How Many Books Did ROL Own?

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    As a newcomer, I hope you’ll forgive me for asking a question which may have a blindingly obvious answer: how many books were there in the library at the time of Robert Lenkiewicz’s death?

    In 1997 he claimed that his library contained 160,000 to 170,000 volumes ("R O Lenkiewicz", p 118); according to the Foundation's statement, there are 20,000 to 30,000 left.

    How many volumes have been sold since his death? Was his estimate of the number of volumes wrong? I'd be very interested to know if anyone can shed any light on this.



    Read Jason’s article in the About Lenkiewicz>Library section. Jason worked in Robert’s library as an indexer and can probably be regarded as an authority.

    Just a few dozens of the most valuable antiquarian books have been sold.

    There are supposedly between 20-30,000 books left, almost all of them books published after 1950. Jason favours the lower estimate.

    I visited the library a few years ago and was given a tour. Robert was then claiming there were 200,000 volumes. That surprised me, since I know exactly how many Ikea bookcases a thousand volumes take up. So as I was touring I did a quick calculation based on shelf yardage. I came up with about 20,000. When I put this to Robert he added, somewhat sheepishly, that the remainder were "in another place".

    Robert, bless him, was something of a fabulist when it came to the size of his library... and his collection of paintings too. Note the discrepancy between the size of the Projects quoted on his official website (which should be corrected) and the actual lists I posted here.

    It's possible there are 180,000 books (and 9,000 paintings) lurking somewhere in the city, but as this amounts to a pile three times the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza, I think we'd have found them by now.



    I thought ROL’s figure was too good to be true. Still, the actual total compares very favourably with Gladstone’s library of 32,000 volumes, and, of course, that’s still available for consultation over a century after his death.



    lenkiewicz was no gladstone. But why would anyone want or need 20000 books let alone 170000? robert liked a laugh, didn't he? very often I think he would say something outrageous just to see how people would react.....he couldnt paint or read his books all the time could he?Would it be possible for us to try and create one of the projects as exhibited on this site? the lists have been published here. how about sexual behaviour? even if half could be assembled. it would be well worth doing surely?

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