Mr. Morgan’s Library by Charles Follen McKim

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

Charles Follen McKim of the prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White designed this library for Pierpont Morgan to house the financier’s collection of rare books, manuscripts and artifacts. The suite, adjacent to Morgan’s Madison Ave. home in New York City, was completed in 1906.

The East Room is a three-story library which now serves specialized researchers from around the world. Only the curator is allowed access to the two hidden staircases that lead upstairs.

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

Behind this pivoting bookcase is a white marble stairway to the second floor balcony:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

Ornate detail can be found everywhere you look, from the finely crafted bookcases to the beautiful bindings they contain:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

The ceiling is painted with the signs of the zodiac, allegorical depictions of the arts and sciences and portraits of important cultural figures including Socrates and Michelangelo.

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

Mr. Morgan’s study is decorated in the Renaissance style with ornately carved wooden panels on the ceiling:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

An oil portrait of the magnate hangs above the 15th century mantelpiece:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

A detail in the opulent rotunda:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

Blue and white stucco reliefs depict classical and mythological subjects:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

The ceiling paintings represent the three major literary eras that are the focus of the collection — the ancient world, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

The library was restored in 2010 [see before-and-after photos here]. In the rotunda, new lighting was installed that simulates the natural light that originally came through the oculus so visitors can fully appreciate the ceiling details:

Morgan Library by Charles Follen McKim

For more eye candy, you can take a Google virtual tour of the interior. The suite is part of the Morgan Library & Museum, whose varied collection focuses on master drawings, the written word and the history of the book.

Charles Follen McKim was a Beaux Arts architect and partner in the firm McKim, Mead & White, which designed many prominent US buildings including major libraries, arts institutions and churches.

One thought on “Mr. Morgan’s Library by Charles Follen McKim

  1. Pingback: Looking Back: Best VL Posts of 2014 | Visualingual

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