Open until Sun 2 Oct 2022
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  • Full Price: £8.00 Member: Free Other concessions available

50 spectacular manuscripts from around the world.

★★★★★ The Daily Telegraph

★★★★ The Times

Dazzling beauty, striking resilience. Gold has long held the power to ignite feelings of awe and wonder across cultures.

Take a journey around the globe to learn how gold elevated art in manuscripts and books. See everything from Qur’ans written in gold, to diplomatic treaties inscribed on gold plates cast together in our smaller exhibition space.

Discover the masterful techniques used to handle such a precious metal. Penned in gold ink are gospels from the age of Charlemagne, letters from King James II and decrees of Mughal Emperor Shah ‘Alam II. Portraits from Constantinople and illustrations in The Golden Haggadeh are set on backgrounds of gold leaf.

Each stroke of the brush builds the connection – layer-by-layer – between gold, the sacred and the royal. Examine items that are hundreds of years old. Unveil the stories illuminated by gold.

Supported by:

Bullion Vault logo

The exhibition is supported by the Goldhammer Foundation and the American Trust for the British Library, with thanks to The John S Cohen Foundation, The Finnis Scott Foundation, Owen Family Trust, P F Charitable Trust, and all supporters who wish to remain anonymous.

Ticket prices and concessions

Book your ticket in advance and save £2 (discount included in the prices below) . 

  On the door Advance booking
  Mon–Wed* Thu–Sun Mon–Wed* Thu–Sun
Full price £10 £10 £8 £8
Member Free Free Free Free
Senior (60+) £5 £10 £4 £8
Student £4 £8 £3 £6
Young person (18-25) £4 £8 £3 £6
Registered unemployed £4 £8 £3 £6
Disabled £4 £4 £3 £3
National Art Pass £5 £5 £5 £5
National Art Pass senior £4 £4 £4 £4
Child (0-11) Free Free Free Free
Child (12-17) £5 £5 £3 £3
Reciprocal entry (NDMC) Free Free Free Free

*Excludes bank holidays and school holidays.

Please note you may be asked for proof of concession on arrival.

Pre-booking your visit helps us manage our capacity and offer the best possible visitor experience by keeping you updated with information before your visit. We want as many people as possible to have the chance to see our exhibitions so, like many other museums and galleries, we’re offering discounts to those more able to visit outside of our most in-demand days, helping to increase our capacity during our busiest periods for those who can’t. 

Free carer tickets are available by contacting the Box Office on 01937 546546.


To reduce contact in our galleries, physical copies of large print guides won’t be available. You can still view a digital copy of the Gold large print guide (PDF) that you can look at on a smartphone or tablet, or print out before your visit.

Temperature in the Gallery

You may find the gallery cooler and darker than other areas of the Library. This controlled environment protects any items that may fade, discolour, or be damaged in bright light or humid conditions. We recommend bringing an extra layer for your comfort. 


Name: Gold
Where: PACCAR 2
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Opening times and visitor information
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £0.00
Student: £6.00
Registered Unemployed: £6.00
Disabled: £3.00
National Art Pass Senior: £4.00
Child (0-11) : £0.00
Child (12-17): £5.00
National Art Pass: £5.00
Senior (60+): £8.00
Young Person (18-25): £6.00

A voluntary donation can be added over the regular ticket price. You will be helping the Library to conserve and share its collection. If you are a UK tax-payer and ‘Gift Aid’ your donation, the Library can reclaim the tax you have paid.

Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

A sample of what you can see...

Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an

This seven-volume Qur’an was produced in Cairo for Rukn al-Dīn Baybars, who later became the Mamluk Sultan Baybars…

The Golden Haggadah

The haggadah is the service book used in Jewish households on Passover Eve to celebrate the Israelites' deliverance…

The Melisende Psalter

Though Queen Melisende's Psalter is probably not the earliest manuscript preserved from the Crusader Kingdom, it represents…

Golden Canon Tables

The Golden Canon Tables were created in Constantinople and date from the 6th or 7th century. They are precious…

Carmina Regia

The magnificent painting in this book was intended as a gift for Robert of Anjou, King of Naples from 1309-43.  It…

Japanese Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sūtra, known in Sanskrit as Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra or ‘Sūtra of the Lotus…

Queen Mary Psalter

The Queen Mary Psalter is one of the most extensively illustrated biblical manuscripts ever produced, containing over…

Bhagavata Purana

A fine copy of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa in Sanskrit with thirty-two full-page illustrations in the South Eastern…


Blog posts

Masters of gold tooling

Thursday, July 28, 2022

‘Gold is gold is gold’ it is said, but the Library’s current Gold exhibition shows that this is not the whole story. In book bindings, it appears as paint, lacquer, powder and leaf and was (and is) used all over...

Golden Connections

Monday, July 25, 2022

The British Library’s GOLD exhibition, which runs until 2 October 2022, explores how over the centuries people have found all kinds of ways to incorporate gold into books and documents: as golden writing, by inscribing on gold surfaces, in illuminated...

Gold - why is it so valuable?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Our current Gold exhibition explores the use of gold in books and documents around the world. This blogpost looks at gold from a scientific perspective, and why it has the properties that have caused it to be so valued throughout...

The golden splendour of the Queen Mary Psalter

Monday, July 18, 2022

Our Gold exhibition includes some of the most justly famous illuminated manuscripts in the Library. One of these, the Queen Mary Psalter, is one of the most extensively illustrated biblical manuscripts ever produced, containing over 1000 images. Extraordinarily, all of...

More blog posts