Book Journeys- The Biltmore’s Library!

by | May 18, 2017 | Book Journeys | 4 comments

Okay, so we’re back on our tour of the Biltmore – America’s largest privately owned home. This beautiful French-inspired estate is nestled in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC and is one of my FAVORITE places to visit.

You can visit my previous Biltmore posts here and here, but today we’re going to spend an entire post touring my FAVORITE room in the house – the Library!

Book Journeys - Biltmore Library.png

18579073_10213024010255642_1258846513_nRight now, The Biltmore has a wonderful exhibit where some of George Vanderbilt’s books from his library are on display along with costumes from movie-adaptations of those novels. Peter Pan, Jane Eyre, books by one of George’s favorites, Thomas Hardy, and loads of other authors/novels. Needless to say, I was particularly interested in which novel and movie adaptation would hold the coveted spot in the library.

(keep reading to find out 😉)

George Vanderbilt loved literature and even brought some of his favorite authors to stay on his estate – Thomas Hardy visited and Edith Wharton was a fairly frequent guest. The two-level library houses over 22,000 books. He began acquiring books at the age of 11 and even when visitors would tour the family’s mansion in New York, many marveled at the amazing collection George displayed.

18516239_10213024007175565_1087126671_nBecause he cared so much about his guests, he’d often find out what they’re reading-interests were and have their books on display, ready for the picking on the ornate book rack, when they arrived. One of my favorite parts of the library, which also shows George’s consideration for his guests’ access to books, is a ‘secret’ passage behind the mantle that leads directly to the bedrooms of the second floor. I use this little passage in my work-in-progress.

18575616_10213024005495523_1635596850_oA little about this beautiful library: The ceiling kind of pulls your attention as soon as you enter the room from Tapestry Room. Covered in an Italian painting known as The Chariot of Aurora, the vibrant colors accent the deep reds and glossy woods George chose for the library’s furnishings. George purchased the painting, which hung in Pisani Palace in Venice, and had it shipped in 13 sections to be reconstructed for his library.

One feature of the library, which is particularly interesting (besides the BOOKS, of course), is an ivory chess set owned by Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on St. Helena.

18518507_10213024008215591_829387885_nSo…which novel and movie adaptation did they have on display in the library for the Designed for Drama exhibit?

None other than the costumes for the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who need more clarification, I have one name: Colin Firth). Oh my, those costumes look so very nice in that gorgeous library.

If you could pick a favorite classic to have George set on the book rack for you to read, which novel would you request?



  1. Rebecca Maney

    “Little Women” would be my request(would also make a beautiful costume display) . . . . or perhaps “Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn (with the beautiful French Broad winding behind the estate, either would be a fun read). And a secret closet . . . . . .. I can only guess where that scene is headed! 🙂

  2. Suzanne Sellner

    I would select Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Somehow I missed reading it when I myself was in high school and college; however, I taught it, and thus had to read it, when I taught high school English. I admire Jane’s adherence to her principles and her perseverance. The reward was a sweet and strong love relationship with her eventual husband.

  3. Vickie

    Little Women

  4. reggia9

    Enjoyed your blog! Recently visited the Biltmore, and would’ve been delighted had George put out a copy of Pride and Prejudice for me. 🙂


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