This exhibition was primarily a memorial to Nicholas Kessler, in recognition of his generosity as the foremost library benefactor of the late twentieth century. In Eton College Library’s long history there have been many donor-collectors, but few have been so spontaneously generous as Nicholas Kessler (1937-2018). During his life Kessler gave over 900 rare books to Eton, including important works on China, Russia and the novelist James Joyce. His gifts to Eton also include autograph manuscripts by Thomas Hardy and contemporary sculptures.
The exhibition was split into four key themes: photography, China, Russia and literature, allowing us to convey the scope of his generous donations to College Library, which have greatly enhanced the collections of travel books, 19th-century literature and James Joyce.
Curated by Michael Meredith, Librarian Emeritus and Dr Stephanie Coane, Curator of Modern Collections, Eton College