Skip to main content



Be inspired by Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was a Victorian writer, artist and photographer. Interested in everything, and engaged in many of the topical debates of his time, he published books on subjects as diverse as evolution, religion, art, classical poetry, travel and sheep-farming! His photographic ‘snapshots’ provide stunning glimpses of the people and places Butler encountered throughout his travels in nineteenth-century Europe. His best-known novels are Erewhon, a satirical ‘utopian’ narrative inspired by his time in New Zealand, and The Way of All Flesh, an autobiographical account of Victorian family life, social attitudes and conventions.

Using the collection

The Library runs an active education and outreach programme and welcomes group visits from local schools. The Samuel Butler Project has enabled us to tap into an even wider range of resources, and we can tailor activities to match the requirements of visiting groups.

The collection includes Butler’s photographs, books, manuscripts, letters, paintings and drawings, as well as some of his personal possessions – all of which provide a fascinating insight into Victorian society and intellectual life. Activities and resources linked to the Samuel Butler Collection include:

            •  Imaginary Lands

            •  A Victorian Writer's World

            •  Curator for an Hour

            •  Snapshot Stories

            •  Butler on the Map

            •  Art in the Old Library

For more information or to arrange a visit, please contact the Librarian's Assistant, Ryan Cronin, by email at or by phone on 01223 338711.