Treasures of the British Library Exhibition

During my recent London trip, I visited the British Library for the first time to see the Treasures of the British Library exhibition. It smashed all my expectations and I spent hours in the gallery!

The exhibition does what it says on the tin, and showcases the most iconic records from the British Library’s extensive collections. The records were arranged thematically with categories on music, literature and sacred texts among others. The records are well cared for with the gallery’s environment modified for conservation reasons, including dim lighting and cool temperature.

Here are some of my favourite records from the exhibition:

The Collected Works of Christine de Pizan

I was so excited to see these manuscripts as Christine de Pizan is such an inspirational figure, being a female medieval writer. You can find out more about her in a previous guest post here.

The Writing Desk of Jane Austen

I adore Pride and Prejudice (I mean who doesn’t?) so to see Jane’s portable writing desk which was a gift from her father in 1794 was such a joy. She may have written some of her most iconic lines on this very desk!

The Book of Margery Kempe

I did a module on medieval mystics during my degree, so to see the Book of Margery Kempe was a wonderful surprise. This text is the first autobiography in English, and was dictated by Margery to a scribe about her experiences as she was illiterate. She was known for her intense weeping and other public displays of devotion.

Other records I loved seeing were:

Tales by Charlotte Brontë, a drawing by Michelangelo and a poem and illustration by William Blake (who I studied at school!)

It was such a privilege to see these records and there are so many more I could talk about. The exhibition is free to access and for everyone to enjoy so if you’re in London I would HIGHLY recommend making time for a visit.

Have you visited this exhibition before? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

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