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Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

 

13 March 2015 - 1 September 2015

 To mark the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta, the British Library is holding a once-in-a lifetime exhibition that explores the history and resonance of this globally-recognised document. The exhibition is sponsored by Linklaters.

When granted by King John in 1215 Magna Carta was a practical solution to a political crisis, but in the centuries since it has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law. This exhibition takes us on a journey from its medieval origins through to what it has come to mean today.

Magna Carta: Cotton MS Augustus ii.106, 1215

Magna Carta: Cotton MS Augustus ii.106, 1215

As the national custodian of two original Magna Carta documents from 1215, the British Library will be drawing on its rich historical collections, as well as loaning celebrated international documents including Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence and an original copy of the Bill of Rights, to bring to life a story that still has relevance today.

2015 Programme

King John, hunting with his dogs: Cotton MS Claudius d.ii.f.116r (detail), 14th-century

King John, hunting with his dogs: Cotton MS Claudius d.ii.f.116r (detail), 14th-century

The exhibition will be at the heart of a wider Magna Carta programme at the Library with a series of public events, a conference, a learning programme, and an online legacy for Magna Carta in 2015 and beyond. A large-scale artwork by a leading British artist has been commissioned by the British Library and the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford to accompany the exhibition and will be announced later this year.

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