We have around 16,600 Spanish books published before 1801 and acquire both contemporary and antiquarian material.
About the collection
Publications of all dates in Spanish, Portuguese, Basque and Catalan, Galician on all subjects in the humanities and social sciences are represented. All secondary material is at research level, while primary material, including works of literature, is itself envisaged as the subject of research.
Early modern literature is particularly well represented, such as:
- the Ashbee collection of editions of Miguel de Cervantes
- the collection of John Rutter Chorley of Spanish drama and poetry and books on Spanish drama
- collections of Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese chapbooks
- the most complete set of the parts of Amadís de Gaula in existence.
What is available online?
Increasing numbers of Spanish and Portuguese books are being added to Google books.
The Cambridge Digital Library includes our Spanish chapbooks.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
The British Library's online catalogue, Explore the British Library, can be used to search for Spanish printed material and order it to a Reading Room.
Most post-1850 Spanish printed books and periodicals can be ordered to any of our Reading Rooms, usually within 70 minutes, although an increasing amount of material is held at our Boston Spa site in Yorkshire and may take up to two days to arrive.
Pre-1850 material can be consulted in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room, while newspapers, maps and manuscripts are available in their own respective Reading Rooms. All the reading rooms have some reference works on open shelves, including bibliographies, catalogues, dictionaries and general reference works.
A large number of electronic resources are also available through the Reading Room PCs. Staff are available to offer bibliographic and other basic research assistance.
The following specialist printed catalogues detail our early holdings:
- Goldsmith, V.F., A Short-Title Catalogue of Spanish and Portuguese Books in the British Museum (1974)
- Rhodes, D.E., Catalogue of Books Printed in Spain and of Spanish Books Printed Elsewhere in Europe before 1601 now in the British Library (1989)
- Thomas, H., Short-title Catalogues of Spanish, Spanish-American and Portuguese Books Printed before 1601 in the British Museum (1966). Access the 1921 edition (Internet Archive).
- Whitehead, H.G., Short-Title Catalogue of Eighteenth-Century Spanish Books in the British Library (1994).