Filoli Collections

Sterling Library Collection
Reading room use only for Filoli members, available by appointment

A collection of more than 1,800 books and 40 journals, the Sterling Library is located in the upstairs sitting room over the study. It was originally conceived by Filoli Center as a research library in horticulture and garden design. The Library’s mission has been expanded to include decorative arts and other topics directly related to Filoli. Outstanding selections in these areas make the Sterling Collection an excellent source for professionals as well as dedicated amateurs.

Friends Library Collection
Circulating collection available for members

Open to members Tuesdays & Thursdays | 10 am – 4:30 pm
To visit, please check in at the Visitor and Education Center

The Friends Collection contains over 1,500 volumes covering topics relating to Filoli, the Bourn and Roth families, local history, architecture, botanical art, decorative arts, gardening, and garden design.

The collection also includes more than 125 videos of past events, lectures, and oral histories from the two families for whom Filoli was once home and copies of Hollywood movies filmed on the property.

Materials may be checked-out for four weeks.

Please note that the libraries are located on the second floor of the historic house and are accessible only by stairs. The rest of the second floor is not open to tours and visitors.

Researching a topic? Please call or email ahead of time.

Phone: (650) 364-8300 ext. 238


Artists have always filled important roles as preservationists, allowing us a lasting record of landscape, architecture, people and cultural norms of their given times. Botanical artists in particular have contributed to our knowledge of the discovery and documentation of plant material from around the world with both scientific accuracy and artistry.

Botanical illustration dates back to herbals, apothecary’s guides, recorded as far back as 6th century A.D. Before photography was created in the 1850s, botanical art was the only method available for the scientific documentation of plants. In recent years this art form has undergone a resurgence to enter what many call the Golden Age of botanical art. Filoli Center is part of this resurgence with our Botanical Art Certificate Program, the undertaking of our own Filoli Florilegium and acquisition of other prominent florilegiums.

A florilegium is a book of flowers. It is commonly a group of botanical paintings depicting a particular collection. The collection may represent an exploration (Banks Florilegium), a garden (The Besler Florilegium) or perhaps a plant family (Redouté’s Les lilacées).

Filoli is fortunate to have three prominent florilegia; Banks Florilegium, Filoli Florilegium and Highgrove Florilegium. We welcome the opportunity to share these with you. Select pieces from each collection are displayed in the historic house throughout the open season.

Additionally, Filoli is privileged to be affiliated with The Florilegium Society of Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Sheffield, England.