Vernon Lee Collection

Vernon Lee (the pseudonym of Violet Paget, 1856-1935) lived for many years in Florence. After her death in 1935, over 400 books from Vernon Lee's Library at the Villa 'Il Palmerino' were presented to The British Institute of Florence by her friend and executrix, Irene Cooper Willis.


Vernon Lee Collection
Reference code: LEE
Date(s) of creation: Late 19th and early 20th centuries
Name of creator: Vernon Lee
Extent: approx. 420 volumes


Administrative information

Acquisition number: 16

Source of acquisition

The collection was given by Irene Cooper Willis in 1935, friend and executrix to Vernon Lee.


Vernon Lee (the pseudonym of Violet Paget, 1856-1935) lived for many years in Florence. She was the author of essays, literary criticism, travelogues, novels and ghost stories and among her many (and unjustly neglected) books are: Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy, The Countess of Albany, Limbo, Genius Loci, Hortus Vitae, The Enchanted Woods, The Spirit of Rome, Laurus Nobilis, Louis Norbert, The Handling of Words and The Golden Keys.

Scope and content (inc. arrangement)

The collection reflects the wide range of Vernon Lee's interests. 'The width of her reading in scientific subjects', writes her biographer Peter Gunn, 'and more particularly in the social sciences, is quite astonishing.' Many of the books bear the dates of reading and re-reading, and are copiously annotated.

Terms of use


Open to consultation.


The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


This depends upon the state of repair of individual items.

Finding aids

All the items in this collection can be found in the online catalogue, either by the classmark (prefixed by 'VL') or by the subject heading of 'Lee, Vernon - former owner'.

Related material in the same repository

Biographical work on Vernon Lee can be found in the library collections.