Provenance in the library of the Castle-Monastery of Escornalbou : the marks of ownership in the Eduard Toda collection

Objectives: this study analyses the provenance of the collection acquired by Eduard Toda in England which was then housed in his residence in the Escornalbou Castle-Monastery. It is an unusual case of a set of books which arrived in the castle between 1912 and 1918, and remained there after Toda moved to Poblet. The castle became the property of the Catalan government. The books were catalogued and are housed in two rooms which are included in the tour of the building organized for visitors. The features of the books and their bookplates will be analyzed with a view to their inclusion in the plans to turn the castle and its surroundings into a museum.

Methodology: to provide a general description of the collection, the study analyzes the books dating from before 1901 listed in the Collective Catalogue of Catalonia's Bibliographical Heritage and a selection of the bookplates and marks of ownership that are kept in the Escornalbou Castle-Monastery. The study of the marks of ownership aims to identify the ones used by Eduard Toda and the previous owners, and finds interesting cases of English collectors from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Some sales catalogues of these collections have also been identified that indicate the origin of certain copies sold by Sotheby's and other auction houses.

Results: a total of 2,529 books date from before 1901. Most of them, 87%, are from the nineteenth century, and 11% from the eighteenth; thus, these two centuries make up 98% of the collection. Eduard Toda was clearly interested in vernacular languages, since 49% of the books are in English and 41% in French. Some of the books collected by Toda were by English politicians, parliamentarians and diplomats with long professional careers who were owners of important libraries, such as Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer (1802–1874), a Belgian politician and diplomat in London. Other owners of notable libraries were lawyers and army officers, such as Judge James Lewis Knight-Bruce (1791–1866).