It’s looking to be a good summer for fans of old documents, with the maps exhibition at the British Library, and now it has been announced that the Lambeth Palace Library is opening up its collection as well.

The library at Lambeth Palace is one of the earliest public libraries in England, founded in 1610 under the will of Archbishop Richard Bancroft. Therefore, this is its 400th anniversary, and the Library is hosting what looks to be a fascinating exhibition in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace.

The exhibition draws upon the Library’s collections of manuscripts, archives and books, some of which will be on display for the first time. It reveals how the collections have developed since 1610 and explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • The MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century
  • The Lambeth Bible, masterpiece of Romanesque art
  • 13th century Lambeth Apocalypse
  • A Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type
  • Books owned and used by King Richard III, King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon, Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles I as well as landmark texts in the history of the Church of England
  • An exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud which survived a 1553 Papal Bull ordering all copies to be burnt, which was rediscovered in 1992
  • The warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots
  • Papers of archbishops, bishops and leaders of church and state, ranging from the 13th century to the modern day, including papers relating to the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire and physicians’ reports on the illness of King George III.

The exhibition opens on 17th May and runs until 23rd July.

There is a £8 admission fee, although you can also then gain access to the Garden Museum next door, for £2.50 instead of the usual £6.

Click here for advance tickets

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1 Comment

  1. Brittany Baines

    This historical exhibit sounds so interesting! I wish I could be there, but I am not taking a trip this year, darn it. What a thing to miss seeing.

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