Osler Library
McGill University, Strathcona Medical Building, Montreal, QC, Canada
Educational, University library; wood and plaster.

Client: McGill University
Architect: Nobbs and Hyde

Description: “On his death, Sir William Osler bequeathed his library, including a well-nigh priceless collection of ancient books on medicine to McGill University, where he studied his profession and held his first post as a teacher….In the design of the Osler Library at McGill everything has been subordinated to the books themselves which are arranged in full view behind glazed doors. Four structural columns occur in the room, which is lined in oak, or glazed bookcasing throughout, up to the levels of their capitals. The columns divide the Library into three bays on each side, with a central aisle having the entrance at the one end and at the other a niche….The original design of the room, with a barrel vault across the center bays, in which there is a skylight, has not been interfered with. Besides this top light, there are three windows in leaded glazing with devices in griseille work…. The fitting up of the room is the work of The Bromsgrove Guild of Canada, and very great pains were taken to secure a finish which, without any suspicion of artificial patination, succeed in bringing out the full damask effect of the chamf of the quartered oak in velvet brown tones. The floor is covered with haircloth, over felt, and on this are strewn a notably harmonious collection of Kazak rugs of sun-burst pattern in mulberry reds and ivory white. The furniture is in oak to match the wainscot work and while frankly inspired by old English models, is of no particular period. Here as elsewhere, the intention has been to do things simply and solidly, in the hope that all may go on, growing old together gracefully, as the saying is, with the books on the shelves.” P.E. Nobbs,” Bibliotheca Osleriana – McGill University, Montreal,” JRAIC 7 (June 1930) : 204. The fittings and furnishings of the Osler Library were designed by Nobbs & Hyde. The room has since been removed from the Strathcona Medical Building to the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building.

Holdings: University library; wood and plaster.

41 Drawings: 2 ink on linen; 36 pencil on paper; 2 watercolour on paper; 1 blueprint

11 Sketch drawings: furniture, lettering, statue and niche, elevations, plan, entrance, bookcases, ceiling plan details, interior elevations
2 Presentation drawings: interior elevations: north, east and west walls
17 Development drawings: floor plans, ceiling plan, interior elevations, section, lettering, mouldings, terracotta wall, windows,
11 Detail drawings: floor plans, ceiling plan, interior elevations, interior section, stonework (incl. vestibule), plaster cornices, woodwork, letters

17 Photographs: 3 elevations; 1 plan; 9 finished interiors; 4 others

Comments: Notable plasterwork, heraldry, stained glass, panelling and fittings. Fittings executed by the Bromsgrove Guild of Canada, Bronze portrait panel of Osler by French medallist Frederic Vernon. Room has since been removed to Mclntyre Medical Sciences Building.