Our 2018 highlights include major exhibitions on James Cook’s voyages, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Empire Windrush, as well as the acquisition of Penelope Fitzgerald’s archive.
James Cook: The Voyages (27 April 2018 – 28 August 2018) will mark 250 years since Captain James Cook set sail from Plymouth on three great voyages that spanned ten years. Items on display range from Cook’s journal detailing the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle to handwritten log books, artwork and intricate maps that illustrate the experiences of people on the ships and in the places visited. Drawings and paintings depicting Tahitian society and culture by Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia will also feature. Tickets to the exhibition are now available to book here.
Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (19 October 2018 – 19 February 2019) will explore the history, art, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England across six centuries, from the eclipse of Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest. Highlights include the Library’s unique manuscript of Beowulf, the Vercelli Book on loan from the Biblioteca Capitolaire, the Exeter Book on loan from Exeter Cathedral Library, the Junius Manuscript on loan from the Bodleian Library, and a number of major objects from the Staffordshire Hoard. The exhibition will also bring together the four principal manuscripts of Old English poetry for the first time. Further, the Codex Amiatinus, one of the three great single-volume Bibles made at the monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow, is returning to England for the first time in 1300 years, after it was taken to Italy as a gift for the Pope in 716.
Two recent acquisitions to the Library’s collection will also feature next year as free displays in our Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery: the archives of Michael Palin and Penelope Fitzgerald. The Library will also mark 70 years since the Empire Windrush ship arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex with a free exhibition. Through literature, personal correspondence and official reports, this exhibition will explore the significance of the arrival of the Windrush within a broader narrative of Caribbean history.
Find out more about 2018 at the British Library.