THE ARCADIAN LIBRARY

The Arcadian Library is an exceptional, privately-owned library, which respects and celebrates the centuries-old interface between the Christian West and the Arab and Islamic World. Through the rich resource of its holdings this beacon of knowledge demonstrates to the world the enduring relationship that has bound the West to its neighbouring civilization beyond the shores of the Mediterranean Sea for centuries.

From the dawn of European printing over five centuries ago, to the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the close of the First World War, the rare books in the Arcadian Library provide evidence for all the major events and trends in the story of this East-West encounter. The Arcadian Library preserves book after book full of travellers’ observations and artists’ images, scientists’ and physicians’ borrowings, literary, scholarly and historical influences. This written heritage reminds us how our different yet dependent cultures have met, related and learnt from each other for hundreds of years. In addition to rare printed books, the Arcadian Library also possesses manuscript and documentary material of very great importance and rarity.

The Arcadian Library works closely with the academic world. For over a decade the library has supported a dedicated professorship at London University’s Warburg Institute. Arcadian also promotes its subject actively through a specially commissioned series of studies with Oxford University Press. Written by leading scholars specialising in the subject, these publications enjoy wide recognition for their intellectual honesty and award-winning design. This website is devoted to detailed information on these publications and enables you to acquire them easily.

A series of exhibitions held in prestigious locations since 1993 has also brought Arcadian’s unique contribution and message of understanding to a wider audience internationally, most notably at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, at the Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp and at London University’s Brunei Gallery in cooperation with the Victoria and Albert Museum. Other rare books and documents have been loaned to institutions for major exhibitions, most recently Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam at the British Museum.