National Library of Wales

(participating with a display)

Display dates:
7 July – 27 August 2018
(Monday – Friday, 9.30 – 18.00; Saturday 9.30 – 17.00; please check the opening hours page before visiting for the latest information.)
Peniarth exhibition area on the ground floor.
For location information, see
Entry to the Library and exhibitions is free, as is access to the Reading Rooms (you must have a Reader’s Ticket to access the Reading Rooms). There is a large car park on site (small fee payable).

item on display

The Elements of the Geometrie of the most auncient Philosopher Euclide (London, 1570)
See the blog post ‘Euclid’s Elements with a preface by John Dee’ by Hywel Lloyd, assistant librarian at the National Library of Wales.

The Thomas-Stanford Euclid Collection

Euclid was a Greek mathematician in the 4th century B.C., often referred to as the “father of geometry”. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, and was the main textbook for teaching geometry until the late 19th or early 20th century. An introduction to the English edition was written by the 17th-century mathematician and astrologer John Dee. Euclid also wrote on optics and astronomy.

The National Library of Wales holds a collection of approximately 300 volumes representing 270 editions of all works ascribed to Euclid in eleven languages, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, including 73 editions published in the 16th century. The core of the collection is 50 volumes of early editions of the Elements, donated in the 1920s by Sir Charles Thomas-Stanford, the author of a bibliography of Euclid’s works published by the Bibliographical Society.

This is possibly the most comprehensive collection of early editions of Euclid’s works in any library. It is further enhanced by extensive early manuscript notes and diagrams in many of the volumes, in addition to the many printed diagrams including moving volvelles. The collection has been fully catalogued and has recently received conservation treatment. The digitisation of this unique Euclid collection would create a valuable online resource of international importance for Euclid scholars, mathematicians, historians and general library users.


The National Library of Wales is situated in Aberystwyth on the Ceredigion coast, and must have one of the best views of any Library in the world, looking out over Cardigan Bay.
The Library’s purpose is to make our culture and heritage accessible to all to learn, research and enjoy. We are a legal deposit library, which means we have the right to a copy of every publication printed in Britain and Ireland, but our collections also contain: 7,000,000 feet of film and 250,000 hours of video, 6,000,000 books and newspapers; 40,000 manuscripts, 1,500,000 maps; 150,000 hours of sound, 950,000 photographs; 60,000 works of art; 1,900 cubic meters of archives.
Further information about the library can be found in

Twitter: @NLWExhibition