We are delighted to report that we have so far raised £7.5m and are half way to our target.
The Honresfield Library was originally announced for sale at Sotheby’s at three auctions, ensuring its dispersal internationally and the loss of all or much of it to the public domain. The vendors and Sotheby’s agreed to postpone the first sale in order to give the FNL consortium the opportunity of acquiring the entire collection. As a whole, it is of such significance that no similar private library of English and Scottish literature in manuscript and print has been placed on the open market for many decades nor is such a collection ever likely to appear again. FNL has been offered the collection for £15m. Having acquired it FNL will, with advice from an expert Curatorial Committee, donate items from the collection to national, university or other recognised collections, through shared ownership. FNL is masterminding the acquisition: it will give away every item and retain no book or manuscript.
Of course, £15m is quite a hill to climb, but having secured £7.5million we are confident of success. We have had extraordinary support from individuals, trusts, institutions and companies and are in detailed discussions with a number of potential funders who, we hope, will help us to raise the funds that we still need.
Our public appeal has resulted in donations totalling over £116,000 from over 1,070 people. This fantastic show of public support - from across the UK and around the world - is immensely helpful in demonstrating to philanthropists and institutional grant givers that the campaign to save the collection for the UK has wide (and growing) support.
Members of our Honresfield consortium are also actively fundraising and all the funds they raise will go towards our £15m target.
We hope to have further good news in the coming weeks, so watch this space...! Meanwhile, if you would like to support our campaign by making a donation just follow this link - and thank you!
The image above is a detail of the Robert Burns Autograph manuscript later entitled “Observations, Hints, Songs, Scraps of Poetry, &c.”, also known as the First Commonplace Book (1783-1785). Courtesy of Sotheby's.