Olof Gollcher’s extensive collection of books is housed in this library. For a private collection it is considerably large and must have been put together over decades of collecting.
A photograph taken in the early 1930s shows a row of two-metre high mahogany cupboards containing around two hundred books. This collection gradually expanded in size, as well as subject matter, necessitating more wooden shelving and a walkway, which were set up above the existing cupboards. The library walls now had floor-to-ceiling shelving.
The subjects covered by this collection are numerous, ranging from the art of ancient warfare to the two World Wars, from medieval history to mineralogy, or from the Court of the French King to curiosities such as books about poisoners. There are several biographies on prominent persons and artists, and a particularly extensive collection of British history books. The vast selection of art historical books and periodicals reflect Gollcher’s collecting interests.
Some prestigious multi-volume sets include the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, published between 1875 and 1889, and reissued in 1898, in 25 hefty, leather-bound volumes. A more voluminous set is the one featuring the complete works of Voltaire, which were published from 1785 to 1789 in 70 volumes. Other sets of interest include The History of the Popes (1305-1700), published in 1923, and the Cambridge Modern History, published in 14 volumes between 1904 and 1912.
Gollcher’s library also includes a Melitensia collection of several books (about the Maltese Islands or by Maltese authors), all of which have become highly collectible. Prominent among them are the two official histories of the Order of St John, namely, Dell’Istoria della Sacra Religione, by Giacomo Bosio, and continued by Bartolomeo Del Pozzo, and the Abbe de Vertot’s Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jerusalem (1726). A version of the latter in English, entitled The History of the Knights of Malta (1728) is also present in this collection.
One of the recent projects to be completed at Palazzo Falson is the compiling of an electronic database which catalogues records of all the library collection.To consult the online catalogue follow this link:
Several of the earlier books have been digitised and these together with other books in the collection may be viewed, for the purposes of study, at Palazzo Falson by prior appointment.