International exhibitions

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Buddhism is a major British Library exhibition exploring the roots, philosophy and contemporary relevance of one of the world’s major religions, from its beginnings in north India in 5th century BC to having around 1 billion followers across the world today.

From sacred scriptures written on tree bark, palm leaves and gold to silk scrolls of major Sutras, Buddhism was pivotal in developing writing and printing techniques to transmit ideas and educate people across Asia. Featuring rare and colourful scrolls, painted wall hangings and folding books, the exhibition will highlight the outstanding art of Buddhist manuscripts and early printed works by shining a light on the British Library’s lesser-known treasures from across the world.

Writing: Making your Mark

As featured in the Evening Standard article, 'London art 2019: Best exhibitions, galleries and art shows for the new year’

This exhibition celebrates the act of writing. Using 120 objects chosen from across the international collection at the British Library, it considers how writing has always continued to evolve as people adapt it to the changing world around them. Objects range from Egyptian hieroglyphs to modern stone carving, from medieval fine calligraphy to modern-day scientific notes, and from movable printing type to typewriters. By using audiovisuals and hands-on interactives, visitors will become actively involved in the story of writing and consider how the choices they make today could affect the writing of tomorrow.

Elizabeth & Mary (working title)

This exhibition focuses on Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots: two powerful women whose rivalry dominated English and Scottish politics for thirty years. But, it will be much more than a biography of two queens, for Mary and Elizabeth’s stormy relationship reflected a much broader story. The backdrop was an England deeply divided between Protestants and Catholics and a Europe torn apart by religious conflict, civil war and the ambitions of kings and princes. Mary and Elizabeth’s battle for dynastic pre-eminence within the British Isles became inseparable from national religious struggle and England’s turbulent relationship with Scotland, France and Spain. Elizabeth I’s reign is often presented as ‘Gloriana’, globes and galleons. This exhibition will present the ‘other’ side of the story.