skip to content

Access online and zero-contact services across our libraries. Limited in-person services are available at the UL and in some Faculty and Department libraries. Visit Using the Library for information on services and support to help you study, teach and research.

Cambridge University Library


The Reader for the 2019-20 series of Sandars Lectures was Isabelle de Conihout on the subject of French bookbindings and bibliophily, 16th-18th centuries.

Lecture One - Isabelle de Conihout, Sandars Reader 2020Grolier in Cambridge libraries and other French Renaissance bookbindings: 1510-1559 (click for more info)

Wednesday 4 March, 5-6pm at Clare College Gillespie Centre, Riley Auditorium.

Lecture Two - From Montaigne to the Revolution: French bookbindings and other bibliophily (click for more info)

Thursday 5 March, 5-6pm at Clare College Gillespie Centre, Riley Auditorium (followed by a reception and display at the University Library until 7pm).

Workshop - French bookbindings of the 16th-18th centuries: a closer inspection (click for more info)

Friday 6 March, 3-4.30pm at Cambridge University Library, Milstein Seminar Rooms.

About the series: French bookbindings and bibliophily, 16th-18th centuries

Cambridge institutions are fortunate enough to preserve several important French decorated bookbindings. This series of two lectures and a workshop will detail the development of French gold-tooled bindings from their earliest appearance, with examples taken from Cambridge libraries. They will also focus on the role of the French patrons who encouraged and promoted this extraordinary development.

About the speaker:

A French “archivist-paleographer” trained at the Ecole des Chartes, Isabelle de Conihout worked for twelve years in the Rare Books Department at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, then spent fifteen years as the senior librarian at the Bibliothèque Mazarine. From 2014 to 2017, she was Head of Christie’s Paris Books and Manuscripts Department. In addition to research on first editions and literary libraries, she is particularly interested in the history of collections (cabinets of curiosities, botany and nature printing) and the history of bookbinding (Grolier, Mahieu, Claude de Laubespine, 17th and 18th century bibliophiles).

Image: Montaigne, Les Essais, Bordeaux, 1580. Presentation copy for Elizabeth I. BNF, Rés Z-Payen 2. Credit BNF.