Donation by George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, to the National Library of Poland

A very valuable old book, which belonged to the first Polish National Library in the 18th century, has been donated to the collections of the National Library. It was donated by George Windsor Earl of St Andrews, a member of the British royal family and great-grandson of King George V.

I had the good fortune to come across this first book of the chivalric romance L’Histoire de Primaléon de Grèce (attributed to Francisco Vasquez, translated by François de Vernassal and Gabriel Chappuis, and published in Lyon in 1572) during my student years in Cambridge. It was only years later that I discovered its provenance in the collection of the great eighteenth-century bishop and bibliophile Józef Andrzej Załuski, and learnt about the significance and the tragic history of that collection. From its binding the book appears to have been in Britain since the early nineteenth century. Today, after having this book as a cherished companion on my bookshelves for many years I am happy for it to return to its proper home. I shall take pleasure in thinking that I have been able to make a small contribution to the restoration of Poland’s cultural heritage, as well as to show my affection for Poland and Her people. – said George Windsor.


Photo: Paweł Morawiec, The Library Mirror