s ticket to consult library materials. The Library consists of two main public rooms, with 108 individual reader/study desks.
The National Art Library has material on many subjects. These include research essential to the work of the
The National Library splits their collection into two categories; General and Special. The general collection consists mainly of books on art history, architecture and painting, fine arts, decorative arts, furniture, and fashion. The type of material held in special collection are artists’ letters, book art, calligraphy, children’s books, early printed books, illuminated manuscripts and modern book and magazine design.
One of the great treasures in the library is the Codex Forster, some of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. Some others that we were shown were a Shakespeare's First Folio, an early printed book in the humanist style, a coat of arms book referred to as an Armorial, a literary manuscript by John Keats, Charles Dickens original manuscripts, and some artist books.
Websites to look at:
Victoria and Albert Museum - http://www.vam.ac.uk/
Victoria and Albert Museum - National Art Library - http://www.vam.ac.uk/nal/index.html
Victoria and Albert Museum
*photo courtesy of www.elizabethannedesigns.com
Victoria and Albert Museum - National Art Library
*photo courtesy of www.curiousexpeditions.org
National Art Library Reading Room
*Photo courtesy of www.copac.ac.uk