The British Library

The British Library Explore the world's knowledge The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest libraries. We hold over 13 million books, 920,000 journal and newspaper titles, 57 million patents and 3 million sound recordings.
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Open to everyone, the Library offers events, temporary exhibitions and a Treasures Gallery that displays over 200 items, including Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and lyrics by The Beatles.

Operating as usual

12/02/2021

Happy New Year! 恭喜發財!

'The intricate detail and vibrant colours of this item get me every time! Keepsake from the Cloud Gallery 雲臺献瑞 is a lavishly decorated Chinese album from the mid-18th century, filled with stories of famous Daoists who are said to have achieved immortality…'

'Here we can see Mei Fu, an officer from Nanchang, flying off on a green phoenix.” Emma Harrison, Curator of Chinese collections.

🔗http://ow.ly/cxmY50DyK70

12/02/2021

新年快乐, 牛年大吉! Happy #LunarNewYear!

Take a look at this delicate yet beautiful 19th-century manuscript – part of @bl_eap’s #EndangeredArchives programme (EAP217/1/5). 🔗http://ow.ly/13iU50DxZh7

11/02/2021

This International Day of Women and Girls in Science we're celebrating Nobel-Winning Women 🎇⁣

Head to our Stories to read more about these amazing trailblazers through time. ⁣⁣

#InternationalGirlsAndWomeninScienceDay #WomenInScience #STEM

In need of a love potion? 'Mix mercury with virgin wax and put it into your mouth. Kiss whoever you desire and they'll f...
10/02/2021

In need of a love potion? 'Mix mercury with virgin wax and put it into your mouth. Kiss whoever you desire and they'll fall for you. Tested and confirmed' (Image: Or 12362, f30r)

*Disclaimer: healthy, lasting relationships not guaranteed.

More 16th-century love magic in our #HebrewManuscripts virtual exhibition
🔗v21artspace.com/hebrew-manuscripts-journeys-of-the-written-word

Beethoven transformed Handel’s ‘See the conquering hero comes’ into these spectacular variations for piano and cello. Be...
10/02/2021

Beethoven transformed Handel’s ‘See the conquering hero comes’ into these spectacular variations for piano and cello. Beethoven wrote these variations in 1796 when visiting the court of King Friedrich Wilhelm II in Berlin. #DiscoveringMusic

10/02/2021

Hear the calls from heronry in Herefordshire, England. Many herons return to the same locations year after year, some of which have been in use for centuries. #WildlifeWednesday

🔊 (W Ardea cinerea r1) Recorded by Victor C. Lewis
🎨 Shelfmark: WS0519

Photograph of the Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora taken by Deen Dayal in 1895. ⁣⁣The spectacular site of Ellora, in Mahara...
09/02/2021

Photograph of the Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora taken by Deen Dayal in 1895. ⁣

The spectacular site of Ellora, in Maharashtra, is famous for its series of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The Kailasanath is a free-standing temple rather than a cave, sculpted entirely out of a great mass of basalt. ⁣

📷 British Library Photo 430/35(2) ⁣

It's Valentine’s Day this week and we're visiting our Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition to brush up on our love potions 💖Try...
08/02/2021

It's Valentine’s Day this week and we're visiting our Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition to brush up on our love potions 💖

Try this one out: after a wedding, write the married couple's names in honey on sage leaves. When they eat the leaves, their love will grow!

Discover more 16th-century love magic in our Hebrew Manuscripts virtual exhibition:

🔗 https://v21artspace.com/hebrew-manuscripts-journeys-of-the-written-word

(Image: Or 12362, f29v).

Seen from above: this c. 1542-3 bird's eye view of Henry VIII's manor house at Hull is attributed to John Rogers, one of...
08/02/2021

Seen from above: this c. 1542-3 bird's eye view of Henry VIII's manor house at Hull is attributed to John Rogers, one of the foremost military engineers of the Tudor period. Read more here: http://ow.ly/v0C350Dsplv
#ManuscriptMonday
📑 Cotton MS Augustus I ii 13.

Sleeping Beauty gender-reversed? Nope. It’s the 19th-century Urdu play Indar Sabha about a fairy who falls for a sleepin...
06/02/2021

Sleeping Beauty gender-reversed? Nope. It’s the 19th-century Urdu play Indar Sabha about a fairy who falls for a sleeping mortal prince and kidnaps him. This version is written in Judeo-Urdu.

See the manuscript in our virtual Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition:
🔗 https://v21artspace.com/hebrew-manuscripts-journeys-of-the-written-word

Image: Or 13287

04/02/2021

"The manuscript of Alice's Adventures Underground was first made by Lewis Carroll as a gift. The draft is so beautiful and enriched throughout with amazing sketches that bring the fantastic characters and events to life!"

We asked our curators to choose which items they’d love to see animated and we think Alexander, Curator of Modern Archives and Manuscripts, has really come up trumps with this suggestion.

You can see a treasured early manuscript version of one of the most famous and enduring children’s stories, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, here:

🔗 http://ow.ly/Kbow50Drjk3
📑 Add MS 46700

“Do you think I could have tea with you?” Animals like Judith Kerr’s Tiger have been part of stories for centuries. Inve...
04/02/2021

“Do you think I could have tea with you?”

Animals like Judith Kerr’s Tiger have been part of stories for centuries. Invent your own animal with this Discovering Children's Books activity for #NationalStorytellingWeek2021

🔗 http://ow.ly/3JtM50DqZbT

🎨© Kerr-Kneale Productions Ltd 1968

Beethoven gave this tuning fork to the violinist George Bridgetower in 1803 following their first performance of his ‘Kr...
03/02/2021

Beethoven gave this tuning fork to the violinist George Bridgetower in 1803 following their first performance of his ‘Kreutzer’ Violin Sonata.⠀

Tuning forks were invented in the early 18th century, and were used primarily for tuning string instruments to a common resonance for the note ‘A’ above middle ‘C’. Tests have shown that Beethoven’s tuning fork resonates at 455.4 Hertz, over half a semitone higher than today's standard ‘A’ pitch of 440 Hertz.⠀

Explore more on our #DiscoveringMusic web space: 🔗http://ow.ly/Y5EP50DoTFT

Mark LGBT+ History Month this February with our latest digital events, all free or £5 🎟From a look back at 50 years of t...
03/02/2021

Mark LGBT+ History Month this February with our latest digital events, all free or £5 🎟

From a look back at 50 years of the Gay Liberation Front – ‘a fabulous political firework display’ – to a celebration of the extraordinary life of pioneering blues singer Bessie Smith, take a look at the full line-up 🔗 http://ow.ly/vb8J50Dq5zP

#LGBTHM21

These creepy, cool beetles are from Hans Sloane's collection, in 'A Book containing several sorts of Insects from Europe...
01/02/2021

These creepy, cool beetles are from Hans Sloane's collection, in 'A Book containing several sorts of Insects from Europe, Asia, Africa and America: Painted from the life in their natural colours; from the collection of Mr Albertus Seba. of Amsterdam. 1728.', Add MS 5273, f.88. 🐞⁣

#ManuscriptMonday

In 1846, Calvert Richard Jones (1802-77), took photographs of his European tour, which are some of the earliest travel p...
29/01/2021

In 1846, Calvert Richard Jones (1802-77), took photographs of his European tour, which are some of the earliest travel photos 📷⁣

This salted paper print from a calotype negative pictures of a view of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy taken in May 1846. British Library, Talbot Photo 2. ⁣#PhotoFriday

You must allow us to express our ardent admiration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, first published on this day in ...
28/01/2021

You must allow us to express our ardent admiration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, first published on this day in 1813.

One reviewer at the time praised the novel for its practical and moral advice, particularly the line drawn between ‘the prudent and the mercenary in matrimonial terms’.

📑 Shelfmark: 262.h.22-24
🔗 https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/1813-review-of-pride-and-prejudice

This manuscript of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with annotations in the hand of the composer, was used to prepare the fir...
27/01/2021

This manuscript of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with annotations in the hand of the composer, was used to prepare the first London performance of the work on 21 March 1825 🎼

Prepared by three different copyists working under Beethoven’s supervision with reference to the autograph manuscript, it includes many minor corrections and annotations in the composer’s hand reflecting his scrupulous attention to the details of musical notation.

Explore more on our #DiscoveringMusic 19th century online space:
🔗 http://ow.ly/mjPZ50CO1bc

27/01/2021

This is the call of the grey seal, recorded on a beach on the Pembrokeshire coast. The British Isles boasts about 40% of the world's population of the Grey Seal, a noisy and gregarious marine mammal. #WildlifeWednesday

🔊 Recorded by Lawrence Shove
📑 Shelfmark: 10498.dd.3

What a strangely narrow book, you may be thinking. Any guesses why?Read during Jewish wedding and celebration feasts in ...
26/01/2021

What a strangely narrow book, you may be thinking. Any guesses why?

Read during Jewish wedding and celebration feasts in 16th century Yemen, the tables were often so full of food, there was no space left for anything else. Hence this poetry book’s streamlined design #PartyProblems.

See it in our Hebrew Manuscripts virtual exhibition ⬇️

📑 Image: Or 4114
🔗 https://v21artspace.com/hebrew-manuscripts-journeys-of-the-written-word

25/01/2021

Today we celebrate #BurnsNight in honour of Scottish poet Robert Burns, born on this day in 1759 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿⁣

Listen as our Head of Contemporary British Collections, poet and Burns enthusiast Richard Price, reads one of his favourite pieces from Scotland's national poet.⁣

🔊©️ Shelfmark: C742/87⁣
Collection title: Gwilym Davies collection⁣
Recordist: Gwilym Davies⁣
Recording title: Scottish music session⁣
Location: Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland⁣

19th-century poet Lord Byron was born on this day in 1788.Clara Drummond explains how Byron’s politics, relationships an...
22/01/2021

19th-century poet Lord Byron was born on this day in 1788.

Clara Drummond explains how Byron’s politics, relationships and views on other poets led to him earning the moniker of 'mad, bad and dangerous to know':

🔗 http://ow.ly/u0N350DfFcy
📜 Don Juan, 1819. Shelfmark: Wq1/7048

Wasn't she fantastic? ⁣⁣We were wowed by Amanda Gorman at US President Biden's inauguration, and so proud she's an Eccle...
21/01/2021

Wasn't she fantastic? ⁣

We were wowed by Amanda Gorman at US President Biden's inauguration, and so proud she's an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow. Our Eccles Centre fellowships bring together creative and academic minds and enable great work to happen: https://t.co/q54pz7eBoU?amp=1

Discover Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ sonata, one of his most popular piano compositions 🌔🎶Published in 1802 with the title ‘...
20/01/2021
Discovering Music: 19th century

Discover Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ sonata, one of his most popular piano compositions 🌔🎶

Published in 1802 with the title ‘Sonata quasi una fantasia’, the work only became known as the ‘Moonlight’ after the composer’s death. It remains one of Beethoven’s most recognisable works.

Explore more on our #DiscoveringMusic 19th century online space:
🔗 http://ow.ly/mjPZ50CO1bc

Explore key works of 19th-century classical music and discover the social, political and cultural contexts in which they were written

🚨 New events klaxon!A new season of digital events are now on sale, so you can keep up with culture wherever you are. Li...
20/01/2021

🚨 New events klaxon!

A new season of digital events are now on sale, so you can keep up with culture wherever you are. Life drawing with Alison Bechdel, John Donne’s love poetry or a closer look at #UnfinishedBusiness?

Take a look at our full line-up, all free or just £5:
🔗 https://www.bl.uk/events?bookingperiod=jan%202021

19/01/2021
Curators on Camera: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe – a master of the uncanny and macabre – was born on this day in 1809.

Hear our curator Rachel explore Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a collection of short stories. For more on Poe and the Gothic, visit the Library's #DiscoveringLiterature website: http://ow.ly/ffUN50zLHMx

We ❤️ teachers! This document from in 1552 grants a coat of arms to Jean Belmaine, French tutor to Henry VIII's children...
18/01/2021

We ❤️ teachers! This document from in 1552 grants a coat of arms to Jean Belmaine, French tutor to Henry VIII's children, future monarchs Edward and Elizabeth, as a reward for his service to the Tudor household.

It's just one of the 850 ancient, medieval and early modern manuscripts we have digitised in the last 6 months!

📜 Add MS 89166, f. 1r
🔗 http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_89166

Beethoven captured his musical thoughts on pages like this – packed full of notated fragments, reminders, half-developed...
13/01/2021

Beethoven captured his musical thoughts on pages like this – packed full of notated fragments, reminders, half-developed melodies as well as more continuous passages. Some of these ideas didn’t make it into finished form, but others evolved to become the pieces we know today.

Explore more on our #DiscoveringMusic web space ⬇️

🔗 http://ow.ly/mjPZ50CO1bc

13/01/2021

Have you heard this distinctive call before?

Listen ⁣to Red Fox screams, recorded in a wooded valley in Gloucestershire on 17 January 1976 by Richard Margoschis⁣.

🦊 British Library Reference: W VULPES VULPES R4 C1⁣

The extravagant use of gold-leaf in the backgrounds of its 56 miniature paintings earned this magnificent manuscript its...
12/01/2021

The extravagant use of gold-leaf in the backgrounds of its 56 miniature paintings earned this magnificent manuscript its name: the 'Golden Haggadah'.

It was made around 1320, in or near Barcelona, for the use of a wealthy Jewish family. The holy text is written on vellum – a kind of fine calfskin parchment – in Hebrew script, reading from right to left. Its stunning miniatures illustrate stories from the biblical books of 'Genesis' and 'Exodus' and scenes of Jewish ritual.

See more of the Golden Haggadah here: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/golden-haggadah

#BLStunningCollection

Shelfmark: Add. MS. 27210, ff.4v-5

Take a break and unleash your inner artist with this colouring sheet of Tree Carnations and Picotees.💐 Shelfmark: 1823.c...
12/01/2021

Take a break and unleash your inner artist with this colouring sheet of Tree Carnations and Picotees.

💐 Shelfmark: 1823.c.13
🎨 Author: Henderson, Edward George

See the original here!
🔗 http://ow.ly/ueAd50D5a3b

We’re sure we’re not the only ones dreaming of a getaway. Who wants to make like Alexander the Great and go diving?For m...
11/01/2021

We’re sure we’re not the only ones dreaming of a getaway. Who wants to make like Alexander the Great and go diving?

For more medieval-style virtual vacations, see http://ow.ly/kTLx50D56mG

📜Alexander being lowered into the sea in a cask, in Roman d’Alexandre (Rouen, 1444–45): Royal MS 15 E VI, f. 20v
🔗http://ow.ly/Wodt50D56mH

Explore a snowy winter scene from a calendar page for January, in the Golf Book (Add MS 24098, f. 18v). ❄️Look closely a...
07/01/2021

Explore a snowy winter scene from a calendar page for January, in the Golf Book (Add MS 24098, f. 18v). ❄️

Look closely and you'll notice people sledging in the border! #BLStunningCollection

🔗 http://ow.ly/E9p350CXxTa

Explore Beethoven’s cadenza for the last movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor (K. 466). Beethoven is known to ...
06/01/2021

Explore Beethoven’s cadenza for the last movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor (K. 466). Beethoven is known to have admired Mozart’s D minor concerto, and it is possible that he performed it in a benefit concert for Mozart’s widow, Constanze, in 1795.

In 1808, his increasing deafness forced Beethoven to give his last public performance with orchestra – by notating these cadenzas it was almost as though he wanted to capture and fix for posterity the improvisatory elements of his own performances.

Explore more on our #DiscoveringMusic 19th century online space ⬇️

🎼🔗 http://ow.ly/mjPZ50CO1bc

06/01/2021

This #WildlifeWednesday, hear a call made by a roe deer recorded at Bagshot, Surrey.

Their lightly spotted coats help them to keep well camouflaged, out of the gaze of predators such as foxes and eagles.

This small deer is an agile animal, bounding fast for cover when disturbed. It frequents open, mixed woodland areas in Scotland and England, remaining absent from most of the Midlands and much of Wales.

🔊 (W1CDR0001528 BD6) Recorded by John Aubrey Williams
🦌 Shelfmark: Or. 5896

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