The Filoli Libraries and Florilegium provide valuable resources for the study of horticulture, botany, the arts, local history and more. We are proud to make our collections available to the community.
The Sterling Library
The Sterling Library is located in the upstairs sitting room over the study. 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 collections in these areas make the Sterling Library an excellent source for professionals as well as dedicated amateurs. Library Chats, a wonderful Filoli member benefit, take place in the Sterling Library.
Please note this library is located on the second floor of the historic House. Access to this library is by stairs only. For questions about accessibility, please contact the Filoli Collection Manager. Open by appointment.
The Friends Library
The Friends Library contains over 1,500 volumes covering topics relating to Filoli, the Bourn and Roth families, local history, architecture, botanical art, decorative arts, horticulture, garden design and garden writing. The library also has an outstanding collection of hundreds of inhouse DVDs and 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. Books and videos may be checked out for a period of two weeks.
Please be aware the Friends Library has recently moved. The Friends Library is now located at the north end of the second floor, at the top of the grand staircase, just outside of the Sterling Library.
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.