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

Today we turn 21! We had our official Royal Opening #onthisday in 1998.
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The six-storey glass tower at the heart of the British Library houses the King’s Library. This is a collection of over 85,000 printed books and pamphlets formed by George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1820. After George III’s death, the collection was presented to the Nation by his son, George IV. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The British Museum accepted the books and constructed the King’s Library Gallery to accommodate them. Custodianship passed to the new British Library in 1973, and the collection was moved to the purpose-built King’s Library Tower in 1998. Here they are stored in the best possible preservation conditions in terms of temperature, humidity, and light levels.


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British Library

Scientist. Inventor. Artist. Gain an insight into the workings of Leonardo da Vinci’s enquiring mind and follow his tireless pursuit of knowledge at Leonardo da Vinci: #AMindinMotion. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Extra evening slots added due to popular demand. Click the link our bio to book now ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#Leonardo500


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British Library

This quill pen once belonged to Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He threw the quill away after it became damaged; see how its nib is bent.
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Made from the flight feathers of geese or other birds, quill pens were the most common European writing implement from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. Their dominance was challenged by the development of dip pens, comprising a steel nib mounted on a handle.
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Dip into a brief history of writing materials and technologies through the link in our bio.
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#MakingYourMark #writing #history #historyofwriting #exhibition #quillpen #calligraphy


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British Library

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was a notoriously messy worker. This early working of the Pastoral Symphony dates from 1808, and gives an idea of how he would examine an apparently simple, spontaneous phrase from every angle before embarking on the full compositional process. Click the link in our bio to find out more. #BLTreasures #WorldMusicDay


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British Library

Ahead of the #SummerSolstice we take a look at Leonardo da Vinci's sketch of the Sun's reflection on rippling water from c. 1508 (Arundel MS 263, f. 25r). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Leonardo wanted to understand why images of the Sun and Moon appear magnified when reflected on rippling water. Here, his optical study shows that their image is enlarged because the undulating surface increases the base of the visual pyramid. Referring to the two lower sketches of water surfaces, Leonardo explained that small ripples, which he likened to the scales of a pine cone, reflect the Sun with greater luminosity than large ripples.
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Click the link in our bio to find out more about Leonardo da Vinci


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British Library

A milestone anniversary in NYC, stories of love and identity in wartime Britain, and the drag queens and kings making library story hours fabulous. All in this month's podcast. Click the link in our bio to listen and subscribe. #Pride


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British Library

#CuratorsOnCamera today explores medieval alphabets and how this spectacular book would have been made 800 years ago. See the manuscript online with #PolonskyPre1200 👉 http://ow.ly/97Z150uy5xP


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British Library

Did you know Chinese characters can be traced back over 3,000 years? This oracle bone, used for divination in the late Shang dynasty (1300-1050 BC), is inscribed with some of the oldest examples of Chinese writing. The character for ‘moon’ (月 in modern Chinese) is visible at the top centre.
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This is one of the over 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents that you can see in our exhibition on the history and future of writing. Find out more in Writing: #MakingYourMark – open now
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#historyofwriting #chinese #writing #exhibition #divination


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British Library

Britain’s first lesbian magazine. #LGBTQ themes in the Library's collection. Transgender identities. Our LGBTQ website charts the struggles for love, identity and legislative change faced by LGBTQ communities in the UK, from the 1500s to today.
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Check link in our bio to explore more this #MusPride.


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British Library

#CuratorsOnCamera is back! Today we hear from Tuija, the Project Curator for our Medieval England and France, 700–1200, website.

Did your school book ever look like this? Beats a tablet any day, we say. See more of this magnificent manuscript (Stowe MS 57) with #PolonskyPre1200: http://ow.ly/cUNa50qiAuf
Handy glossary terms 👇
Exposition: an explanation of an idea or theory
Verse: writing arranged with a rhythm, typically having a rhyme


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British Library

Not your average musical score… This collection of sacred music complete with golden detail and floral decoration, was compiled by a single scribe between about 1415 and 1421. In the early 1420s additional leaves were inserted by other writers, resulting in a repertory which is now the most important source for our knowledge of early harmony music in England.
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The manuscript identifies a number of the composers, including one 'Roy Henry', who is most likely to have been Henry V. Click the link in our bio to explore online or see it on display in our Treasures Gallery – free and open daily.


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British Library

‘Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.’
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Charlotte Brontë’s preface to the second edition of Jane Eyre defends the novel against the ‘carping few’ who criticised its frank portrayal of complicated sexual and romantic relationships, unconventional Christianity, and Jane Eyre’s outspoken views. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Hear writer Laurie Penny’s thoughts on the novel today in our podcast #AnythingButSilent – click the link in our bio to subscribe. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Shelfmark 12654.bb.1.)


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