Exhibit of the Month - May 2022
May 4 - 31, 2022 Ante-room to the General reading Room (gate A), open Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm (see opening hours of the NL)
Admission 10 CZK (free for the NL readers)
Early Printed Books in the Czernin Family Library
The Czernin book collection has been part of the Prague Lobkowicz library since 1780. The Prague Lobkowicz library was established at the end of the 18th century as a library of the Hořín-Mělník branch of the Roudnice Lobkowicz ducal line. It is one of the most precious libraries of the collector´s type preserved in our country. It consists of several significant old aristocratic libraries, which themselves contained various older sets, as well as several remarkable private collections from the late 18th and the 19th centuries, a number of books coming from many domestic and foreign monasteries, and also the books from the Roudnice Lobkowicz library.
Individual books from the Czernin library can only be identified based on extant bindings and shelfmarks. The easiest way is to identify the volumes bearing both the signs. Full-leather binding has front and rear cover with a gilded heraldic supralibros - the coat of arms of the Czernins of Chudenice: shield divided per pale, right side is red, left side bears three silver bars in blue field. In the promotion, the initials of Rudolf, Matthias and Ferdinand II were added to the coat of arms together with an Austrian escutcheon (a small red shield with a silver fess, i. e. a bar in the center of the shield; later, the initials F III (i. e. Ferdinand III of Habsburg) were added in the middle of the bar1. Some volumes have the original labels pasted on the spine decorated with gilded blind stamping - white paper label with the shelfmark written in black (e. g. E.8.No.17). We know from the manuscript catalogues that the letter indicated the bookcase (for prints we have so far documented the letters A-Q), it was followed by the shelf number and the location of the book on the shelf.
Over two thousand volumes of Czernin provenance have been so far identified in total more than 26 thousand volumes of the Prague Lobkowicz Library, but this number cannot be considered as final yet.
 Note: In heraldry, right and left are descibed from the point of view of a person standing behind the shield.