British Library@britishlibrary

We're the national library of the UK. We'd like to show you some of our beautiful collections and tell the stories of the people who use them.

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British Library

William Tyndale was a scholar and theologian born in Gloucestershire at the end of the 15th century. His translation of the New Testament was the first to be printed in English. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is one of only three copies surviving from the 3,000 or so printed in 1526 by Peter Schoeffer in the German city of Worms. Tyndale’s translation was thought to be sacrilegious in England, so his Bibles were smuggled into the country in bales of cloth. Those discovered owning them were punished. At first only the books were destroyed, but soon heretics would be burned too – including Tyndale himself in 1536. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This version of the book is unique; see it in our #BLTreasures Gallery, free and open daily. Click the link in our bio to explore the item further.


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British Library

Ahead of their time: did you know the Anglo-Saxons saw Earth as part of a far greater interconnected world? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Discover the sophistication of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Click the link in our bio. #BLAngloSaxons ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Image: 'On the Nature of Things', England, mid-10th century. Cotton MS Domitian A I, ff. 23v-24r)


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British Library

Our new Voices of Art online resource explores the shifting influences on British art and the energetic changes within the art world throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Hear artists, curators, art writers and others who work in the field of visual art talk about their lives and work. Listen through the link in our bio.


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British Library

'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' begins when a Christmas feast at Camelot – the legendary court of King Arthur – is interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious green knight riding a green horse.

A masterpiece of Middle English literature, this poem uses alliteration as well as a metrical form called the ‘bob and wheel’. Each stanza ends with a short half-line of only two syllables (the bob), followed by a mini-stanza of longer lines which rhyme internally (the wheel). The use of this complex form over 2,500 lines of verse demonstrates the poet’s skill. However the identity of the poet remains unknown today. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The manuscript containing this poem was part of the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, which in the 18th century was stored in the Ashburnham House in London. In 1731, a terrible fire ripped through the library and many of the manuscripts were lost or irreparably damaged. The fact that this manuscript, which contains the sole surviving copy of this poem, might also have been lost makes it especially precious. See more pages from the manuscript through the link in our bio. #BLTreasures


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British Library

For #LoveTheatreDay, we present AN INFANT IN A GO-CART and other fantastic images discovered in our playbills collection by some of our In The Spotlight volunteers. What will you find? Click the link in our bio to find out more.


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British Library

Ever wondered whether King Harold was really killed by an arrow to the eye? What life was like for women in Anglo-Saxon England? Or who the Anglo-Saxons actually were? Our new Anglo-Saxon web resource reveals the answers and features collection items from our #BLAngloSaxons exhibition. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Click the link in our bio to find out more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Image: Tract on the First Arrival of the Saxons Cotton MS Caligula, A VIII, FF. 28v – 29r


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British Library

To mark #Armistice100 on Sunday we’re taking a look at our #WWI website, where you can explore over 500 historical sources from across Europe, together with new insights by World War One experts. Click the link in our bio to find out more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Image one shows a group of soldiers at a signal station for the Dehra Dun Brigade in 1915. The two men in the centre of the picture are on field telephones, taking messages. (© Crown copyright) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Image two, 'Cupidity', is a satirical drawing showing the hands of men from countries involved in World War One, arguing for control of the world. (Image © Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The third image is a poster was commissioned by The British Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, and designed by Savile Lumley. It was published in 1915, by which time the war was already being referred to as ‘The Great War’. (© Crown copyright) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Image four is a 1917 painting of the military cemetery of Châlons-en-Champagne by artist Felix Vallotton. The repetitive crosses illustrate the high death-rate during the war and the impact that had on those who survived.


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British Library

As #Armistice100 approaches we take a look at the work of poet Wilfred Owen.
In May 1917, Owen was diagnosed with neurasthenia (shell-shock) and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh to recover. It was there that he wrote several drafts of both ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, and met the older poet Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon’s direct, unflinching style allowed Owen to bring similar characteristics into his own work and the drafts show that Sassoon participated in editing the poems. You can see his amendments on this first draft of Owen’s initially titled ‘Anthem for Dead Youth’. Explore more pages of Owen’s manuscript drafts with #BLTreasures Click the link in our bio.
Add MS 43721, f. 54 © The Wilfred Owen Literary Estate


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British Library

The Library’s site at Boston Spa opened officially this week in 1962. At the time it had 20 miles of shelving, 125 miles of microfilm and employed 125 staff! Have you visited this treasure trove for researchers? Find out more through the link in our bio.


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British Library

Remember, remember, the fifth of November...
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This illustration taken from 'Mischeefes mysterie London' shows #GuyFawkes being halted at the Houses of Parliament before he was able to carry out the Gunpowder Plot.
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#GuyFawkesNight


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British Library

‘Finally one, a fiend out of hell...’ Come face-to-face with Beowulf this Halloween. Follow the link in our bio. #BLAngloSaxons


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British Library

This #BlackCatDay, may we present our furry friend Wilbur from Winnie the Witch? Meet him and other feline characters as they prowl their way from page to display at our #BLCats exhibition, opening soon!


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