The Perne Library

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Oriel
Doorease
Room Over the Library

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Built in 1590-95 in accordance with the wishes of Dr Andrew Perne, Master from 1554-89, the library was lengthened 36 feet to the east in 1633. The whole interior was provided with woodwork and fittings in 1641-8 by William Ashley who moved on to it after he had completed the interior of the chapel. The bench ends in the form of richly carved ears are perhaps inspired by those in Michelangelo's Laurentian Library in Florence of the 1620s. Ashley's projecting book cases are the prototype of others in seventeenth-century Cambridge, notably a set surviving in the cast corridor at the University Library. The chandeliers were added in 1937 when electric light was introduced into the library for the first time. In the same year the floor and ceiling were entirely replaced, the latter strengthened with unpleasantly projecting steel joists encased in plaster.



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