The dissemination of books printed in England and Ireland on the northern European book market, 1600-1720

  • Johanna De Lange

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis is the first to provide an overview of the English book ownership of Danish and Dutch collectors, by following the circulation of books printed in England on the book markets in Denmark and the Dutch Republic between 1600 and 1720. Book auctions first took place in the Dutch Republic in the early seventeenth century, where it became common practice to print and distribute an auction catalogue to facilitate sales. In 1661, Denmark followed the Dutch example and created a second thriving European market for book auctions. The printed auction catalogues marked the beginning of a book market that became more accessible to both private owners and institutions, such as universities, and they comprise the principal source base for this thesis.
The English printing industry has long been studied only from a national perspective, in which the import of books played a major role. The opposite movement, the export of English books to mainland Europe, remained underexposed. Existing studies have made use of book trade and fair catalogues to understand the circulation of English publications abroad. This study aims to add to that knowledge by looking at private book ownership. During their lifetime, library owners sourced books from all the major printing centres in Europe. Books from England formed a modest share of their collections. However, the exact size of that share and the type of books these bibliophiles collected remained unknown. This study addresses that lacuna. In addition to the contents of 192 catalogues from private owners, another 51 catalogues from booksellers and 14 institutional catalogues were inspected to see how the collections relate to one another. Private owners, some of whom had strong ties to England, took the lead and were more adventurous than booksellers or university librarians in purchasing new titles. By choosing print published in England, these private collectors from Denmark and the Dutch Republic were at the forefront of the European reading public.
Date of Award29 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorAndrew Pettegree (Supervisor) & Arthur Timothy der Weduwen (Supervisor)


  • Early modern print
  • English books
  • Denmark
  • The Dutch Republic
  • Book auctions
  • Ownership
  • Collecting

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 13 September 2028

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