Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy - Museum Bookstore

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

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'The curators, Claire Breay and her team at the Library, are to be congratulated on organising an exhibition which both captures the power of the Charter over the centuries and draws attention to its capacity to inspire myth.' Times Literary Supplement 

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

When it was granted by King John in 1215, Magna Carta was a practical solution to a political crisis. In the centuries since, it has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law.

This catalogue accompanied a major exhibition in 2015 at the British Library commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. It takes us from the charter's medieval origins through to what it means to people around the world today.

Drawing on the rich historical collections of the British Library - including two original copies of Magna Carta from 1215 - the catalogue brings to life the history and contemporary resonance of this globally important document. It features treasured artefacts inspired by the rich legacy of Magna Carta, including Thomas Jefferson's handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence and an original copy of the Bill of Rights.

  • Author: Clare Breay, Lead Curator, Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, British Library
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Date published: March 2015
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0712357630
  • Product Dimensions: 28.2 x 22.1 x 2.2 cm

★★★★ 'rich and authoritative' - The Telegraph

'Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, is not an art exhibition, though it has terrific works of art in it. It is an exhibition about language and power, full of words, most of them written in a hand indecipherable by the untrained eye, on ancient pieces of parchment or paper. Somehow these manuscripts, charters, seals, declarations and statutes are as moving as any art. The Magna Carta, it turns out, still packs a mighty emotional punch' - The Guardian

'This exhibit is vast, it is thorough, and is glorious' - The Culture Trip

'Four years in the making, this exhibition is a huge success, encompassing 1,000 years of political and cultural history with a surprising and impressive array of items. It would be easy, having seen it, to spend days revisiting each piece to view it in a new light and revisiting assumptions about Magna Carta, one of the most famous documents in English history, which might not be what we thought it was' History Today

'There are swords, axes, paintings, episcopal vestments, hunting horns, re-enactment costumes—even two of John’s molars and a fraction of his thumb bone that were removed from his tomb in 1797—but it is the manuscripts that hold rightful sway. Along with the English language, Magna Carta has a claim to be Britain’s greatest export. Historically minded visitors should make sure not to miss a superb opportunity to understand why' - The Economist