Auctions | December 4, 2014

The Rosemary Verey Collection: A Gardener’s Library at Bloomsbury Auctions

London—The working library of one of the most distinguished and influential garden designers of the 20th Century, the late Rosemary Verey (1918-2001) opens the sale of Printed Books & Manuscripts held at Bloomsbury Auctions on Wednesday 17th December 2014. The stunning 84 lot strong collection of gardening and horticultural books carry her personal annotations and offer an illustrative insight to the historical works that drove her creative process.

During her prolific career as a writer, lecturer and garden designer Rosemary Verey designed the famous garden at Barnsley House in the Cotswolds, for which her extensive library proved a vital source of inspiration and technical reference. Visitors to Barnsley house will recognise The True Lovers’ Knot from Stephen Blake’s The Compleat Gardeners Practice, Directing the exact way of Gardening, 1664, which she recreated for her own knot-garden [Lot 11].

Her client list spanned the rich and famous from Sir Elton John to the Marquess of Bute and she had a long association with the Prince of Wales and his celebrated garden at Highgrove. The collection includes a presentation copy of Highgrove Portrait of an Estate signed from Prince Charles; ‘Rosemary—With much love and gratitude, Charles, 1993,’ given as a token of thanks for her advice in formulating his garden [Lot 13].

Another group of works that express the reach of her influence and esteem is a collection of books written by Sir Roy Strong with presentation copies signed by the author, one reads; ‘For Rosemary—who inspired me to become a garden writer...’ [Lot 69].

Rupert Powell, Deputy Chairman at Bloomsbury Auctions commented about her library; “It has been a joy to catalogue Mrs Verey’s Library for auction and it is with great pleasure that we offer it to the market. She brought books to read and use; many have notes or post-it stickers at relevant passages. Some of the books have faults, but from 16th century herbals to 20th century influences such as Gertrude Jekyll, it is clear that she utilised her books to assist her creativity.”

The full catalogue is available to view and download at

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