‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ opens at the British Library on 20 October, 2017

admin October 18, 2017 Comments Off on ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ opens at the British Library on 20 October, 2017
‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ opens at the British Library on 20 October, 2017

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the stunning new exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, will run at the British Library from 20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018.

The exhibition will combine centuries-old British Library treasures, including the oldest items in our collection, the Chinese Oracle bones, with original material from Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury and J.K. Rowling’s own archives, going on display for the first time.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic will unveil rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic from across the world, which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.



Exhibition highlights include:

Annotated sketch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by J.K. Rowling, complete with the giant squid that lives in the lake

J.K. Rowling’s handwritten list of the teachers and subjects at Hogwarts

Original artwork by Jim Kay for the illustrated Harry Potter editions, including paintings and sketches of Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid

The Ripley Scroll – a 6 metre-long alchemical manuscript that describes how to make the Philosopher’s Stone, from the 1500s

Chinese Oracle bones – the oldest datable items in the British Library’s collection, one of which records a lunar eclipse that is precisely datable to 27 December 1192 BC

Celestial globe dating from 1693, made by Vincent Coronelli and brought to life using augmented reality technology, in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, which enables visitors to spin the globe virtually and explore in detail the ancient constellations, some of which share their names with familiar characters from the Harry Potter stories, such as Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Bellatrix LeStrange and Draco Malfoy

An early written record of ‘abracadabra’, used as a charm to cure malaria

An Arabic illuminated manuscript showing male and female mandrakes

The tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, a real historical figure who also features in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Black moon crystal ball, used by ‘Smelly Nelly’, a Paignton witch from the 20th century who had a taste for strong perfume

A mermaid, allegedly caught in Japan in the 18th century


Ahead of opening, Harry Potter: A History of Magic has already sold over 30,000 tickets – the highest amount of advance tickets ever sold for a British Library exhibition.


For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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