Spanning nearly 3,000 years, the British Library holds over 150 million items representing every age of written civilisation.  As well as books, you’ll find illuminated manuscripts, maps, stamps, photographs, music and much more. From the Lindisfarne Gospels and Magna Carta to Shakespeare’s First Folio, this website gives you a peek into the wonders of our vast collection. Read on and discover our digitised treasures for yourself.

Articles

Maps and views

Maps and views

Delve into the mysterious world of maps and views and reflect on the founders’ curiosity about the universe.

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Faith and religions

Faith and religions

Study magnificent hand-painted books and manuscripts from the many faiths and religions of the world.

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Illuminated manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts

Wonder at these amazing hand-painted books of past ages and marvel at the vibrant colours used – these are works of art that were made for kings and queens, monasteries, bishops and counts.

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Science

Science

Explore the Library’s strong scientific holdings. These range from medieval times to the burgeoning developments in physics, chemistry and biology of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Our collections go right up to modern times and also include social science.

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Landmarks in printing

Printing landmarks

Did you know the Diamond Sutra, the world's earliest dated printed book, is in the British Library? Discover this and other landmarks of printing in the Library's collections.

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